There are classic car fans of all shapes and sizes. Some seek out only pick-ups or brand make-specific vehicles. Others look for long-term restoration projects and others want to add a modern twist to a classic style. Among the many groups of collectors there are also those that seek out matching number classic cars. Matching number classic cars vary from non-matching models in one very important way – all the serial numbers on specific parts match the numbers on the vehicles original number plate.
Why would I want part numbers to match?
Manufacturers began placing serial numbers on major car components when vehicle ownership began to boom. This allowed manufacturers to track mass production over an increasingly larger number of vehicles rolling off assembly lines across the country. As these classic cars from the 50s and 60s have aged, many have had replacement parts installed when original components wore out or were destroyed. Because of that fact, finding a vehicle with all of its original, matching part numbers is becoming increasingly rare. To some, these matching number vehicles are the holy grail of the classic and collector car world.
What’s a number plate?
Most every driver knows about a car’s vehicle identification number, or VIN. While the VIN is easily located on most vehicles, the number plate is different and can be a bit more challenging to find and will also vary when it comes number of serial numbers listed. Common serial numbers that are included on classic car number plates are the engine, transmission, and rear axle. Some vehicles will also include numbers for parts like the carburetor and alternator.
Is there a bare minimum?
While the definition of a matching number car will vary a bit from collector to collector, a good rule of thumb when it comes to seeking out or advertising a vehicle as ‘matching number’ is to ensure that the engine, transmission and rear axle numbers all are original to that car’s VIN. There may be more parts that match on your car, but most collectors seeking out a matching number car will expect that those three major components match.
If you have trouble locating the number plate or any of the serial numbers on your own car or one that you’re looking to purchase, contact your local make-specific car club. These hobbyists and experts are pros when it comes to locating these numbers and can be a huge help in determining whether the vehicle in question is a true matching number car. You can find a local car club through Hemmings’ handy car club finder or by asking around at any local car show.