Date Coded Parts

The following article and photos are provided by Chris Vick.

I think most of you know about the date codes on our cars parts. Blocks, manifolds, and most cast pieces have a date code cast in them. The number is before the date the car was built. “C” stands for sixties and “9” stands for 1969, “O” represents Ford while “G” stands for Mercury. However, you may have a “C8O/G” for a part that also fit the previous year (1968).

This article is not so much about the cast pieces but rather the smaller parts that are assembled outside the factory but installed at the time of the car’s assembly. Things like the washer bottles, wiper motors, voltage regulators, coils, and almost every other part will have a date code somewhere on it. The restoration of these small details add up to a much better Restoration but how can you do it? I will show you what I did on the cars I have restored.

Keep in mind that the factory used many different suppliers for these smaller items. Each had their own way of meeting Ford and Mercury’s specifications. They did things their way as much as possible. Think about this, would you want to order all your parts from one company? What if they had a problem? For the lack of one small part the entire assembly would come to a stop. This goes for all parts that have a stamp or paint mark. Since there were different suppliers these markings and date codes often varied from car to car.

There is no hard fast rule as to what should be on the parts. Although I will show you what I have done, I have also found slight differences on the same part from car to car. During disassembly, it is VERY IMPORTANT to document YOUR car, that is what is right for your car. If you just copy what someone else has done you both may be wrong.

Generally, these smaller parts were made 1 to 2 weeks before your car was built. My car was built on March 22nd of 1969, so most date codes were on the 11/12th of March. The first thing to do is copy what is printed on the part. Next, you will need to find the right font which matches your part. This is the hardest step in the entire process. If you are computer savvy, you may be able to alter a similar font to get the exact style and size you need. Those old numbers are hard to match. Once you have the black/white art work done you need to get a stamp made. I had mine done at Office Max. I assume any office supply store near you could do the same. The last part is the easiest. I use Testers Model enamel paints and have a smooth piece of tile that I smear some paint on. Lightly dip the stamp into the paint and then “stamp” the part number onto the correct location on the part. The enamel paint dries slowly and gives you some working time. However, it is best to practice on a similar surface and shape until you get the hang of it. If you make a mistake and the paint has cured for awhile or you used a hardener in the paint, a light solvent will take the stamp paint off. Mineral spirits or a wax/grease remover work well.

Here are some photo examples.

This first picture is of the stamps I have made, art work and paints. I had some major help with the coil stamp to get it right. You could use the stickers that are made but the date code would be off and it is a sticker not an ink stamp

Remember when I said document your car? First up are wiper motors. They all have the same part number ink stamped but the date code and inspector stamp are different and different colors. Yellow and white are used.



This one has white for date code and inspector(on the side by wires, right side) Yellow seems to be the color for part number.

This one is mine and the stamps were in yellow.

Here is one I restored.

Washer bottles are next. I have not seen any that match completely, the date code is common. All are done with a black ink pad.


See how the font is different on this bottle?

Here is one I didn’t do because you can’t see it. Top of heater box. I may be nuts but not that nuts.


This next one I have only seen one of, voltage regulator. Blue ink pad


This is just a short article about how to add more detail to your car. There are a lot of details that remain even on the worst of cars. Unfortunately, most shops won’t take the time to document it and put it back on the new or restored parts.


Filed Under: FeaturedMercury SpoilerMercury Spoiler IIRestoration


About the Author: Some of my first and strongest memories from my childhood relate to cars. I still remember when things happened based on what car I was driving at the time. I grew up and lived in Iowa for nearly 40 years before moving to Southern California and now live in Tennessee. I was a Corvette fanatic for years but then re-discovered vintage American Muscle. My wife, Katrina, and I decided we wanted to focus on unique and rare muscle cars. After a lot of research we fell in love with the Ford Blue Oval Aero Cars. These were only built in 1969 and and aerodynamics became an important part of winning races. The only purpose of these limited production cars was to win NASCAR races using the Boss 429 and 427 power plants complimented with a special, wind cheating, aerodynamic body. The Ford Talladega and Mercury Cyclone Spoiler II are terrific and historic cars. This site is devoted to these car and their owners past and present. We provide an Online Registry for recording the long term history and ownership of every remaining Talladega, Spoiler and Spoiler II.

Comments (3)

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  1. tom wilson says:

    Thats gettin with it Chris.Its the details that make the car.

    • Rick Ochs says:

      This is some very interesting information, have been there and done this many times during my time doing restorations.
      There is one area we need to correct in what this story states.
      Mr. Vick points out C8OG would be C for the sixties the next number would be a 8 or 9 for 1968 or 1969….than he shows the letter O and states the O represents Ford this is not 100% correct! The O used in a date code or casting number in the 3th. location would mean this is a Fairlane/Torino part. The letter A would be for the Ford line. Than he states C8OG would be for a previous year or a part that was carry over from 1968 to the 1969 units. Thing is the 4th. letter in this case would be the “Engineering Department ” the part was engineered from, like if the part on a 1969 Spoiler II shows a number C9GF…it would be a “General Part” for a 1969 Montego (base unit for Spoiler II) again C for sixties, 9 for 1969, G for Montego and F for General Parts Engineering Department. There is no Engineering Department coded with a G. Now if you found a C9GA- on a part from your Spoiler II it would mean you are looking at a Chassis part (the A) Montego line unit (the G ) and as above the C&9 for 1969.

  2. James Ozinga says:

    Hey Chris, any way I could borrow the coil stamp? Or better yet, the artwork for that stamp as my date code is a couple of weeks earlier?
    Also, I have some other strange stampings in my trunk. The hexagon stamp I have made already (same as my Atlanta 66 GTA), but there is another stamp that is dark grey kind of looks like a crest. It is applied OVER the two white ‘P’ stickers that are under there.
    email me if you would like:
    Regards, Jim Ozinga

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