Build dates

Recently, when I had the back seat out of my car, as I had described in my previous entry, I also discovered something that made me think more about build dates. I don’t think I have ever discussed the topic on this site other than pointing out that they can be decoded from the buck tag and they are very often stamped on the upper radiator support. From the Official Mustang 5.0 Technical Reference we also know that

  • the date indicates when the vehicle began its trip down the assembly line,
  • the build process took two full days, and
  • build dates have sometimes been found to be off by a couple of days.

So, there is some uncertainty in the actual date these cars were built but the “build date” is the best indication that we have. My “build date” is March 10, 1993 as indicated both on the buck tag and the radiator support. Prior to having the seat out, I felt that I would never know more. Underneath one side of the seat is a crumpled up newspaper that is stuck to the floor.

I’m not sure why it is there. Interestingly, on the other side of the car was a piece of insulating material between the seat and floor. There is no insulation on this side so, perhaps, this was used in its place. The pages are from the Detroit Free Press and are dated March 11, 1993, one day after my “build date”. You can see it in the upper center of the following picture as well as in the upper right.

But, the story does not end there. When I pulled my passenger’s side rear speaker, I found another date written inside.This date is 3-9-93.

I think this marking might have been done prior to assembly of my car. My car likely started its run down the assembly line on March 10 in agreement with the buck tag. The rear seat was likely one of the last parts of the assembly process and one could argue that with the two day build process it was most likely installed on March 11. After all this I will still celebrate my car’s birthday on March 10.

For further evidence of the variability of build dates I once analyzed the buck tag information that I have collected for a period of a few days where I have the most entries. In this list below with information from white feature car VINs (shown with sequence number only), we can see the variability of ordering of VINs and build dates across this several day period.

Build date
Sequence # from VINs
155932, 156103, 156213, 156224
155634, 155865
157668, 159360
156837, 156982