Author Topic: What is the origin of the “Z” stamped VIN? …. Is it Ford’s takeover?  (Read 2114 times)

98SVT - was 06GT

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One paragraph from the August 1, 1962 agreement between Ford and Shelby reads:

"In order to conduct the business contemplated by Shelby, it is estimated to require approximately $35,000. per month during the first year of operation. Currently, Shelby is unable to provide the capital required."

All other petty minutia aside, and right on target date wise, that paragraph pretty much sums it all up and leaves little to the imagination.


Bill

This is August and interestingly enough the same month when Shelby American was incorporated (8-17-62). Was this some new/additional business? Which gets us back to what seems like May 1 for the takeover. With LeMans looming and that being what Henry wanted his people concentrating time I would thing the August and not the May date would make more sense unless there was April/May contractual obligations that had to be met.
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Richstang

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Being an owner of a "Z" stamped car, this makes sense to me that Ford would want to account for cars manufactured after a certain date.  And, it is more feasible than the previous explanations given this new information.

Also, the "Z" appears to be a definite add on after the vin was applied to the tag, given the size and different font. 

Greek

I believe we have talked about the ‘Z’ Stamp getting added after the VIN plates were already on the cars.
Someone mentioned impressions on the inner fender from a heavy handed stamping on their car.


Let me add another detail about the ‘Z’ stamps and our SRG theory about Ford’s takeover…
As mentioned in my first post, Shelby sent an invoice to Ford for the ‘Loss of Use’ on company cars…it was issued on 4/26/67
That was the day before I noticed the ‘Z’ stamps appearing on VIN plates of completed cars.
Ford also opens up the sales channels to noted 1,000 non franchised Ford dealers in a letter also dated 4/26/67.
Officially, the Ford takeover likely happened on May 1st, 1967.
I believe Brian noticed that in some document changes, but I forget the complete discussion as to why he thought it was that date.


Another important detail was with the accounting depts. at both SAI and at Ford
The ‘Profit/ Loss’ of SAI in the three years of Shelby Mustang production and operations were not good.
-In 1965 SAI showed a ‘Loss’ of about $300K
-In 1966 SAI made up that loss with a ‘Profit’ of about $400K (no doubt helped by the Hertz deal)
-In 1967 SAI showed a ‘Loss’ of $750K.
That last big $$$ ‘Loss’ most certainly led up to Ford stepping in with a complete takeover.


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Side-Oilers

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Rich: Great details and info, thanks!   

Any guesstimate as to how much CS paid himself per year out of the SA coffers?  (Separate from any FoMoCo-paid personal appearance fees).

I wonder if that amount was considered too big by Ford, it might be another motivation for the takeover. 
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68krrrr

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So none of the former Shelby employee's have ever been able to shed light on the Z stamps, seems they'd be in the know ?
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68countrysedan

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Looks like CS should've had a smarter CFO than he did. If it WAS $3-5 million in 1962 dollars he got, that should've been enough $$ in an efficient operation at the time (something equaling like $30-50million today... or more.)

This thread brings up trangential questions, such as SA/Ford contract details. Was SA supposed to make payments to Ford during the life of the loan or was there a balloon payment instead?

Mr. Side-Oilers post about CS salary is a good question. And he's right about having a more talented CFO.

Were 65-67 Shelby Mustangs sold at a profit? I.E. Did the sales price cover development costs?

One take away for me is that Shelby had the talent to form SA, but he didn't grasp a financial/business long term picture. Of course there were Ford demands and market place changes so maybe there was no long term SA future. And possibly working with Ford might have been a be careful what you wish for.



Bill

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So none of the former Shelby employee's have ever been able to shed light on the Z stamps, seems they'd be in the know ?

Many years ago (9 or 10), I had a conversation with Chuck Cantwell while we were looking at two 67's on the show field at the AACA museum fall SAAC show. Chuck could not answer as to why there was a difference between the two.

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greekz

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If Ford took over around the date you indicated, would not all the cars completed after the April date have a "Z" on the VIN tag?  The reason I ask is while reviewing the Derailment Cars, not all of them have a "Z".  Six of the fourteen have a "Z" and the others do not.  Completion dates are in June for twelve of the fourteen, and two in May.

This inconsistency would make accounting for cars built after Ford took over difficult, if that was the reason for the "Z".

Just asking.

Greek

 
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98SVT - was 06GT

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If Ford took over around the date you indicated, would not all the cars completed after the April date have a "Z" on the VIN tag?  The reason I ask is while reviewing the Derailment Cars, not all of them have a "Z".  Six of the fourteen have a "Z" and the others do not.  Completion dates are in June for twelve of the fourteen, and two in May.

This inconsistency would make accounting for cars built after Ford took over difficult, if that was the reason for the "Z".

Just asking.

Greek

Maybe for orders that had come in and were sold by SA but not finished before the takeover. SA was always behind on production which is one of the problems Ford wanted addressed.
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Richstang

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Greek,
What are you basing your facts on.
I know you and Anthony have been studying the derailment cars for years and I’m a late comer on them.

We know the train rail cars held 15 Shelby models and only 14 have been identified.
Of the 14, I have photos of several of the cars and ALL of them show ‘Z’ stamps.
Many of the other cars have been noted as unknown owners in the registry.
Registry info of ‘Z’ stamps is typically owner supplied. We can’t trust that info without photo proof

You mention 8 cars not having the “Z’ stamps…
Which cars are those?
Do you have photos of any of those 8 VIN plates or any of those 8 cars?
Are they original or reproduction VIN plates?




Van,
I recall reading Carroll Shelby was paid a guaranteed 50K per year from Ford.
There is no paperwork found to date, that notes him taking money from the company.
As the president, I assume he took a salary. The Ford guarantee might be paid to him as the owner.




Anyone,
I would think Ford made the investment in SAI (1962) as a way to cut into GM’s Corvette sales.
They certainly knocked them down on the race tracks, to help sell Ford cars on Monday
I believe Ford looked at concepts to replace the Cobra in the mid to late 60’s for that reason.
They may not have been concerned about the bottom line, but a profit would have been nice.
Ford also avoided liability by having SAI, an official manufacture, taking on that burden.

« Last Edit: August 04, 2022, 06:15:35 PM by Richstang »
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Side-Oilers

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Excellent info, Rich.  Thanks! 

CS making $50k/year from Ford is about what I would've guessed...but in addition (IMO) there was probably some more $$ coming to him through SAI.  Many ways to do that, of course.   
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98SVT - was 06GT

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Anyone,
They may not have been concerned about the bottom line, but a profit would have been nice.
The Mustang had a difficult time being approved. One reason cited was that they were still stinging from the failure of the Edsel. The coffers may have also been a little low with all the Ford GT expenses. I wonder if the stock holders ever brought up the Race/PR budget - the GT40 program was a 100% because Henry II got his ego bruised by Enzo.
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Side-Oilers

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Good question, Brett, about the stockholders. 

As a kid in the '60s, I was so excited each year when my dad would get his broker to send him the car company annual reports. I was expecting them to read like a car magazine, with track tests, engineering tech articles, and secret future stuff at the proving grounds. But nope. Mostly boring numbers and photos of the Board of Directors.

The reports were extremely slim to non-existent on racing.  Most pages were devoted to balance sheets, graphs, news of divestitures, foreign expansions, factory improvements and cost-cutting measures, and maybe some charitable work.

Plus the requisite photos of the current-year pretty cars on the cover, and perhaps a shot or two of the year's big seller and a future car.

Not much in there for a Shelby-loving kid. In fact, I can't recall even a mention of CS or the SAI program or their vehicles, ever.
Does anybody?

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98SVT - was 06GT

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Excellent info, Rich.  Thanks! 

CS making $50k/year from Ford is about what I would've guessed...but in addition (IMO) there was probably some more $$ coming to him through SAI.  Many ways to do that, of course.
When the GT500 was reintroduced CS started at $1,000 per car to use his name. In the end it became a 5 year 12 million personal services contract and they worked him like a dog to get every nickel out of the deal.
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greekz

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Rich,

I do not know if the vin plates are reproductions or not as I have no pictures.  The information is according the the latest 1967 Registry.

I have attached my updated spreadsheet.
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Side-Oilers

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Greekz, excellent work on the spreadsheet. 

Those 14 cars, all purchased by the railroad, were probably the easiest 14 cars SAI ever sold. 

Wonder if SPRR paid full retail for them? (After all, they were damaged goods.)  :P
« Last Edit: August 04, 2022, 07:56:15 PM by Side-Oilers »
Current:
Kirkham Cobra with 482-inch aluminum side-oiler
Formerly:
1968 GT500KR #2575 (1982-2022)
1970 Ranchero GT 429
1969 LTD Country Squire 429
1962 T-bird with 13k original miles
1957 T-bird E-model, dual fours, 3-speed stick