Understanding Number Matching

Number matching is a critical component to the overall value of an antique car

We briefly touched on what Number matching involves and now we’ll take a closer look at why you should concern yourself with the process. Note: remember that number matching isn’t always directly associated to the vin number.  Unique identification plates can be found on any and all components but similarities can carry throughout.

List of components on an antique car to number match your value

  1. Engine – You can find numbers typically stamped into the motor or on a plate.  These usually signify important facts such as horsepower and critical dating information
  2. Data Plates – Data plates can provide you with an idea of what number ranges you should find.  Data plates are like the gold mine at the end of a long tunnel.  Often times these are located on the firewall.  Sometimes they are located on the interior side of the firewall
  3. Intake Manifolds – Intake manifold matching can help you determine if not only the intake manifold is a matching original piece but also if some of the components attached to it would be the original equipment.  Occasionally these are on plates but the majority of the antiques will have this stamped right into the casings
  4. Carbs – Carburetors are tough because they are often times replaced for more favorable performance or because the tune up components are so shot that it makes it impossible to restore.  The right mechanic can fabricate what’s needed to preserve the original carbs and you should always look for authentic factory stamped carburetors when valuing your classic car.
  5. Transmission – Your first instinct is to climb under the antique car and have a look around.  Don’t forget this can be on the top side of the transmission and often is.  Transmissions typically have a plate with their born on dates and information that leads back to the antique’s gearing.  You may have to spend some time translating the faded information but knowing it’s authentic will put your mind at ease
  6. Rear Axles & Rear Ends – Pressed or embossed into the casings you can find matching numbers (hopefully) which again will let you know the authenticity level of the antique car but also provide other useful information about the car’s performance
  7. Air Cleaners – That’s right, air cleaners are easily duplicated but never replicated if you have the proper numbers in the proper place solidifying your authenticity.
  8. Nuts & Bolts – Yes, even down to the very nuts and bolts of your antique car, valuation can be placed on how many original parts make up your ride.

What you should do to place value on your antique

You should always contact a professional when you are in doubt.  You can often times find these “gurus” in local or national clubs that revolve around the antique you are considering buying or selling.

If you are a prospective buyer of a so-called “Number Matching” antique then you really need to know what parts are truly displaying the matching numbers.  This goes back to the loose translation of the term Number Matched Antique.  Having more parts with matching numbers will only increase the true value of the antique.