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Thread: "Numbers matching" debate

  1. #1
    fabiodriven's Avatar
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    "Numbers matching" debate

    I've had a rather spirited discussion twice now with two of my friends, the most recent time being more spirited than the first time. It's something that seems rather simple to me, but it's two vs one here. I feel as though I'm right obviously, but I'm not perfect and I am wrong from time to time. I'm leaning towards both of these guys just really not grasping the concept here at all.

    Friend #1 claims he knows a guy who has a barn full of "numbers matching" car engines.

    Fabio says, "You can't have a numbers matching engine unless you have the car with the corresponding numbers. It takes two sets of numbers to make a match. No car with corresponding numbers, no match. An engine will have numbers on it, most do and have for decades. If all it takes is to have numbers on an engine to make a "numbers matching" engine, then all engines, even removed from their respective original vehicles, would be considered "numbers matching"."

    My definition of numbers matching, correct me if I'm wrong, is the same numbers on the chassis as well as the engine, and in many (but not all) cases, the engine is specific to one car and one car only; the car it came from the factory in. Am I wrong?

    Unless I'm missing something, you have a numbers matching vehicle, or a numbers matching engine in your vehicle. You don't have an engine on a shelf with absolutely no idea where the car is, or even if it exists anymore, that can be considered "numbers matching". You very simply do not have two sets of numbers, therefor having a "match" is not even possible, it's not even an option.

    Let's hear it. I've been wrong before, or maybe I'm not?
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  2. #2
    Jd110's Avatar
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    You could tell them it’s when the 1/4 mile time matches MPG. Or maybe even the entire power train must match the chassis.

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    Fabio you are correct. Number matching means the engine and trans corrosponds with the vehicle VIN. They may have "Number Matching" and "Date Code Correct" crossed up although certain types of motors should have corrosponding componets. For example an 1970 LS-6 454 should have a 512 Block / 291 Heads / 569 Intake etc.
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    I may be wrong, but I believe GM products is the 60s didn't have corresponding vin numbers on the engine blocks, the blocks and the various components on the engine had date codes and ID codes. So if the VIN says the caress built in January 1968 and had a 302, the "numbers matching" block would have the 302 designation and be in the correct date range. Not necessarily the exact motor that came with the car, but in the correct range.

    I'd say you're correct, you can't have a matching pair without one of the pieces. The only thing he could possibly mean is that the engines have all the correct date coded accessories and correct heads and intake for the motor.
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  5. #5
    fabiodriven's Avatar
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    You are correct Joe, and that's the exact same thing one of the guys I was discussing this with said.

    That being said, the point I'm trying to make does not apply to vehicles that didn't have matching number components from the factory, I'm only talking about vehicles which were specifically numbered with their drive trains from the factory.
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    Quote Originally Posted by fabiodriven View Post
    Unless I'm missing something, you have a numbers matching vehicle, or a numbers matching engine in your vehicle. You don't have an engine on a shelf with absolutely no idea where the car is, or even if it exists anymore, that can be considered "numbers matching". You very simply do not have two sets of numbers, therefor having a "match" is not even possible, it's not even an option.
    Fabio,
    You are right in this case. What I am still trying to figure is what was their side of the story. You didn't really spell out their argument, which I am trying to understand what the other side of the argument would even be.

  7. #7
    fabiodriven's Avatar
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    "Numbers matching" debate

    Quote Originally Posted by keister View Post
    Fabio,
    You are right in this case. What I am still trying to figure is what was their side of the story. You didn't really spell out their argument, which I am trying to understand what the other side of the argument would even be.
    One of them said he has a friend who has a barn full of "numbers matching engines". The person with the barn full of engines does not have the vehicles these engines came from, he has only the engines.

    Their argument is that yes, he does indeed have a barn full of "numbers matching" engines even without the vehicles those engines came with or any idea where the vehicles are or if they even exist.

    My argument is no, you cannot have a barn full of numbers match engines. You have a numbers matching vehicle when you pair the correct drive train with the correct vehicle. All this barn full of engines is to me is a barn full of engines, not a barn full of numbers matching engines. That doesn't even make sense.
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    Quote Originally Posted by fabiodriven View Post
    Their argument is that yes, he does indeed have a barn full of "numbers matching" engines even without the vehicles those engines came with or any idea where the vehicles are or if they even exist.
    So, as I suspected, they have no argument at all. That makes zero sense whatsoever. I can see why this argument would frustrate you. By their definition, anything with numbers is "numbers matching" because they match something somewhere theoretically.

    I also have a 100% all OEM 3-wheeler with UNI air filter, custom seat cover, Maier plastics, Clarke tank, and FMF pipe. It is absolutely all factory bone stock.
    Wait, what?
    Oh, yes, because all of those parts came from a "factory" are were in "stock" when I got them.

    PS. It's mint.

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    "Barn full of matching numbers", LMFAO!!!!
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  10. #10
    Arky-X is offline At The Back Of The Pack Arm chair racerFirst time rider
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    As others have said, components (blocks, heads, intake, trans, rear end) may have casting numbers or tags that correlate with a date code but not traceable back to a specific VIN. To be a "numbers matching vehicle" means the date codes line up with the manufacture date of the vehicle (VIN.) That means an engine block was cast in January 1967 and it went into a car rolling down the assembly line shortly thereafter......not December 1968.



    Quote Originally Posted by Joseph Farrow View Post
    Fabio you are correct. Number matching means the engine and trans corrosponds with the vehicle VIN. They may have "Number Matching" and "Date Code Correct" crossed up although certain types of motors should have corrosponding componets. For example an 1970 LS-6 454 should have a 512 Block / 291 Heads / 569 Intake etc.
    Maybe they think they have "numbers matching engine" like Joe mentions?
    Intake, block, heads (that's all I know that would have casting numbers) are all in the appropriate date range.
    Somebody somewhere knows what date codes should be on the heads and intake for a 1978 Chevy 350ci made in May 1978. The question is.....what does it matter?
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    My mom & dad bought a 1970 Oldsmobile Cutlass Supreme that happened to be a numbers matching vehicle. It wasn't advertised as that but with some research it turned out to be all original......at least on the parts that can be matched by a date code.
    Didn't mean a dang thing though as far as value. It's just an interesting car because it is all Olds.

    Man and wife owned a dealership in Kentucky. They took trade-ins and sometimes they wouldn't resale a trade-in. Instead they put it in their private collection. They filled up 1 airplane hangar with trade-ins so they built another hangar. Five hangars and years later the man passed away, the wife calls in Kruse International (now defunct) auctions to get rid of all (2008ish.) My mom and dad go to the auction and peg a few cars they like and end up buying this 1970 Olds with only 15k miles. Neat car because it is unrestored and looks great.

  11. #11
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    To add....

    If numbers are cast into blocks or heads there are going to be a lot of them made in a run. (Ever see those clock face looking things in steel, or plastic?)

    If a serial number is stamped into a block it is likely unique.

    PS it takes two to make a matching set and to tango.
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  12. #12
    Arky-X is offline At The Back Of The Pack Arm chair racerFirst time rider
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    Quote Originally Posted by El Camexican View Post
    To add....

    If numbers are cast into blocks or heads there are going to be a lot of them made in a run. (Ever see those clock face looking things in steel, or plastic?)

    If a serial number is stamped into a block it is likely unique.

    PS it takes two to make a matching set and to tango.
    Yep, some have serial numbers (usually engine and/or trans) that will match the last 6 of the VIN so you know it was with that particular vehicle.

    Some don't.....just depends on the make of the vehicle.

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by Arky-X View Post
    Yep, some have serial numbers (usually engine and/or trans) that will match the last 6 of the VIN so you know it was with that particular vehicle.

    Some don't.....just depends on the make of the vehicle.
    These days with CNC equipment and whatever makes those dotted numbers on my wife’s CRV transmition and my dirt bike frames I think it’s all documented at next to no one extra cost to the manufacturers.

    As cool as it is to see something all original I can’t say I’d turn down a 427 Corvette with a slightly newer 454 in it.
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  14. #14
    Arky-X is offline At The Back Of The Pack Arm chair racerFirst time rider
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    Quote Originally Posted by El Camexican View Post
    These days with CNC equipment and whatever makes those dotted numbers on my wife’s CRV transmition and my dirt bike frames I think it’s all documented at next to no one extra cost to the manufacturers.

    As cool as it is to see something all original I can’t say I’d turn down a 427 Corvette with a slightly newer 454 in it.
    I wouldn't turn it down either.
    I have an 81 Trans Am that a previous owner replaced the 301 turbo (turd of a motor) and trans with a Chevy 350 and th350 trans. So much easier with a simple carb, more power, and parts are everywhere for those.


    I don't know what year serial/VIN matching went on engines but I know some early Mustangs did not. I suppose "numbers matching" on those just means period correct.

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