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What does "Numbers Matching" mean?

A term that is often used with muscle cars is “Numbers Matching” when describing the originality of some cars.  A car leaves the factory with a particular engine, transmission, rear end, sheet metal etc.  Numbers are stamped on a few of the parts; mainly to help the police trace stolen cars and car parts.  The number that is normally stamped into the parts is the cars unique VIN or Vehicle Identification Number.  A numbers matching car often is considered to be worth more than a car with replacement parts.  Normally the VIN is also part of a data plate attached somewhere to the car (under the hood, or in the corner of the dash). Different car manufacturers stamp different parts depending on the car, the year and the style.

Back in the early 1980’s when I was restoring my other 1971 Charger R/T’s,  I do not ever recall people mentioning the phrase “numbers matching”.  Most folks never thought twice about replacing a transmission, or motor in a car.  Don’t get me wrong, I know REAL collectors probably talked about it, but the average guy at the local car show never talked about it.  In any event, a numbers matching car simply means that it still has the same important parts that it left the factory with.  A car owner that has an engine block with the last 6 digits of the VIN stamped into it can assume it to be the original block the car left the factory with.  Some parts were not stamped at all; a good example of this would be a replacement block from the factory, installed during the warranty period.  In any event, here are some pictures that demonstrate that my car has the original motor, transmission, etc.  It is “Numbers Matching”!


Radiator Support Stamp

Original Factory Data Fender Tag
Note-FC-7 (Plum Crazy Paint) V1X (Black top) 818 (August 18 production date) VIN (WS23U1A102677)

Dash Vin Tag

Drivers Side Door Tag with VIN

Transmission Vin Stamp

Engine Block Stamp

Top of Engine Stamp
THe Vin does not appear here, but the G440 means it was a 1971 block

Engine Block Casting numbers with the date 5-12-70
It was normal for the engine block to be cast a couple months before assembly of the car. Day shift

Numbers Matching Stamps
1971 Charger R/T