Antique Store Classic: 1962 Ford Owner’s Manual, Decoding Some Fella’s New Car – Part II

Back in June, I decoded a GM Protect-O-Plate I found at a local antique store, and found that the original owner had bought a conservative but highly optioned Buick Electra 225 four-door hardtop and lived in a fairly tony part of Midland, MI.  Although Ford didn’t use a Protect-O-Plate, they did copy the car’s data plates and original owner’s information into the car’s owner’s manual.  Fortunately, I found this original manual at one of my local antique stores.  Living in Saginaw, MI, which is about 20 miles from Midland, the original owner of this car preferred a little more flash in his daily transportation.

Like the owner of the Buick, the owner of this new 1962 Ford bought his car well into the model year, March in this case.  He bought it from Rick Ford in Hemlock, MI, a dealership that still exists under the same name.

Here’s an overhead view of Rick Ford today.

Vintage Fords are fairly easy to decode using the VIN and the data plate, both of which are found on the driver’s side door of 1960s models.  The VIN breaks down as follows:

2 – 1962

G – Chicago Assembly

65 – Two-Door Convertible

Z – 390 cubic inch V8 with four-barrel carburetor

166230 – unit number

All right, original owner!  He bought a brand new 390-powered Galaxie 500 convertible – good choice.

The rest of the data plate gives us more specific information about colors, trim, and driveline options.

76A – Two-door convertible (the XL model with bucket seats would be 76B)

J – Rangoon Red (nice!)

35A – Red “Crush” Vinyl (whatever that means)

260 – Probably a typo, this is the scheduled build date, date and month.  “O,” however, was not used in 1962.

35 – This is the District Sales Office; Lansing, MI, in this case; the same as my ’65 Mustang.

1 – 3.00 open differential

4 – Cruise-O-Matic transmission (too bad – this car cries out for a four-speed)

Maybe the original owner was influenced by the advertisements and brochures for the ’62 models; after all, he ordered the swankiest Ford one could buy short of a T-Bird (or the XL pictured here), a red-on-red Sunliner.

It showed up in all sorts of materials…

…including ads that mentioned the word “scat.”  I clearly remember compilations of Chevrolet commercials on videotape as a kid that claimed the new models would “scat up and go.”  That is not an enduring phrase, perhaps for obvious reasons (an exception being Dodge’s “Scat Pack” Challenger – I guess I stand corrected!).

Several commenters in the previous article expressed interest in the car’s owner himself.  In this case, it also seems that the original owner lived a long life, and perhaps most interestingly, had a long career with General Motors.  I wonder how a new Ford went down in the parking lot at the plant.

If the internet is to be believed, the owner would have been a man in his mid-to-late-20s when he bought his Sunliner.  In 1962, short of ordering an XL with its bucket seats, and perhaps a four-speed behind that 390, it would be hard to top driving around in a sporty Ford like this, even if it meant putting up with some looks of derision as you pulled into the parking lot at work.

I remember bringing this manual home several years ago and being really excited that it originally sat in the glove box of a truly interesting old car.  As always, I wondered what happened to this Galaxie, knowing that Michigan’s salty landscape most likely rendered it a flimsy shell of its former self by 1968 or so.  Regardless, it’s always nice to think that it’s still hanging out in someone’s garage or barn, and I’m glad to have a small piece of it if it is.