Brass Tag cars

I recently saw a 1970 Cougar description with “brass tag car” in it. As I understand it, this was a tag placed on the radiator core support identifying the Ford engineer the car was assigned to. In this case the car was ordered in July69 and produced in September so I am assuming the first of that kind. From there some questions:

  1. Was this an every year, every model process?

  2. How long would the engineer have the car?

  3. Did full production wait until the car was fully tested by the engineer?

And finally, are there stories of discoveries by the engineers causing lengthy production delays/stoppage?

My understanding and from the cars I’ve looked at not all engineer cars got brass tags

There are issues what came up on cars that went through tests and such that failed testing that did delay production but examples appear to be limited. One such long delay was caused due to issues with the SCJ and rear gearing. Have one example where the order was delayed about 8 months because if it. Non- Cougar

There were “brass tag cars” used for various things like crash testing, magazine tests, TV series use - all sorts of things. The process of affixing a brass tag to the car and then recording who checked the car out and why was a process that was followed to keep track of them.

Some engineering staff might need a car for a specific testing purpose. Others in management might have rated the ability to check out a car just because of their position in management. Some cars ended up being destroyed. Others went to used car sales. Some went to employees via auction, lease, or ???

There’s no single answer that could cover all the various things. Best bet is to get a Marti Report if you feel it might help explain the use a car was intended for.

Interesting process! Engineering audits that I have been involved with were usually more focused on product improvements for the next product. But when production problems were found on aviation products that I designed, I went to quality assurance who called a product integrity meeting to determine action. If problems were serious enough to stop production, management attention elevated higher and higher through the ranks with each passing day. I can Imagine the SCJ gearing guys were getting visits from Henry Ford Ii after 8 months - lol!

Being this car is a 1970 one can also get factory invoices for it. Formerly known as Eminger Reports. Kevin Marti also has them. But you have to prove ownership.

Any pics of a brass tag? Only car I remember seeing one on was an orange 70 CJ mustang convertible, my 70 is a dso 84 car but no tag that I know of.

Not my area of study - Ed Myers is likely one of the people that has studied this much more. Invoices had the persons name that the care was assigned to listed near the bottom of the options and such. Not sure what the letters mean or lack of them means so don’t want to guess.

Here are a few examples of brass tags from 65-70 or so

Ironically Ed showed me the orange 70 with the brass tag down in Norwalk a few years ago. I assume the tag would normally be removed during reconditioning before resale.

The brass tags is used to identify and item as a company asset during an accounting audit. I don’t know how often Ford accounting conducted an audit but at minimum once a year. Once tagged, it was on the books, taxed & depreciated until sold or disposed of. Usually a good house cleaning takes place and items that are no longer needed are disposed of before the audit and being tag (less items to be taxed on and kept track of). Not just cars are tagged, machinery, tools office equipment etc… Ford could have a car for several months but if an audit didn’t take place during that time it wouldn’t have a tag. They could have a car for a few weeks and if it fell on a time of an audit it got a brass tag.

  1. Was this an every year, every model process? At minimum every year.

  2. How long would the engineer have the car? Just depends on what they were using the car for.

  3. Did full production wait until the car was fully tested by the engineer? No, lots of changes get made during production. Generally minor improvements, cost savings, or supplier changes. Testing goes on all the time and you don’t want to be the reason to delay production. Basically, it becomes 24/7 all hands on deck.

And finally, are there stories of discoveries by the engineers causing lengthy production delays/stoppage? Yes, but these cars were built before my time, so none I could share. I could share stories starting in 1989.

Sounds like the car might be assigned to a variety of people for different purposes. Some might be assigned to an engineer for an audit, but also could be assigned to marketing for an ad shoot, to quality assurance for crash testing, or to an executive to drive. So it wouldn’t necessarily just be an engineer designated on the tag? Also sounds like it would be pretty rare to find a car that still has the brass tag attached. Always fun to learn something new on this forum!

Right the tag was simply a way to tie the asset to the paper records. Any sort of reason could get a car into the system. Very simply something was being done other than selling the car for a period of time, be it a day, a week, a month or a year.

Winner winner chicken dinner. Fixed asset tag, same as would be affixed to any capitalized asset, including equipment & office furniture. In fact, there are people that stuck Holman & Moody asset tags on a regular old Ford and tried to pass it off as something rare & unique

I guess they don’t think us Finance & accounting guys also collect cars. :roll_eyes:

Quote from Brian’s post “Testing goes on all the time and you don’t want to be the reason to delay production.”

OH my GOD no. All hands on deck is right. I hate going into a situation where a line is down or going down.

For those that are not in manufacturing, it’s not just cars it is anything that goes down a line. Washing machines are another good example. Last I knew, Whirlpool in Clyde Ohio was shipping about 20,000 washing machines a day out the door. That is one place you don’t want to be around if the line isn’t running. When you shut things down like that, big, big dollars start getting involved.

Back to the cars. All plants have many cars assigned to them and get the BT’s and like stated above, its an asset thing. For example, Ford Livonia which is one of Fords big transmission plants probably has 10 -20 cars in their pool at any one time. These are typically for road tests and the like. Generally speaking, if an engineer gets a car to take home and use it won’t be in his or her possession very long. They usually get the regular fleet cars.

I think I may have found one of the elusive brass tags… as a key ring. Came from a Detroit area ford dealers spare key collection. I’m guessing early 80’s based on the keys.

Here’s a few of some of the typical Ford company car key tags I came across… again, early 80’s examples