Data plate decoding help 1957

Joined
May 11, 2021
Thunderbird Year
1975
Confused a bit by my 1957 data plate

Code is : 40 FF XK 24 E 3 1

My question is on the date. 24 for day of the month, E for May. However A-M supposedly designates 1955-56 with N-Z designating vehicles from 1957.

My car is definitely a 1957, not 1955. Any ideas on why the data plate doesn't seem to line up?

My first post here, thank you in advance for your answers!
 

Ward 57

Active Member
Joined
Aug 14, 2019
Thunderbird Year
1957
From What I can decipher, it was star mist blue with a matching hardtop. Pleated Colonial white interior. The 'E' is for a 312 with 4 barrel carb. I'm not sure where you find that the month letters were changed year to year.
 
Last edited:
Joined
May 11, 2021
Thunderbird Year
1975
Thank you...this is part of an article I found on Hagerty.com referencing the dates.
‐---------------
The next characters represent the day of the month the vehicle was built, followed by the month (A through M for January to December for 1955–56, N through Z for the 1957 data plate). For 55–56, dealer code is next (38 possible sales areas, represented by two letters or two numbers together), followed by the “scheduled item number,” which represents the position of that particular T-Bird on the assembly line that day, mixed in with other Ford products. For 1957 Thunderbirds, date information is followed by a number indicating the transmission type (1 = three-speed manual, 2 = overdrive, 3 = Ford-O-Matic), and axle type (1 = 3.10, 2 = 3.56, 3 = 3.70).
 

doug7740

Active Member
Joined
Dec 29, 2014
Thunderbird Year
1955
Using the data plate decoder, let’s decode your data plate:

40 FF XK 24 E 3 1​

40 = Body Type – All 1957 Thunderbirds were coded 40

FF = Body Color Code – Starmist Blue (The 2nd letter F indicates the hardtop is also Starmist Blue)

XK = Trim Color Scheme – Pleated Colonial White Vinyl

24 E = Production Date Code – May 24, 1957

3 = Transmission – Fordomatic

1 = Axle Ratio – 3.10 to 1

Since your data plate lists the transmission and axle ratio information, that tells me that it is a small data plate. Small data plates do not show the destination code or the scheduled item number. The small data plate was phased in the week of April 15 to April 18, 1957 and used on all 1957 models until the end of production of the 1957 Thunderbirds on December 13, 1957.

doug7740
1955 Thunderbird Blue
Data-Plate-Decoder-Ford-Thunderbird.jpg
 
Joined
Dec 12, 2020
Thunderbird Year
1956
From What I can decipher, it was star mist blue with a matching hardtop. Pleated Colonial white interior. The 'E' is for a 312 with 4 barrel carb. I'm not sure where you find that the month letters were changed year to year.
The E in the sequence shown above is not for the E Bird. The E for the 4 bbl engine is in the top line, not the bottom line. The E in the sequence above seems to be the month of May
 

Tbirdr

Active Member
Joined
Jul 28, 2018
Thunderbird Year
2002
Can someone help me with the production code in my attached file, thank you in advance
 

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Boozeman

Active Member
Joined
Apr 22, 2020
Thunderbird Year
1957
Can someone help me with the production code in my attached file, thank you in advance

Your car was built on February 1, 1957 (1B), It was sent to Dallas (61), scheduled sequence number = 180. Not sure what the "P" at the end is for...
 

doug7740

Active Member
Joined
Dec 29, 2014
Thunderbird Year
1955
Your car was built on February 1, 1957 (1B), It was sent to Dallas (61), scheduled sequence number = 180. Not sure what the "P" at the end is for...
Boozeman,

The month of manufacture in the production code is 1B indicating that the car was built on February 1, 1956. If the car was built on February 1, 1957 the month of manufacture in the production code would be 1P.

Using the data plate decoder, let’s decode the data plate:
40 V XH 1B610180P​
40 = Body Type – All 1957 Thunderbirds were coded 40

V = Body Color Code – Flame Red (If a 2nd shows, it indicates a different color for the hardtop)

XH = Trim Color Scheme – Red (White Vinyl Convertible Top)

1B = Production Date Code – February 1, 1956

61 = Dallas

0180 = The 180th Thunderbird shipped to the Dallas Texas district for the 1957 model year

P = The "P" at the end is a code for regular production (not special ordered). The Special ordered cars had the letters A, B, or C depending on several things such as factory discount, etc.

doug7740
1955 Thunderbird Blue
 
Joined
Oct 11, 2021
Thunderbird Year
1957
My data plate reads 40 EE 6XH 18Y 3 1 which i am reading as a 57 bird Colonial White with a White top, but the trim is showing 6XH?? The date is 18 Y? Trans is 3 for Fordamatic and 1 is for 3.10 axle. My serial is D7FH395185? Please advise....Thanks! New owner.
 

jack-in-sac

Active Member
Joined
Aug 1, 2018
Thunderbird Year
1957
My data plate reads 40 EE 6XH 18Y 3 1 which i am reading as a 57 bird Colonial White with a White top, but the trim is showing 6XH?? The date is 18 Y? Trans is 3 for Fordamatic and 1 is for 3.10 axle. My serial is D7FH395185? Please advise....Thanks! New owner.
Do you have a red interior? The color code for a red interior is XH. DofM November 18, 1958. That is all I have.
 

Ward 57

Active Member
Joined
Aug 14, 2019
Thunderbird Year
1957
Do you have a red interior? The color code for a red interior is XH. DofM November 18, 1958. That is all I have.
The '6' in front of the interior trim, From what I can find it signifies a deviation. The restoration manual mentions that late in the year ( your build date Nov. 18th) they started using '58 trim pieces such as different knobs or other minor trim with the torch red interior.
 
Joined
Oct 11, 2021
Thunderbird Year
1957
The '6' in front of the interior trim, From what I can find it signifies a deviation. The restoration manual mentions that late in the year ( your build date Nov. 18th) they started using '58 trim pieces such as different knobs or other minor trim with the torch red interior.
Thanks...I was really wondering about that 6 on the interior trim and that deviation by using 58 trim pieces sure explains it. Appreciate it!
 

Ward 57

Active Member
Joined
Aug 14, 2019
Thunderbird Year
1957
Thanks...I was really wondering about that 6 on the interior trim and that deviation by using 58 trim pieces sure explains it. Appreciate it!
I'm glad I could help with your puzzle. Mine is an early '57 with some leftover '56 parts. I've found that many baby birds built near the beginning and end of their production runs had several anomalies. The supply chain was vey good at using everything available that the sales dept. would not have any objection to.
If you look at the production numbers over the 3 years, the '55s and '56s sold around 15-16K units, the '57 sold over 21K so the supply chain was not predicting that and hence used pre-production '58 stuff. It would be interesting on whatever other parts were borrowed. If something doesn't match up with the main production parts you may look at '58 stuff and not think it's not original.
 
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