Understanding the 1969 Lincoln Continental Mark III VIN Assignment
Production of the 1969 Continental Mark III began in late January, 1968.
Production of 1968 Lincoln Continental Coupes and Sedans was still taking place at the Wixom plant.
The “last six” of a 1968 Lincoln VIN started at 800001; when the 1969 Mark III production began about 20,000 of the 1968 models had already been built. A typical 1968 Lincoln VIN might be 8Y82G801234: 8 = 1968; Y = Wixom Assembly; 82 = Lincoln Continental Sedan; G = 462 cubic inch V-8 engine; 801234 = the 1,234th Lincoln scheduled for production for the 1968 model year.
The Mark III was a 1969 model, so it had to have the number 9 in position #1 of the VIN. But instead of using a new pool of “last six” sequence numbers, Ford instead used the 1968 VIN sequencing. It should be noted that when the Mark III production began, the 462 cubic inch V-8 was terminated, and the new 460 V-8 took its place for all Lincolns, using the code letter “A”. Let’s consider that maybe the last 462 car was 8Y82G820000, and the first 460 car was 8Y82A820001. If the next production order was for a Mark III, that car would have received the VIN of 9Y89A820002, “89” being the serial code for the Mark III. Maybe another Mark III order followed and it became 9Y82A820003. If the order of a 1968 Lincoln Coupe was next, it would have been 8Y81A820004. So the “last six” VIN sequence was incremented by 1 with each order, but the year identifier of 8 was used for the Coupe and Sedan, while the Mark III got the number 9. This VIN assignment resulted in a misleadingly high VIN for 1968 production, because 1968 Lincolns had 7,770 VINs of the ‘69 Mark III mixed in. That’s how many Mark IIIs were built in March, April, May, June, and July of 1968, and maybe into the first part of August. The highest 1968 VIN last-six is into the 847000+ range. When “pure” 1969 production started in mid-August of 1968, there had to be an adjustment of first VIN assignment so as not to duplicate a VIN already produced. So, in this unique instance of accounting at Ford, the regular 1969 VIN sequence started at 848000, which resulted in another misleadingly high VIN, well into the 900000+ range for 1969. The 1969 Mark III production spanned 16 months which meant that Ford had to dip into its “second year” date code letters, a plan which had been in place since the 1950s, and had already been used on 1957 and 1960 Thunderbirds, and the 1965 Mustang. March 1969 was the second March of 1969 model year production, April, May, June, and July were likewise seconds. When January 1969 rolled around, Mark IIIs got to use the letter N, followed by P,Q,R, S, T, and U…. instead of A,B,C, D, E, F, and G. But the 1969 Coupes and Sedans stuck with the other more common sequence of A,B, C, D, E, F, and G for the February through July. See the examples below of a Sedan data plate from April and a Mark III data plate from January and February (1969).
Second Production Year Monthly Date CodesN = JanuaryP = FebruaryQ = MarchR = AprilS = MayT = JuneU = July V = AugustW = SeptemberX = OctoberY = NovemberZ = DecemberThe use of the second production year codes would kick in at the 13th month, whenever that happened to be. 1957 Thunderbird production started in September 1956 and ended in December 1957 so the month date code sequence was J-K-L-M-A-B-C-D-E-F-G-H-W-X-Y-Z. The 1965 Mustang sequence ran C (March 1964)-D-E-F-G-H-J-K-L-M-A-B-Q-R-S-T-U-V. 1969 Lincoln Continental Coupe and Sedans sequenced with H-J-K-L-M-A-B-C-D-E-F-G, while the 1969 Mark III had a month code sequence of A-B-C-D-E-F-G-H-J-K-L-M-N-P-Q-R-S-T-U-V, somewhat like the 1965 Mustang. This is why there is no 1964 Mustang and there is no 1968 Lincoln Continental Mark III. The earliest Mustang is legally a 1965 and the earliest (post-1958) Mark III is a 1969.
First Production Year Monthly Date CodesA = JanuaryB = FebruaryC = MarchD = AprilE = MayF = JuneG = July H = AugustJ = SeptemberK = OctoberL = NovemberM = DecemberProduction normally began in August, therefore the typical date sequence would be H-J-K-L-M-A-B-C-D-E-F-G
1969 Lincoln Continental Sedan data plate “D” month code (April 1969)
1969 Lincoln Continental Mark III data plate “P” month code (February 1969)