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Mark II Serial Number C5681120. What happened to this car?

In sifting through thousands of documents at the Benson Ford Research Library I found a document that told of three damaged Mark IIs. It was the only document with specific car serial numbers on it.

Serial Number C5681240 was damaged by a dash fire. It's Production Order is missing in the BFRL records. I'm told that this car was probably parted out as the supply line for Mark II parts was virtually nonexistent that early on.

Also missing is the Production Order for C561120, the car that I am seeking.

C5681120 and my car, C5681126, were both paint damaged in shipment. Both cars ended up in the possession of the Marketing Division of Ford Motor Company based in Chicago.

Art Sears, retired Hess & Eisenhardt Production Manager, remembered that the customer for the two convertibles was the Marketing Division. That division had a long history of having cars altered by H & E for show and styling exercises.

Paul Wagner, original public owner of the Derham Mark II convertible, told me that his job, running the Ford Pool garage, was to often dispose of cars made for the Marketing Division. He made the determination of whether a car was roadworthy or sent to the scrapyard. It is his opinion that my car was made for the Marketing Division.

Many that worked for Ford have speculated that some bigwig at Marketing had the convertibles made and never told Headquarters about them. Marketing had its own budget within Ford and their car-altering expenses were not reviewed. It was simply a cost of doing business.

I speculate that they were hidden away for a number of years because of how they were acquired. That would explain the gap in the history of my car.

The first records showing ownership of my car, C5681126, start in 1963. It was owned, at that time, by a shopping center developer who made some of his own alterations to the car.

Back to C5681120. If that is the serial number of the second Mark II convertible, that number may lead me to its current location. Does anyone know if there is a national database of automotive serial numbers? Is that something that law enforcement might have access to? Insurance industry?

There were sightings of the other H & E Mark II convertible on the East Coast about 20 years ago. The car was maroon with a tan top and tan interior. If I could find this car it would provide another missing link.

Please review the document below and let me know your thoughts on locating this car. C5681120 is not currently registered with the LCOC. Nor is C5681240.


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  • 3 years later...
  • 2 weeks later...

Barry: According to my research, C5681120 was order #136, and was delivered to Downtown Motor Sales Co., Chicago, IL on or about Sept. 21, 1955, about five days before that letter you found. It was considered an introduction unit and was a non-air conditioned car, but did have tinted glass. It was Black (01) with trim 1E4L, Deep Gray leather biscuits and medium Gray leather bolsters.

Hope this helps. Phil

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Didn't find it. The guy read the numbers wrong.

I believe you information is somewhat wrong, too, as my serial number is 1126 and it's production order is #137, so #1120 can't be job #136, it would have to be #131.

#1120 was destined for Downtown Motor Sales, but was never delivered as it was damaged like mine.

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Barry: One might think that logically when a order was placed, the chassis number would be issued. However, in the automotive world of production, logic rarely takes place. The following list are the Mark II unit numbers from 1110 to 1135 followed by their order numbers.

1110-126; 1111-131; 1112-134; 1113-143; 1114-132; 1115-Not on File; 1116-142; 1117-143; 1118-135; 1119-139; 1120-136; 1121-149; 1122-158; 1123-153; 1124-147; 1125-138; 1126-137; 1127-176; 1128-159; 1129-163; 1130-154; 1131-211; 1132-152; 1133-150; 1134-167; 1135-161.

Also, the delivery dates are all askew if you look only at the chassis (VIN) number unit sequence.

I also have found a number of orders that were cancelled, so that if you lined up the order numbers there would be plenty of gaps.

However, your documentation about 1120 and your car 1126, being damaged in transport are priceless and your theory about those cars being diverted to Derham and H&E makes perfect sense! Any other questions, feel free to contact me. Phil

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Both 1120 and 1126 were diverted to H & E. The Derham car was made almost a year later. This is the letter from Art Sears, retired Production Manager from H & E. Two cars were built side-by-side for Ford Marketing in Chicago.


I have been told that the second set of numbers is actually the engine number, not the prodution order. Mine matches, as do most others. Lowell Domholdt, past LCOC historian has done a study of engine numbers matching Production Orders.

This is the P.O. for my car. Where did you get the info you posted? I've not seen that before.


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I think I misunderstood you. On the production order form, where does the engine number appear, in the number in the upper right corner or is it the hand written number below the trim description box, or somewhere else?

I have also seen a number of early production Mark II's that had A/C and found body tags with numbers like "A/C 123". Your car came with out A/C, so this wouldn't apply to yours. Phil

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Yes, the number in the upper right corner.

The A/C bodies are slightly different, to accommodate the copper refrigerent lines that run to the trunk. I can see where they would use an A/C car for a non-A/C order, depending on demand.

The earliest known picture of my car was in 1962 when it had 13,000 miles on it. It had an under-dash A/C unit, presumably installed by H & E.

Have you joined http://markiiforum.com ? Your input would be greatly appreciated.

Why the keen interest in the Mark II? Do you own one?

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Barry: I have not been to the Mark II forum. I have a passing interest in the Mark II, they are such an important and I think much over looked and mis-understood car. My main interest are Edsels. If you would like to e-mail me directly, try pskinner@kbb.com. I am the Collector Car Market Editor for the Kelley Blue Book.


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  • 10 years later...

There are twin brothers here who both own Continentals, a Mark II, and a Mark III.  I would be seeing them with their cars on a regular basis now, but with all the car shows on hold, I have not seen them out this year.  Or course, I have not been out, either.


The one has a spreadsheet for all the 1956-7 Continentals in a binder, showing their destinations.  I will run that serial number by him when I see him next, and what his book states.



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