Fool’s Gold: The Flawed Rationale of the Marti Report for Special Interest Fords
Its easy to have your car be "one of one" if you selectively pick and choose the options to compare.
In Ford muscle car circles, you’ll often hear a car owner proudly state, “the Marti Report confirms my car is a one of one.” We cringe every time we hear or read that and the 1969 Ford Torino GT Super Cobra Jet project currently listed the Philadelphia Craigslist page is a prime example.
If you’re not familiar with the name, Kevin Marti is an extremely knowledgeable and recognized expert in the vintage Ford world who is the founder of Marti Auto Works. In additional to providing a variety of reproduction Ford parts, his company has sole licensed access to Ford’s database it uses to decipher a Ford’s vehicle identification number (“VIN”) for cars produced after 1967. For a fee, after a customer supplies their VIN, Kevin’s company provides a pretty report (complete with an official hologram label) showing the customer the breakdown of how many cars were made with the same combination of options. Invariably, the Marti Report selectively picks several options that then claim the car is only one of a handful produced. Many times, such as the case presented here, the Marti Report shows that with a particular combination of options the car is the only produced that way.
Of course it is. Like most domestic manufacturers in the 1960s, Ford offered a dizzying array of powertrain, comfort, and convenience options. Mathematicians in statistics and probability call this a combination since the order of how one picks the options doesn’t matter.
In the full article posted earlier today on the GuysWithRides.com website, we take you through the math of determining the possible combinations a late-sixties Ford Torino could be equipped with. By our estimate, we determined there could be as many as 3,268,760 possible combinations of options for a car that Ford produced only 386,368 examples of.
It's comical how pervasive the term "only one of one" is thrown around these days in Ford circles because of the Marti Report. On the great series Barn Find Hunters, Tom Cotter has an owner of another 1969 "one of one" Ford Torino walk him through his car, an example that better optioned and in drivable condition compared to the project we've presented here.
Barn Find Hunter Tom Cotter is always offering tips to anyone with an interest in discovering hidden old cars. Some people, however, are just born naturals, and in Alaska there’s a father-son duo with a real knack for it. The two own Pontiac exec Jim Wangers’ 1969 Trans Am 400. Watch here.
And that’s exactly the ridiculousness at play here. On the “Elite” Marti report in the top photo, you can see that by selectively including only the AM/FM radio in combination with only the color and power train options, suddenly this Torino is yet another “one of one.” When in fact the report should also include the power steering, floor console, power front disc brakes, and the Drag Pack as the second photo shows were other options included in this car's build.
Our argument is that when all of these options are included properly, Ford probably produced several clones. With only 0.3% of all 1969 Ford Torinos originally equipped with the 428 Super Cobra Jet, we don’t argue that its a hard car to come by. We argue the notion that the rare-for-then factory AM/FM radio option combined with a sub-set of the options Marti Auto Works chose to combine do not warrant the price premium the seller is trying to make for his project car.
Consequently, whenever you’re looking at a Ford where the owner proudly starts bragging about the Marti report on their car, take it with a grain of salt. Please visit our complete article and complete on whether you agree or disagree.