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Does a car’s year legally mean year

snoranger

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In the interest of arbitrary model years there is quite a few differences between a 64.5 and a 65 though which is why the nomenclature exists.

But yeah, legally both are '65's.
I know there are differences between the early build and late built (and I figured you’d chime in with a Mustang fact), so I chose my words carefully.
 


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To make an already sticky discussion even stickier, consider this:

It used to be common in some states for dealers to title leftover previous-year's new cars as the new year's. So if they had a few '59s left over when the '60 models arrived, those leftover '59s often were titled as 1960 models. I'm not joking. This had nothing to do with the vehicle manufacturer, but was just another shady dealer practice. This nonsense went on well into the 1970s.

I'd assume changes in safety and emissions laws from one year to the next eventually caused some dealers to get in trouble, which ended the practice. If you say that 1973 car is actually a '74, then you're saying it meets the '74 regulations, and if it doesn't... You get the idea.

The reason I mention this is that you might still run into older cars with a title "off" by one year. In other words, it's obviously a 1969 Mustang, but the title says 1970. Now you know how that happened.

About half-year designations, I don't know of any state with provision for them. As mentioned, the "1964-1/2" Mustang was titled either as a 1964 or a 1965 in every state.

The previous comments tying a model year to January of that calendar year are correct. IIRC you can call a car a 2023 model in the US if it meets 2023 regulations and was produced between 2 January 2022 (the year before) and 31 December 2023. Production on 1 January 2023 has to be MY2023. It can no longer be 2022, and MY2024 production cannot begin until the next day.
 

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Other than when they replaced the 69 VINs with 1970 VIN plates on unsold Shelby Mustangs, I have never heard of selling last year's vehicle as a current model. To begin with, in the 60's and before, every year looked different, no to mention, it would be fraud. In the fall of 77 we sold what were effectively 78 Mustangs as 77's because something didn't pass the emissions requirements. Ford VINs used to have a stylized "f" before and after the VIN, those Mustangs had 2 "f"s before the "8" that would indicate a 78 vehicle. Falsifying VIN's, turning back speedometers by running a car in reverse all night, and 100 mpg carburetors are all urban myths.
 

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Other than when they replaced the 69 VINs with 1970 VIN plates on unsold Shelby Mustangs, I have never heard of selling last year's vehicle as a current model. To begin with, in the 60's and before, every year looked different, no to mention, it would be fraud. In the fall of 77 we sold what were effectively 78 Mustangs as 77's because something didn't pass the emissions requirements. Ford VINs used to have a stylized "f" before and after the VIN, those Mustangs had 2 "f"s before the "8" that would indicate a 78 vehicle. Falsifying VIN's, turning back speedometers by running a car in reverse all night, and 100 mpg carburetors are all urban myths.
Nobody as fdar as I know was falsifying VINs, but dealers in some states did title leftovers on the dealer lot as the new model year. The car in some states then wasn't titled until it was sold. Years ago I knew of a couple of examples involving very old cars that had happened to. Dealer organizations and wealthy individual new-car dealers had a lot of pull in their communities at one time and could get away with that stuff in some states.

I could easily picture a dealer telling a prospective customer, "Look, the new model year is out, but if you take this leftover to get it off my lot, I'll cut you a deal on price and you can tell everyone you bought a new one." Most people just don't even know what kind of car something is, let alone what year it is. We're vehicle nuts here, but most people simply are not. They wouldn't know the difference.
 

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Nobody as fdar as I know was falsifying VINs, but dealers in some states did title leftovers on the dealer lot as the new model year. The car in some states then wasn't titled until it was sold. Years ago I knew of a couple of examples involving very old cars that had happened to. Dealer organizations and wealthy individual new-car dealers had a lot of pull in their communities at one time and could get away with that stuff in some states.

I could easily picture a dealer telling a prospective customer, "Look, the new model year is out, but if you take this leftover to get it off my lot, I'll cut you a deal on price and you can tell everyone you bought a new one." Most people just don't even know what kind of car something is, let alone what year it is. We're vehicle nuts here, but most people simply are not. They wouldn't know the difference.
And some salespeople don't even know what year model they are selling.
 

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And some salespeople don't even know what year model they are selling.
I was in a Mazda dealer a while back, pre covid. My wife and I were comparing it to a Mini and I mentioned that the Mini was FWD. I guess the salesman assumed the Mini was better cause it is German. He said so is the Miata. I said…. No? But he swore up and down it was. Not sure if he was just not a car guy or a desperate salesman.
 

don4331

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I know, here in Alberta, dealers have to sell a '22 by the end of '23 to be considered a "new" vehicle. Otherwise, the someone at the dealership has to buy it and resell it as used. Not much of an issue at moment, but it was in '12, when they were having issues moving the last of the third generation Rangers (2011s). There were some discounts to be had...
 

19Walt93

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Nobody as fdar as I know was falsifying VINs, but dealers in some states did title leftovers on the dealer lot as the new model year. The car in some states then wasn't titled until it was sold. Years ago I knew of a couple of examples involving very old cars that had happened to. Dealer organizations and wealthy individual new-car dealers had a lot of pull in their communities at one time and could get away with that stuff in some states.

I could easily picture a dealer telling a prospective customer, "Look, the new model year is out, but if you take this leftover to get it off my lot, I'll cut you a deal on price and you can tell everyone you bought a new one." Most people just don't even know what kind of car something is, let alone what year it is. We're vehicle nuts here, but most people simply are not. They wouldn't know the difference.
The VIN includes a code that identifies model year, it's the tenth digit, changing it ain't an option.
 

ekrampitzjr

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This practice was before the current 17–character VINs began in about 1980. As stated, it faded out in the 1970s.

The current VIN system wasn't always around, and before 1980 manufacturers had a lot more leeway on vehicle serial numbers. Some dealers took advantage of that.
 

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