Fool’s Gold: The Flawed Rationale Of Why Nearly Every Marti Report is “Just 1 of 1”

Dec 2019 | Articles, Did You Know?, Under The Hood

In Ford muscle car circles, you’ll often hear a car owner say, “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 here on Craigslist in Philadelphia is a prime example we’ll get to in a moment.

The private seller currently has his slightly incomplete, slightly rusty project listed for $18,000 or best offer, which relying on the Hagerty Insurance Online Valuation Tool confirms has his Torino priced $6,000 below the #4 “Fair” (Daily Driver) estimate of $24,000. While we agree a Super Cobra Jet equipped Ford Torino GT is a rare car, this is still a well-used incomplete car in need to total restoration and with prices showing early signs of being on the decline, you could easily find yourself underwater in a hurry if you need to farm out most of the work.  If you are serious about purchasing this somewhat rare car and want to dive into the money pit of restoration, you can start the conversation by calling Chris at (215) 518-0293.

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 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. 

The formula for determining the number of possible combinations is defined as follows:

n = the number of options to choose from

r = the subset of options typically chosen

possible number of combinations = n! /( r! x (n-r)!

(the exclamation point refers to a factorial of a number.  For example 4! = 1 x 2 x 3 x 4 = 24)

In this 1969 Torino GT, after the original owner selected the 428 Super Cobra Jet and four-speed manual powertrain and the color of their car, they still had approximately 25 individual comfort and convenience options to choose from.  The typical order sheet from back then averaged 10 options chosen, so using the formula above:

1969 Ford Torino GT Super Cobra Jet Option Combinations = 25! / (10! x (25-10)!)

= 3,268,760 possible combinations!

We can spend all day debating the assumptions for the number of options available versus those picked and how those factor against the color and power train choices, however with 386,368 1969 Torinos produced its easy to see our point that depending on the combination of options chosen, its easy to call your Torino a “one of one.”

And that’s exactly the ridiculousness here.  On the “Elite” Marti report below, you can see that by selectively including only the AM/FM radio in combination with 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. 

Our argument is that when all of these options are included properly, Ford probably produced several clones. While with only 0.3% of all 1969 Torinos originally equipped with the 428 Super Cobra Jet, we don’t argue that its a hard car to come by.  We just 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.

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.

https://www.hagerty.com/articles-videos/articles/2019/02/20/barn-find-hunter-1969-trans-am-ram-air-iv-jim-wangers-alaska

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 comment below on whether you agree or disagree and why.

Here’s the Seller’s Craigslist description:

“1969 Ford Torino GT fastback, red exterior with black C stripe, black bucket seat interior, ram air, 428 super cobra jet, 4 speed, N case 4:30:1 trak lok car, super solid project, very minor patching need ( not whole panels ),only rust areas are rear passenger 1/4 has cb antanae hole about the size of a 50 cent piece, lower hole about the size of a dime behind back wheel at bottom with some pin holes, passenger door is trash but has a great priori go with it, both driver and passenger toe boards have some spots. Solid deck lid, trunk floor, rear rails, floors, torque boxes etc. battery tray isn’t rotted out or the cowl. You aren’t hanging panels on this. If you are good with metal this is an easy car to do and get the dents out too. Original 428 SCJ motor is rebuilt on the stand. Bell housing and 4 speed toploader are not the cars original but correct casting numbers. N case rear is in the car. It’s a roller. Front power discs, power steering, am/fm car. Still has unique big block sway bar. Buckets and back seat are in car along with the tach dash. Has a mint padded dash to go with it. It’s a 1 of 1 per the Marti report. Original chrome GT wheels are on the car still. Missing hood scoop ( plentiful), windshield glass, side glass ( I will throw that in from my parts car ), and ram air.
Here’s the seller’s description:

Do you agree or disagree on our take regarding Marti Reports?  Comment below and let us know!

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