In the September 2003 installment of "PERA Core Corner," I provided both information and a chart to help with Ford casting and part numbering identification. I mentioned that the center portion of every Ford part number includes an identifier number, which indicates what that component part is. I also stated that I was unaware of any directory to those numbers.
Well, thanks to alert reader Lee Capps, Jr. from Carrollton, TX, who provided a list and pointed me in the right direction, I was able to investigate and complete another part of the "Impossible Mission" as it was referred to in that article.
To get the real flavor of the history you have to go to the beginning, as it was explained to us. Back when Henry Ford first introduced the "Horseless Carriage" onto the scene he quickly realized that parts for repairs would be needed.
Of course since there was no real network of dealerships and/or service facilities in place, Mr. Ford understood that development of a numbering system that would identify components would be extremely helpful. That way the blacksmiths (did you catch that?) and backyard (or more affectionately known "shade tree") mechanics who worked on these cars could get a handle on being able to order the parts they would need.
So Henry Ford himself designed what is still called the Ford Basic Part Number (BPN), those four or more digits in the center of Ford part numbers that tell all. Yes, the same numbers that were called the "identifier number."
Here is where it began: Wheels are 1000 numbers and Brakes are 2000, Front Axle 3000, Rear Axle 4000, Frame 5000, Engine 6000, Transmission 7000, Radiator 8000, Fuel System 9000 and Electrical 10000. But wait, the number will identify even further than that: even numbered BPNs are used on the right hand or passenger side of the vehicle, and odd numbered BPNs are on the left hand or driver