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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
In the car hobby, we hear or read the term "California car" alot.

In another thread, someone used the term. But that's not the topic. I don't want to hijack the thread by making it about that.
I was wondering. Just an opinion of course. No true or false answer, but what is a California car? And once a California car, can it later become a non California car? Does it lose that title permanently, or once lost, can it get it back?

Is it any car made at the Ford San Jose (Milpitas) plant no matter where it was first sold or ended up?


Is it any car sold in California no matter where it was made or ended up?


If a 43 year old car was made in Dearborn, sold in New York, but spent the last 42 1/2 years in California, is it a California car?

If a 43 year old car spent it's first 20 years in California and then 10 years in Green Bay Wisconsin (where it rusted badly) and then 13 back in California is it a California car?
 

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I would say if it spent the majority of its life there it's a CA car. Honestly I don't place any extra value on a car based on where it's from. If it's got good sheet metal and most of the original parts I don't care if it's from Mars.
 

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I agree with Al. It has to have been originally sold there and spent the majority of it's life in CA. If it is currently in another part of the country, I'd want to see proof that it is still in the condition we associate with CA car. But at the end of the day, it's about the condition, not where it came from. Cars from beach communities along the CA coast can be rust buckets, same as any Rust Belt car, so the same due diligence is required.


Is it worth calling out the CA origins? Yes, because too many people assume anything not from CA will be a rust bucket. We even have some Cougar vendors who know the quality of many customer cars that exist outside the Sun Belt telling people not to buy cars from anywhere but the West Coast. So a seller has to fight that stereotype and identifying the car as having come from CA is one way to do that.
 

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Another definition, I always thought of a California car as one with different emissions. Didn't CA introduce stricter emissions sometime in the late 60's?
 

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Stupid question time..... What makes a California car more 'special' or worth more ?? I'm an Aussie, Wikipedia couldn't tell me why....
 

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Stupid question time..... What makes a California car more 'special' or worth more ?? I'm an Aussie, Wikipedia couldn't tell me why....
Many people equate a car being from CA as being from a rust free enviroment. A car without rust issues is worth more than a rust bucket, unless the rust bucket is something special like a GTE, 428SCJ, etc.

For me when someone calls a car a CA car I think of a car that was sold brand new in CA and has spent most, if not all, of its life in CA.

Randy Goodling
CCOA #95
 

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My 69 vert was bought in Chicago, never driven in bad weather and moved to Huntington Beach several months later. I billed it as a one owner CA car but made sure the Marti Report was posted along with every registration since day one. This 1970 vert was from CA but in OR the last 20 years. It too was sold as a CA car as it was always garaged and never driven in bad weather once it left CA.
 

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Discussion Starter #8 (Edited)
Another definition, I always thought of a California car as one with different emissions. Didn't CA introduce stricter emissions sometime in the late 60's?

Good point! My 70 (long gone), being first sold in California did have different emission junk. Using that definition, it's a California car no matter where it's driven, stored, or registered.
 

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Stupid question time..... What makes a California car more 'special' or worth more ?? I'm an Aussie, Wikipedia couldn't tell me why....
One could also then say an Arizona car also if one is talking about the body and not interior. On the other hand a California car could have been bought and sold in Eureka where there is a lot of rain and trees. Think cowl panels. However most CA cars would be between San Francisco and San Diego where a very large majority of the population lives. Granted a beach car could have issues, I've seen them, but once 5 or more miles away then usually no problems. Elsewhere, with rain between 25" in San Francisco to 9" in San Diego, we are generally pretty dry.

My Cougar made at San Jose and sold in Canoga Park to my Dad. The Park Lane made in San Jose and spent all it's life in San Jose. The F100 made in CA and spent all it's life in San Jose. The Dodge I'm not sure where it was built but bought, sold and life in Lodi. My Mustang was a Texas car for 18 months before coming to Los Angeles, in 1970,for good. Not a born CA car but a raised CA car and with correct YOM black plates on it one would never know. Put those cars up against the same cars in say Ohio and they would no doubt bring a higher price on a place like eBay since most people don't ever place eyes on cars before bidding.

We even have people here posting cars for sale and putting "California" in the ad. For me, to be a California car, it must have lived it's life here for a very large majority of the time.

Below the CA Cougar just emailed to me complete with a 1971 San Diego State decal on the back window.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
One could also then say an Arizona car also if one is talking about the body and not interior. On the other hand a California car could have been bought and sold in Eureka where there is a lot of rain and trees. Think cowl panels. However most CA cars would be between San Francisco and San Diego where a very large majority of the population lives. Granted a beach car could have issues, I've seen them, but once 5 or more miles away then usually no problems. Elsewhere, with rain between 25" in San Francisco to 9" in San Diego, we are generally pretty dry.

My Cougar made at San Jose and sold in Canoga Park to my Dad. The Park Lane made in San Jose and spent all it's life in San Jose. The F100 made in CA and spent all it's life in San Jose. The Dodge I'm not sure where it was built but bought, sold and life in Lodi. My Mustang was a Texas car for 18 months before coming to Los Angeles, in 1970,for good. Not a born CA car but a raised CA car and with correct YOM black plates on it one would never know. Put those cars up against the same cars in say Ohio and they would no doubt bring a higher price on a place like eBay since most people don't ever place eyes on cars before bidding.

We even have people here posting cars for sale and putting "California" in the ad. For me, to be a California car, it must have lived it's life here for a very large majority of the time.

Below the CA Cougar just emailed to me complete with a 1971 San Diego State decal on the back window.

In most cases agree with the "large majority of it's life in California" point, but the problem with that is "how many Ohio winters does it take to ruin a car?" One? On a 40+ year old car, a "large majority" could mean it spent 5 years somewhere else.
 

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I lived most of my life in SoCal. My definition of a true California car is pretty strict.
Cougars should have a DSO 52 or 53. I like to see black California plates of the correct series of letters on 1967-69 cars. 1970 cars need to have the blue plates and start with an A__ , B__ , or C__. 1971 and later should also have the appropriate blue series plates

I think that the hobby says 'California cars' because so many were sold new there. Between 1967-70, 17-19% of all Non-export Cougars were DSO 52 and 53. Which includes Hawaii, Western Nevada, and possibly parts of Arizona. 1971-73 stats start falling.

Between 1998 and 2007, at least 35 (1967-70) Cougars and a couple of Mustangs pass through my hands, mostly parts cars. Nearly all of the Cougars that I scrapped were DSO 52 (Los Angeles) cars, and a mixture of Dearborn and San Jose. None of the cars that I owned had ever been restored. I would say 20% were sporting original paint. It was unusual to find rust blisters on top of the shock towers and along the fender aprons. Doors may have pimples of rust in the corners, but no holes. Quarter panels behind the wheel wells would have at most, a dime size hole. Removing the carpeting, I mostly found factory painted floors, except for the passenger side due to heater box leaks.
What I am describing is typical of inland southwest cars. Which includes California, Nevada, Arizona, New Mexico, and parts of Texas.

Honestly, I think that a rust free car, that originated from the Southwest is what should be used in descriptions.
 

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mine was purchased from a Newport beach ca. dealer in 69. the lady gave it to her son who gave it to his daughter and then I got it. it has never left California. That's a ca car.
 

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Mine sold in Concord Cal. 9-29-69. It is still there today. I think that is a true Cal. car. I think it's all about the rust factor. My car has been in a garage since 1984. Still got surface rust in trunk somehow. Only under the black tar thing that i removed for the first time last year. I always called this a rust free car but goes to say it may not always mean a Cal car is rust free.
 

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Mine was originally sold in San Diego. I obtained it from the original owners in the west San Fernando Valley in 1986 (they gave it to me). I strongly believe it has never left the state. There was some rust in the lower rear quarters due to sand being trapped there.
 

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Mine sold in Concord Cal. 9-29-69. It is still there today. I think that is a true Cal. car. I think it's all about the rust factor. My car has been in a garage since 1984. Still got surface rust in trunk somehow. Only under the black tar thing that i removed for the first time last year. I always called this a rust free car but goes to say it may not always mean a Cal car is rust free.
Still in California. In a garage. Only drove it 2000 miles in 4 years of previous post.
 

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My Q code 70 was sold in California new. But I would not call it a California now. I know it has at least 20 years in Washington and it shows.
 

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What disqualifies it from being a "California car"? Being out of California.
 
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