MM: How did you come up with the Basic, Deluxe, and Elite reports?
Marti: I thought about the old Sears strategy, "good, better, best." There are some people who are thinking about buying a car and they just want the basic information, which is why we call it a Basic Report. They just want to know if the door dataplate information is correct and which options came on the car. If you want to move up from there, the Deluxe information adds statistical figures-important dates about the car and so on. The Elite Report shows how the window sticker looked and how much the car originally cost.
MM: How does it feel when you're watching the Barrett-Jackson auction on TV and the announcer says that a car has been documented by a Marti Report?
Marti: I didn't create the name. Just like Lois didn't create the "Eminger Invoice." People just started calling them "Marti Reports," and I went along with it. To me they were always Basic, Deluxe, and Elite Reports, not Marti Reports. There's an awkwardness seeing my name like that. Friends joke about me being a celebrity. I'm not.
MM: You're providing an important service to not only help people document cars but also to keep people from buying bogus cars.
Marti: Every week we turn up several fake cars. The worst was a guy in Australia who ordered reports for his two '68 Cobra Jets. I had to tell him that both started out as 289 two-barrel cars. He'd spent all this money for the cars, and in his case, he also had the bad exchange rate, transportation by boat, and 50 percent import taxes. I really hate telling someone the bad news-unless it's before they buy the car.
MM: And then there's the side where you get to tell a guy that he owns the only '71 Boss 302 ever built.
Marti: That's the fun part. In that particular case, we also had the invoices and discovered the notes and telegrams in the packets stapled to them. Some of that information exists only on a piece of paper with a handwritten note.
This isn't a Mustang story, but one guy ordered a report for a 427 Cougar, a '68. His serial number seemed awfully high, so I double-checked. I called him personally to tell him that he had the last production 427 Ford ever made.
MM: You also have information about cars that were scheduled but never built, right?
Marti: Yeah. We have all the serial numbers for canceled orders, too, cars that were planned but never built. For the Shelby program, they were going to build more than 200 Boss 302 Shelbys. They only built one ("The Boss Shelby," Mar. '08, p. 32) and canceled all the others. But we have the data on how they were going to build them, which doesn't really mean anything. It's just interesting the things they thought about doing.
MM: Can you think of any other special cars, such as the Bullitt cars?
Marti: The two Bullitt cars were identical with consecutive numbers. There are also the Boss 429 Quarter Horses and Bill Cosby's '68 Shelby. A purple '69 Shelby had some interesting paperwork. It was built for the wife of Goodyear's president at the time. She wanted a Thunderbird color. The car was already painted Grabber Blue, so Shelby painted over it. The invoice says Grabber Blue, then there's another invoice that shows special paint.
In 1969, Ford's pilot plant built 16 Mustangs and five of them made it to the public.
It's interesting that only one Boss 429 was built with a rear deck spoiler. Even stranger, there were three black '70 Boss 302s-yes, with black stripes. I know at least one of them is out there because we pulled a report on it. The car had already been painted several times and the owner wanted to know if it originally came with white stripes. There were no white stripes from the factory. They couldn't put black on black, could they? Yes, they did.