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Q: How can I tell if a S&H Torino is a "real" S&H unit from the factory?
A: By the DSO number.

Q: Can't you tell just by looking at the VIN?
A: NO. The VIN can only tell you if the car is NOT original.

The "Starsky & Hutch" units built by Ford were all 1976 Gran Torinos built in Chicago, so ALL of them have a VIN that starts with "6G30." 6 means it's a 1976, G means it was built in Chicago, and 30 means it's a Gran Torino (not a Torino or Gran Torino Brougham).

So if the VIN does not start with 6G30, the car can't be an original S&H unit.

However, the VIN alone is NOT enough to prove the car's authenticity! Many Gran Torinos were built in Chicago in 1976 that were NOT S&H units!

You must have the right VIN AND the right DSO number (see below), or the right VIN AND some other proof, such as a build sheet or other document (see below).

As far as I know, the car MUST have a DSO that ends with "0022." The DSO number is located on the Data Sticker inside the driver's door opening, under the door striker. The DSO is in the bottom right-hand corner of the sticker. It is a six-digit number. The first two digits are different on different cars, but the last 4 digits MUST be 0022.

** Important Note! This applies ONLY to S&H Torinos originally sold in the USA. As far as I know, the Canadian units all had a DSO that ended in 8000 **

Roughly actual size. Note the VIN starts with 6G30
and the DSO ends with
0022. The first 2 digits of the DSO are
not important, at least not in telling whether the car is "real."

MANY cars have lost this sticker over the years, sometimes it's been painted over and sometimes it's been removed entirely. So look for a metal tag riveted to the firewall, near the hood hinge on the passenger side, that has the serial number (last 6 digits of the VIN) and DSO number on it, and sometimes (but not always) "PS-122" (a number that means the same as 0022 - that this car is a S&H unit). IF the VIN and the DSO number match my description (above) then the car is a factory S&H unit. Be sure the VIN matches the car, so you know someone didn't remove the tag from a junked S&H unit and put it on a replica!

Note the 0022 DSO number by the rivet.
Actual size is about as big as a credit card with 1/3
of the credit card having been cut off lengthwise.

If the tag and sticker are both missing, then you hope you have other documents, such as a build sheet (see below) or this Window Sticker that has the DSO number on it, in this case, "460022." Again, be sure the VIN on the document matches the one on the car.

Original Window sticker with 0022 DSO number on it.

Many cars still have their build sheet hidden in them somewhere, sometimes in the springs under the seats, under the carpet,
or behind the glove box or door panels. If you have a build sheet that says
"Starsky & Hutch Unit" and/or "PS 122" on it, and the VIN on that sheet matches the car's VIN, then the car is a factory original S&H Unit.

Build Sheet. Actual size is roughly 8.5"x11"
Printed on old style tractor-feed computer paper.

Blown-up bottom of a build sheet. Be sure the VIN on the sheet
matches the VIN on the car. The DSO should also match.

If all you've got is a VIN and no DSO number anywhere, no sticker, no tag, no build sheet, nothing, then all you can do is guess. There are some hints I can give you, some clues to look for, but without the DSO you'll never know for sure. You'll have to make your best guess based on the car's features and whatever previous owners have told you about the car.

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Created July 20, 2004. All Rights Reserved.

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The presence of strobe lights, wig-wags, sirens, and/or red revolving lights
in any car that is not an official Police car is illegal in many states.
Check your own State and local regulations!

I make absolutely NO guarantee that these answers are "right" or "wrong."
They are based on the best information I have now, and can change without notice.
Use your own judgment, and consult a professional before doing anything mechanical!