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Customization certifications?

This discussion was created from comments split from: Car Talk Community Update.

Hello everyone,

This is a bit off topic, but since it is in the general category I thought I’d try it. It is my first thread in this site (I just created my account), although I have been following tom and Ray since 1997.

I bought my wife a 2012 Nissan 370Z Roadster last year (the car was delivered on December 19th, 2011). We had to order it since the options she always told me she wanted on the car were not available in the US - the car has all the factory options, coupled with a manual transmission, special “black cherry” paint with a maroon top, and both the touring and sport packages. By the time the car was delivered I was informed by the dealer that the car was likely a “one of one” due to the “factory customization” we ordered. I would like to have this certified (as collectors do with older cars, when they find data about how many cars were produced with different characteristics for any given production year). Does anyone know where I can look for this info? Manufacturers do not provide you with this info directly (which I honestly do not quite understand why), but I have heard there are “brokers” of sorts that have access to this kind of information and will “certify” it for a fee. Any suggestions?

Thank you much and Happy Holidays!

Not a clue but welcome. Tom and Ray don’t usually come here by the way. There’s a wealth of knowledge here so maybe someone will know.

Just keep the details of the order, all the paperwork showing how you made a request for that particular combination of options. I know of nobody that ‘certifies’ one-off combinations of options, though. Not likely to be a major factor when you sell it, what you ordered may or may not match what a future buyer wants. But sure, when you sell it you can claim ‘one of a kind as far as we know’ in th ad.

The commentators on televised auto auctions often can tell us how many of a certain combination of options were built. If they can find out, maybe others can, too. They even do it on vintage cars where there wasn’t as much information in the VIN. I can think of 5 ways:

  1. Contact the auto manufacturer. Be prepared to pay for it. If the first person you talk to doesn’t know how to do it, ask to speak to a supervisor. Maybe they can help.

  2. Find a VIN database and see if there are any combination just like yours. You will need to decode the VIN. Try this: or do a web search for another VIN decoder.

  3. Go on a tour of the factory and ask how you can figure out if the car is a one-off. That will be quite an adventure. The Z car is assembled in Tochigi, Tochigi, Japan. At least it’s close to Tokyo.

  4. Contact Discover Channel and ask how the Mecum Auction guys do it on Velocity Channel.

  5. Contact Barrett Jackson Auctions and see how they do it.