As distributors go, mechanically speaking there is little difference between a distributor numbered 1111499 and 1111497. The 499 distributor came out of a 1969 high performance 396 CID 375 HP or 427 CID 425 HP. The 497 distributor was factory on 1969 325 HP 396 CID. The only real difference besides about $1300 in price is the digits stamped on the housing.
Knowing that there are many factory distributors, alternators and carburetors floating around that have never been stamped with any identifying numbers what so ever. It was only a matter of time before some genius got the idea to turn them into 1111499, 1111437, 1111480, 1111100, 1111074, 1111157, 1111240, 1111267, 1111170,1111927, 1111928 and 1111467 numbered distributors and occasionally pass them off as original.
Originally factory codes on distributors were stamped using a roll stamp process. Some counterfeits are being stamped with individual dies that give an appearance easily detected as not factory. The bad news for the collecting world is that some people have the actual original equipment used to stamp these parts at the factory. In many cases this kind of stamping job is nearly undetectable.
The same process is being done to alternators and carburetors. As a matter of fact the Holley company is actually reproducing carburetors today with the same id numbers as the originals. The only difference being the use of a different font.
The most sought after alternator number is 1100837 commanding a price of $1000 to $1500. Originally used on the COPO, Yenko, L78, LS6, Z28 and L72 automobiles with 396, 427 and 454 engines made in 1969 and 1970.
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What's In A Number ? Distributor Numbers Explained