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A Monroney Sticker on the windshield of a Smart car. Bill Pugliano/Getty Images (Bill Pugliano/Getty Images)
A Monroney Sticker on the windshield of a Smart car. Bill Pugliano/Getty Images (Bill Pugliano/Getty Images)

Rob's Garage

There's no need for sticker shock Add to ...

Hey Rob:

I was yakking with my brother about collector cars. We got onto the subject of documents like owner's manuals, build sheets and - my bud says Mulroney Sheets are good to have as well.

Not wanting to look like a doofus, I didn't say anything...just nodded like the decorative bobble-head dog my dad had on the parcel shelf of his '59 Buick. I just figured he'd watched too much Canadian Idol.

More Related to this Story

If Greg isn't on glue, what is a Mulroney Sheet?

Garth

Sorry Garth, I can't help you with the glue thing - that sounds like a lifestyle choice...but I can vouch for your brother by saying he's partially right in what he says but he's partially wrong with the name.

He's referring to a Monroney label or sticker (or sheet). Anyone who has searched car lots for their next pride and joy since the late 50's in the U.S. will recognize the ubiquitous sheet of paper that gets stuck to the inside of the front passenger's window of new vehicles.

The Monroney Label or Sticker is named after the Oklahoma Senator that sponsored a bill that was passed by Congress in 1958. This Senator's name was Almer Stillwell Monroney, but went by the name of Mike. Sen. Monroney had quite a history with the automotive industry starting in 1955 as the Chair of the Automobile Marketing Practices sub-committee. In the late fifties, the automobile industry was at one its low water marks. Consumer confidence pretty much matched what took place 50 years later. Federal U.S. and Canadian governments were under increasing pressure from the consumer as well as dealers. Dealers were complaining of unfair and abusive treatment by their manufacturers and the public was outraged by the price gouging of the dealers. Vehicle sales were dangerously low and something had to be done. Remember too that war veterans were returning home and they needed cars for job mobility.

The result of Monroney's subcommittee was the Automobile Dealer's Day in Court Act of 1956. Unfortunately, complaints by the dealers against the manufacturers caused the spotlight to focus on them and their unscrupulous business practices. These hearings lasted until 1958, and having identified the misdealings, Sen. Monroney drafted a bill that addressed the disparities between advertised prices among dealer groups of the same brand. It was passed in July 1958 as the Automobile Information Disclosure Act of 1958.

Because the industry was bleeding, this bill was heavily endorsed by the Detroit Three as well as the National Automobile Dealers Association in the hopes of a major consumer confidence re-build - and it worked. The Monroney Sticker was born. Vehicle sales increased because the buying public could finally see what they were putting their money into. Each new car sold now had to have a large piece of paper glued to the inside front passenger window with the following information on it:

  • price information
  • factory installed options
  • dealer installed options
  • vehicle make
  • model
  • serial number
  • final assembly point
  • dealer destination
  • method and cost of transportation to the dealership

Since that time, more details have been added such as fuel economy and crash-test ratings.

This has been such a successful process that the US National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has begun adding a second sticker; the New Car Assessment Program (NCAP) that identifies consolidated crash worthiness ratings for front, side, pole impact and roll-over.

So Garth, in a nutshell...a little automotive trivia/history. Monroney stickers are not only a significant part of car history, they contain a lot of valid information that can be used to verify installed options on your vehicle, vehicle identification numbers, safety components, etc. This can come in handy when it comes time to sell your vehicle, or as in your discussion with your bro' if you have a collectible car/truck, the Monroney is another piece to the value puzzle.

Good news - no glue and it's Monroney, not Mulroney.

Send your car maintenance questions to Rob at GlobeDrive@globeandmail.com

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