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Commercial names versus chassiscodes/bodystyles
Published 21/02/2011 @ 18:10:50, By DAF555
I´ve noticed a tendency for some time now to enter internal codes in the modelname field for older vehicles. This is not good, it´s better to keep this field for the commercial name only to make the site consistent.

We always try to find the correct commercial name for vehicles on different markets, the same would go for older cars. Even if they often didn´t have specific modelnames, usually only the actual bodytype was used as modelname, it´s not ok to put an engineering code in it´s place.

It´s about what the original customer would have recognized, not how they were referred to in the service department and later often in car clubs.

Even if the original customer heard about the codes when completing the order with the salesman, it´s not likely that he remembered them for long or used them when telling his friends about the car.

This one could serve as an example:

The original customer would most probably have told his friends about his Cadillac V12 Fleetwood Roadster and nothing about Series 370A or bodystyle 4702.

So please keep these things apart, Make and Model fields are for Commercial names of the vehicles. Codes would go into the Chassis field, or just be mentioned in comments.

A problem is that for some cars there are several different codes available, but we only have one field, for Chassis. Bodycodes/stylenumbers can of course be entered.
A bodycode field would be useful aswell, but for now we don´t have that so we need to make a choice here. A suggestion is to use the code that would be common for most cars, often the chassiscode, so we can click on that to easily compare with other similar cars.
It´s useful when entering cars in the database to easily crosscheck against already entered cars, is it right or should it have another code?

A current sample with many entries of codes in the namefield is this:

Cadillac and LaSalle entered with a Series code, Chryslers called CD Eight and Lincolns called Model L.

Some samples from original period publishings:

1930 Cadillac:

1931 LaSalle:

1930 Lincoln:

1931 Chrysler:

Good sources for original commercial material are these:

It´s often difficult to makes sense of given information when browsing the net or reading encyclopedias over cars since the authors often are careless in the use of codes and names of the cars.
Most cars were originally referred to either by the the engine: Six,Eight, Twelve, V8-12-16 or by the body: Touring Car, Coupe or whatever it was.

So if you come across "Series", "Model", "Typ" or some code, be suspicious. It probably does not belong in the Model field of our database.

Latest Edition: 22/02/2011 @ 16:46:38
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Commercial names versus chassiscodes/bodystyles
Published 02/03/2011 @ 20:13:28, By nzcarnerd
I have to disagree in the strongest terms. This now means that every Cadillac from 1915 to the 1960s now becomes a V8 (not V-8). Obviously this is patently ridiculous. What the buyer of a car 80 years ago and his friends knew a car by has no bearing here. To me you have wasted the efforts of a lot of people. If this is so important to you then in the case of those cars which had no model name then that space should be left blank.
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Commercial names versus chassiscodes/bodystyles
Published 03/03/2011 @ 00:23:52, By DAF555
Well, this wasn´t primarily a Cadillac issue. Suddenly a lot of cars in the database had their commercial names replaced with internal codes. Often these cars had been entered properly for years, whoever did this change without any notice could maybe think a little about wasting time for others.

Back in those days most cars were known just by their type of engine and/or the bodytype, and named such. This of course means that they shared "modelnames" with a large part of their competitors. In England and France the taxation often gave the "modelname" to the cars.
Another type of common designation used is De Luxe, Special or some other trimlevel.

This is how it was and how they were portrayed in sales material given to the customers and published in newspapers. Is this of no importance?

I don´t think it´s fair to delete this from history and replace it with internal codes that most people outside the management and the service departments were even aware of.

The codes are very interesting and useful, and we have a place to put them, so I don´t really see the problem here. More than that we could have use for a separate field for bodystyles. Some have only chassis codes, some only bodycodes and some have both. I don´t know if it would burden the site to much with space to add another field?

About Cadillacs, it of course doesn´t mean all cars in that period you´re mentioning. It would be mostly during the thirties, following Cadillac/LaSalles own publishings.

The use of the term "Series" comes for the first time with the 1936 models from what I can find, and it seems mostly to be treated as secondary information at this point. It comes and goes in different printings up till 1942, mostly it´s not used and the number Sixty-One etc. is spelled out without the prefix "Series". After the war it´s used in almost every printing like this: Series 61, 62 etc. up till 1956 models. From 1957 and on "Series" is deleted and they´re only named Sixty-Two until this designation ceased.
Pre 1930 they´re mainly known by the body, like Cadillac Roadster. But I havn´t yet found much material on the early ones, so I wouldn´t be surprised to find for instance Type-something to be a correct designation for a 1915 model.

About V8 or V-8, well this is the way Cadillac almost always used it in period publishing, so why not?

It´s not always easy to figure out what´s "right" or "wrong" from original publishings, we will find inconsistencies or even contradictions when searching. But looking through the published material often gives a fairly good picture of how the manufacturers wanted to present their products.
It might change in spelling or such over the years, and maybe we need to make a choice which way to use. But in general I think it´s important to try to follow the original denominations.

If not, we´re rewriting history and what´s the point in that?
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Commercial names versus chassiscodes/bodystyles
Published 03/03/2011 @ 07:16:07, By nzcarnerd
I take it that this now means you are going to go through all of the Buicks of the 1931 to 1952 period and call them all Eights?

Latest Edition: 03/03/2011 @ 07:16:46
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Commercial names versus chassiscodes/bodystyles
Published 03/03/2011 @ 07:23:10, By nzcarnerd
I stand by my comments re Cadillacs. The body type is not a model name and never will be. You have quite a bit of work to do changing all of the Type 51 through V-63 models and also the Series 314 and various 314 and 341 models, along with all of the LaSalles. To my mind it is ludicrous to lump them all together.

I take everything I read in advertisng material with the greatest possible grains of salt - remember that advertising people do not live in the real world, and that the advertising was written by advertsing companies.
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Commercial names versus chassiscodes/bodystyles
Published 05/03/2011 @ 23:45:52, By DAF555
So, bodytype is not a modelname you say. Well, De Ville was not uncommon as coachbuilt bodytype in several varieties. Here´s a Coupe De Ville on a Rolls-Royce chassis:

Later it was used as a modelname by Cadillac.

This has been very common over the years, mostly before more dedicated modelnames were put in use, and it still happens occasionally.
VW used only bodytypes to designate their cars until the 1962 modelyear. In the early eighties Audi introduced a model simply named Coupé, a more recent example is the 2003 smart Roadster.

The real early Cadillacs are probably correct with their Type designations, that was common in the early days of motoring. The V-63 is used as modelname, so I see no need to change that.

And about Buick, they didn´t promote the engine in that way so you´re jumping to conclusions. They also used the "Series" designation for a few years, and from 1936 modelyear they have "real" modelnames. Interesting with Buick is that they have the bodycode printed in their brochures from the really early days up till 1958 models. The code for each bodytype is often the same through the years. This does not belong in the modelname field either since it´s a bodymodel code, sometimes coded together with a year and or engine prefix.

Finally about advertising, I don´t think many people would turn to advertising to reveal the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth.
And most of us have opinions about them, but still, this is the way chosen by the autoindustry to promote their products. And however stupid these adverts might appear, they work.

There´s often a tight cooperation between the manufacturers and their advertising companies, they work together on the campaigns to promote new models. It´s described, among others, by Lee Iacocca in his Autobiography from 1984. The Lincoln-Mercury divison used Kenyon & Eckhardt for their advertising for many years, Iacocca describes this as an intimate cooperation between the companies. And when he later becomes president of Chrysler corporation he buys them out from their contract with Ford Motor Company.

So whatever world these people live in, they´re valuable to the car companies and I suppose that what the cars are named is agreed on by both parties.

Latest Edition: 03/10/2011 @ 20:20:47
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Commercial names versus chassiscodes/bodystyles
Published 13/03/2011 @ 18:11:46, By DAF555
To keep the argument in one place, this is from the site:

I´m not sure I get you right here, but I´m not suggesting that bodystyles will have to be put in the "Model" field in every case as you seems to be implying.

Maybe the word "Model" in itself is part of the problem here since it can refer to either the chassis, the bodystyle or a car line.
But when it comes following "Make" in a database like IMCDb I think it´s mostly understood as a combination resulting in the commercial name of the vehicle.

We can use the 1929 Lincoln above as an example, it could be entered as:

Make: Lincoln
Model: Model L (code referring to the chassis) or Model 164-B (code referring to the bodystyle)

It will not result in much of a commercial name though, and if we take a 1934 Cadillac as example:

Make: Cadillac
Model: Series 355-D (code referring to engine displacement) or Series 20 (code referring to chassis length) or Style 34662 (code referring to the bodytype)

Both these examples would have been a bit hard to digest if you see them from the viewpoint of the customers back then.

Towards customers Lincoln promoted their car as Sport Touring, no reference made to engine or chassis.

Cadillac called their car Cadillac V-8 Series 20 Sedan towards customers. In this case Series 20 is used as a marker for the chassis length 136", but it´s put as secondary information in the material I´ve seen so far. And would fit nicely in the "Extra Info" field of this site.
The style 662 (34 is just a reference to the year) referred to the 7-Passenger version, with dividing glass 663 (called Imperial Sedan), with 5 seats it was 659. If I´m not mistaken all three of them looked the same from the outside, so with a distant filmclip it might be hard to decide exactly which one to use.

If we look over several years how manufacturers promote their vehicles, it´s possible to see patterns of how it´s done.

Manufacturers always have kept close eyes with what´s going on at the competion, and they tend to use designations that are similar. In the early days when the engineers and founders often were the same person, we´re likely to find an engineering code promoted in the sense of modelname. Roughly this is done and over with about 1915, after that we´re more likely find the engine or bodystyle promoted in the sense of modelname. Codes often still appear in publishings after this, but when looking closely at them I think they mostly can be understood as just codes.

The majority will have a reference in some sort to the engine, either the type, horsepower (taxed or real) or in a combinantion with a name describing the excellence of it.
Often, during the following years (approximately 1915-35) when a manufacturer only have one carline in production they use bodystyle in the sense of modelname, but when they come to use several engines in their chassis they usually lift this fact in the promotion.

Dedicated modelnames appear alongside with this practise, Jordan was one of the pioneers in giving their cars names that would be connected only to that make. Most known is the Playboy, they had also the Blue Boy and the Little Tomboy. But as a general use, it does not become common until the second half of the thirties among most manufacturers.
Later in the period the practise of using De Luxe in the sense of modelname becomes common, roughly 1930-50.

What´s most common during these years differs between the manufacturers, it comes and goes and sometimes reappers. They try different strategys, and when production started after WWII we can find all of the above given examples used over time. It differs a bit over the years what´s most common practise, it might be long creative names (common on US-cars), or a simple reference to engine size (common on euro markets) or something looking like codes that´s become popular in later years: Audi A6, Mercedes-Benz A150, Volvo S80, Citroën C4, Cadillac STS or whatever it might be.

Generally we can see similarities of how it´s done between the different automakers. There´s always a tendency to follow the leader.

When looking at a vehicle, there are two general ways to approach it. The engineering side of it, and the commercial.

On the engineering side we find all sorts of codes, used when developing it and later used to keep track of exactly what model we´re talking about. Both internally, in the service departments, and eventual car clubs for the nerds of a specific brand or specific model.
Here everything also follow the calendar year in exactness.

On the other hand we have the commercial side, where names (both make and model) may differ from market to market. Here we also find the practise of modelyears that often differ from the calendar year, sometimes in spectacular way.

Both these ways are correct in their perspective, and have useful information to provide for a site like IMCDb. Over the years we have worked out ways to squeeze the most relevant facts into our databse from both sides.
Everything can´t be used though, and what is going to put where isn´t always easy to decide.

But since we have a tradition since long to figure out the names for each market, it seems very strange to replace names used commercially by manufacturers over the years with engineering codes just because it can be argued that they´re "just" bodystyles.
And moving all those "names" into extra info will not make the site easier to navigate when searching. We already have lots of cars without modelname since it´s not possible to decide more than it´s, for instance, a 1955 Chevrolet from the angle given in the clip.

I believe it´s enough having these left completely without modelname, adding hundreds and hundreds of extra will not improve the site.
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Commercial names versus chassiscodes/bodystyles
Published 04/10/2011 @ 13:07:49, By vilero
Well after this interesting discussion in I see for (and only) the site a big problem.

Probably DAF555 opinion is the correct one but I see the site has followed the opinion stated by nzcarned.

For instance
Quote From: DynaMike
Thanks, Vilero. You gave perfect examples of the difference in denominating cars when they were new (like in the brochure) or retrospectively (when , when serial numbers or letters are used to classify old cars. It's about the same as with Mercedes-Benz: the [W123] was never sold as [W123], but just as 200, 200 D, 280 E etcetera. Nowadays it is much easier to speak about the [W123] to make the difference with a [W115] 200, but when new everybody knew that the 200 was the current model, so the code name wasn't used in advertisements or on the cars.
Of course we could chose to list cars as they are seen retrospectively, but in many discussions on imcdb we came to the conclusion that it would be better to identify the car by its official commercial name...

But what we have in the site is just Mercedes-Benz W123 if we have not could ID the car as 200, 200 D, etc...
When I'm writing this answer there are 1100 W123 listed in 37 pages.

If we choose 'Make and Model' in display options, from page 1 to page 18 these Merc. are identified as 'just' Mercedes-Benz [W123] and we have not added (as a possibility) Mercedes-Benz Series-200 [W123]

I remember a very long and very well documented post about Lincoln vs. Continental as brand. Probably who wrote that post (I can't find it know) is completely right BUT the problem for the site is.....we would have to change more than a thousand models from 1956 to 198(0s) and we understand only 56 (and 57?) can be ID Continental as independent brand.

All I know now about cars I have learned here and I have any book where I can look for cars info. Just some tens of links where I get my info. So based on this, if we follow the proper ID based on the commercial name, am I right if we should have to change all Fords Model T into Ford (commercial name) and [T] in the chassis code field.?

For instance: This Ford Ford-04.jpg was sold as Ford Runabout but in the site we have any Ford Runabout as a model. We have 15 Ford Model T Runabout (as part of the model name) on and others 10 where Runabout is added in the extra info field and the model have been ID as Ford Model T 2&make=Ford&modelMatch=1&model=Runabout&modelInclExtra=on&origin=&madein=&madefor=- &role=

This site I use for my info ID these as Ford Model T Series + commercial name

And this position, I see, is the same for, in general, most of the pre-war vehicles we have in the site already listed. And they are, for sure, some thousands of vehicles we have identified using the model-series name, not the commercial one.

Certainly we have to lean to use the proper name for all the vehicles we have in all contributions but the same important thing (IMO) is the vehicles can be found by any user and by any visitor.

I think we all remember comments (from good experts we have) as 'My book (title) says.....' and other user says 'well, my book (title) says (something basically the same but something different)' and both are right.

In short, DAF555 and nzcarned are speaking about the same but using different words.

If we follow DAF's opinion (and perhaps it is the proper one) we should have to change the ID of some thousands of pre-war vehicles since they are ID based in the type model name and not in the commercial name that is added in the extra info field. Check any pre-war brand from USA.

As DAF555 says, probably in pre-war time, models were known as Runabout, Phaeton, Touring, Roadster,etc... On the contrary, actually most of vintage vehicles only can be found by their model-series name.

I think we are not trying to be the Nobel Vehicle Site. We can get one of the purposes of this kind of sites (to learn and show to others what we have learned, so they learn from us and, later, others we'll learn from they) using for pre-war vehicles the same rule we have followed for same previous vehicles already listed. That way we do a more uniform list of vehicles and, in short, we are using the same opinion stated by DAF555 but using different words. And none of us will be wrong.

Finally about the discussion I would keep the ID as Lincoln Model L Sport Phaeton or change these into Lincoln L-Series.

We have 3 pages of Lincoln Model L and most of these with commercial name added in the extra info field.

About the Sport Phaeton, we have 7 already listed as Model L 2&make=Lincoln&modelMatch=1&model=Sport+Phaeton&modelInclExtra=on&origin=&madein=- &madefor=&role=
and Sport Phaeton added in the extra info field.

If we call this Lincoln Sport Phaeton [L] we have only one (this) on the site and it is the same as the others 7 I said above.

Latest Edition: 04/10/2011 @ 13:18:00
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Commercial names versus chassiscodes/bodystyles
Published 05/10/2011 @ 02:26:49, By DAF555
Certainly we have to lean to use the proper name for all the vehicles we have in all contributions but the same important thing (IMO) is the vehicles can be found by any user and by any visitor.

That´s exactly why I started this argument in the first place. Anyone should be able to find what they´re looking for either you enter with commercial name or with the code. We have space for both, so I never saw that as a problem.

In short, DAF555 and nzcarnerd are speaking about the same but using different words.

No, we´re not talking about the same thing really. I like to have both ways easily searchable, nzcarnerd wants to delete or at least hide away the official designations used originally. In one of his later posts we could also learn that he wishes to erase Dodge Brothers, the brandname used by the founders, from history. It should just be Dodge, plain and simple.

The way many of these cars are listed today on this site is the work of nzcarnerd after his personal preferences. Before that many were entered with other designations, it can be easily seen when looking through earlier posts how they were entered over the years. It was partly inconsistent and could have been better, but many were actually right before.

The Mercedes example above is good for showing different perspectives in looking at vehicles, from the commercial side or the enginering side. And as Dynamike pointed out, how we saw them when new versus how they´re often are referred to in retrospect.

The problem with Mercedes denominations are that they are based on enginesize, and without reading the badge we can seldom be sure exactly which one it is. This can be solved by doing an educated guess on which one it might be, or by entering the W-code only, and leave the other field empty.

But the code is no replacement for the proper designation.

In the case with these old cars it´s different. We can often pinpoint the exact denomination used, and the codes for chassis and or bodies. There´s no need to chose between them. The only problem is that we have more codes than we have fields to enter them in. But that is besides the point.

The use of chassiscodes or other codes as primary information comes largely from carclubs, they use it for practical reasons. To keep things apart. And from that perspective it´s perfectly alright, and also necessary.
There are lots and lots of designations that have survived several generations of cars, of course the codes are vital to use here.

An example can be the german Ford Taunus, there´s nothing in common between the first 1939 model and the last one from 1982, but the name. And the generations between came in different sizes aimed for different parts of the market. It´s only natural that enthusiasts for the 1961-64 Taunus 17M lift the code P3 to be a vital information. The car itself sold as Taunus 17M, like the P2 before it and the following P5. Most of the owners back then would have been clueless if you talked about Taunus P3.

Taunus is a "proper" modelname. so it´s no debate if it should be allowed to be called Taunus. But we have a variety of designations used over the years that are in common between manufacturers.

It might be enginesize: Fiat 1100, Hansa 1100, Fiat 1500, Simca 1500, VW 1500, BMW 1500, Opel 1500 etc.

It might be number of cylinders: Dodge Six, Dodge Eight, La Salle Eight, Lincoln Twelve, Cadillac Sixteen, Ford V-8, Cadillac V-8, Lincoln V-8 etc.

It might be taxation: Citroên 2CV, Renault 4CV, Chenard & Walcker 9CV, Renault 9CV, Talbot 11 CV, Simca-Fiat 11 CV, Rosengart 11CV etc.

More taxation: Jowett 7 HP, Bean 12 HP, Rover 12 HP, Lanchester 14 HP, Lea-Francis 14 HP, Rover 14 HP, Vauxhall 14 HP etc.

It might be trimlevel: Buick Special De Luxe, Chevrolet Special De Luxe, Plymouth Special De Luxe, Chevrolet De Luxe, De Soto De Luxe, Dodge De Luxe, Ford De Luxe, Plymouth De Luxe, Volkswagen De Luxe etc.

It might be bodystyles: Audi Coupé, Dodge Coupe, Fiat Coupé, Maserati Coupé, Hyundai Coupé, Mercury Coupe, Wartburg Coupé, Dodge Sedan, Plymouth Sedan, Lincoln Sedan, Daimler Limousine, Volkswagen Limousine, Wartburg Limousine etc.

All of these might be questioned as "proper" modelnames, but they were used in that sense. What is the difference between the first five groups and the last? I can´t see any, they are all just "this" or just "that", and they were all common over the years.

Today it´s rather easy to find original documents, like sales material, workshops manuals and spareparts lists to see how it was back then. It´s also easy to find information from various sources on the net highlighting one part or another, or mixing it all up beyond rekognition.
There´s also today a large amount of articles in magazines, and books over marques and models. The quality in them varies from excellent research and analysis to complete disaster. The contents in them also leaks over to the internet. It´s not an easy task to find the good information in that djungle, but starting with the original documents often reduce the questionmarks considerably.

The Lincoln and Continental issue you mention above is a good example of how a common misconception over time becomes some kind of truth. Ford made Lincoln Continental, and also had a series of cars with the make Continental.
This is of course confusing and many contemporary articles label them all as Lincolns. This has haunted them over the years, but still, in Fords marketing they are strictly kept apart and in their workshop manuals there´s a difference made. Also Fords VIN-decoder lists Continental as a separate make.
The same goes for Imperial, both a model under Chrysler and Chrysler Corporations top of the line make. In both cases many people simply refuse to acknowledge the difference.

The Ford Model T is an example of when both these ways of labeling cars can be correct. 1909-14 Ford promoted Model T as the name of the cars, this was common in the early years of automotive history. But from 1915-1927 this designation dissappears, and they begin to label them only by the bodystyles which at this point began to be common practice amongst the competion.
All of them are of course still Model T´s, the difference is that Model T becomes an internal designation and ceases to be promoted.

Moving the Model T designation to the chassisfield and entering the commercially used bodystyles as names for 1915-27 cars would actually be both correct and help to sort the different models out. It takes just a simple click on Model T in the chassisfield of one car and ALL of them will come up, sorted by bodystyle and year. As it is now the large part of them are just Model T and finding specific models proves to be more difficult since this information is either hidden as extra info, or not added at all.

I changed a few Model T´s accordingly so you can see the difference:

And some changes also to the Lincolns:

It´s easier to overview on the Lincoln example since there less cars in total, so if we enter [Model L] in the chassisfield and move the bodystyles as modelnames they will be automatically sorted and very easy to overview. If we keep them with Model L as modelname, finding the different styles for comparison is more complicated.

Making a general change for these cars wouldn´t be too difficult in itself, If I´m not mistaken i think Antp could make the swap for the whole lot. After that we can look over the details for consistency.

Latest Edition: 05/10/2011 @ 02:37:17
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Commercial names versus chassiscodes/bodystyles
Published 10/10/2011 @ 17:00:27, By DAF555
From the site:

And later also this:

We don´t have a bodystyle box, we just have a box for "Extra info" where we put all of the above given examples, except designations for taxation, when they appear connected to a "proper" modelname. When there is no "proper" modelname they are instead entered as modelnames, as was the practice when the cars were new. They all point out different features of the cars, but the one thing they have in common is to lift what was considered the strongest selling point in the given period.

So I still would like to know why a bodyreference can´t be used, when trim and engine references are accepted. What´s the difference?

About Ram, time will tell if it was a good move or not to make a separate make of it. Sometimes it´s successful, like with Mini or Jeep. Sometimes it proves more difficult to get it accepted like with Continental or Imperial.

But it still happened, so if we accept one we have to accept the others as well.

Latest Edition: 20/10/2011 @ 22:46:20
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Commercial names versus chassiscodes/bodystyles
Published 11/10/2011 @ 14:05:37, By antp
For Mini or Jeep it was successful because it was the only popular model of the former make, no?

Latest Edition: 11/10/2011 @ 14:05:47
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Commercial names versus chassiscodes/bodystyles
Published 11/10/2011 @ 14:58:49, By DAF555
In some ways yes, even if there were other more or less popular models from these manufacturers. But both of them outgrew the makes that produced them, and eventually the modelname was upgraded to be the make of the cars.
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