Interesting question since those copying the originals are doing a great job but are not acknowleging they are copies... One way is to look at the staples that hold the pages; my original '72-1/2 red owners manual is 40 years old and the uncoated Italian staples have rust-stained the pages where they touch. This may not work on the earlies- the repro blue manual I have is edge-bound.
I'm pretty sure the red owner manual that came with my Dec.'72 build #4744 is original. It is actually "threaded" together with 2 strands of string, most visible between pages 28 and page 29 as seen in this photo, then bound with a flat surface, and has one blank page after page 81 - "Ford Customer Service Division - USA" Maybe others can add to this staples or thread or number of pages question.
Hmmmm... I have both and the Red 'L' manual (was in the glove box when we bought the car in Spring of '80) has 73 pages plus one blank at the back. The earlier Blue manual- marked 5/71 on the back- for pre-Ls has 82 pgs, the last being a multi-page fold out of the then-current wiring diagram for pre-Ls. It is edge-bound and I'm sure from the immaculate condition that my blue one is a repro.
Looking again, my red manual (also in the glovebox when I purchased the car in June of '76)has 72 numbered pages, then the multi-page wiring diagram, then the Ford Customer Service Division-USA page (numbered 81)then one blank page, and this text on the back cover. It would seem that they changed them as often as they could to keep current with changes, and that "N 103" may be the key.
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