Tech Tips

How to Decode Vin Numbers on Classic Cars?

If you have an antique and classic car, you will be elated to know that deciphering the VIN numbers on such cars is possible nowadays. These long VIN numbers let you know some crucial factors about your ride. 

The Classic Car Club of America (CCCA) specified a classic car as a distinctive or fine automobile, which was manufactured between 1925 and 1948. The vehicle identification number or VIN didn’t have any standard format earlier.

By deciphering a VIN, you may ascertain your classy car’s manufacturing date, unit, body style, and production number. Luckily, various databases are there to assist you in deciphering classic car VINs.  

Why is VIN lookup important on Classy Cars?

While purchasing a classy and antique car, buyers can ascertain if engine code identification number, rear axle identification numbers, and trim tag numbers are consistent with the genuine make and model as advertised. 

The actual market value might differ significantly, relying on the replacement parts, which may or may not have been incorporated into the vehicle. Previously, VIN numbers didn’t have any standardized structure until the early 1980s. 

In that case, you need to toil for locating their vehicle number. The VIN number from the late 1930s and 1940s looks different from the VIN numbers today. 

Before the 1980’s standardization and introduction of VIN numbers to the 1950s classy models, VIN numbers would differ from one car to another. 

Investigating the VIN number of classy cars will guide you in determining the value of the vehicles. Therefore, in brief, VIN lookup will be important because you will get a free report from a VIN decoder, for example – Chevy VIN Decoder, quickly.

Sample decoding of Serial Numbers of Classic Car  

In order to help you with deciphering the serial numbers of classic cars, those VIN numbers before the advanced VIN system has arrived, some of the sample decoding tips are shown below:

Prior to establishing and standardizing the VIN system, the vehicle’s coding was left open to every automaker. Some of the best examples of the serial number of cars with an illustration of what these imply:

1940 Chevrolet Passenger Cars

In such Chevrolet models, you need to search for an engine number imprinted behind the distributor. The prolonged series of numbers could be from 2697268 to 3665902. 

Moreover, there will be an aluminum plate on the right-hand side of the car’s dashboard, precisely under the cowl. The sequence of such classic cars starts with KB, KA, or KH, which imply Master Six, Special Deluxe, and Master Deluxe. 

1948 Chevrolet   

The Chevrolet model of 1948’s engine number was located on a crankcase behind the distributor. Therefore, the VIN number or serial number will be like this: FA-1001 to FA-825234.

In brief, the 1948 Chevrolet classic car’s serial number will look like 5 FK-A-2723. Here, the numbers and letters imply:

  • 5- The car was manufactured in Kansas City Missouri
  • F- Represents the Model year
  • K- Fleetline and Fleetmaster
  • The calendar month created was January.
  • 2733- Began at 1001 and up and specify the car number of this type car off this plant’s assembly line.

1969 Chevrolet Camaro Car

You need to look for a serial number, which includes 123679N423711. Here, the letters and numbers dictate:

  • 1-Chevrolet
  • 2-Camaro
  • 3-L six engine
  • 67- Convertible
  • 9- the model year was 1969
  • N- assembly plant was Norwood Ohio
  • 423711- This number places on the assembly of the individual car’s serial number 

How to decode a classic car’s VIN number?

For those cars manufactured prior to the year 1981, the exemplary VIN number given to every car is made using a 13-digit sequence of numbers and letters. 

Every character within the 13-digit VIN number offers significant details about the car, including the manufacturing unit, name of the manufacturer, type of vehicle, and model year. 

In order to decode that 13-digit VIN, you should fathom what each character in that particular sequence indicates.

  1. Investigate the first digit of the VIN to find the manufacturer country of origin

Cars manufactured in the USA will possess the first digit of 1, 4, or 5 as the first number in the VIN code. For Mexico, England, Canada, Italy, Australia, Japan, the VIN number will start with 3, S, 2, Z, 6, and J, respectively. 

  1. Determine the vehicle manufacturer from the second digit in the VIN

This indicates that Jaguar classic cars are represented as “A,” Jeep starts with the letter “J,” and Chrysler with “C.”

  1. Go through the 3rd character in the VIN sequence to discover the type of classic vehicle

It indicates that a pick-up truck would be given by “7”, and in the case of a passenger sedan, it will be represented as number “3.”

  1. Crosscheck the 4th-8th characters of VIN

Verify these characters to discern the recognition of engine type, body style, brake system model, and restraint system. However, the 9th character of the VIN number series is regarded as the check digit verification. This helps check the former VIN numbers for precision. 

  1. Check the 10th character of the VIN number to ascertain the vehicle’s model year

If your classic car was manufactured between 1980 & 1987, the digits will appear as A to H. Then, from 1988 to 1992, its VIN number will be J to N. P will be represented for 1993 and so on. 

  1. 11th character showcases the manufactured plant

This 11th character of the VIN number is the representation of your vehicle’s manufacturing plant. It showcases where the car’s units are assembled. 

  1. Last 12th and 13th characters of VIN

These represent an exemplary “serial” number of every classic car. However, the last two digits don’t give many details about the car; it isolates similar cars, which roll off the manufacturing assembly lines.

Concluding words

Choosing a powerful VIN decoder will be helpful to dig into your car’s details. It’s always necessary to run a VIN decoder before buying any classic cars for yourself. Hopefully, this article provides enough information about the decoding process of classic cars. 

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