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How to Decode a Corvette VIN :: 1953-1959

When the Corvette first came out in 1953 the VIN was simple and to the point. It was made up of 10 digits giving basic information like model year, assembly plant and where that particular car fell in the production sequence. In 1953 only Corvettes were assembled at the Flint, MI plant. After that St. Louis became the home of the Corvette for decades until the move to Bowling Green in 1981.

1955 Corvette Example VIN - 10 digits (11 for V8 engines in 1955 only)

1955 Corvette VIN Decoding

Prefix digit - V = V8 engine (The stamped "V" is larger than the other digits and used only in 1955 and only if the car had a V8)

1st digit - Model: Corvette (E in 1953-1956 & J in 1958-1959)

2nd+3rd digit - Model Year: 53 = 1953, 54 = 1954, 55 = 1955, 56 = 1956, 57 = 1957, 58 = 1958, 59 = 1959

4th digit - Assembly Plant: S = St. Louis,  F = Flint (1953 only)

5th-10th digits - Production Sequence Number: 1953-1956 started at 001001. 1957-1959 started with 100001. Each Corvette produced was assigned the next number in sequence. Last sequence number should equal total production for that year in almost all cases.

Decoding the VIN is just the first step when looking at potential Corvettes for sale. It's also important to confirm "matching numbers" (ie. verify original equipment like engine, transmission, axles, etc. )


How to Decode a Corvette VIN :: 1960-1964

In 1960 Chevrolet changed the Corvette VIN configuration, going to a 12 digit VIN instead of the previous 10 digit. The added 2 digits distinguish between coupe and convertible body style. However, there was still no digit specifying 6 or 8 cylinder engine. This wouldn't be added until the 1965 Corvette.

1960 Corvette Example VIN - 12 digits

1st digit - Model Year: 0 = 1960, 1 = 1961, 2 = 1962, 3 = 1963, 4 = 1964

2nd+3rd digit - Model: 08 = Corvette

4th+5th digits - Body Style: 37 = Coupe, 67 = Convertible

6th digit - Assembly Plant: S = St. Louis

7th-12th digits - Production Sequence Number: Starts at 100001 with each Corvette produced being assigned the next number in sequence. Last sequence number should equal total production for that year in almost all cases.

Decoding the VIN is just the first step when looking at potential Corvettes for sale. It's also important to confirm "matching numbers" (ie. verify original equipment like engine, transmission, axles, etc. )


How to Decode a Corvette VIN :: 1965-1971

In 1965 the Corvette VIN configuration was changed from the earlier 1960-1964 format. There were now 13 characters, although the basic information remained the same as previous years, just rearranged slightly in their order. The basic information was still shown including year, body style and order in the production sequence. The 3rd digit now signified a V8 engine, but not which one. Later in 1972 the engine digit would become more informative and specify size and horsepower rating.

1965 Corvette Example VIN - 13 digits

1965 Corvette VIN Decode

1st digit - Make/Manufacturer: 1 = Chevrolet

2nd digit - Model: 9 = Corvette

3rd digit - Engine: 4 = V8 (all engines)

4th+5th digits - Body Style: 37 = Coupe, 67 = Convertible

6th digit - Model Year: 5 = 1965, 6 = 1966, 7 = 1967, 8 = 1968, 9 = 1969, 0 = 1970, 1 = 1971

7th digit - Assembly Plant: S = St. Louis

8th-13th digits - Production Sequence Number: Starts at 100001 with each Corvette produced being assigned the next number in sequence. Last sequence number should equal total production for that year in almost all cases.

Decoding the VIN is just the first step when looking at potential Corvettes for sale. It's also important to confirm "matching numbers" (ie. verify original equipment like engine, transmission, axles, etc. )


How to Decode a Corvette VIN :: 1981-Present

Starting in 1981 GM added several characters to the Corvette VIN to bring the total up to 17 digits. Thankfully this new longer VIN helps standardize the decoding process and has remained mostly the same for almost 30 years now. Those extra characters also allowed GM to give more information about each car. Special options like the ZR1 are now easily verified by VIN, which can be a big help when researching Corvettes for sale.

1986 Corvette Example VIN - 17 digits

1st digit - Country of manufacture: 1 = United States

2nd digit - Manufacturer: G = General Motors

3rd digit - Make: 1 = Chevrolet

4th digit - Body Series: A or Y = Corvette ('A' used in 1981-1984, 'Y' used from 1985-present)

5th digit - Additional Info: Y in most cases, but Z for ZR-1 (1991-1995) and R for ZR1 (2009)

6th digit - Body Style:

7th digit - Restraint System:

8th digit - Engine: See below for list of engine codes by year

9th digit - Random Security Number: This number varies randomly from car to car

10th digit - Model Year: B = 1981, C = 1982, D = 1983, E = 1984, F = 1985, G = 1986, H = 1987, J = 1988, K = 1989, L = 1990, M = 1991, N = 1992, P = 1993, R = 1994, S = 1995, T = 1996, V = 1997, W = 1998, X = 1999, Y = 2000, 1 = 2001, 2 = 2002, 3 = 2003, 4 = 2004, 5 = 2005, 6 = 2006, 7 = 2007, 8 = 2008

11th digit - Assembly Plant: 5 = Bowling Green, S = St. Louis (used only on 1981 Corvettes which were made at both plants)

Engine VIN codes by year:

1981 -   6 = L81 (5.7L, 190 hp)
1982 -   8 = L83 (5.7L, 200 hp)
1983 - N/A
1984 -   8 = L83 (5.7L, 205 hp)
1985 -   8 = L98 (5.7L, 230 hp)
1986 -   8 = L98 (5.7L, 230 hp)
1987 -   8 = L98 (5.7L, 240 hp)
1988 -   8 = L98 (5.7L, 240 hp)
1989 -   8 = L98 (5.7L, 240 hp)
1990 -   8 = L98 (5.7L, 245 hp), J = LT5 (5.7L, 375 hp)
1991 -   8 = L98 (5.7L, 245 hp), J = LT5 (5.7L, 375 hp)
1992 -   P = LT1 (5.7L, 300 hp), J = LT5 (5.7L, 375 hp)
1993 -   P = LT1 (5.7L, 300 hp), J = LT5 (5.7L, 405 hp)
1994 -   P = LT1 (5.7L, 300 hp), J = LT5 (5.7L, 405 hp)
1995 -   P = LT1 (5.7L, 300 hp), J = LT5 (5.7L, 405 hp)
1996 -   P = LT1 (5.7L, 300 hp), 5 = LT4 (5.7L, 330 hp)
1997 -   G = LS1 (5.7L, 345 hp)
1998 -   G = LS1 (5.7L, 345 hp)
1999 -   G = LS1 (5.7L, 345 hp)
2000 -   G = LS1 (5.7L, 345 hp)
2001 -   G = LS1 (5.7L, 350 hp), S (Z06 only) = LS6 (5.7L, 385 hp)
2002 -   G = LS1 (5.7L, 350 hp), S (Z06 only) = LS6 (5.7L, 405 hp)
2003 -   G = LS1 (5.7L, 350 hp), S (Z06 only) = LS6 (5.7L, 405 hp)
2004 -   G = LS1 (5.7L, 350 hp), S (Z06 only) = LS6 (5.7L, 405 hp)

How to Decode a Corvette VIN :: 1972-1980

Chevrolet changed the VIN configuration around again in 1972. It was still 13 digits like in 1965-1971, but the order of characters and their meaning was switched around a bit. The basic information was still shown including year, body style and engine. Decoding the VIN should always be one of your first research tasks when looking at potential Corvettes for sale.

1972 Corvette Example VIN - 13 digits

1972 Corvette VIN Example

1st digit - Make/Manufacturer: 1 = Chevrolet

2nd digit - Model: Z = Corvette

3rd+4th digits - Body Style: 37 = Coupe, 67 = Convertible, 87 = Coupe (1978-1980)

5th digit - Engine: See below for list of engine codes by year

6th digit - Model Year: 2 = 1972, 3 = 1973, 4 = 1974, 5 = 1975, 6 = 1976, 7 = 1977, 8 = 1978, 9 = 1979, A = 1980

7th digit - Assembly Plant: S = St. Louis

8th-13th digits - Production Sequence Number: Starts at 5100001 with each Corvette produced being assigned the next number in sequence. In the example above the first 1972 Corvette VIN ends in 500001 and the last ends with 527004. The Production Sequence Number changed to 4100001 after 1972.

Engine VIN codes by year:

1972 -   K = base (350 cid, 200 hp), L = LT1 (350 cid, 255 hp), W = LS5 (454 cid, 270 hp)
1973 -   J = L48 (350 cid, 190 hp), T = L82 (350 cid, 250 hp), Z = LS4 (454 cid, 275 hp)
1974 -   J = L48 (350 cid, 195 hp), T = L82 (350 cid, 250 hp), Z = LS4 (454 cid, 270 hp)
1975 -   J = L48 (350 cid, 165 hp), T = L82 (350 cid, 205 hp)
1976 -   L = L48 (350 cid, 180 hp), X = L82 (350 cid, 210 hp)
1977 -   L = L48 (350 cid, 180 hp), X = L82 (350 cid, 210 hp)
1978 -   L = L48 (350 cid, 175 hp), X = L82 (350 cid, 220 hp)
1979 -   8 = L48 (350 cid, 195 hp), 4 = L82 (350 cid, 225 hp)
1980 -   H = LG4 (305 cid, 180 hp), 8 = L48 (350 cid, 190 hp), 6 = L82 (350 cid, 230 hp)