How to decode Corvette Serial Numbers
When looking to purchase a Corvette for sale one of the first items on your list should be verifying the VIN (Vehicle Identification Number). It's a critical part of researching a used Corvette and it's important that you can decode and understand it. You need to know what information it provides, but also what it doesn't tell you about a car. The VIN is only the first step in confirming that the Corvette you're looking at is really what the seller says it is.
The VIN (sometimes called a serial number or body chassis number or simply vehicle number) is a unique number given only to that one specific car. It's used by the factory, motor vehicle departments, law enforcement and owners alike to identify that exact car. In addition it gives valuable info (depending on year) such as model year, when it was built in relation to other Corvettes that year, engine size and body style, including special editions such as the ZR1, Z06 and Grand Sports. Decoding the VIN is part of verifying a "matching numbers" Corvette.
The VIN on a Corvette has always been stamped on a plate, although the location of that plate has varied over the years. From 1953 through early 1960 the VIN was located on the drivers side door post. For the rest of 1960-1962 it was on the steering column in the engine bay. 1963-1967 saw the VIN move again to the instrument support brace, below the glove box. In 1968 it moved to the top of the instrument panel, visible from outside looking through the windshield. From that point on it was either there or on the windshield support post (A-pillar)
In addition to the VIN plate, Corvette frames are stamped with the VIN in several locations not visible at a casual glance. These are to help law enforcement track down stolen vehicles and discourage VIN swapping.
Corvette VIN Decoding
Just like the location, the configuration Corvette VIN numbers has evolved through the years. The early years of 1953-1959 had a 10 digit VIN. 1960-1964 had 12 digits. 1965-1980 got an extra to bring it up to 13 digits. Then in 1981 the VIN increased to 17 digits which is where it remains today. Follow the links below for a breakdown on each specific year range.
1953-1959 Corvette VIN decoding (10 digits)
1960-1964 Corvette VIN decoding (12 digits)
1965-1971 Corvette VIN decoding (13 digits)
1972-1980 Corvette VIN decoding (13 digits)
1981-Present Corvette VIN decoding (17 digits)