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)
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. )