How to Decode a 1959 Chevrolet VIN

by Robert Morgan

A VIN is the vehicle's identification number. This number is unique to each vehicle. Every vehicle manufacturer assigns the VIN for tracking purposes, and classic car collectors use it to find out what configuration a specific vehicle left the factory in. The 1959 Chevrolet's VIN includes 10 digits. All Chevrolets manufactured after 1981 have a 17-digit VIN that contains more information on each vehicle.

1959 Chevrolet VIN Defined

Locate the VIN. It is a stamped metal plate, which for this year can be found "on the left front body hinge pillar directly below the upper door hinge". Clean it with the emory paper sufficiently to read the 10-digit VIN. A flashlight can be used to aide in the reading of the VIN numbers. The 10 digits indicate the series, year and model, assembly plant, and in what order it was manufactured. An example VIN might look like this: J59S100001

Decode the above example VIN. Note the first digit, which denotes the vehicle's model. J is for a Corvette with a V8 engine; A is for a Biscayne/Bookwood with a 6 cylinder engine; B is for a Biscayne/Bookwood with an 8-cylinder engine; C denotes a Bel Air/Parkwood/Kingswood with a 6-cylinder engine; while D is for a Bel Air/Parkwood/Kingswood with an 8-cylinder engine; E is for an Impala/Nomad with a 6-cylinder engine; F is for an Impala/Nomad with an 8-cylinder engine; G represents a Biscayne Sedan Delivery/El Camino with a 6-cylinder engine; and H is for a Biscayne Sedan Delivery/El Camino with an 8-cylinder engine.

Take note of the second and third digits. These are numbers that relate to the last two numbers of the model year. The numbers for a 1959 Chevrolet's will be "59."

Find the plant of manufacture is by noting the VIN's 4th alpha digit. A indicates the plant in Atlanta, Georgia; B for the Baltimore, Maryland, facility; F is for Flint, G for Pontiac, and W for Willow Run, Michigan; J is for Janesville, Wisconsin; K for Kansas City, and S for St. Louis, Missouri; while the two manufacturing facilities in California are L for Los Angeles, and O for Oakland; N represents Norwood, Ohio, and T is for Tarrytown, New York.

Read digits five through 10 as your car's factory production number. All General Motor's Chevrolets manufactured in 1959 started with 100001 as the first sequential production number in each plant where they were made. Check the digits five to 10 for your car's production sequential serial number.

Tip

  • check If more information is required for a specific vehicle a search for the Factory Build Sheet needs to be performed. It can be found in a number of locations such as under the rear seats or front seats. The Factory Build Sheet is an exact inventory the original vehicle left the factory with. For example: the exact build date, interior and exterior colors, engine code, transmission code, and wheel code.

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About the Author

Robert Morgan began writing in 1969, providing and editing intelligence briefs while in the military. He has written manuals for Southern Illinois University and spent 22 years with Michelin Tire Research and Development Corp., writing technical and procedural manuals and developing the PPAP Quality Manual. He received a Bachelor of Business Administration in economics, with graduate studies in marketing, from Augusta College.

Photo Credits

  • photo_camera Vintage car image by sylvain6po from Fotolia.com