How to Decode a 1972 Chevelle VIN Number

by Grace Restivo
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The Vehicle Identification Number, more commonly known as VIN, is an alphanumeric 17-digit code assigned when a car is manufactured. Each digit has its own significant meaning, and when combined with the others is used to track, identify and record vehicles. These numbers are recorded when accidents occur and/or body shop work is performed. Prospective buyers can use the VIN numbers to track the history of the car with a Vehicle History Report. Prior to 1981, each manufacturer used their own formats to create a VIN, however it is possible to decode a 1972 Chevelle number.

Step 1

Look at the first and second number in the VIN. The first digit (1) indicates a Chevrolet, and the second digit (C) indicates Chevelle.

Step 2

Locate the third and fourth digits. These will indicate the body style and model. Number 36 in this position would indicate a four-door, two-seat station wagon; 37 is a two-door sport coupe; 39 is a four-door sport sedan; 46 is a four-door, three-seat station wagon; 67 is a two-door convertible; 69 is a four-door sedan and 80 is a two-door sedan pickup.

Step 3

Find the fifth character, which will tell the engine size and type. The letter D in this position indicates 250cid L-6 1-bbl; F indicates 307cid V8 2-bbl; H indicates 350cid V8 2bbl; J indicates 350cid V8 4-bbl; U indicates 402cid V8 bbl and W indicates 454cid V8 4-bbl.

Step 4

Look at the sixth digit. This will be a 2 showing that the car was produced in 1972.

Step 5

Find the seventh character on the VIN. This character identifies the final assembly plant. Arlington, Texas, is represented as an R in this position; Baltimore, Maryland, is a B; Kansas City, Missouri, is a K; Van Nuys, California, is an L and Oshawa, Ontario, Canada, is a number 1.

Step 6

Look at the next six digits, which represents the sequential production number. These last six numbers represent the sequential number the car was manufactured in a particular assembly plant. Each plant started the number with 500001 and proceeded in chronological order regardless of the specific series or model.

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