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How to Decode Chevelle VIN Numbers

by Morgan Owens

The Chevrolet Chevelle was manufactured by General Motors from 1964 to 1977. The Chevelle came in a wide variety of body styles (coupe, sedan, convertible, station wagon and pickup) in both two-door and four-door versions. Individual Chevelles can be identified by their Vehicle Identification Number. This 13-character sequence of letters and numbers is read from left to right and provides specific information about the car.


The first number identifies the manufacturer of the car. This number will be a “1,” indicating that the Chevelle was manufactured by Chevrolet.


Look at the second and third numbers. These numbers together describe the series. The third number also describes the engine size in number of cylinders. If this number is odd, then the car has a six-cylinder engine; if this number is even, then the car has an eight-cylinder engine. The following is a list of what these numbers represent, according to 31, Chevelle 300; 32, Chevelle 300; 33, El Camino; 34, El Camino; 35, Deluxe El Camino; 36, Deluxe El Camino; 37, Malibu Super Sport; 38, Malibu Super Sport; 53, El Camino; 54, El Camino; 55, Deluxe El Camino; 56, Deluxe El Camino; 57, Malibu Super Sport; 58, Malibu Super Sport.


Look at the fourth and fifth numbers. These numbers together describe the body style of the Chevelle. Here is a list of what these numbers represent, according to 11, two-door sedan; 15, two-door station wagon; 17, two-door coupe; 26, four-door station wagon; 27, two-door sedan; 31, Chevelle 300; 32, Chevelle 300; 33, El Camino; 34, El Camino; 35, four-door station wagon; 36, four-door station wagon; 37, two-door coupe; 39, four-door sedan; 45, two-door station wagon; 46, four-door station wagon; 57, two-door coupe; 67, two-door convertible; 69, four-door sedan; 80, two-door pickup.


Look at the sixth number. This number specifies the last digit of the year in which the car was manufactured. For example, if the number is a 5, the car was manufactured in 1965, since the Chevelle was not manufactured in any other year ending in 5; if the number is a “6,” the car was manufactured in either 1966 or 1976.


Look at the seventh character. This letter specifies the location of the plant in which the car was manufactured. Here is the breakdown: A: Atlanta, Georgia; B: Baltimore, Maryland; C: Southgate, California; F: Flint, Michigan; G: Framingham, Massachusetts; H: Fremont, California; J: Janesville, Wisconsin; K: Kansas City, Missouri; L: Los Angeles, California; N: Norwood, Ohio; R: Arlington, Texas; S: St. Louis, Missouri; T: Tarrytown, New York; W: Willow Run, Michigan; Y: Wilmington, Delaware.


Look at the eighth through 13th numbers. These digits together comprise the number of the car on the production line at the manufacturing plant. This number is different for every car manufactured at each plant. This number serves as the means by which to distinguish a particular car from all other similar cars manufactured at a specific plant.


  • The VIN is located on the door frame near the hinge for the driver’s side door.

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About the Author

Morgan Owens has a Bachelor of Science in criminal justice, and minors in biology and psychology. She attended Boston University and is currently applying to law school for matriculation in 2014. Her articles have been published on numerous informational websites.

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