How to Decode a VIN for Early Bronco Specifications

by Carlos ManoUpdated November 07, 2017
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The Vehicle Identification Number (VIN) may be in one of several locations on a Bronco. But otherwise it is like the VIN on other vehicles -- it identifies basic characteristics about the car. It also uniquely identifies your vehicle, as part of each VIN is different for each vehicle. Another interesting feature of the Bronco VIN is that it was 11 digits for the first few years and then changed to a 17-digit VIN for subsequent years. Each of these VINs is decoded in a different way.

Find the VIN on your Bronco. It might be in one of four places, and some vehicles have it in all four places. The easiest location is inside the door of the glove compartment. Unfortunately, there have been cases where these doors have been switched to make a Bronco appear newer (or older). The second-easier VIN location to find is the driver side door jam - -the chassis side, not the door side. This one is often hard to read or has come off. There is another location that is also often missing --the driver side kick panel. The kick panel is the lower door where the driver is most likely to accidentally kick getting in or out of the car. The most permanent place to find the VIN is under the hood and high on the firewall, directly in front of the driver. This one may be dirty but can usually be cleaned off enough to read.

Count the digits in the VIN. If there are 11 digits, the car was built in 1966 or 1967 and you have an early Bronco. If you have a newer Bronco, the VIN will be 17 digits. The first three digits of the VIN indicate the body style. The fourth digit of the VIN indicates the engine type. The fifth character of the VIN is always L. Digits 6-11 are sequential and uniquely identify your vehicle.

Look at the first three digits of the VIN to see the body style. This is most interesting if you have the U-100 body style. If you have other body styles, you automatically know what type of Bronco you have. If you do have the U-100 body style, the first three digits indicate the body style -- U13 for a roadster, U14 for a half-cab and U15 for a wagon. The fourth digit indicates the engine type. The code is A for the 124 cubic inch displacement (cid) six cylinder engine, F for the 170 cid six cylinder, T for the 200 cid six cylinder, N for the 289 eight cylinder and G for the 302 cid eight cylinder.


The firewall VIN can be hard to read. Try cleaning it off with a brush using baking soda or powered chalk and a little water.


VIN numbers are often switched to make a car more valuable. Look for signs of tampering, especially if there is only one VIN on the car.

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