How to Get Pre-1980 Vehicle History Report

by Editorial Team

Today, it is easy to enter the vehicle identification number (VIN) and get a history report on our vehicle. However, prior to 1980, it was a different story. It was difficult to get accurate information without a standard system. For a vehicle made before 1980, you must have very specific information to obtain a history report on your vehicle, and you must know where to turn.

Step 1

The vehicle identification number (VIN) was not standardized until 1979-80. The system uses a 17-number system to identify each individual vehicle manufactured. Before this system was implemented, manufacturers used VINs that were unique to their company only.

Step 2

For pre-1980 VIN information, the best source for information is the original manufacturer. Contact the manufacturer, such Ford, Chevrolet or Chrysler, to determine what specific information you will need to obtain the vehicle history report.

Step 3

Once you find out what information is needed, gather that information from the vehicle, such as make, model, engine type, original price, manufacturing location. Be as specific as possible. This is the original information used for vehicle identification, and it differed by company.

Step 4

If you are unable to find a history report through this avenue, the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) would be your final shot at the information you seek. The DMV has many years of records on vehicles, and can do a search to provide you with information that can be used to obtain your vehicle history report.

Step 5

Use the Internet to plug in your vehicle's specific information to find the vehicle history report.

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