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How to Read a Corvette's VIN Number

by Herman Cruz

Corvettes are sports cars manufactured by General Motors, a division of Chevrolet. The Corvette is a 2-door vehicle that has been in production since 1953 and is made in two models: convertible and coupe. Knowing how to read a Corvette's VIN, or Vehicle Identification Number, can be helpful in many areas. For instance, a VIN number will let you know where a Corvette was assembled, its model, series, assembly plant, engine type and body style. You can also use a Corvette's VIN number to determine its history.

Corvettes Made After 1981

Look at the first number displayed on your Corvette's VIN number to discover its country of origin. This will be a number "1," which means that your Corvette was made in the United States.

Read the second character on the Corvette's VIN number. This will be a letter "G" which stands for General Motors. The third character on a Corvette's VIN number is a "1" that stands for Chevrolet. In other words, the second and third character will be a "G1."

Look at characters 4 and 5 to determine your Corvette's make. The fourth character is a "Y" for Y-body series. The fifth character provides additional information about the Corvette's car line and it can be another "Y" for a standard Corvette Y-body series or a "Z" that stands for a Corvette ZR1 Y-body series.

Read character number 6 to determine a Corvette's body style. A number "1" means that it is a two-door fixed-top coupe (hard top), a number "2" signifies that it is a two-door hatchback and a number "3" stands for two-door convertible.

Look at the seventh character. This will be a number 2 that means active belts with front air bag, or a number 4 that stands for active belts with front and side air bag. Character number 8 will determine your Corvette's engine type and this can be an 8 (L98), P (LT1), J (ZR1) or 5 (LT4). Character number 9 is a randomly selected check digit and can range from 0 to 9.

Look at character number 10 to determine your Corvette's year. This function started in 1981, and each year was represented alphabetically with a different letter. For instance 1981 was the letter "B," 1982 letter "C," and so on. Beginning in the year 2001, the years are represented with a number. Corvettes manufactured in 2001 have a number "1," and in 2002 the number "2." Starting in 2010 the year is represented with a letter; corvettes made in 2010 have a letter "A," 2011 a letter "B," 2012 letter "C," and so on.

Look at the 11th digit to identify the name of the production plant where your Corvette was assembled. This will usually be a number "5" that stands for Bowling Green, Kentucky. Characters 12 through 17 simply represent your Corvette's production sequence number.

Corvettes Made Between 1972 and 1980

Look at the first character to determine your Corvette's manufacturer. This number will be a "1" that stands for Chevrolet (GM Division). The second character will be a "Z" that stands for the car line or series (Corvette).

Look at the third and fourth digit to determine your Corvette's body style. A "37" stands for two-door coupe, "87" two-door coup made between 1978 and 1980, and a "67" stands for a two-door convertible.

Look at the fifth character to know your Corvette's engine type. For instance, a "K" stands for base engine, "J" for a L48 engine, "T" for a L82 engine, "Z" for a LS4 engine, "W" for a LS5 engine, and "H" for a LG4 engine. In 1980, this character can be an "8" for L48 engine, or a "6" for L82 engine.

Look at the sixth character to determine the model year GM gave the car. A "2" is a 1972, "3" 1973, "4" 1974, "5" 1975, "6" 1976, "7" 1977, "8" 1978, "9" 1979, and in 1980 it was given a letter "A."

Look at the seventh character to determine the Corvette's assembly plant. This will be a letter "S" that stands for St. Louis. Characters 8 through 13 determine the production sequence number.

Corvettes Made Between 1965 and 1971

Look at the first character to identify your Corvette's manufacturer. This will be a "1" that stands for Chevrolet (GM division). The second character is a "9" that stands for the car line or series (Corvette).

Look at the third digit to confirm your Corvette's engine type. This will be a "4" that stands for V8. The fourth and fifth characters will either be a "37" for a two-door coupe, or a "67" for a two-door convertible.

Look at the sixth character to know the model year of your Corvette. A "5" is a 1965, "6" 1966, "7" 1967, "8" 1968, "9" 1969, "0" 1970 and a "1" for Corvettes made in 1971.

Look at the seventh character to find the assembly plant of your Corvette. This will be a letter "S" for St. Louis. Characters 7 through 12 represent the production sequence number.

Corvettes Made Between 1960 and 1964

Look at the first character to determine the model year of your Corvette. A "0" stands for 1960, "1" 1961, "2" 1962, "3" 1963 and "4" 1964.

Look at characters 2 through 5 to determine your Corvette's series. This will be a "0867" that stands for Chevrolet Corvette.

Look at the sixth character to identify your Corvette's assembly plant. This is an "S" for St. Louis. Characters 7 through 12 stand for the production sequence number.

Corvettes Made Between 1953 and 1959

Look at the first character to identify your Corvette's series. This will be an "E" or a "J" and both stand for Chevrolet Corvette.

Look at characters 2 and 3 to know your Corvette's model year. A "53" stands for 1953, "54" 1954, "55" 1955, "56" 1956, "57" 1957, "58" 1958 and a "59" for 1959.

View the fourth character to learn where your Corvette was assembled. An "S" stands for St. Louis and an "F" for Flint. Characters 5 through 10 represent your Corvette's production sequence number.

Tip

  • There are several websites that offer free VIN decoding services so you can check-out your Corvette's history. (See Resources.)

About the Author

Based in Orange County, Calif., Herman Cruz has been writing since 2007. His articles have been published in various content platforms and he also has written for Internet entrepreneurs who need assistance with writing sales letters and articles for their businesses. Cruz is pursuing his Bachelor of Arts in integrated composition, improvisation and technology at the University of California in Irvine.

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