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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

Step 1

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.

Step 2

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."

Step 3

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.

Step 4

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.

Step 5

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.

Step 6

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

Step 1

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).

Step 2

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.

Step 3

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.

Step 4

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

Step 1

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).

Step 2

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.

Step 3

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

Step 1

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.

Step 2

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

Step 1

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.

Step 2

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.)

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