How To Check The VIN Number on a Classic Car (Step by Step Guide)

All cars, especially classic vehicles have a VIN number which helps them to be easily and uniquely identified. A VIN number in the case of classic vehicles is a 13 digit number that provides detailed information about the history of the vehicle.

In this article, we will be looking at where to find the VIN number in a classic vehicle and how to decode a classic car VIN number.

Common Classic Car VIN Locations

When looking for the VIN number in your classic car, here are some common locations that you can check

  1. Check under the dashboard right near the windshield. It is usually visible from the outside and the VIN plate is commonly mounted right on the dashboard.
  2. Also check under the driver’s side wheel arch. You can use a flashlight to see properly.
  3. Using a flashlight, check under the steering column, which is located under the steering wheel.
  4. You can also look for the VIN on the firewall of the vehicle or other component parts. Most times, the VIN number is usually stamped on the parts themselves.
  5. Open the driver’s side door and look under the door edge or door jam as the VIN may be printed on the sticker.

How to Decode a Classic VIN Number

A classic VIN number is a 13 digit number that is unique to a particular car. Here is how to decode a classic VIN number

Step 1

Look at the first digit of the VIN number to see the manufacturer’s country of origin. Vehicles manufactured in the United States will have a 1, 4 or 5 as the first digit in the VIN number code

Step 2

The second digit in the sequence is used to determine the manufacturer of the vehicle. For example, Jaguar is represented by the letter “A,” 

Step 3

The third character in the VIN number sequence to find out the vehicle type. For example, a passenger sedan would have a number of “3” 

Step 4

Examine the fourth to eighth characters to find out the identification of the engine type, brake system model, restraint system and body style. The ninth character of the VIN number series is known as the VIN number “check digit” verification, which checks the previous VIN numbers for accuracy. 

Step 5

Read the tenth character of the VIN number sequence to determine the model year of the vehicle. If the vehicle was manufactured between 2001 and 2009, the digits will appear as 0-9. 

Step 6

Find and examine the eleventh character of the VIN number sequence to determine the manufacturing plant of your vehicle. Unlike the manufacturer’s country of origin, this number represents where the vehicle was assembled. 

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