Corvette VIN Decoding
The VIN (sometimes called a serial number or body chassis number or simply vehicle number) is a unique number given only to that one specific car. It's used by the factory, motor vehicle departments, law enforcement and owners alike to identify that exact car. In addition it gives valuable info (depending on year) such as model year, when it was built in relation to other Corvettes that year, engine size and body style, including special editions such as the ZR1, Z06 and Grand Sports. Decoding the VIN is part of verifying a "matching numbers" Corvette.
The VIN on a Corvette has always been stamped on a plate, although the location of that plate has varied over the years. From 1953 through early 1960 the VIN was located on the drivers side door post. For the rest of 1960-1962 it was on the steering column in the engine bay. 1963-1967 saw the VIN move again to the instrument support brace, below the glove box. In 1968 it moved to the top of the instrument panel, visible from outside looking through the windshield. From that point on it was either there or on the windshield support post (A-pillar)
In addition to the VIN plate, Corvette frames are stamped with the VIN in several locations not visible at a casual glance. These are to help law enforcement track down stolen vehicles and discourage VIN swapping.
Corvette VIN Decoding
Just like the location, the configuration Corvette VIN numbers has evolved through the years. The early years of 1953-1959 had a 10 digit VIN. 1960-1964 had 12 digits. 1965-1980 got an extra to bring it up to 13 digits. Then in 1981 the VIN increased to 17 digits which is where it remains today. Follow the links below for a breakdown on each specific year range.
C1 Corvette VIN Numbers & VIN Decoders
When the Corvette first came out in 1953 the VIN was simple and to the point. It was made up of 10 digits giving basic information like model year, assembly plant and where that particular car fell in the production sequence. In 1960 things changed in terms of how VIN numbers work, with the addition of body type in the digits as well as the codes being rearranged.
C2 Corvette VIN Numbers & VIN Decoders
The C1 Corvette VIN carried over into the C2 generation Corvette and kept it that way for the 1963 and 1964 model year cars. In 1965 the VIN configuration was change to 13 digits (instead of 12 digits) with the basic information remaining the same. The basic information was still shown including year, body style and order in the production sequence. The 3rd digit now signified a V8 engine, but not which one.
C3 Corvette VIN Numbers & VIN Decoders
Chevrolet kept the same format for the Corvette VIN going from the C2 generation into the C3. It stayed that way for a few years before Chevrolet changed the VIN configuration around again in 1972. It was still 13 digits like in 1965-1971, but the order of characters and their meaning was switched around a bit. The basic information was still shown including year, body style and engine. There was also a third change to the C3 VIN set up in 1981 with the move to a 17 digit system that is close to today's VIN organization.
C4 Corvette VIN Numbers & VIN Decoders
Starting in 1981 GM added several characters to the Corvette VIN to bring the total up to 17 digits. It took a decent amount of time for Chevrolet to get things organized however which is obvious when you look at some of the confusion in the VIN decoding for the C4 models. There are basically three different VIN configurations throughout the C4's model years.