Decoding Chevy VIN, Trim Tag and Drivetrain Codes

Jump to: VIN | Trim Tag | Engine Decoding | Transmission Decoding | Rear Axle Decoding
GM Body Types | GM RPO Descriptions | Build Sheets & other Paperwork
Chevy Engine Suffix Codes | Small Block Parts Identification | Big Block Parts Identification

Being able to decode the various markings on a car or part is important in establishing what type of car or part you have. This site is one of the most comprehensive numbers decoding places available anywhere. From this page, you can quickly get to the specific codes. I try and answer emails and decode specific requests, but often you can find the information here if you spend a couple minutes looking.

Access to this site is free and will remain free. Rather than charge people for membership or access, I'd rather offer folks the option of donating whatever amount they think is appropriate. Donations help defray the cost of operating this site and are very appriciated. Donations aren't required for an answer via email. Generally if you don't get a timely answer back from me the answer is already on the site, or I happen to be overwelmed with email at the time.

New items being updated or made more obvious:
Build sheets for many 1970 and 1972 NORWOOD built Camaros - courtesy of Jody Pranther.
Camaro part #'s, chassis parts, suspension items.
Complete engine code information going into a database. sneak peek preview
Pictures being added to better depict what's being discussed

WTF does this stuff mean?  This place will tell you click here to figure engine codes out

Above left: A trim tag, lists original interior trim, exterior color, build date and other fisher body info.
Above right: An engine showing engine suffix code and partial vin code.

You can verify the model of a car, or the originality of a car. The primary number on a car is the VIN number. This will tell a lot of information about the car itself, where it was built, what model it is and what engine originally came in the car. A trim tag or body number tag is used to identify when the car was built and how the car (body) was originally fitted out, what type of seats, colors, etc... finally, the engine, transmission and rear axle markings tell where the unit was made or assembled, when it was made, what the specific characteristics it is and usually what it was originally installed in. By decoding these items, you can gather a lot of information about your car as well as check the originality of a car. This is especially helpfull if you are checking out a "numbers matching" car where the asking price is usually higher. If any item appears to be amiss, you should be VERY skeptical of the originality of the car. However, in some cases, legitimate changes could have been made (warranty work, production assembly line substitution, etc...) Most of this information pertains to the Chevrolet Camaro.

Please see the following selected sites to decode your: Chevelle | Nova | Corvette | 73 - 87 Chevy Truck | Monte Carlo | Monza/Vega (H-Body)

Vin Number Decoding & General Info
The VIN is the Vehicle Identification number.
The VIN Number breakdown for specific year Camaros is located under each year Camaro information as the information contained in the VIN changes from year to year. The VIN on the 1967 Camaro is on a stainless steel plate rivited inside the drivers door jamb. All other models have the VIN located on a plate visible through the windshield on the drivers side dash panel.

VIN info from 1967 - 1971 were in the same format. The breakdown is as follows:
1st digit: GM Line number: Chevrolet = 1.
2nd digit: Series number: Camaro = 2
3rd digit: Model/Engine number:
3 = 6-cylinder (1967-69 with standard interior) , 4 = V8 (1967-69 with standard interior)
5 = 6 cylinder (1967 - 69 with custom interior) , 6 = V8 (1967 - 69 with custom interior)
4th & 5th digit: Body Type Number:
37 = Sport Coupe (1967-69) 67 = Convertible (1967-69) 87 = Sport Coupe (1970-71)
6th digit: Last digit of model year:
7 = 1967, 8 = 1968, 9 = 1969, 0 = 1970, 1 = 1971
7th digit: Letter indicating assembly plant
L = Van Nuys, California, N = Norwood, Ohio
8th through 12th digits: Sequential production number starting with 100001.

The format for 1972 to 1980 VIN's is as follows:
1st digit: GM line number, Chevrolet = 1.
2nd digit: Series number:
Q = Sport Coupe, S = Type LT (1973 - 78), S = Berlinetta (1979 - 80)
3rd and 4th digits: Body type: 87 = Sport Coupe.
5th digit: Engine Code: See specific year (camaro info) for breakdown.
6th digit: Last digit of model year. i.e. 3 = 1973.
7th digit: Letter indicating assembly plant
L = Van Nuys, California, N = Norwood, Ohio
8th through 13th digits: Sequential production number starting with 100001.

The VIN format in 1981 - 1984 changed.
1st digit: Country of origin: 1 = USA, 2 = Canada.
2nd digit: G = General Motors
3rd digit: Division, 1 = Chevrolet.
4th digit: Restraint system:
A = Non-passive, B = Automatic belts, C = Inflatable restraint
5th digit: Series: P = Camaro Sport Coupe, S = Camaro Berlinetta
6th & 7th digit: Body Style: 87 = Sport Coupe
8th digit: Engine : See specific year (camaro info) for breakdown.
9th digit: Check digit - used to verify that the VIN was recorded correctly.
10th digit: Year: B = 1981
11th digit: Letter indicating assembly plant
L = Van Nuys, California, N = Norwood, Ohio
12th through 17th digits: Sequential production number starting with 100001.

Other miscellaneous VIN information
The following contains information which gives an example of what the various positions in a 1979 VIN stand for.

VIN EXAMPLE (1979/others similar): 1N19G9J100001

1 = Division Identification, Chevrolet Motor Division
N = Vehicle Series (Caprice)
19 = Model (4 door sedan)
G = Engine (305 CID V8 w/2 barrel carb)
9 = Year (1979)
J = Assembly plant (Janesville)

Position 1: Division Identification
Always 1 for Chevrolet
(2 = Pontiac, 3 = Oldsmobile, 4 = Buick, 5 = GM Overseas, 6 = Cadillac, 7 = GM of Canada
9 = GM Overseas, C = Chevy Truck, T = GMC Truck)

Position 2: Vehicle Series
L = Impala N = Caprice Classic Q = Camaro
S = Camaro Berlinetta X = Nova Y = Nova Custom
Z = Monte Carlo T = Malibu W = Malibu Classic & El Camino

Positions 3 & 4: Model
17 2 Dr. Hatchback Coupe, 6-passenger
19 4 Dr. Sedan, 6-passenger
27 2 Dr. Coupe or Notchback Coupe, 4 or 6-passenger
35 4 Dr. Station Wagon
37 2 Dr. Sport Coupe, 6-passenger
47 2 Dr. Coupe, 6-passenger
69 4 Dr. Sedan, 6-passenger
80 El Camino
87 2 Dr. Sport Coupe, 4-passenger Camaro

Position 7: Assembly Plant
In 1972, plant codes changed to reflect the VIN code. For example, "NOR" = Norwood before 1972. In 1972 and on, it was simply "N".

A = Lakewood L = Van Nuys W = Willow Run 4 = Scarborough
B = Baltimore M = Lansing X = Fairfax 5 = Bowling Green
C = Lansing (B) N = Norwood Y=Wilmington 5 = London
D = Doraville P = Pontiac (Pontiac) Z = Fremont 6 = Oklahoma City
E = Linden Q = Detriot 1 = Wentzville 7 = Lordstown
F = Flint (Chevy) R = Arlington 1 = Oshawa #2 8 = Shreveport
G = Framingham S = St. Louis 2 = Moraine (T&B) 8 = Fujisawa (Japan) Luv
H = Flint (Buick) S = Ramos Arizpe 2 = St. Therese 9 = Detroit (Cadillac)
J = Janesville T = Tarrytown 3 = Detroit (T&B) 9 = Oshawa #1
K - Kosai U = Hamtramck 3 = St. Eustache 0 GM Truck Pontiac
K = Leeds V= Pontiac (GMC) 4 = Orion  

Cowl Tag, Trim Tag or Body Number Plate Decoding
Location on 1967 - 1969 Camaros is on firewall next to brake booster. From 1970 - 1981 it's facing up on the cowl panel as you open the hood, right near the windshield on the drivers side. 1982 - 1985 model location is under the hood on the radiator cross support. Mid 1984 models contain the body tag and a Service Parts Identification Label located in the center of the console cover). In 1986 the body tag is no longer used, replaced with just the Service Parts Identification Label (which is useless if you replace the console lid). The Service Parts ID Label contains VIN, option codes, paint type, paint code, convertible top code and interior trim code.

For additional tag info including Los Angeles Build codes: See Stegmillers Cowl Tag info page

Norwood built cowl tag decoding.
Read the tags from left to right, top to bottom. Additional detail may be hyperlinked and spans years. My individual yearly Camaro information also has a tag specific to the year contained in there, as well as a wide amount of color/trim information specific to that year. Where OPTIONAL is mentioned, this data may or may not be present. ** For example, if the car doesn't say Z27, it's 99.9% sure it's NOT a SS car.

Sample for years 1970 - 1973 (1971 shown)
  71 = Model Year
12487 = Model Description (Chevrolet Camaro, V8 2dr coupe)
NOR = Norwood Assembly Plant
158343 = Body sequence #
775 = Interior trim code (standard black vinal)
75 = lower body color (cranberry red)
75 = upper body color or vinal top code
03D = Build date (month/week).
Z28.19 = Accessory code, Z28, w/black stripes OPTIONAL

Sample for years 1974 - 1978 (1974 shown)
  74 = Model Year
1FQ87 = Model description
N = Norwood Assembly Plant
152322 = Body sequence #
798 = interior trim code
A51 = Seat code
74 = lower body paint color
74 = upper body paint color or vinal top code
02C = Build date. (month/week)
Z28 = Accessory CodeOPTIONAL
SAD = SADdle dashboard

Sample for years 1979 & 1980 (1980 Shown)
  80 = Model Year
03C = Build month & week.
1FP87 = model description
N = Norwood Assembly Plant
099640 = Body sequence #
74R interior trim code (dark carmine)
19L lower body color (Black)
19U = upper body color or vinal top code (black)
74A = stripe code (Carmine) Optional?
L = Paint Type (Lacquer)
A51 = Seat code
CC1 = T-Tops (or --- if not equipped)
A31 = Power Windows (or blank if not equipped)
Z28 Accessory code Optional
CAR = Steering Column & Dash color (Carmine)


Sample Cowl Tag - 1973

Example:
73   Model Year (1973)   778   Interior Trim (Dark Saddle)
1   Car Division (Chevrolet)   A51   Seat Type (Bucket)
FQ   Series (Camaro Base)   97   Lower Body Color (Medium Orange)
87   Body Style (2-dr. Sport Coupe)   97   Upper Body Color (Medium Orange)
N   Assembly Plant (Norwood, Ohio)   05B   Build Date (May, 2nd week)
158854   Body number   Z28   Accessory Code

Model Description - Combination of Car division, Series and body style. (extracted fromVIN)
Breaks out as 1|24|87.
1 = Division (chevrolet) |
23 = 6 cylinder Camaro (1970 - 1972)
24 = 8 cylinder Camaro (1970 - 1972)
FQ = Camaro Base level (1973 - 1978)
FS = Type LT (1973 - 1978)
FP = Camaro Base level (beginning in 1979)
FS = Berlinetta (beginning in 1979)
| 87 = body style (2 door coupe)

Assembly Plant - identifies which assembly plant built the car
Assembly plant code designation changed in 1973 from 3 characters to 1.
L (or LOS) = Van Nuys, N (or NOR) = Norwood
See above for additonal examples of assembly plants for other car lines.

Body Sequence Number - production serial number of the body, won't match the VIN sequence.

Trim Code - Indicates (interior) trim color and material.
Due to the wide variety of trim colors available, and especially after 1973 in which various dashboard, rug & fabric combinations were offered.... it's best to select the year you wish to decode from the drop box below.

Seat Type Code - Beginning in 1972, this code identifies the type of seat installed in the vehicle. Code A51 (front bucket seats) was the only type of seat available.

Paint Code - indicates the exterior paint color and vinyl top color if so equipped. A two part code indicates bottom and top colors respectively on a 2 tone paint option, or what color an optional stripe, convertible top or vinyl top was ordered. When a car has the same upper & lower code, it can be assumed the car was a solid color.

Due to the wide variety of colors available, and especially in later years in which color keyed wheels, dual or triple tone color schemes or stripes were used, it's best to select the model year car you want to decode from the drop box. In addition to the codes, I've added color chips where available.

Note: Starting in 1979, the trim tag could also contain the PAINT TYPE Code.
Paint Type Code: L = Lacquer, E = Enamel, W = Water
Starting in 1985 the paint types are:
DIS Lacquer - Dispersion Lacquer
SOL Lacquer - Solution Lacquer
BC CC - Base Coat/Clear Coat
Water - Enamel

Build Date - digit 1 & 2 identify month, 3rd digit identifies week.
Month code: 01 = Jan, 02 = Feb, 03 = Mar, 04 = Apr, 05 = May, 06 = Jun, 07 = Jul, 08 = Aug, 09 = Sep, 10 = Oct, 11 = Nov, 12 = Dec
Week code: A = 1st, B = 2nd, C = 3rd, D = 4th, E = 5th

Accessory codes (or optional information):
On Norwood cars, Z28 and SS (Z27) will be indicated here. In addition to the "FS" on Type LT's, a "S" may be in this area to signify Type LT's. In 1975 with the reintroduction of the Rally Sport, a Z85 will be in this position. In 1979 that designation was shortened to "Z". If the car was a standard sport coupe, this area would be blank.

If the car is a Super Sport, the tag will be stamped Z27. Next to this will be the engine RPO if it was a Big Block. (LS3, L78)

If the car was a Z28 the number next to the code is the stripe code. The stripe code corresponds with the year paint code. Blank = no stripes. 19 = black, 10 or 11 = white.

Stripe code in 1973 was
Blank = Wasn't ordered with D88 stripes | YF8 = black stripes | ZR8 = white stripes

One word of caution.... the "reproduction" (or counterfeiting) market is now making these tags for sale - stamped as the buyer desires. As such, extra scrutiny should be used in comparing the body tag, VIN, any other documentation, and the actual car, to look for oddities.

The other "demand" for these tags is not just to fake Z28's or Super Sports, but to restore a car, then get a trim tag to match the restored car and try and call it "100% original". Not many people want to meticulously restore a lime green car with tan interior.

Batch codes - Very few people know how to decode these. I'll put more in here later. With the counterfeiting of trim tags, this is the last code which could be used to scrutinize the trim tag as being straight up, or faked.

Engine Decoding/Identification
This file has gotten so large that I've split this file up and moved the engine identification information here.
Transmission Decoding/Identification
This file has gotten so large that I've split this file up and moved the transmission identification information to here.
Rear Axle Decoding/Identification
This file has gotten so large that I've split this file up and moved the rear axle identification information to here.

Last updated: 10/8/1998
Split out of Camaro info page 1/13/2001
Author: MadMike Maciolek
Email: madmike@nastyz28.com
Email: iracez28@alltel.net


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