How Do You Decode a Classic Car VIN?

Decode a classic car vehicle identification number using free online services such as, and decodes VINs for cars by most manufacturers as far back as 1953. decodes numbers for vehicles from 1950 to 1980 for automakers including Ford, Edsel, Mopar, General Motors and International Harvester.’s Tech Tips page features a VIN decoder for 1929 to 1964 Chevrolet trucks.

Launched in October 2006, decodes classic and modern cars through 2008. The website decoder offers data for car models such as standard and optional equipment, engine type, and other important vehicle information.

As of 2015, is working toward offering a single location for all VIN information that predates the 1981 standardization. The site’s decoder accepts Chevrolet truck serial numbers. When using automatic VIN decoders for vintage vehicles, do not add spaces or dashes, and be careful about typing numbers and letters, such as typing the number 0 instead of the letter O.

In 1954, when every motor vehicle manufacturer in the United States began using the vehicle identification numbering system, each manufacturer set its own standards in creating and assigning the numbers. Beginning in model year 1981, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration mandated that all VINs have a standard combination of 17 letters and numbers.