Chrysler VIN Decoding, 1926 - 2005: Dodge, Plymouth, DeSoto, Jeep
These codes are valid in the United States and Canada. Other parts of the world may have different codes.
Anything you could add would be appreciated. Information was gathered from a wide variety of sources but mainly Chrysler materials. Thanks to Chris J. Carpenter for helping us compile much of this information, and to Kelsey Wright the final wrap-up. See the AMC VIN decoding page, engine codes page, and a very preliminary body tag page.
Warning: Federal law makes alteration of the VIN plate a felony punishable by up to $10,000 and ten years in prison. This means you cannot replace a VIN plate yourself, even when swapping dashboards or such; you need to have this done by a licensed mechanic working with a dealer, and filing all necessary paperwork. This also applies to any material changes to the overall VIN plate including paintwork.
1926 to 1958
From 1926 to 1930, Chrysler used the FEDCO system, which had numbers and letters. The letters were actually numbers, decoded according to the following guide, which honored leader W.P. Chrysled. Once translated to serial numbers, one must still know what runs belonged to each car.
From 1931 to 1954, Chrysler used mostly all-numeric codes (with some exceptions) that were sequential for given models. Some of these are described in Gerard Wilson's articles (e.g. 1946-48). In 1955, Chrysler started putting more information into their VINs, with 1 being the make (e.g. C = Chrysler), 2 and 3 being the year (e.g. 55 for 1955), and the remainder being a sequential build number. In 1958, Chrysler switched the year to the first letter (it was L), and the second two places were for the car model.
Randy Knox wrote:
I have a 1954 letter from Edgar Kaiser to Kaiser-Willys dealers and distributors, saying that the U.S. Government had requested that the Automobile Manufacturers Association and the auto manufacturers get together and resolve the vehicle ID system problem. ... With the incompatible registration systems, cars were difficult to track between states, as were stolen cars. The letter detailed an agreement to be implemented by all U.S. manufacturers in 1955, including a manufacturer-specific standardized numbering system within the guidelines (to be called the "Vehicle Identification Number") and, to aid the police on stolen vehicles, stamping that VIN in several places on the frame, shown in Edgar’s letter. This new-for-1955 VIN is still evolving!
The modern age for Chrysler VINs began in 1959. The first digit was the model year - M for 1959; the second was the brand; the third was the series; and the fourth was the assembly plant, finally making its way into the VIN. The next five digits were the build number, again sequential, so that car 100001 was the first car made. (It would take decades for the company to stop using sequential numbers).
VINs were stamped onto a metal plate which is attached either just under the windshield on the driver’s side (so it’s visible through the windshield), or on the driver’s door body hinge post.
1959: Plymouth, DeSoto, Dodge, Chrysler, Imperial
For 1959 only in this series, “M” was the first digit for the model year, followed by the brand (1 = Plymouth Six, 2 = Plymouth V8, 3 = Dodge, 4 = DeSoto, 5 = Chrysler, 6 = Imperial, 7 = Dodge Canada). The third digit was the series (see below) and the fourth digit was the plant, using the codes shown in 1960-65; the rest were the sequence number. This setup might have been car-only.
|0 = Coronet Six|
1 = Coronet V8, Firesweep, Windsor, Imperial
3 = Savoy, Royal, Firedome, Saratoga, Crown, Regent (Canada)
5 = Belvedere, Custom Royal, Fireflite, New Yorker, LeBaron, Mayfair (Canada)
|6 = Fury, Dodge/DeSoto 6 Taxi, Viscount (Canada)|
7 = Suburban (Plymouth, Dodge, DeSoto, and Chrysler wagon)
8 = Plymouth Taxi, Dodge/DeSoto V8 taxi
9 = Sport Fury, D500, DeSoto Adventurer, Chrysler 300
For 1959, plant codes were somewhat different from 1960-65: 1 = Jefferson Ave, 2 = Dodge Main, 3 = Evansville, 4 = Los Angeles, 5 = Newark, 6 = Lynch Road, 7 = Imperial, 8 = St. Louis
1960-1965 Series and VINs
The car lines spread out in 1965. We'll break out 1960-64 from 1965 later. This setup might have been car-only.
|Car Line, 1960-64**||Series||Year||Plant||Identifier|
|1 - Valiant|
2 - Plymouth Six
3- Plymouth 8
4- Dodge 6
5- Dodge V8*
6 - Varies, see*
7 - Varies, see*
8 - Chrysler
9 - Imperial
L - Dart V8
See guide below
1 - Lynch Road (Detroit)
This series basically follows the pattern of 1 = Low, 2 = Medium, 3 = High, 4 = Premium; 5 = Low Station Wagon, 6 = Medium Station Wagon, 7 = High Station Wagon; 8 = Taxi, 9 = Police, 0 = Fleet/Special.
* for 1963-64, 5 = Dodge 880. 6 = Matadora/Polara (1960), DeSoto (1961), Dodge 880 (1962), Dodge V8 (1963-64). 7=DeSoto (1960), Lancer (1961-62), Dart 6 (1963-64).
** 1965: 1 = Valiant 6. V = Valiant 273. 2 = Dart 6. L = Dart V8. 3,4,5 = Plymouth Six. P,R,W = Plymouth 8. D=Dodge, C=Chrysler, Y=Imperial
- Valiant V100, Lancer/Dart 170, Belvedere I, Coronet Deluxe, 330, 880, Savoy, Polara, Newport, Custom, Seneca, Matador, Savoy, Windsor, Crown, LeBaron
- Belvedere, 440, Coronet, Dart 330, 300 “non-letter”, Crown, Pioneer, Saratoga
- Valiant V200, Lancer 770, New Yorker, LeBaron, Dart 270, Belvedere II, Coronet 440, Fury, Polara, Phoenix
- Signet, Barracuda, Polara 500, Lancer GT, 300H, Dart GT, Satellite, Coronet 500, Sport Fury, 300 letter cars
- Wagons: Valiant V100, Dart 170, Lancer 170, Town & Country, 880, Belvedere I, Coronet, Savoy, 330, Seneca, Matador, Windsor
- Pioneer, Belvedere, and Dart 330 Wagons
- Wagons: Valiant V200, Lancer 770, New Yorker Town & Country, Suburban, Dart 270, Belvedere II, Coronet 440, Fury, Polara
0 = (1962) Fleet, (1963) Fleet, 880, or 300 Pace Setter, (1964-65) Belvedere and Coronet Super Stock
1966-67 Chrysler Corporation VIN decoding (with Dodge and Plymouth cars)
We’re missing Chrysler and Imperial from the following (that’s probably obvious). This setup might have been car-only.
|Car Line||Series||Body||Engine||Model Year||Plant||Serial Number|
6 = 1966
|See 1964-65 |
8 = Export
- E: Belvedere or Coronet fleet
- L: Valiant 100, Dart 170, Belvedere I, Coronet Deluxe
- H: Valiant 200 and Signet; Dart 270; Belvedere II; Coronet 440; Barracuda
- K: Police Belvedere or Coronet; Super Stock Belvedere II or Coronet 440
- P: Barracuda, Charger, Coronet 500, Dart GT, Satellite
- S: GTX, Coronet R/T
- T: Belvedere or Coronet taxi
1968-1980 VINS (13 characters): Chrysler and AMC
The year position is a single digit, so “0” means both 1970 and 1980 (as an example). The first seven digits are meaningful; the last 6 are just a serial number. This setup was almost certainly car-only — not applicable to trucks.
|Car Line||Price Class||Doors||Body||Engine||Year||Plant|
E - Economy
2 or 4
|First digit is the |
number of doors
(2 or 4)
1 - sedan
2 - B-pillared hardtop
3 - hardtop
4 - hatchback
5 - 2-seat wagon
6 - 3-seat wagon
7 - convertible
9 - coupe / special
A - Lynch Road
Post-1980 Mopar VINs had 17 characters (the change was made to conform to Federal law). The 12th-17th numbers are a unique, nonsequential code. These applied to trucks as well as cars.
|Country||Brand||Type of Car||Safety System/GVWR**||Car Line||Series||Body||Engine||“Check Digit”||Model Year||Plant|
|Country of origin:
Type of car:
Safety System / Gross Vehicle Weight:
* Hamtramck = Dodge Main. Wyoming = Export. New Stanton was sold to Volkswagen the early 1970s and Bramalea was acquired with AMC in 1987 (renamed Brampton in 1992); Los Angeles was closed and Bloomington added. See all factories.
**GVWR = Gross Vehicle Weight Rating
*** Series for Wrangler: 2 = Base and Sport; 3 = Unlimited Sport; 5 = Sahara; 6 = Rubicon.
For Nitro, 2 = SE, 4 = Heat, 5 = SXT, 6 = Detonator, 7 = Shock; 2 and 5 include exports.
For Liberty, 2 = Sport, 3 = Renegade, 5 = Limited; for Grand Cherokee, 4 = Laredo, 5 = Ltd, 6 = Overland, 7 = SRT
for LX cars: 3 = Limited/SXT, 4 = LX/D/E/, 5 = Touring/R/T, 6 = 300C, 7 = SRT8
To protect the consumer from theft and possible fraud the manufacturer is required to include a "check digit" at the ninth position of the VIN. The check digit is used by the manufacturer and government agencies to verify the authenticity of the vehicle and official documentation. The formula to use the check digit is not released to the general public.
2009 and onwards
|Country||Brand||Type||GVWR or Safety||Car Line||Series||Body Style||Engine||“Check Digit”||Model Year||Plant|
* Brand = Assembler ... Type: Jeep JK=4. .
NHTSA required vehicles made after April 29, 2009, to use slightly different VINs. The manufacturer space moved; and the year required two spots (in vehicles with a gross weight rating below 10,001 lb). If position 7 is numeric, the model year (in position 10) is a year in 1980-2009; in position 7 is a letter, then position 10 is a year from 2010-2039. For higher-capacity vehicles, along with motorcycles, trailers, and low-speed vehicles, the year code is simply repeated in position 10. Plant and engine codes appear to continue.
2012 and onwards
oh2o wrote, “There was a VIN structure change starting with the 2012 model year because the first three characters of the VIN were being overwhelmed by detail (the first 3 characters of the VIN are really meant to identify the manufacturer). Because of this, the world was rapidly running out of available combinations for the first three characters. To fix the problem, the additional detail is now being included in VIN positions 5-7, which are controlled internally by each manufacturer.
|Country||Brand||Type||GVWR or Safety||Car Line||Series||Style/Level||Engine||“Check Digit”||Model Year||Plant|
Example: 2C3CLAAG1CH100456 = Canada, Chrysler, Passenger-Car; C = Active belts, front airbags, side airbags for all rows; L = Lancia; A = "Marketing Name;" A = Touring; G = Pentastar V6; 1=check digit; C = 2012; H = Bramalea.
AMC-Jeep Engine Types
1982-2004 automated Chrysler VIN Decoder
See the AMC VIN decoding page.