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Old 01-18-2008, 04:55 AM
wildcatmatt wildcatmatt is offline
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Location: Greater Binghamton, NY, USA
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Mein Auto: 1997 Volvo 850 T5
VIN Decoders and 1970-1973 Models


I've been working on a project to create a vintage vehicle VIN decoder. Given that there are a number of decoders already for BMWs this may seem like tilting at windmills but I'm hoping to eventually have one integrated decoder for all North American imports from 1965 to 1980.

I have a number of sources, including the Standard Catalog of Imported Cars and a Chassis Number chart from This seems to give me pretty good coverage and I certainly don't expect to reach 100% coverage given grey-market importation and such. Here's where I run into trouble.

I've done spot checking of my VIN tables against the other decoders, and with one exception I've been able to reasonably validate everything from 1974-1980. However, every chassis number I've tried from 1970-1973 and curiously, also the 1974 Bavaria come back in the existing decoders as either not found/invalid, or else for 1985-1988 models. Here are a couple of examples:

Using either or, If I use 1560001, supposedly a 1970 1602 (USA) model, the decoders tell me it is a 320i made in January 1986. Or 2760001, allegedly the start for a 1972 2002tii (USA), which shows not valid. I have a cache of actual chassis numbers culled from eBay as well for sampling/error checking, and NONE of those numbers validate either.

I know from experience that there's always a few strange numbers here and there that defy the system, and there are always a few errors that sneak in here or there, I've gotten pretty good at compensating for that. But here I have two sets of sources that completely disagree with each other.

Can anyone shed any light on this?
Wildcat Matt  |  "I love it when a plan comes together!" - Hannibal Smith
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Old 01-26-2008, 05:25 PM
cookin cookin is offline
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Location: Romania
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Mein Auto: Bucharest
Bmw complete VIN Decoder
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Old 03-16-2011, 08:07 PM
bjm442 bjm442 is offline
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Location: chicago
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Mein Auto: 2004 X3 & 1999 323i vert
Any update on this?
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Old 03-20-2011, 05:19 PM
atm619 atm619 is offline
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Location: san diego
Join Date: Dec 2008
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Mein Auto: 1975 3.0si, 1972 bavaria,
been trying to find info with the vin numbers on four cars, a 73 3.0s polaris PVC-frei, which i cant find the color code for there were a few different tones for the polaris, im looking for this specific one i know i might have to go with 060 which is polaris. does any one know if its the same?
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Old 03-23-2011, 12:48 PM
HB Chris HB Chris is offline
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Location: Huntington Beach, CA
Join Date: Oct 2007
Posts: 28
Mein Auto: 1973 3.0CS, 1969 2002
They are the same, code is on the Karmann plate in your driver door jamb between the two hinges.
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