Vehicle Identification Number (VIN) and Cowl Tag Decoding

©2014, Full-Size Chevrolet Research Group
Edited by Warren Leunig
Version: Monday, 11-Aug-2014 03:21:20 EDT

VIN Information

  1. Vehicle Identification Number (VIN)
  2. Body Style Number
  3. 1964-1966 Canadian VIN Format
  4. Partial VIN Definition and Location

Cowl Tag Information

  1. Cowl Tag Decode
  2. Plant Code Chart
  3. Paint
  4. Interior
  5. Fisher Body Accessory Codes

Vehicle Identification Number (VIN)

The Vehicle Identification Number (VIN) for the fullsize Chevrolets built in the United States had 4 components – the model year, the body style, the assembly plant designation, and sequential serial number. 1964-1966 Canadian VIN’s had a different format, see Canadian. The VIN number plate can be found on 1964-1967 Chevrolets by looking at the A-pillar in the front door jamb. Starting in 1968, it was moved to the driver’s side dash panel and can be seen by looking through the windshield.

Up through 1964, the VIN number was 12 characters. This early format had the model year at the front followed by the body style, assembly plant designation and sequential serial number. Starting in 65, it changed to 13 characters. The only change was that the body style was now in front followed by the model year.

The year is identified by the last numeral in that year so 4=1964, 7=1967, 0=1970, etc.

Body Style Number

The body style number consists of three parts. The first part is always 1 to designate Chevrolet, 2nd for the series and 3rd for the specific body style. An odd third digit designates a 6 cyl. engine, while an even number designates an 8 cyl.

There were quite a few body style codes used from 1964-1970 due to the wide array of models available such as the Impala, Bel Air, Biscayne and Caprice. The Impala Super Sports even had their own body style code from 1964-1967. All body style codes in 1964 were four digits, which were changed to five for the 1965 model year. The basic format remained the same though.  In addition, the body style number also appears on the cowl tag, typically in a V8 format.

Sample 1964 body style breakdown – 1569
(1) Chevrolet
(5) Bel Air series (6-cyl)
(69) Four door sedan

Sample 1969 body style breakdown – 16639
(1) Chevrolet
(66) Caprice series (8-cyl)
(39) Four door sport sedan

Here is a chart showing all the body style numbers for each of the years. The majority of the assembly plants showed an 8 cyl. body style on the cowl tag, regardless of the engine size. However, some plants showed a 6 cyl. designation if the car was to have such an engine. When trying to figure out if your car had an L6 or V8, always go by the VIN number.

Here is a chart of VIN number assembly plant codes. Plant years in parenthesis

website page 1 assy plant vin chart

The last six digits of the VIN# are the sequential serial number. All assembly plants started at 100001 except in 1969. Number 2 would be 100002, etc. To find out your sequence number, you can subtract 100,000 from it. In 1969, all assembly plants except for Janesville and Lordstown start the sequence at 000001.

Sample 1964 VIN number decode – 41169S207810
(4) 1964
(1169) Biscayne 4-door sedan – 6 cyl. engine
(S) St Louis, MO assembly plant
(207810) 107,810th fullsize Chevrolet built at St. Louis, MO

Sample 1965-1970 VIN number decode – 164878J206840
(8) 1968
(16487) Impala 2-door sport coupe – 8 cyl. engine
(J) Janesville, WI assembly plant
(206840) 106,840th fullsize Chevrolet built at Janesville, WI

1964-1966 Canadian VIN Format

Before 1967, the Canadian VIN format was different than what was used in the U.S.  It started with the year followed by the body number and the sequential serial number.  No plant code was used.  The last six started at 000001.

Sample 1964-1966 Canadian VIN number decode – 516469012345
(5) 1965 (16469) Impala 4-door sedan
(012345) 12,345th fullsize Chevrolet built at Oshawa, Ontario

Partial VIN Definition and Location

In addition to the VIN plate, the partial VIN of the car was sometimes stamped on the body in up to two places.  Starting in 1967, the partial VIN was stamped on the top of the cowl (under the cowl vent panel) or on the firewall around the opening that would be covered by the heater or air conditioning box.

Cowl Tag Decode

The cowl tag is an aluminum tag attached to the firewall of the body. It contains interesting information pertaining to the body of the car such as what week it was built, the paint and interior colors and the options that would have required modifications to the body shell. In 1964, the cowl tag can be found on top of the firewall on the passenger’s side. Starting in 1965, it was moved to the front of the firewall on the driver’s side by the brake booster. The general format of the cowl tag remained the same from 1964-1970 and will be explained below. One exception is the cowl tags of cars built at Oshawa, Ontario (until 1967) and those assembled overseas. Those tags will be covered in a future update.

The body build date tells the month and week the body was produced. The date code starts with a number for the month, followed by a letter for the week. For the month: 01 = January, 05 = May, 09 = September and 12 = December, etc. For the week: A = 1st week of the month, B = 2nd, C = 3rd, D=4th and E=5th. In a few cases, the build date might vary such as the week being identified with a number. In 69, the location changed from the top line to under the interior code.

The top line can contain more information depending on the assembly plant. Some plants put a sequence number next to the date code or above the body number. The sequence number was used in the body plant for scheduling the shells to come down the line in order. A single letter can sometimes be found in this location as well, which usually identifies the interior paint code. That code can also be found on the protectoplate. During 1964 and 1965, the Euclid, OH plant, which produced convertible and wagon bodies for final assembly at Flint, MI stamped an F in that location. It is to denote the Flint plant and is not for the interior color.

2nd Line

The 2nd line (1st in 69/70) contains the year, body style number and assembly plant info. The year precedes the body style such as 64, 67, 70, etc. For information on decoding the body style, see the chart in the VIN number section. The body style on the cowl tag is typically in a V8 format, even if the car came with an L6 engine.  Some plants however, did stamp a L6 body style on the cowl tag if it was to be assembled with that engine.   In most cases, the assembly plant code is followed by either the sequential body number or the order confirmation number found on factory paperwork like the window sticker.

Plant Code Chart

Notes:

  • Oshawa starting using OS in 1967.  In previous years there was no plant designation on the cowl tag.
  • Euclid produced convertible and station wagon bodies for the Flint plant in 1964 and 1965.
  • The plant code for Los Angeles/Van Nuys changed mid-year in 1969 from LOS to VN.


3rd Line

Paint

The paint code can consist of letters, numbers or both. It varied by year. It was a three digit number up to 1965 when it became a letter. It returned to a number in 1969. The numerical code is listed in parenthesis next to the paint name. Note: Wilmington put the color of the wheels as a third letter (or 2nd on convertibles) in the paint code for 1965.

website paint code list

Two-tone Paint Codes

The typical two-tone paint code was a combination of two of the available paint codes as suggested by Chevrolet. In 1964, the paint code was a single three digit number between 952 and 995.

952 – Meadow Green/ Bahama Green
954 – Meadow Green/ Ermine White
959 – Silver Blue/ Ermine White
960 – Silver Blue/ Daytona Blue
965 – Lagoon Aqua/ Ermine White
971 – Desert Beige/ Saddle Tan
975 – Ember Red/ Desert Beige
982 – Satin Silver/ Daytona Blue
988 – Ermine White/ Azure Aqua
993 – Palomar Red/ Desert Beige
995 – Palomar Red/ Satin Silver

Convertible and Vinyl Tops

The convertible and vinyl top codes appear after the paint code and sometimes after the interior code. A number was used up to 69 when they changed to a letter.

In 67, the tan vinyl top color became light fawn instead of beige.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Interior

The interior code is a three digit number that shows the color, fabric type and style of the seats. A single letter or number can follow it. The Wilmington, DE assembly plant listed the interior paint code after it 1964-1968. Some plants listed the top (vinyl or convertible) color in this location with a number and some other assembly plants used a letter in 1966 and 1967 to signify the front seat type and whether it had headrests.

See the below interior charts for your year.

1964FawnAquaRedGreenBlueBlackSaddleSilverWhite/AquaWhite/Red
Biscayne
[wagon]
860 [861]852 [855]876 [877]  x   x   x   x   x   x   x
Belair863850872823839   x   x   x   x   x
Impala cloth866853874826842811857   x   x   x
Impala vinyl870847886829836814859   x   x   x
Impala Super Sport - bucket seats856   x879n/a831815862805845878

Note for 1964: Biscayne sedan interiors were cloth except for the 865 fawn fleet-type vinyl.  Wagons got vinyl interiors.

1965FawnAquaRedGreenBlueBlackSaddleWhite/AquaWhite/BlackSlate
Biscayne
[wagon]
860 [861]852 [855]876 [877]  x  x  x   x   x   x   x
Belair863850872823839   x   x   x   x   x
Impala cloth866853874826842811857   x  x   x
Impala vinyl870847886829836814859   x   x   x
Impala Super Sport - bucket seats856845879   x831815862845802805
Caprice858   x   x   x843817   x   x   x   x

Note for 1965: Biscayne sedan interiors were cloth except for the 865 fawn fleet-type vinyl.  Wagons got vinyl interiors.

1966FawnTurquoiseRedGreenBlueBlackIvoryBright BlueBronze
Biscayne
[wagon]
860 [861]   x876 [877]   x840 [832]   x   x   x   x
Belair
[wagon]
863 [867]850
[854]
872 [878]   x839 [833]   x   x   x   x
Impala cloth866853874826842811   x   x   x
Impala (all) & Caprice wagon (vinyl)870/859847871830836814   x   x   x
Impala Super Sport - bucket seats869/862846873830837813885844   x
Caprice
(strato-bench in parenthesis)
857 (868)   x   x   x843 (834)817 (818)   x   x   x
Caprice - bucket seats856848879   x831815   x   x891

Note for 1966: Biscayne and Belair sedan interiors were cloth except for the 865 fawn fleet-type vinyl.  Wagons got vinyl interiors.  The 869 SS interior became 862 in January of 1966.

1967FawnTurquoiseRedGoldBlueBlackWhiteBright BluePlum
Biscayne
[wagon]
801 [802]   x   x   x840 [832]812 [812]   x   x   x
Belair
[wagon]
803 [804]850
[854]
  x   x839 [833]819 [820]   x   x   x
Impala cloth   x853874 (Maroon)888842811   x   x   x
Impala (all) & Caprice wagon (vinyl)   x847871889836814894845   x
Impala Super Sport - bucket seats (strato-bench in parenthesis)   x   x873 (870)890 (885)   x813 (810)895 (898)844 (848)   x
Caprice   x   x   x887843817   x   x860
Caprice strato-bench
[vinyl in brackets]
  x   x   x886 [884]834 [835]818 [821]   x   x862
Caprice - bucket seats   x   x   x891837815   x   x   x

Note for 1967: Biscayne and belair sedan interiors were cloth except for the 865 fawn fleet-type vinyl.  Wagons got vinyl interiors.  The 812 black vinyl interior was available in both sedans and wagons.

1968Saddle (wagon only)TurquoiseRedGoldBlueBlackParchmentTealGray/Green
Biscayne837   x   x831816
[817-wagon]
802   x   x   x
Belair
[wagon]

[838]
843
[844]
  x832818
[819]
803, 811 [804]   x   x   x
Impala cloth   x842   x833820805   x   x853
Impala (all) & Caprice wagon (vinyl)839845 [wagon]866830821806858864   x
Impala Super Sport bucket seats   x   x868836   x812859862   x
Caprice
[vinyl in brackets]
  x   x   x834822
[815]
807
[814]
  x   x852
Caprice strato-bench   x   x   x835823808   x   x856
Caprice - bucket seats   x   x   x840824809   x   x857

Note for 1968: The 802 black vinyl interior was available in both Biscayne sedans and wagons.  Black and blue vinyl interiors were available in all Belairs but wagons had a different code (804) for black than sedans (811).

1969Saddle (wagon only)TurquoiseRedGoldMed. BlueDark BlueBlackParchmentMed. GreenDark Green
Biscayne/Brookwood831   x   x   x816 [815 wagon]   x802   x849 (Biscayne)   x
Belair/Townsman
[vinyl in parenthesis]
838   x   x   x818 (819)   x803, (804)   x850
[851 wagon]
848
Impala cloth   x844   x837   x820805   x852860
Impala (all) & Kingswood wagon (vinyl)(830)   x866   x   x821806858853861
Impala bucket seats   x   x867   x   x   x812859854   x
Caprice (knit in parenthesis)   x846   x840822(826)807 (813)   x856(855)
Caprice - bucket seats   x   x   x   x   x824809   x862857

Note for 1969: The 808 black Caprice interior was the only strato-bench seat available for 1969

1970Saddle (wagon only)TurquoiseRedGoldMed. BlueDark BlueBlackSandalwoodDark Green
Biscayne and Brookwood831   x   x843 (Biscayne)815   x802   x   x
Belair
[Townsman]
[838]   x   x   x818 [819]   x803, 804 [804]   x848
Impala cloth   x844   x837820   x805   x860
Impala (all) & Kingswood wagon (vinyl)830   x866841821   x806828861
Caprice   x845   x840822826813870855

On some assembly plants (except Wilmington, DE) in 1966 and 1967, a letter was used after the interior code to indicate the front seat type.

  • A – Bench seat
  • B – Bucket seats
  • D – Strato-bench seat
  • E – Bench seat with headrests
  • L – Strato-bench seat with headrests
  • S – Bucket seats with headrests


Accessory Codes

Below is a table of Fisher Body codes for the 1964-1967 Fullsize Chevrolets.  There is no known factory documentation that lists every code so most of these were confirmed by comparing original cars to the codes on the tag.  If you have seen any not on this list or can help confirm any, please contact us.





 

If you have any data to contribute to the research of these accessory codes, we would love to see it!  In addition to these codes, some plants used the full RPO code on the cowl tag.  You can find most of these in the above charts but there are a few you won’t see there.

M11 – 3spd manual transmission on the column (if optional transmission not ordered)

B80 – Roof drip molding

B90 – Door window frame moldings

C08 – Vinyl top

51 comments for “Vehicle Identification Number (VIN) and Cowl Tag Decoding

  1. admin
    December 2, 2016 at 8:57 pm

    Should be an N. You sure it’s not an N?

  2. Lee Ann
    December 10, 2016 at 5:18 pm

    How can I tell from the vin number whether my impala ss had a 396 or 427 in it??

    • admin
      December 18, 2016 at 9:13 pm

      No, it will only tell you if it has a L6 or V8

  3. Taylor
    December 16, 2016 at 3:20 pm

    Hi,

    Is there any way to figure out how many 1966 Impalas were ordered with the L35 RPO code? I can find similar data for Chevelles and El Caminos but not for Impalas.

    Thank you

    • admin
      December 18, 2016 at 9:15 pm

      Can’t tell toy how many Impalas but across all fullsize built in 66, 105,844 had the L35 396 engine

    • April 12, 2017 at 8:42 pm

      There were 33,480 1966 Impalas built with the L35 Motor.
      This includes all Impala coupes, convertibles and SS models.

      Paul

      • April 12, 2017 at 8:47 pm

        Make that 47,083 I didn’t add the 4-Dr’s and wagons.

        Paul

  4. Peter
    January 13, 2017 at 3:40 pm

    How many 1965 Impalas had L35 engines?

    • admin
      January 18, 2017 at 9:21 pm

      55,454 across all 65 fullsize models

    • April 12, 2017 at 8:52 pm

      Total of 43,317 1965 Impalas were built with the L35 motor.

      Paul

  5. Ryan
    January 28, 2017 at 11:51 am

    Is there somewhere you can find out how many were produced of each series. Such as how many Customs were made in 1970?

    • admin
      February 12, 2017 at 4:10 pm

      I am working on a spreadsheet that will have that information

  6. Dennis
    February 12, 2017 at 10:14 am

    I have an engine in my 1968 Corvette, with this code: 18D148994 T0810HC
    The block casting # is 3914660.
    I know it is not a Corvette engine, but can you tell me what model it was originally built into. It looks like it could have been a Biscayne, Bel Air, Impala or a Caprice. Is there any way to break it down to exactly which model?

    • admin
      February 12, 2017 at 4:13 pm

      No way to tell what model based on those numbers and I didn’t have that car in my research database. Most likely it came in a Caprice or Impala.

  7. February 17, 2017 at 1:29 am

    Warren, I have a ’65 Biscayne (Canadian, 1 of 1,482 sold in Canada)
    I have decoded a fair bit myself, but can’t decode RPO R27. Any ideas?

    I am BowtieGent on ChevyTalk.

    Thanks in advance.

    • admin
      February 28, 2017 at 4:54 pm

      Never heard of that one! There are a number of unknown Canadian specific RPO codes.

      • Cameron Milne
        May 30, 2017 at 8:27 pm

        RPO T27 is for a specific set of special tires; in this case 7.75-15 (that’s fifteen) 8-ply rating Rayon blackwall tube-type. In 1965 T27 was only offered on 15369 & 15469 models (Biscayne 6 & 8-cylinder 4-door sedans). Perfect for thrifty people that live on rough, rural roads.

  8. Max V.
    March 10, 2017 at 7:48 pm

    My 65 SS impala has paint code S-S I know S is siera tan which is the color of the car just don’t know why it’s coded with S dash S ??????

    • admin
      March 11, 2017 at 2:55 pm

      That means top and bottom are both Sierra Tan

  9. April 9, 2017 at 6:08 pm

    I discovered your site this afternoon, and it has been quite informative! I have a question regarding the paint code on my 64 Chevrolet Biscayne 4-door sedan. The trim and paint code is 860. I see from your chart that the trim color is fawn, but I do not see an 860 in your paint chart for 1964. If I am not mistaken, the original colors were a white top and a copper-ish body.

    • admin
      April 11, 2017 at 7:42 pm

      Got a picture of the tag?

  10. eder castro
    April 24, 2017 at 12:37 pm

    Good afternoon, I would like to know the location of the chassis serial (VIN) of a chevrolet impala 1967

    • admin
      May 10, 2017 at 7:34 pm

      top of frame behind rear wheel well on driver’s side

  11. Dennis
    May 3, 2017 at 8:16 am

    I have a 1966 Impala SS with an Accessory Code Group 1 – C08 ?
    Group 2 – C60 which is air conditioning. Any ideas what the first code is?

    • admin
      May 10, 2017 at 7:36 pm

      vinyl top

  12. Dan
    June 26, 2017 at 6:28 pm

    I have some accessory codes not found on this list on my 65 impala, they are:
    W2S
    305W

    • admin
      July 17, 2017 at 9:00 pm

      1W tinted windshield
      2S rear antenna
      3C padded dash
      5W front deluxe seat belts with retractors

  13. Maurice
    July 12, 2017 at 1:23 am

    My tag says Style 16667 which I know is a V8 Impala SS Convertible. Beside it says 1-2-23 what does this mean ?
    As well it says Body 137400, what does this mean ?
    ( it is a Cdn car sold in Vancouver BC )
    Thanks.

    • admin
      July 17, 2017 at 9:09 pm

      1-2-23 means body built 2/23 1st shift. 137400 is an order related number.

  14. July 12, 2017 at 8:41 pm

    you’ve been very helpful have a 66 Impala after the 66 – 16437 to the right size BT20705 any ideas on their meaning . it’s off paint code tag. Plus above to left, has 05D723 any ideas on them also.. Thank you in advance.

    • admin
      July 17, 2017 at 9:10 pm

      BT is Arlington, TX plant followed by sequential body number.
      05D body built 4th week of May
      723 is internal plant number

  15. Gerald McCracken
    July 23, 2017 at 9:21 am

    2 questions.
    66 chevy Biscayne, 2 dr L72
    1. 4th group 310?
    2. F & SO-COPO numbers 178428?

    I order this car new, but don’t know these?

    • admin
      July 25, 2017 at 11:39 am

      310 is a internal plant number (doesn’t decode to anything).
      178428 is the ident number found at the top of the window sticker.

  16. Michelle Prenovitz
    August 8, 2017 at 9:24 pm

    Can you help me figure out what I think are the accessory codes?

    4th line: W 2LS
    5th line: – – 21.5783

    I’m thinking tinted windshield, 4 speed transmission – wide ratio, rear antennae

    Not sure what the rest means. Any help would be appreciated. Thanks

    • admin
      October 6, 2017 at 10:40 pm

      6 digit number on bottom line is the ident number. appears in top left of window sticker

  17. george murphy
    August 9, 2017 at 1:18 am

    I have a 1965 impala ss and I cant figure out what stamped #s mean TO522LF then the next six #s are the last six of my vin.well after finding this site.I think the T means where motor was built.I know the car was built 06 third week of 65.cant find a build sheet in car,and theres a big S stamped on the cowl tag.right under paint codes.the S is really big and looks out of place.the car is a 396 4spd I think the trans, is a muncie m21.but cant tell if this is a LS8 or L37 or somthing else??

    • admin
      October 6, 2017 at 10:41 pm

      L35 396/325HP

  18. William R Griffin
    August 9, 2017 at 3:10 pm

    The last line on my 1964 Impala body data plate has “W2M”, it also has a “14” stamped in the middle of the plate. The W is a tinted front windshield, don’t know about the “2M”. It is a 2 door sport coupe hardtop with a V8 (327/300) with automatic transmission (two-speed). It doesn’t fit the Group Code sequence.

    • admin
      October 6, 2017 at 10:42 pm

      2M is powerglide trans

  19. Juan Torres
    September 4, 2017 at 9:57 am

    I have a 63 Chevy Impala SS, the engine code on the block says TI03ID can you tell me what engine I have in it ? Thanks

    • admin
      October 6, 2017 at 10:43 pm

      283

  20. Gary S Owen
    September 5, 2017 at 9:37 am

    How can I tell when a 1966 Impala was manufactured? The last 7 digits are J240821. Apparently there are 2 different gasket kits for the convertible top.

    • admin
      October 6, 2017 at 10:46 pm

      Janesville, WI

  21. Gary Hofmeister
    September 16, 2017 at 3:30 pm

    A friend’s Impala SS is fairly optioned out with a build date of 06B from St. Louis. I was showing him how to decode his trim tag but BODY = S217BB which seems like a very low number and what is the BB meaning? Also, the tag has a hand-stamped “17” in 1/2 inch size placed at an angle on the tag. Can you help with the S217BB and 17 meanings? Thank you so much.

    • admin
      October 6, 2017 at 10:46 pm

      17 is inspectors number. Body number is probably SL 21788

  22. phil
    September 17, 2017 at 11:26 am

    1961 4door belair id# TO425d is this a 1961 ,283?

    • admin
      October 6, 2017 at 10:47 pm

      Yes

  23. Matt
    October 1, 2017 at 1:28 pm

    1964 Canadian vin is 11 digits not 12.
    My 64 imala sport coupe with a L6 reads
    41747000000 paint is W & int is 842
    I don’t know what UG3 is at the bottom of data tag
    Great info site you have here.
    Matt

    • admin
      October 6, 2017 at 10:49 pm

      Maybe UG3 is U63?

  24. Fernando Castellao
    October 2, 2017 at 12:00 pm

    Hello, Congratulations on the great work on the site, it is helping me a lot,
    I have a 1966 Impala SL here in Brazil, and in the field of color appears the letters CC, I am in doubt of which would be the exact color, after all C is white but CC, what will be?
    Thank you, Fernando

    • admin
      October 6, 2017 at 10:49 pm

      CC is Ermine White paint, upper and lower

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