Want to know where and when your car was ‘born’? It’s actually pretty simple. For North American models 1981 and up, your VIN can be read as follows:

If your car is a North American 1979 to 1980 model, or 1979-1985 outside of North America, your Vehicle Identification Number (VIN) might look like this:


SA – model code (SA = RX-7 1979-80)
2 – 2 door
2 – Engine Code (2=12A)
C Body Code (C=coupe)
500001 = serial number

In 1981 Vehicle Identification Numbers were standardized to the 17 character format. Though there is still minor variation between Asian, European, and North American based manufacturers (passenger car might show as ‘1’ or ‘3’, for example), virtually all VINS can be decoded using the above chart.

Model YearVIN codeNumber
1979SA22C500001 +
1980SA22C600001 +
1981FB33500001 + (North America)
1982FB33600001 +
1983FB33700001 +
1984FB33800001 +
1985FB33856209 +


The check digit helps to verify your VIN accuracy (to prevent forged VINs) It prevents the VINs of any two vehicles manufactured within a 30 year period from ever being identical.

After all other characters in the VIN have been determined by the manufacturer, the check digit is calculated by carrying out a mathematical computation. This is based on VIN position, sample VIN, assigned value code, weight factor and multiply assigned value times weight factors. The values are added and the total is divided by 11, and the numeric remainder (0-9) is the check digit number. If the remainder is 10 the letter “X” is used to designate the check digit value/number.