Vehicle Identification Number (VIN) Information
The 17-digit Vehicle Identification Number can be found in two places on the DeLorean car. One is on the small metal plate in the upper left corner of the dashboard (in front of the driver, forward of the speedometer housing), attached with either pop rivets or glued in place. The second is the Federal Compliance plate which is attached with pop rivets to the infill panel at about knee level in the driver's side (LHD cars) door jamb. This plate also has the month and year that the car was built.
SCE = World Manufacturer Code
D = Car Line
T = Series
2 = Body Type (2 door)
6 = Engine (all were 2.8 liter V6)
T = Restraint System (Active, meaning the user has to actively utilize it)
X = Check Digit (mathematically calculated to verify the complete VIN)
B, C or D = Model Year (B=1981, C=1982, D=1983)
D = Plant of Manufacture (Dunmurry)
000000 = Serial Number
The first production car carries VIN 000500 and 1981 production ended at the end of November 1981 with VIN 007199.
1982 production began in December 1981 with VIN 010001, but the complete VIN series for the 1982 and 1983 models are subject to debate. The factory stopped shipping cars to the states in early 1982, though assembly of cars continued up until May of 1982. More than 1,000 cars with 1982 VIN's were given revised VIN's by the company (Consolidated International) that bought these cars and parts from the Receiver in October of 1982. The reason for this was that by the time these already assembled 1982 models were shipped to the states, it would be well into the 1983 model year, and these new cars would already appear to be one year old. This was an important distinction because at that time many finance companies would not finance a car as "new" when it was more than one model year old.
These cars, originally with VIN's ending in CD010XXX, CD011XXX and CD012XXX had their VIN plates replaced with DD015XXX, DD016XXX and DD017XXX numbers before shipment to the states. Evidence of this is most plainly seen by removing the headliners of these cars, where in almost all cases, the original VIN was written during production. Most, if not all of these cars also have the dash VIN plate glued on, rather than pop-riveted, owing to the difficulty of pop-riveting a dash plate into a dash with the windshield installed.
Therefore it is possible to have a DeLorean with a VIN ending in 15XXX that was actually built before a DeLorean with a VIN ending in 11XXX.
When Consolidated purchased the completed cars, they also bought the cars sitting (partially assembled) on the then-idled production line. Consolidated brought back some former employees to complete these cars, which were given DD020XXX VIN's.
NOTES: The last 5 digits of the VIN are also often written on the door under the headliner. It is also common to find a 5-digit VIN written on the frame after removing the rear bumper. The handwritten number of the fame rarely if ever matches that of the car; it will typically be off by a few numbers as things moved around a bit during assembly. There is also a number welded on the frame. It bears no relationship to the vehicle's VIN. There is also a number on a metal plate riveted to the engine block. It bears no relationship to the vehicle's VIN.
The DeLorean Museum has factory records for several thousand cars that do indicate the serial numbers of engines and the VIN's of the cars. That would be the only way to determine a "numbers matching" DeLorean.
Written by James Espey, DeLorean Motor Company (Texas)