As the inventor of the automobile, Ford revolutionized the world with the Model A – which from the beginning even had VIN numbers! Technically, these were the engine numbers considered the “serial” numbers that would be the precursors to the standardized 17-digits we see in Ford VIN decoding today.
This number would continue to evolve throughout the decades, growing in length and location. On a Ford Mustang, for example, the VIN was located in several places, depending on the year manufactured:
- Inside the engine compartment, underneath the fender apron on the driver’s side.
- Before 1968, the VIN was found on the passenger side where the windshield and dashboard meet.
- After 1969, the VIN was located on the driver’s side where the windshield and dashboard meet, where it remains to modern day.
- From the years 1968 – 1973, a partial VIN was stamped near the back of the engine block
- On the data plate on the driver’s side doorjamb.
From the 1960s, Ford VIN decoding involved 11 digits, which would reveal the model year, assembly location, body type (convertible, hardtop, fastback, coupe, hatchback, etc.), engine, and consecutive production unit number. In 1981, in line with the Vehicle Identification Number standardization federally mandated in the United States, the VIN was extended to 17-digits. This would include a digit added to represent the safety system, along with a check digit used to verify the authenticity of the number for a free Ford VIN decoder.