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Discussion Starter #1
I bought this last week and went to the court house to license it today. The lady at the court house said the VIN should have 17 digits, mine only has 13 digits. The title says it is a 1981. She said I would have to take a picture of VIN tag and they would have to fax a copy of the title and a picture of the VIN plate to the DMV at the State Capital. I took some pics and had them verified and signed by a County Sheriff that the numbers on the car and the title matched I came back home because it was late and the court house had closed for the day. I got online and started doing some research after trying to decode the tags it appears I may have a 1980. Maybe the title has the wrong year on it???Here are some pics of the car and the tags. You can view more pics here.

http://s1209.photobucket.com/albums/cc385/Todd_Sappenfield/1981 El Camino/




VIN # 1W80KAK504020




Cowl Tag

80 03D 1AW80 K 139447
19V 19L 19U L
A52 20 0501



Can anyone tell me what year this really is? I am betting on 1980 with a mistake on the title. Hopefully it isn't to hard to get it straightened out at the court house tomorrow.
 

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The first number of the cowl tag is supposed to be the year. The 81 has horizontal grille slats, not vertical. I do not know which digit of the vin is the year, but that is what the state will use to determine the year.

Sent from my DROID RAZR using AutoGuide.Com Free App
 

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1 = Cheverolet
w = el camino
80 = 2dr Sedan Pick-up
K = V-6, 229cid
A = 1980
K = Leeds, MO
The rest are serial numbers
Donny
 

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Hey DDD , your SOOOO Scientific :You_Rock: .. you ought to be a Historian when you grow up :dontknow:
 

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Discussion Starter #5
So it is looking like it s a 1980. I may print this and take it with me to the court house Thanks guys !!!
Can anyone help decode the other info from the cowl tag?
 

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Well, i just read up on some things. 17 digits is standard after 1980. I guess i probably shouldve learned that sooner since my car is a 79!
Thanks for the lesson :beer:
 

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What year is

Let me add my 2 cents here. For a 1979 model the 6th digit is a "9". For a 1980 model the 6th digit(year) is an "A", 1981 is a "B".

1980 is the last year for the 13 digit VIN.

cowl tag: 80 model year 1980
03D build date-March,D-4th week
1 car division-Chevrolet
AW Series -Malibu/El Camino
80 2 dr pickup delivery
K assembly plant (Leeds) body
19V trim color - black
19L paint code - black lower
19U " black upper
L paint type - lacquer
A52 seat type - bench
20 ?
0501 ?

I hope this helps.

84
 

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Discussion Starter #12
I just got back from the court house this morning, the car is now titled in my name as a 1980 and it has the new plates on it! I want to say thank you to everyone who took their time to help me figure this out. It might not been near as easy if I would have had to depend on the people at the court house or at the state DMV to figure it out. Things go smoother when you have the correct information and answers.
 

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1 = Cheverolet
1 car didision-Chevrolet
The first number of the cowl tag is supposed to be the year.
Don't know where you guys are getting any of that from. A first position '1' means that the vehicle was built in the U.S., at least from 1981 on but I'm pretty sure that it also applies to the earlier ones.

First digit country codes:

1, 4, and 5 - USA
2 - Canada
3 - Mexico
6 - Australia
7 and 8 - Argentina
9 - Brazil
J - Japan
S - England
M - Thailand

Ask anyone that owns an 85-87 El Camino. It's VIN begins with a 3.....
 

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Don't know where you guys are getting any of that from. A first position '1' means that the vehicle was built in the U.S., at least from 1981 on but I'm pretty sure that it also applies to the earlier ones.

First digit country codes:

1, 4, and 5 - USA
2 - Canada
3 - Mexico
6 - Australia
7 and 8 - Argentina
9 - Brazil
J - Japan
S - England
M - Thailand

Ask anyone that owns an 85-87 El Camino. It's VIN begins with a 3.....
As per description in the GM heritage spec manual.

1 is Chevrolet
the year code is the sixth digit, A, which is 1980

there is no Country code listed in the spec manual for the 80 VINs. I suspect the country code was put into play from 81 onward. If memory serves me right, this would correspond with the influx of foriegn built products with GM nameplates,think Corolla w/Nova nameplate or Dae Woo products maybe.
The only reference to any country I found was a 1 at the fifth digit rather than K in this case. #1 being used fro GM Canada Oshawa plant 1
My 1980 also has a K in this position from Leeds MO as per info in the manual.
Not trying to be smarter than any of you guys, but like to keep he info straight.
 

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I've had problems insuring my 80 because of the whole 17 digit thing. Every time i get a new insurance card it says 81. I had to call my agent at least 3 time on this.:dontknow:
 

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OK guys,you are all correct,1980 was the last year for 13 digit VINs,& the 1 means Chevrolet Division.In 1981 the VIN changed to 17 digits & the 1 means USA,2 Canada.Thanks to my trusty VIN decoder for 1964-87 Chevelle,Malibu & El Camino
 

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logand4c
a word to the wise about the 229 V-6, they have a nasty habit of self destructing between 60,000 and 70,000 miles.Most came with a soft cam that ground itself to powder in short order. Mine was running fine at 65,000 and by 72,000 it was missing and not running right, pulled the plugs and dida compression check, nothing in 3 cyls. Now I have a 229 .40 over 10-1/2 pistons crane came and a edelbrock manifold & carb fastest V-6 around !!
 

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Hmm, now I got a vehicle with 11 digits - all legal. Try VC56KXXXXXX. And, no, it's not an Elky. Elkies were made yet. My '56 Chevy. The Elky has the 17-digits, but then, last year made.
 

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I suspect the country code was put into play from 81 onward.
Thanks for the correction. I wasn't really sure about prior to 81 but from 81 on it became the manditory industry standard.
 

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logand4c
another tid-bit about the 1980 model year.....DON'T BREAK THE GRILL !!!! there are no aftermarket manufactures of them......no replacements ....no O.E.M. no nothing for grills.
You can go billet, or 79,or 81 but no 80 ! :dontknow:
 
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