Dating your ('70-on) Volkswagen

revised 20-Sep-2006

There are several ways to find this out. Here are three:-

1) Contact VW

by letter to: Customer Service, Volkswagen AG, D-38436, Wolfsburg, Germany
(for a while now, Customer Service at Wolfsburg has been unable to help, but you can try)

or contact the VW Auto Museum at Wolfsburg:-

Susanne Wiersch
Stiftung AutoMuseum Volkswagen
Dieselstr. 35
Brieffach 0903

D-38446 Wolfsburg

Tel. 00 49 53 61 92 49 54   Fax 00 49 53 61 5 20 10


They can print a "Birth Certificate" for your car for a modest price (around 20 Euros).


2) Try your national VW Organisation

In the UK, contact:-

Volkswagen Group (United Kingdom) Ltd.
Customer Support
Yeomans Drive
Milton Keynes MK14 5AN

Phone 0800 711 811
Fax 01908 601 991

For Campers and other Type 2s: 
Phone 0800 783 4909  

3) Try to work it out yourself from the plates the factory fitted to your car

If you fancy trying number 3, the following will help. In any case, you'll learn something new about your car.

First you need to find one or two metal plates (modern ones have stickers):-

  1) The Chassis plate,   and   2) The Production plate (if fitted)

If your VW is pre-70 model year (pre-Aug 69), you will not find the production plate, and you will have to contact one of the addresses above, or estimate it from a comparison of chassis numbers. Sorry!

Click to jump air-cooled VW bit
The air-cooled Chassis Plate

The Chassis plate is found on the front panel on Beetles, Type 3s and Type 4s. Type 2s have a similar plate on the bulkhead behind the left-hand front seat, with extra details included.

The Chassis Plate may look something like this (especially if early 70s):-

A Type 3 chassis plate is shown above; if you have a Beetle, the VIN will start with a '1' ; a Type 2 (Bus) starts '2'; a Type 4 (411/412) starts '4'.

For vehicles from the 1965 model year, the third figure is the year:-

3rd figure 5 6 7 8 9 0 1 2 3 4

 ETC... From 1970 there is a fourth digit of a 2 (rarely a 3)
 to avoid earlier numbers being duplicated.

Model Year 65 66 67 68 69 70 71 72 73 74

From 1970 a '2' appears as the 4th figure, then the 6 figure serial number

Also, in a couple of years production exceeded 1,000,000 which makes the extra '2' become a '3'

    Thus 1*5 123456 is a 1965 Beetle, but 1*52 123456 or 1*53 012345 are 1975 Beetles.
    The * is a single number and depends on the body style of the vehicle (eg standard or Super).

Now you know the year of production, you need to find the day and month:

From August 1969, VW fixed a production plate which holds the information you need for the next step.

The Air-cooled Production Plate
This plate is found on Beetles, Type 3s and Type 4s on the front panel near the chassis plate, but painted in the body colour. It gives the production date as the week of the calendar year, and the weekday.

Thus this car was made on Monday, Week 18 (a 1971 calendar lets you work out the actual date). Its factory colour code is 21, which is Marina blue (shown in brochures).

For Type 2s, the details may be found on the plate behind the left-hand front seat. Look for a sequence like the one above. Mine (1974-model) is in the bottom left-hand corner of the plate; week 43, day 5 (Friday). I think some numbers on the plate are the factory extras fitted. The factory paint code figures for this should be 07 (Brilliant Orange) and 06 (Pastel white) but I see no certain indication of that.

42 052 165

922751 A41 072 191

43 5 7683 EN 2340 11

Week 43 for a 1974-model means week beginning 22nd October 1973, and a calendar reveals the build date as Friday 26th October 1973.

Latest :- VW has just (3/98) confirmed 26th Oct. 1973 as the date of production of the Camper (e-mailed to them at the above address)

Note for UK Volkswagen owners :-

The following vehicles were made before the end of Dec 1972, and qualify for historic vehicle class with free road tax (at the moment!) :- 

Beetles with chassis number up to 1132438833 (normal) or 1332438833 (Super) 
Buses up to 2*32102496 (where * is a single digit representing the model type). 
Type 3s up to 3132058500 (Fastback/Notchback) or 3632058500 (Squareback)
Type 4s (412s) up to about 4132040000 (more details needed to tie this one down).

Cabrios seem to have had chassis numbers allocated before Karmann finished them, so the date of manufacture is later than the chassis indicates.

Some Campers were fitted out in the UK and may be around a year older than their registration date, so it's worth checking M-reg vehicles. Some other VW models took a while to sell, and may have considerably later registrations than their manufacture date.

Contact VW at Milton Keynes 0800 711 811 for a confirmation letter for DVLA.

Contact Stiftung Auto Museum Volkswagen, Dieselstraße 35, 38446 Wolfsburg 1, Germany for a 'Birth certificate' which now costs 20 Euros (I think).

Surprisingly, the Camper was not registered until October 1974, with an 'N' year plate. However, now the UK Government has withdrawn the free tax concession for vehicles manufactured after December 31st 1972, it won't save me the tax after all. If this page helps you claim your rightful free tax, I shall be very pleased for you.

So now you can work out your car's date of manufacture to within a week or so (and maybe the exact day using a computer calendar or your old diaries!), and in some cases how to find out the original colour.

If you find any inconsistencies, please let Dave Hall know the details. There may be a rational explanation, but it may be a 'wrong-un'.


Welcome back water pumpers


VIN numbers since August '79: eg WVWZZZ86ZCW063993

International standards require a 17-digit VIN number now. This mysterious number is found on a plate or sticker as well as engraved on the body in letters about 1 cm high.

Its digits can be broken down to give details of car make and model type, year and place of manufacture and serial number. For VWs it's like this:-

Manufacturer’s mark Filler characters Model Type Filler characters Model year Production location Serial number
WVW ZZZ 86 Z C W 063 993
Volkswagen   Polo Est.   1982 Wolfsburg  

In the UK, vehicle numbers have a registration year letter, too (though personal plates mask this give-away!).

Model Year Code Letter A B C D E F G H J K L M N P R S T U V W X
Model Year (from August 1st of the previous year to July 31st) 80 81 82 83 84 85 86 87 88 89 90 91 92 93 94 95 96 97 98 99  00
UK Registr. Letter (Aug to July) V W X Y A B C D E F G H J K L M N P RS TV WX

From March 1998, the UK year letters have changed twice a year; on 1st March and 1st October.


The water-cooled Chassis Plate

This is found on the front panel by the engine cover lock, or on the inner wing. It is a rivetted plate about 8 cm by 4 cm. Recent models seem to have an adhesive sticker instead. It has the chassis / VIN number engraved, and the details of load etc.  It also has the production codes on it, as found on the production plate.

Awaiting photo of sample

of Chassis Plate


The water-cooled Production Plate

Since 1970 (at least), VW have added this information somewhere on the body when built.

Even the water-cooled VWs have this production plate; this bar-code version is fixed behind the grill on Chris' Polo CX, but the numbers are also engraved on the chassis plate on the front panel by the bonnet (hood) latch, or the right-side front inner wing. Newer models have it on a sticker on the suspension turrets, inner wings or other places. Another week 18, (but this time in 1983), and a Thursday, which makes it May 5th 1983.

So now you can work out your car's date of manufacture to within a week or so (and maybe the exact day using a computer calendar or your old diaries!).

An excellent site for decoding recent VW  VIN numbers is

Country Codes

This is the final letter before the 6-digit serial number at the end of the VIN.

eg for VIN WVWZZZ86ZCW063993 the last W before 063993 means Wolfsburg  

W    Wolfsburg, Germany
A     Ingolstadt, Germany
B     Brussels, Belgium
C     Taipei, Taiwan
D     Bratislava, Slovakia
E     Emden, Germany
G     Steyr/Graz, Austria
H     Hannover, Germany
J     Jakarta, Indonesia
K     Karmann, Osnabruck Germany
M     Puebla, Mexico

N     Neckarsulm, Germany
P     Mosel, Germany
R     Martorell, Barcelona, Spain
S     Stuttgart, Germany
T     Kvasiny, Czech Republic
U     Uitenhage, South Africa
V     Palmela, Portugal (previously Westmoreland, USA)
X     Poznan, Poland 
Y     Pamplona, Spain

1     Gyor, Hungary
2     Changchun, China
4     Curitiba, Brazil

If you find any inconsistencies, please let Dave Hall know the details. There may be a rational explanation!

© VW Type 3 & 4 Club; 1998 - 2019