Matching Numbers 1968-1982

A Guide to 68-82 Corvettes

BY: Bob Kroupa of Vette-N-Vestments

As stated in our previous matching numbers article on the 1953-1967, a "matching numbers" Corvette can add thousands of dollars to its value.

A matching number Corvette refers to the original Corvette motor that was installed where the Corvette was built. The production number of the Corvette, which is the last 6 digits of the serial number or VIN (vehicle identification numbers), is stamped on the motor, thus matching the production number to the original motor.

The location of the VIN number on the 1968-1982 models was relocated from the previous models. The VIN number on the 1968-1982 models can be found on the inside driver's windshield post. The numbers can be seen by simply by looking at the location from the outside of the vehicle.

The VIN number identification for the 1968-1971 models was a carryover from the previous years. A VIN of 194678S400025 represents the following:

The first digit "1" identifies the Division of General Motors Chevrolet.
The second and third digits "94" identify the series Corvette.
The fourth and fifth digits identify the body style, 37 = T- Top, 67 = Convertible.
The sixth digit identifies the model year (8) or 1968.
The seventh digit identifies the assembly location (S) or St. Louis.
The last six digits identify the build sequence of the Corvette. In the example above, this was a 1968 Corvette Convertible that was the 25th one built.

The 1972 Corvette VIN number was changed and additional information related to the installed engine was added. With the new VIN number, one could tell if the Corvette was built with the base motor or one of the optional, high performance motors. This practice would continue through the 1980 model year.

Assuming a 1972 Corvette had a VIN of 1Z37W2S500033, the breakdown is as follows:

The first digit identifies the Division 1 = Chevrolet.
The second digit identifies the series, Z = Corvette.
The third and fourth digits identifies the body style: 37 = T- Top, 67 = Convertible.
The fifth digit identifies the engine: K = base motor, L = LT- 1, W = LS-4 (454).
The sixth digit identifies the model year 2 = 1972.
The seventh digit identifies the assembly location, again S = St. Louis, MO.
The last six digits identify the build sequence of the Corvette. In this example, it was a 1972 T-Top with the optional LS-4 (454) motor and was the 33rd Corvette built in 1972.

The motor identification 5th digit continued through the 1980 model year when more than the base motor was available. Following are fifth digit code identifications for the respective years:

1972: K = base, L = LT-1, W = 454
1973: J = base (L-48), T = L-82, Z = 454
1974: J = L-48, T = L-82, Z = 454
1975: J = L-48, T = L-82
1976: J = L-48, X = L-82
1977: L = L-48, X = L-82
1978: L = L-48, 4 = L-82
1979: 8 = L-48, 4 = L=82
1980: 8 = L-48, 6 = L-82

Through the 1976 and 1977 years, only the 37 code (third and fourth digits) was used since no convertibles were built. During the 1978 model year, this code was changed to 87 and continued to represent the T- Top.

Also in 1978, the six-digit build sequence number for the standard model began with 400001, however, the Pace Car had its own sequence build code of 900001. The Silver Anniversary did not have a special sequence build code.

In 1981, the VIN changed again, and additional digits were added. An example is 1G1AY876XB5400041 and is decoded as follows:

The first digit identifies the nation of origination: 1 = US.
The second digit identifies the manufacturer: G = General Motors.
The third digit identifies make and type: 1 = Chevrolet/Passenger Car.
The fourth digit identifies the type of vehicle restraint system: A = non-passive/manual belt.
The fifth digit identifies the car line/series: Y = Corvette
The sixth and seventh digit identifies the body type: 87 = Corvette.
The eighth digit identifies the engine: 6 = L-81.
The ninth digit is a check digit that is used to verify the VIN had been correctly recorded - X.
The tenth digit identifies the model year: B = 1981.
The eleventh digit identifies the location of the assembly plant; S = St. Louis, and 5 = Bowling Green, KY.
The last six digits are the build sequence number. In our example, this Corvette was a 1981 T-Top built in Bowling Green, KY, with the base motor (the only one available) and was the 41st Corvette built.

In 1982, another code was added to the sixth and seventh digit "07" that identified the 1982 Collector Edition.

As outlined in our previous article, "Matching Numbers the 1953-1967 Years", the coding on the engine block preceding the six-digit sequence build code remained the same for the 1968-1980 models. This coding identifies the manufacturing location of the motor, the month and day of the build and motor identification and transmission. The location remained the same, on a pad in front of the valve cover on the passenger side of the Corvette.

We are sure you will find this information helpful. Now, with just a glance at the serial numbers, you can identify the original engine motor in any 1972-1982 Corvette.

An article on matching numbers for the 1984- 2001 models will be available soon.

Related Publications

For more information about other C3 technical projects, check out these publications available at the Online Store:

1953-93 Catalog of Corvette ID Numbers
Uncover the mystery of decoding body plates, VIN tags, engine numbers, transmission codes and axle codes


1968-82 Corvette Restoration Guide
Information packed reference guide for C3


1953-2001 Corvette Restoration Guide
No Corvette library is complete without the ultimate Corvette reference guide

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