How to Decode a Classic Mustang's VIN Data Plate

Get the VIN Information on a Classic Mustang

Ford Mustang Door Tag
Learn how to examine your classic Mustang's Vehicle's Identification Number (VIN), as well as the Data Plate or Warranty Plate. Photo Courtesy of Vintage Mustangs

Have you ever come across a great deal on a classic Mustang but wanted to know more about the car? The owner says the car came from the factory with a V8 engine and a Raven Black paint job...but you may not be sure. In a world where parts for classic Mustangs are plentiful, how can you be sure he’s telling the truth? The car might have been created as a six-cylinder Mustang with a V8 replacement under the hood.

Before you hand over your hard-earned money, it’s a good idea to examine the examine the Vehicle's Identification Number (VIN), as well as the Data Plate or Warranty Plate. But understanding these can be tough, which is why we put together a Mustang VIN decoder.

Where to Find the VIN Number

To find the VIN  number on the Mustang, you need to know where to look. In general, the VIN should appear on one, or more, of the following locations:

  • Engine compartment on driver's side fender apron, under the fender
  • Inside the car where windshield and dash meet (Passenger side 1968, Driver’s side 1969+)
  • Partial VIN stamped on the back of the original engine block (1968-1973)
  • Door Jam of Driver’s Side Door on Data Plate

Missing or Mismatched VINs

Chances are, the car you examine won’t have a VIN in each of these places. If you’re checking out a pre-1968 Mustang, you won’t find the number on the dash. If the car has undergone major restoration, it’s possible the door jam on the driver’s side of the car has been replaced.

If you’re dealing with an engine, unless it’s an original, you won’t necessarily find the number. Even if it is original, you won’t find the number on pre-1968 Mustangs (1964 1/2- 67 K Codes are the exception).

The most valuable find is the vehicle’s original data plate. This is located on the door jam of driver’s side door.

If you can find this you can determine the original color, trim style, date it was manufactured, DSO (District Sales Office) number, rear axle identification, and the vehicle’s transmission. Very often the original data plate is missing or does not match up with the vehicle you’re inspecting. For instance, if someone took a driver's side door jam from one Mustang and put it onto the car you’re checking out, the VIN Number on the data plate will be different than the VIN under the hood or on the dash. Use good judgment when investigating a vehicle's history. If something doesn't seem to match up, dig deeper to find out why.

Decoding Mustang VIN Numbers

Once you find the VIN number, it should look something like this: #6FO8A100005.

This number can tell you a lot about the car. For instance, the 6 signifies a 1966 model year. The F tells me this was produced in Dearborn, and the 08 says this is a convertible. The A is the engine code. For this particular year, we’re looking at a 289 cubic inch V8 engine. Finally, the 100005 is your consecutive unit number which describes the order in which this Mustang was built in the factory. For instance, a Mustang built early in the run would have a lower consecutive unit number than one built later in the year.

Ford Mustang VIN Decoders

It can be confusing to tell the VIN number on classic cars like this, so a Mustang decoder comes in handy. For many years, people carried pocket VIN decoders around to identify Mustangs. The following are a few online decoders that will decipher just about any classic Mustang VIN and Data Plate you have:

In the end, you'll feel a lot better about your purchase if you take the time to research the vehicle. With a little help from your trusty VIN decoder, you should be feeling confident about your purchase in no time at all.