Classic car vin number decoder: How To Read A Car’s VIN

We're re-running this story as part of Flashback Friday , when we republish classic stories from the Jalopnik archives. Think of it as Jalopnik's 'Best Of' series. We decided to run this particular story because this week, when we needed to figure out a VIN, we found this post to be particularly invaluable in helping us decode it. —Ed. The Vehicle Identification Number program was initiated by the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) in 1980 as a way to standardize car serial numbers. Cars built before 1981 don't follow a universal standard and thus require manufacturer-specific information to decode. Why was this worth the ISO's time? Simple: The whole thing was created to ensure that no one car — make, model, production run, etc. — was ever passed off as another.