VIN stands for Vehicle Identification Number and it's as unique to your car as your Social Security number is to you. Because it is unique, most states use this number for vehicle license registration, but to classic Cougar enthusiasts, the VIN serves another practical purpose. It is our first source of information about a car.
LOCATING VIN PLATES
Sample VIN plate (1969):
On 1967 Cougars, the VIN was stamped into the driver side inner fender panel. In 1968 the VIN was stamped into an aluminum tag that was attached to the passenger side dash pad near the windshield. For all other model years, the VIN tag was mounted on the driver's side of dash pad.
YEAR OF MODEL(9)
The first digit of a Cougar's VIN is the last digit of the car's model year. This is not necessarily the year it was built or first sold. The chart below shows that our example VIN plate belongs to a 1969 Cougar.
|VIN CODE||YEAR OF MODEL||VIN CODE||YEAR OF MODEL|
The VIN's second digit identifies the plant at which the Cougar was manufactured. Between 1967 and 1973 Cougars were built in two plants:Dearborn, Michigan (code F) and San Jose, California (code R). The Cougar in our VIN sample was assembled in Dearborn.
The next two VIN digits are the body series code. A 1967 through 1973 Cougar will have one of four numbers in this part of the VIN. As you can see from the chart below, our example Cougar is an XR-7 Hardtop.
|VIN CODE||BODY SERIES||VIN CODE||BODY SERIES|
|91||Standard Hardtop||93||XR-7 Hardtop|
|92||Standard Convertible||94||XR-7 Convertible|
The engine code follows the body series in the VIN. As can be seen from the chart below, the same letters were used to identify different engines in different years, so be sure you're looking at the correct model year section of the chart when you decode an engine VIN. Looking at the 1969 section of the chart, for example, tells us that the S code engine in our sample VIN is a 390 4V.
Click a model year for engine details
|1967||A||289 4V||1970||G||Boss 302 4V|
|C||289 2V||H||351W/C 2V|
|S||390 4V GT||M||351C 4V|
|F||302 2V||1971||C||CJ429 4V|
|J||302 4V||H||351W/C 2V|
|R||CJ428 4V||J||CJ429 RA 4V|
|S||390 4V GT||M||351C 4V|
|W||427 4V||Q||351C 4V|
|1969||G||Boss 302 4V||Q||351C 4V|
|M||351W 4V||1973||H||351C 2V|
|Q||CJ428 4V||Q||351C 4V|
|S||390 4V GT|
SEQUENTIAL UNIT NUMBER(530971)
The last six digits of the VIN are the sequential unit number of the car, beginning each model year with 500001. Thus, to determine where your car fits in the model run, simply subtract 500000 from your sequential unit number:
Sequential unit numbers are useful for determining when a Cougar was built within the model year run. For example, we know from the History section of Encata that 100,069 Cats were produced in 1969, so our sample car was built during the first third of the model year production run.