Saturday, January 28, 2012

It's All In The Code

Learning all you can about the history of your car is an important step in the restoration process. The Vehicle Identification Number is great, but it can only tell you so much about the vehicle. I was able to learn the following from the 17 character VIN on my car:

Build Country: USA
Manufacturer: General Motors
Make: Pontiac
Restraint System: Non-Passive/Manual Belts
Carline/Series: Firebird Trans Am
Body Type: Coupe - 2 Door Plain Back
Engine: LU5 5.0L (305 CI) V8 TBI (Throttle Body Injection)
Model Year: 1983
Plant: Van Nuys, CA
Build Sequence: 234580

This was great for starters, but I wanted to know more. Many of the cars prior 1984 had what is called a Body Tag that was stamped and affixed to the cowl of the car at the manufacturing plant. This tag contained much of the same information as the VIN, but also provided Regular Production Option (RPO) codes for body, trim and features included on the car. I snapped a picture of the Body Tag on my Trans Am and went to work researching and decoding its RPO codes.

The characters on the tag are a little difficult to make out in the picture, so I have reprinted them below.
D  07C  2FS87  L  234580
642  19L  19U          W
    AQ9  CC1

D              N  S        188355

Here are the breakdowns by line:

D  07C  2FS87  L  234580

D = 1983
07C = Build Date July (07), Third Week (C)
2 = Pontiac
F = F-Body
S = Firebird
87 = 2-Door Coupe
L = Van Nuys, CA - Assembly Plant
2 = Pontiac
34580 = Build Sequence (Last 5 #s of VIN)

642  19L  19U          W

642 = Luxury Trim Group B20 (includes front and rear luxury seats, luxury doors, color-keyed seat belts, split folding rear seat, map pocket, carpeted cowl kick panel), Leather, Camel Tan
19L = Secondary Color, Lower Exterior (L), Lamp Black (19)
19U = Primary Color, Upper Exterior (U), Lamp Black (19)
W = Waterbased Paint

AQ9  CC1

AQ9 = Recaro/Lear Siegler Seats?
CC1 = Roof Hatch, Removable Panels, Glass

D              N  S        188355

D = Rear Spoiler
N = Locking Fuel Door
S = Radio Accommodation Package
188355 = Internal GM Schedule Date

While researching the RPO codes I found a great resource compiled by wildjeff on It is a guide to 1982-84 Pontiac Firebird Decoding which includes information on production numbers, options breakouts, VIN, Body Plate, paint codes, trim codes, trim code figure, engine codes, transmission codes, rear axle codes, RPO codes and wheels.

The only RPO code I was not entirely clear on was AQ9. This was listed as Recaro Seats. My Trans Am has the Lear Siegler seats, but I do not see a separate RPO code for them. I am assuming until I find out otherwise that the Recaro and Lear Siegler seats shared the same code.

The only way I am going to find out any more information about the history of my Trans Am is to find the elusive build sheet. I have not begun looking in the car's interior yet, but plan to do so soon.


  1. This post is really cool - thanks for sharing that information. Very nice blog you have going on here.

    1. Thank you and thanks for following Project: K.I.T.T.!