Motorcycle Vin Numbers Before 1981

By | February 5, 2023



Motorcycle Vin Numbers Before 1981 – An Overview

Before 1981, motorcycle vin numbers were not standardized. This made it difficult to accurately identify different makes and models of motorcycles. Manufacturers relied on unique codes or letters to distinguish one model from another. While this system worked for a time, it was far from perfect, leaving many vintage motorcycle enthusiasts scratching their heads when trying to track down the history of their beloved rides.

The Need for Standardization

In 1981, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) introduced a standardized 17-digit vin number system for all motor vehicles produced in the United States. The vin number consists of three parts – the world manufacturer identifier (WMI), vehicle description section (VDS), and the check digit. The WMI is the first three characters, which can be used to identify the manufacturer of the vehicle. The VDS is the following six characters, which provide information such as the model, engine, and body type. Finally, the check digit is the last character, which is used to verify the accuracy of the vin number.

Why Motorcycle Vin Numbers are Important

Having a standardized vin number system for motorcycles makes it much easier to identify each individual vehicle. This is important for a number of reasons, such as being able to determine whether a motorcycle has been in an accident, if it has been recalled, and if it has had any major repairs done to it. The vin number is also important for registration purposes, as it will allow the government to keep track of the owner’s information. Finally, the vin number is essential for motorcycle enthusiasts who are looking to purchase a vintage bike, as it will allow them to easily determine the make and model of the vehicle they are considering.

Having accurate and standardized vin numbers for motorcycles before 1981 is essential for motorcycle owners, enthusiasts, and those looking to purchase vintage bikes. It allows us to properly and accurately identify each vehicle, making it possible to track down its history. With the help of the NHTSA and its standardized vin number system, we can now ensure that every motorcycle is properly identified and accounted for.


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