Starting in 1954 up to 1981, vehicle manufactures used "VIN" numbers that did not have a standardized organization method for generating these numbers. Starting in late 1981 the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration standardized these numbers and changed the way we identify vehicles as we know it. This required a 17 digit value to be added to all passenger vehicles to identify many different aspects of them. In this article we will break down the common aspects of the 17 digit VIN number. All VINs will be made up of letters and numbers (excluding I,O and Q to avoid confusion with numerals 1 and 0).
1st Character: Identifies the country of origin that the Mustang was manufactured, and can be a letter or a number.
2nd Character: Identifies the manufacturer, and can be a letter or a number.
3rd Character: Identifies vehicle type or manufacturing division.
4th - 8th Characters: This is the Vehicle Descriptor Section. These 5 are used as an ID by manufacturers for your car’s attributes such as body style, engine type, series, model, etc.
9th Character: It is used to verify VIN accuracy, and ensures that the VINs of any two vehicles produced within a 30 year period will not be identical.
10th Character: Identifies the model year.
11th Character: Identifies the assembly plant that your Mustang was built at.
12th - 17th Characters: This is the Vehicle Identifier Section. This identifies the sequence of the vehicle for production as it rolled off the assembly line.