1955: A new car is born...THUNDERBIRD. This car, and the Thunderbirds that followed, are classics and set the styling trend for an entire generation of cars.

1955-1959 VINs

1960-1980 VINs

1981-2005 VINs

Location of the Data Plate with the Vehicle Identification Number:

---1955, 1956 and 1957 Thunderbirds: In the engine compartment, on the right-hand side of the firewall

--1958 and 1959 Thunderbirds: On the left front body pillar below the driver's door hinge opening

Click here for location of VINs which are stamped on the car

Position #1 is the Engine Identification

C = 292 cubic inch, 2V, 212 horsepower V-8

D = 312 cubic inch, 4V, 245 horsepower V-8

E = 312 cubic inch, 2-4V, 270 horsepower V-8

F = 312 cubic inch, Supercharged, 300 horsepower V-8

G = 332 cubic inch low compression V-8

H = 352 cubic inch, 4V, 300 horsepower V-8

J = 430 cubic inch, 4V, 350 horsepower V-8

M = 292 cubic inch, 4V, 202 horsepower V-8

P = 292 cubic inch, 4V V-8 (horsepower varies by year and transmission application)

P = 312 cubic inch, 4V 215 horsepower V-8 (Overdrive, 1956)

P = 312 cubic inch, 4V 225 horsepower V-8 (Fordomatic, 1956)


Position #2 is the Year Identification

5 = 1955, 6 = 1956, 7 = 1957, 8 = 1958, 9 = 1959


Position #3 is the Assembly Plant Identification

F = Dearborn Michigan

Y = Wixom, Michigan

MEX = Mexico (these VINs have 12 positions like P6MEXH234567)


Position #4 is the Body Series Code Identification

H = 1955-1957 Thunderbird (no body style name used)

H = 1958 and 1959 Thunderbird 2-door hardtop

J = 1958 and 1959 Thunderbird 2-door convertible


Positions #5 through #10 are the Consecutive Unit Number

Consecutive Unit Numbers begin at 100001 at each Ford Motor Company assembly plant. This number represents the scheduled sequence order. When a car was ordered, it was immediately assigned a VIN with a Consecutive Unit Number. It was then assigned a scheduled production date based on availability of trim, parts, other components, and taking into account  workloads at the assembly plant.

A scheduled production date was very often out of sequence with the Consecutive Unit Number. And more often than not, the actual production date (the day the car rolled off the line) was earlier or later than what was originally planned. Therefore, a Thunderbird with a Consecutive Unit Number of 105678 may have actually been produced and ready for shipping before a Thunderbird with a Consecutive Unit Number of 105432. The Consecutive Unit Number should be considered to be a unique identification that shows when the order was received and when it was planned for production.


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The Thunderbird Registry is in partnership with The Lincoln Vault.