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VIN Registry


General Information: (comments and research by Shannon Birdwell, April 2018)

The actual production figures for the DeLorean cars have been a matter of curiosity for many people. After the DeLorean factory went under, many records pertaining to production information were lost or scattered making it difficult to calculate the exact number of DeLoreans made. As a result, attempts have been made in the last few years to compile a database to create a better understanding of the production runs over the months of the factory`s existence. This article gives the most current understanding of the number of cars made, the history of the VIN (Vehicle Identification Number) plates and also gives details on the current efforts to collect the information

John DeLorean was under financial pressure to get the cars under production and sold in order to raise revenue. Normal procedures to test the initial vehicles and to train the factory workers were shortened or eliminated to speed up the car production. Various prototypes, pilot cars and mules were made in 1979 and 1980 to provide the testing and training needed to produce the final product. Per Robert Lamrock, 90 preproduction cars were built during December 1980 to January 1981 and full production started in February 1981.

In addition to the VIN plate located on the dash, the company decided to add an additional VIN plate on the driver`s side doorsill. This VIN plate provides the VIN number and the production date. Many early production cars in the 5XX series do not have this plate. The dash plate also underwent changes during production. The earlier dash plates have rivets connecting them to the dash while 83 plates which were glued on were the VINs changed by Consolidated.

On the earlier cars through about VIN 960 the dates on the door VIN plates were not always consistent as months recorded on the plates would change within sequential VIN numbers. For example, VINs 502, 752 and 855 have April 1981 production dates. VINs 897 and 928 have March 1981 production dates. Photos of VIN plates beginning after VIN 960 start in April and the months were fairly consistent. It is believed that with the earlier cars, if a car was pulled out of the production line because of a quality problem, whatever month in which it was completed would be stamped on the plate. As a result one may see a month on a VIN plate that is different from the month of the VIN numbers immediately surrounding it. This occurred most frequently in the early VIN ranges.

Also, cars completed in one month might have a previous month`s production date on them. Cars were being produced through May 1982 but the last month seen on ‘82 car VIN plates is January 1982. The reason may be due to plates being pre-made in quantity with the month stamped on them based on planned production for that month.. Then the plates were put in the cars as they were completed regardless of the actual month. This would fit the scenario in early 1982 when many workers were laid off and production slowed considerably.

Here is a general list of which VINs were produced in each month per the months on the plates. Note that the exact cutoff for each range is an estimate due to lack of enough substantiating information:

Period VIN Range Comments
January 502 - ? VIN 502 stamped as Apr '81
February 503 - 652
March 652 - 960
April 961 - 1249 Also VINs 502, 752 and 855
May 1250 - 1601
June 1602 - 2099
July 2100 - 2530
August 2531 - 3509
September 3510 - 4209
October 4210 - 5999
November 6000 - 7199
December 10001 - 10998 This was the beginning of the 1982 year model
January 11002 - 11786, 11789 These cars were being produced up through March 1982 based upon dates under headliners.
May 12171 - 12199 These are the right hand drive DeLoreans
August 15002 - 16999 These are the 1983 models created by adding 5000 to the 10,xxx and 11,xxx series 1982 models.
Sepember 17000 - 17170 These cars were likely made in March-May 1982 as 12,XXX series cars based on dates under headliners. The
months on the VIN plates in this range varied between August and September.
December   It appears that up through about 10060 the manufacture date was August 1982 and after that it is December 1982.
Being that so few were made, it`s been difficult to find 20,XXX series VIN plates to verify the manufacture dates.

One perennial question has been the number of DeLoreans made. It can now be answered with a degree of accuracy. It appears that the factory made a full production run of 82s from VIN 10001 to about VIN 12170 before the factory was shut down. At that time there were unfinished cars in the assembly line that would have been in the 12,XXX series. These unfinished cars were finished later creating the 20,XXX series. 12,XXX VIN numbers have been found under the headliners of the 20,XXX series cars substantiating this.

As the factory produced the 82 models from December 81 though May 82 and sent them to the dock, there started to be a backlog of cars at the dock which continued until everything stopped when the factory was shut down in May. On February 19, 1982 the company was placed into receivership and the Receivership kept the factory operating until May 31, 1982. During this time only one shift was working - producing 35 to 40 cars per week, much lower than the 80 cars per day being produced the previous November. When Consolidated International acquired the unsold and partially assembled cars in November 1982, they brought back workers to complete the cars remaining on the assembly line. It was decided to make the remaining completed 82 model year cars into 83 models. The remaining cars VINs were re-VINed into 83 cars by taking the original VIN number and adding 5000 to it and changing the "CD" in the middle of the VIN to "DD" thus making an 83 model. For example the 15,XXX series cars were originally 10,XXX series cars. Logically most of the early 10,XXX series cars made it to the United States before the backlog started. There are many 82 cars in the 10,XXX series and much fewer in the 15,XXX series VIN and most of the 15,XXX VIN cars are in the upper VIN range. This makes sense because the early ‘82`s were being shipped before the backlog started. As time went on and shipments of 82s to the United States stopped, the 82s began piling up at the dock and factory. None of the later 82s made it to the United States (the latest known 82 is VIN 11,789). All the rest were later converted to 83 models. From evidence gathered, it appears that there was a full production run in the 10,XXX series through the 11,XXX series and into the early 12,XXX series. In the 12,XXX series it appears that they made those cars up to VIN 12160. These 12,XXX series cars were re-VINed to 17,XXX series cars. Evidence indicates that the last 82 made in regular production would have been VIN 12170, which would have been given VIN 17170. The cars left on the assembly line were completed later that year were given 20,XXX series VIN number.

The company had a few right hand drive (RHD) development cars built for planned sales in the UK and other countries. The company contracted with Wooler-Hodec to help engineer the changes for European specifications. They took about 32 early production cars (per Nick Sutton) around the summer of 1981 and produced about 30 right hand drive cars. Some of those cars had 81 VINs. Many were scrapped during the engineering process due to build quality issues - these cars were, for the most part, considered prototypes or engineering mules that happened to start life as an early production Delorean car. The receiver assigned VIN numbers to the remainder so that these cars could be sold. They started with a VIN number after the last 12,XXX series car made. The last regular production car for which there is a record is VIN 12169 (later changed to 17169). Since the first RHD car had a VIN of 12171 this leads one to believe that there was a VIN 12170 that was later changed to 17170. It remains unclear from which point in the production line the RHD cars came from as it appears theses cars were not all made at the same time. Since VINs 586 through 606 are unaccounted for, it`s believed that the 12,XXX came from that range and there is evidence of that based upon the low frame number of these cars. Evidence indicates that these were early production cars. The VIN numbers go sequentially from 12171 to 12181 then jumps to 12199. No clear explanation has been given as to why there is a skip there.

So how many cars were made? For 1981s one can safely assume there were 6700 made (VIN 500-7199). As stated earlier there is a VIN gap between VINs 585 and 607 that has not been explained but it's assumed that they were produced. The evidence indicates that the 10,XXX and 15,XXX are the same series, and so the VIN range would have gone from 10001 to 10999 (there is no known VIN 10000 or 15000) or 999 cars. The evidence also shows that the 11,XXX and 16,XXX range are the same, so there were 1000 cars - VINs 11000 to 11999 (there was a VIN 16000). I believe that there were 171 cars made in the 12,XXX range before production ended. These were re-VINned to 17,XXX series cars (VIN 17000 to 17170). The 12XXX appear to be 5XX - 6XX series cars so their count would be included in the 81 cars. In the 20,XXX Series there were 105 cars made - VINS 20001 to VIN 20105. Total cars made were 6700 + 999 + 1000 + 171 + 105 = 8,975 cars assuming that the RHD cars were pulled out of the early VINs.

Regarding VIN plates themselves, there are a few interesting facts. As mentioned earlier the earliest cars in the 5XX series did not have driver`s door VIN plates except for VIN 502, which appears to have been added later. It`s unclear exactly when VIN plates started being put on the cars. The earliest picture seen is from VIN 570 but it`s not certain whether many others of the 5XX series had them. The style of the VIN plates changed around VIN 1250 with the beginning of the May production. Earlier VIN plates had the date stamped in such a way that it looks like it was hand stamped while the VIN number is raised or embossed. Starting in May 1981 both the date and VIN numbers have the embossed style. Also the plate itself changed between VINs 1243 and 1258. The early VINs had the VIN number in the middle of the plate while later VINs have the number at the bottom of the plate.

To see the current VIN list of cars go to www.DMCNews.com (click on lower left picture to get pdf file with list). For more information on the RHD cars, visit www.DeLoreans.co.uk , then click INFORMATION.

Of the over 8,800 VINs currently in the database, many were submitted directly by DeLorean owners themselves, while others were gleaned from ads or other sources on the Internet. Several thousands were compiled from factory owners lists, warranty cards and shipping manifests that have survived over the years.

You can help with this project by sending missing information that doesn't appear on the list. What is being compiled is the VIN number, engine number, frame number, interior color, manufacture date and location of the car. Check the above websites for current information. Also, VIN plate photos are being compiled by the Texas Delorean Club (www.txdmc.org). Send photos of the VIN plate and VIN information/corrections to the author at birdwells@usa.net.

If you haven not already done so, register with the Delorean Owners Directory at . Click the DOD link from the horizontal navigation at the top of the page.

Below, you can select a range of VINs to display known information about. Or you can select a range of VIN Plates, where you'll get a explodable thumbnail
image of VIN plates we have on file. Also, you can choose to find a single VIN to display all information available. Finally, you can look at statistics about all
the VIN information we have on file.

(VIN list last updated on 5/27/2019).

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