Hey Chris, there's something called the body number plate, which is not the VIN plate. It should be under the hood, riveted above the wiper motor, near the firewall (to port side).
Find that. Then starting at top left, you should have a letter, a space, then two numbers (no space) then another letter. First letter is the year, my 85 if an "F", so yours should be hmm… I don't know. "A" would be 1980. Model year should be last letter in your VIN, then there should be 7 numbers.
Anyway, first two numbers on "body number plate" should be month (01 = January, 02=Feb, etc.), last letter should be the week (A is first week, B is second, etc). Any help?
Perhaps the coding changed in 1980?
Thanks to my handy Haynes manual :suspense: 1980 was indeed "A", and 1979 was "9", 1978 was "8" etc.
Hi Scott, I found the body plate & it reads, 79 12B 6EL57 E . I've managed to work out most of it. 79=Year, 12? B=Engine, 6=Cadillac, EL=Eldorado, 57=Coupe, E= Plant. Could 12 possibly be the Month? The reason for all this is because I'm trying to determine whether it came off the line in late '78 or in '79.
I checked my Chilton manual :suspense: and it shows a two-digit number for some models, such as "79" for 1979. So yeah, I think you have a 1979 made in the second week of December. The 12B segment definitely jibes with the FSM.
According to the FSM and Fisher Body Manual, 6 is the make, (6 = Cadillac), "E" is the body type, ("E" = E-body, like an Eldorado or a Buick Riviera), "L" is the series (L = Eldorado), "57" is the body style (57 = "2-Door Coupe - Notchback", my convertible should be a 67), and E is indeed the plant, (E = Linden, New Jersey).
Hi Scott, I think we've nailed it. However, was it the 12th month of '78 or '79.? I know that the manufacturing starts around September '78 for the '79 models but do they go through to the 12th month of '79.?
I don't see anything in the FSM or the Body Manual about year "x" month 12 really meaning December of the year before, so I think yours was made in Dec. 1979. But I'm just reading the books. I'm not an expert.
Thanks Scott. The main reason as to the month more than anything else, is because up to & not later then the 1st of January of 1979 is the cut-off date for all classic cars to go on Historic Registration.
For most U.S. "brand name" cars the model year begins in about July, August, September of the year previous to the "model year" and runs through June/July of the actual model year. The production line start/stop dates depend on sales, orders, and projected sales as well as line turnover time for the next model year.
So, while my particular STS was built in 02/02, most2002 STS were built from August, 2001 through December, 2001.
If you dig through the internet (Google) with ID plate and sticker searches you might find the codes for different year/make/model cars. The only way I found the real build day for my car was from the build sheet given to me by the first owner.
Sometimes you find oddball sheets of info under the front or rear seats, carpeting or trunk liner. In my (my special order) '65 Chevelle SS I found the entire build sheet stuck into the rear seat pad springs.
If you find the build dates on any parts, engine, or transmission that will be 2,3,20,30 days earlier than actual line assembly buck time. A car is dated as "built" when it bucks the end of the line. "Buck" - old assembly line term for the hip-hop the car takes as it rolls on and off the final dyno spinup rollers for final alignment checks - bucking bronco. Buck is also a term used by the car carriers - the date the car was eligible for pickup or rail shipment to a clearing depot. There is a HUGE rail depot for new cars in Jessup, Maryland; 35 miles from here. I used to work part-time as a driver to move new vehicles to dealerships in the Annapolis area.
Hi Guys, I finally found what I wanted. Looks like you can check on any car you want for all the information required.
The link is...... AUTOMOBILE CATALOG. The '79 Eldorado production went from September '78 to September '79. Therefore the 12B would have to be the 2nd week in '78. I also got all the information on my 1960 T.BIRD.