Vehicle Identification Number (VIN)

August 8, 2017
Posted by: Marketing Team

Vehicle Identification Number (VIN)

Definition

The VIN (German: Fahrgestell-Nr) is the Serial number or the unique Vehicle Identification Number (VIN). It is stamped on the chassis and listed on the Data Card.

Function

The 14-digit VIN consists of the following elements:

  • 113 describes the platform, in this case the “Pagoda”-SL produced from 1963 to 1971.
  • The vehicle is commonly identified as “W113”, where W means “Wagen”, i.e. car. Recently, Daimler has started to also identify it as “R113”, where R means “Roadster”, but this designation is not historically correct (it is only correct for the subsequent SL-models, starting with the R107).
  • Also, when talking to a mechanic about the “113”, it should always be specified as a “W113”, because there is another 113, the “M113”, a later 5.0-Liter 3-valve-per-cylinder V8 engine. When reading a Baumuster (definition just below), a 113.0xx is always the Pagoda, a 113.9xx is always an engine – but not a Pagoda engine!
  • The next three digits identify the model, where
                                  042 is the 230SL
                                  043 is the 250SL
                                  044 is the 280SL
  • The first six digits, e.g. 113 042, are called the “Baumuster” or model designation. Sometimes, like in Box d on this data card, the next two digits are included in the Baumuster. The seventh digit identifies
                                  1      left-hand drive
                                  2      right-hand drive
  • The eighth digit identifies
                                  0      manual transmission
                                  2      automatic transmission
  • The last six digits are sequential. With each model separate, they start at 000001 and end with the end of production (230SL up to 019832, 250SL up to 005196, 280SL up to 023885).
  • However, before series production starts there are always prototypes, for R&D as well as for car shows. And some of these prototypes were later sold to customers. These prototypes have totally different serial numbers. According to (3), there were about 25 to 30 prototypes of the 230 SL.
  • In 2005, one of these was registered in Michigan (4). The M127.II engine with engine number 127.981-10-000001 was installed into this vehicle with Fahrgestell/serial (VIN) No. 64 510 50 820. According to (3), this was the prototype No. 20. Therefore the total number of W113 vehicles built is slightly larger than the sum obtained by the addition of the serial end numbers (which would be 48913).
  • The Type Plate of the first 230 SL with a standard serial number – 113042-10-000001. This car was shown at the Geneva Auto Salon in 1963; originally it was painted 050 white, in 2005 it was repainted blue. The car is located in Germany (5).
  • 250 SL 113043-10-000001, with engine 129982-10-000001, is alive and well in Lima, Peru (6).
  • The Owner’s Manual and the Parts Picture Catalog that came with the car included the image shown below. It shows where several numbers can be found on the car itself. The VIN is stamped into the right longitudinal frame member (item 2 in the picture, see following photo) and is embossed on the Type Plate (item 1 in the picture; for US version vehicles, its location changed during the production period from underhood firewall to A-pillar to B-pillar). Item 3 in this picture is the Body and Paint Number Plate, see separate description below, and item 4 is the engine number, see box 11 on the above data card.

The VIN is stamped on the right longitudinal frame member of a 230 SL (clear coated only) (7)

But sometimes it has been painted over during a re-spray:

Editorial from Pagoda SL Group.

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