VIN Decoder and Fender Tag Decoder - Verify That Car

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VIN decoders and fender tag decoders are critical tools in your muscle car search.

As the popularity of classic muscle cars has increased, and the prices of muscle cars for sale have increased, there has been an increase in the popularity of clones or tribute cars. These cars appear to be highly desirable muscle cars but actually are standard, base model cars that have been modified to look like higher-end, specialty models.

So how can you validate that you are buying what is advertised?

find-your-muscle-car: Dart VIN

The first thing we do is check the vehicle identification number, or VIN. By understanding what the letters and numbers of the VIN mean, you will easily be able to tell the original factory-delivered components of the car. It’s not necessary to memorize every detail of the seventeen character VIN either. For instance, when checking out Mopar muscle cars for sale, we prefer one with a factory 340 ci engine. This is shown on the VIN with an H in the fifth position. If we see a 1970-72 Dodge Dart for sale that has a 340 engine but the character in the fifth position is a G, we know that the car was built with a 318 ci engine from the factory and that some aftermarket parts and work were done to upgrade the car to the stronger 340 ci engine. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but it’s important to know so you (or a third party inspector) can examine the work that has been done to make sure it was done correctly and with good quality.

Going beyond the VIN decoder to the Fender Tag

find-your-muscle-car: Dodge Dart Fender Tag

Note that different manufacturers provide the details of the engine, the trim model, year, city of manufacture and other information in different places. Some specific information that may be important to you should be verified by reading fender or door tags, instead of just the VIN, depending on the manufacturer.

Luckily, there are many places on the web that have a VIN decoder app or fender tag decoder for the muscle car you have chosen. For instance, if you are interested in a Mustang, check out this link.

Other sites to help you read the VINs of classic muscle cars are listed here:

To go back to the earlier discussion of the popularity and increase of clones: buying a clone is an excellent way to own a specific car that may be out of your price range; however, when you are the buyer instead of the seller, you don't want to pay a premium price for a GTO Judge when you're buying a base GTO that was re-created as a Judge. The difference in price and value is dramatic. Of course, if the seller advertises the car as a clone and you are making an informed decision - that's a great find!

Bottom line: use all the tools you can to verify that what you are paying for is exactly what it appears to be.

Return to the Muscle Car Value page for more sources of validation.

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To see decoded VIN and fender tag information for Ray's 1973 Plymouth Duster, click here.

find-your-muscle-car: 1973 Plymouth Duster

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