(scroll down for VIN info)
*This information applies only to Volkswagen type2 trucks, buses and etc.*

Body number-
bodynum.jpg (32955 bytes)
First lets begin by clearing up the matter of the meaningless mysterious number stamped into the bulkhead behind the passenger seat. VW stamped the number of the *body* into trucks behind the passenger seat from mid52 up until approx. October of 58 when the M-code plate started. Normal buses also had the stamping. At some point during 52, "something happened" and the numbers began to be out of sequence with the actual VIN number. What happened is not clear, but understand that the body number is not NOT the VIN number which has been known to cause some fun filled days when trying to get a non-titled bus inspected. It has absolutely no meaning as far as the DMV is concerned although sometimes you have to reinforce that fact with the less brighter individuals when they go to look for the m-plate on your pre 58 and see a number stamped where they think the plate should be. 
I have been collecting data regarding the Body numbers and I have "B/N's" (body numbers) as far back as 51.  Here's a few bits of info:
In 51 the body numbers matched the VIN.
In 52 the B/N was about 80 numbers behind the VIN#
as of 54 it was approx. 1154 numbers behind the VIN #.
Everett's 55 is 1871 numbers behind the VIN#
My 55 is approx. 1947 numbers behind the VIN#.
Greg's 56 is 5870 numbers behind the VIN#
My 57  is approx. 16822 numbers behind the VIN#
Everett's old 58 was 24485 behind the VIN#
and so forth. As you can see once the Barndoor era was over, the numbers started to *really* fall behind. One point of interest to this topic is, Evan's 55 Barndoor that was built 6 buses *before* my 55 Barndoor, yet it has a B/N of about 120 digits*after* mine. So they even switched some numbers around for some reason. But in the overall picture they just slowly fell behind. A different side note- there were 1731 buses built between my 55 and Everett's 55 which are built 2 weeks apart. Yet according to our body numbers there were 1655 body's in between. So what happened to the missing 75 Barndoor body's/bulkheads in 2 weeks?!?!? Also Earl and I both have 57's. Mine is a March and his is a June. After doing the math with our VIN's and B/N's, I realized there are approx. 20,000 B/N's missing in 4 months?! Did they throw out bulkheads that were damaged? Did entire buses get scrapped? We may never know.

VIN number: (also known as ****Chassis number**** to some people)
The Vehicle Identification Number is what your truck is titled from (unless you live in a weird state where they do titles off the engines -( you lucky bastard). The VIN is found stamped in numerous and multiple spots throughout the years such as different spots in the engine compartment, stamped on the metal tags in the engine compartment, and on the M-code plate.

VIN number layout:
1952=>1955: numbers were 8 digits, all beginning with '20-'.
1956=>Aug 1962: the '20-' prefix was dropped and the VIN is now 6 digits.
Sep 1962=>July 1964: Now 7 digits, all beginning in '1'.
Aug 64=>on up:  it became 9 digits with the first 2 numbers being part of model number (26 means truck) and the 3rd number being the last digit of the year (6=1966, 7=1967 etc) Note: Even though VIN was 9 digits, the Mplate only displays a 7 digit VIN, see '64 and later' section below for more info.

Go here for VIN listing

Depending on the year, the VIN was located as follows:
1952-Oct 1958:
Spot #1: Stamped on the ID tags which are riveted just above the arch stamping, up on the firewall. If the tags do not match the arch number below, the tags are probably incorrect.
vinplate.jpg (19671 bytes) vins.jpg (28269 bytes)

Spot#2: Stamped onto the arch to the right of the engine and behind, which holds the arch rubber engine seal.
archvin.jpg (96399 bytes)

Oct 1958- Nov1963:
Spot#1: Still stamped on the tags in the engine compartment But the "MADE IN WESTERN GERMANY" tag located above the engine compartment tags, was discontinued and now was written on the bottom of a new style tag.
latevinplate.jpg (81965 bytes) post58tag.jpg (17034 bytes)

Spot#2: The VIN# was moved from the arch in the engine compartment to the right side where the apron attaches just to the left of the battery.
apronvin.jpg (20966 bytes)

Spot #3: M-code tag added behind the passenger side seat containing the VIN# and factory option info etc. (click here for more m-code tag info)
mplate.jpg (54400 bytes)


Nov 63 to July of 64

Spot#1: Firewall tags Discontinued, all information moved to tag below.

Spot#2: New location:  VIN number can now be found on the overhead vent plate, viewable from the passenger side. Also the VIN tags in the engine compartment were discontinued
overheadvin.jpg (21012 bytes)
overhdplate.jpg (20197 bytes)

Spot#3: VIN still stamped on Mcode plate behind passenger side of seat on bulkhead wall.
mplate.jpg (54400 bytes)
(above tag is for ref purposes)

Spot#4: VIN is still stamped next to apron
apronvin.jpg (20966 bytes)

Aug 64 and on
Spot#1: In August of 64, The VIN became  9 digits. The first 2 digits specify main model style, ie; 26 means truck. The 3rd number is the last year digit of the truck, ie; 265 would be a 1965 truck. Example: 265020494. This full VIN number can be found on the overhead plate.
overheadvin.jpg (21012 bytes)

Spot#2: The Mcode plate still has the VIN# and it is still only 7 digits long, but theres a twist: its now only actually showing the last 6 digits of the VIN# with an extra digit added to the beginning which is the last digit of the year. ie;if the plate shows 5161145 it wount mean:  5=1965 and 161145 is the last 6 digits of the VIN#

Spot#3: VIN is still stamped next to apron
apronvin.jpg (20966 bytes)


Ok so now you know all of that, still got questions? The above is correct to the best of my knowledge. If you have more to add, or pictures of different style m-code plates or vin plates, let me know.
Click here for more information on the M-code plate