Chassis Numbers and what they mean

 HOME

 

Because Triumph used a variety of different chassis numbering systems this page attempts to explain what each letter should mean - while this will be correct for the vast majority of cars you should note that it is not unusual to find cars with the wrong lettering - why? who knows other than all sorts of strange things happened at BL during the 70's and 80's. For completeness I have included all chassis number systems used on both TR7's and 8's.

EXP all Year Cars

EXP cars are exactly that experimental - most of these cars have been destroyed but a few remain - all have an X??? number and in the case of the TR7/8 are likely to be in the 900 series. The table below lists some of the better known ones that have survived.

LYNX Spec Model
X905 UK LYNX
TR8 EXP Spec Model
X919 US DHC TR8
X921 UK DHC TR8
X923 UK DHC TR8
X924

US DHC

TR8
X925 US DHC TR8

 

Speake North America 1977/78 Year Cars

TR8 FHC - prefix (ACN)   

Chassis
1: Assembly:                A = Speake
2: Model range:             C = TR7/8
3: Specification:            N = TR8 FHC
4: Number:                   012345 etc = number in series
5: Suffix:                      U = North American
6: Suffix:                      F = 5 speed gearbox
7: Suffix:                      A = Automatic gearbox
8: Suffix                       L = the other left-hand drive cars
9: Suffix:                      C = exhaust control is fitted
10:Suffix:                     M = Canadian specification
       
 

ACN 00001 to 00116 (Not all the numbers in this series were used)

ACN 01001 to 01200 (Not all numbers in this series were used and 01200 may not be the uppermost number used)

Note Approximately 150 cars were built Feb - Oct 1977.

 

Speake Prototype DHC 1978 Year Cars

TR7/8 DHC - prefix (ACT)

Chassis
1: Assembly:                A = Speake
2: Model range:             C = TR7/8
3: Specification:            T = TR7/8 Hand built DHC
4: Number:                   012345 etc = number in series
5: Suffix:                      F = 5 speed gearbox
6: Suffix:                      A = Automatic gearbox
7: Suffix                       L = the other left-hand drive cars
8: Suffix:                      C = exhaust control is fitted
9:Suffix:                       M = Canadian specification
 
        

ACT 1 to 110 (Apr 78 to May 78)

Note Not all numbers used. Approximately 10 cars were built Apr - May 1978. These cars were all converted to DHC by hand - some of these cars were later given TR8 engines so would to all intents and purposes have been pre-production TR8 DHC's. Because of the move to Canley at this time some were finished off at Canley.

 

TR8 FHC - prefix (TCN)

Chassis
1: Assembly:                T = Canley
2: Model range:             C = TR7/8
3: Specification:            N = TR8 FHC
4: Number:                   012345 etc = number in series
5: Suffix:                      U = North American
6: Suffix:                      F = 5 speed gearbox
7: Suffix:                      A = Automatic gearbox
8: Suffix                       L = the other left-hand drive cars
9: Suffix:                      C = exhaust control is fitted
10:Suffix:                     M = Canadian specification

 

TCN 150001 to 150198 (78 model year)

TCN 160001 to 160142 (79 model year)

Note  It is likely that some or all of these numbers were not used.

 

TR8 DHC - prefix (TCV)

Chassis
1: Assembly:                T = Canley
2: Model range:             C = TR7/8
3: Specification:            V = TR8 DHC
4: Number:                   012345 etc = number in series
5: Suffix:                      U = North American
6: Suffix:                      F = 5 speed gearbox
7: Suffix:                      A = Automatic gearbox
8: Suffix                       L = the other left-hand drive cars
9: Suffix:                      C = exhaust control is fitted
10:Suffix:                     M = Canadian specification

TCV Some cars were built with chassis numbers from TCV 200001 upwards for the 1979 model year, exact amount unknown.

 

Canley/Solihull 1980 Year Cars

From here on in all TR7's and TR8's share the same series of numbers, individual letters are now the only way to differentiate between a TR7 or TR8 - Different market cars - FHC or DHC.

Chassis
1:   Make of car               T = Triumph
2:   Model range:             P = TR7/8
3.   Specification:            A = UK or Europe
                                     K = Australia
                                     V = U.S.A., Federal (49 states)
                                     Z = U.S.A., California
                                     L = Canada
                                     J = Japan
4.   Type of body:           E = Coupe
                                     D = Convertible
5.   Type of engine:         J = 2 litre four cylinder (TR7)
                                     V = 3.5 litre V8  (TR8)
6.   Steering, Gear box:   3 = RHD. Automatic
                                     4 = LHD, Automatic
                                     7 = RHD, Manual
                                     8 = LHD, Manual
7.   Model year change:   A = 1980 Model Year
8.   Assembly plant:        T = Canley
9.                                  Number 6 digits

European / Home Non USA/Canada Solihull 1980/81 Year Cars   

Chassis
1:   Global ID                  SAT = Triumph World ID (Not used on all cars!)  
2:   Make of car               T = Triumph
3:   Model range:             P = TR7/8
4.   Specification:            A = UK or Europe
                                     K = Australia
                                     V = U.S.A., Federal (49 states)
                                     Z = U.S.A., California
                                     L = Canada
                                     J = Japan
5.   Type of body:           E = Coupe
                                     D = Convertible
6.   Type of engine:       J = 2 litre four cylinder (TR7)
                                     V = 3.5 litre V8  (TR8)
7.   Steering, Gear box:   3 = RHD. Automatic
                                     4 = LHD, Automatic
                                     7 = RHD, Manual
                                     8 = LHD, Manual
8.   Model year change:   A = 1980 Model Year
                                     B = 1981 Model Year (not have been used on rest or the world cars - USA CANADA Only)
                                     C = 1982 Model Year (not have been used on rest or the world cars - USA CANADA Only)
9.   Assembly plant:        T = Canley
                                     A = Solihull
10.                                Number 6 digits

 

USA/Canada Solihull 1981/2 Year Cars

Solihull built American and Canadian specification TR8s and TR7s for 1981/82 carried another variation of the VIN system. These new VINs were introduced to comply with new American and Canadian chassis numbering regulations. They were in many respects similar to the European system except that a 'Check Digit' was now incorporated, which increased the length to 17 digits.

The Check digit was inserted at the 9th position of the series and could check the validity of the entire chassis number. The other digits that differed from the European system were the 6th, 7th and 8th digits. The check digit is calculated as follows:

Chassis Weight Weight
Digit   Representation Numeric Factor
  1.     Continent:        S          Europe 2 8
  2.     Country:           A          U.K.   1 7
  3.     Manufacture:    T          Triumph 3 6
  4.     Model range:    P          TR7/8  7 5
  5.     Specification:   V          U.S.A.,  (49 states)  5 4
                                 Z          U.S.A., California 9 4
                                 L          Canada  3 4
  6.     Type of body:   5          Coupe 5 3
                                 4          Convertible 4 3
  7.     Type of engine: 1          2 litre four cylinder (TR7) 1 2
                                 5          3.5 litre V8 (TR8) 5 2
  8.     Steering and     4          LHD, Automatic 4 10
         Transmission:    8          LHD, Manual 5spd 8 10
     
     
Digit   Representation Numeric Factor
  9.     Check Digit:    see below       0 - 9 or X    
 10.     Major model     A          1980 Model Year 1 9
           change            B          1981 Model Year  2 9
                                 C          1982 Model Year  3 9
 11.   Assembly plant: A          Solihull 1 9
     
 12.     Serial number:    
                1st digit 7
              2nd digit 6
               3rd digit 5
             4th digit 4
             5th digit 3
             6th digit 2

Taking my own TR8 with a chassis number of SATPV458*BA407609 (*has been left for the check digit), each of the chassis digits must be converted into its equivalent numeric and multiplied by its weight factor.

       Chassis   Weight
       Digit  Numeric  X  Factor  =   Product
         S          2          8          =     16
         A          1          7          =      7
         T          3          6          =     18
         P          7          5          =     35
         V          5          4          =     20
         4          4          3          =     12
         5          5          2          =     10
         8          8         10          =     80
         ?             CHECK DIGIT
                 2          9          =     18
                 1          8          =      8
         4          4          7          =     28
         0          0          6          =      0
         7          7          5          =     35
         6          6          4          =     24
         0          0          3          =      0
         9          9          2          =     18
                                              
      (Add the products together = 329)

This value is then divided by modulus 11, In this instance 329/11 = 29 with a remainder of 10. This remainder value is then added to the chassis number in the 9th position. When the remainder is 10 as is the case here an "X" is used instead.

SATPV458XBA407609

   

Just to confuse matters further SATPV458XBA407609 has the earlier European / Home Non USA/Canada Solihull 1980/81 Year Cars numbering system without the check number stamped in the boot/trunk rain gutter. It may have been that the body shells were built much earlier hence the earlier style chassis number.

In addition SATPV458XBA407609 also has the chassis number with the check digit stamped round the left hand suspension turret quite why this happened is a puzzle - It may have been because this car is a European export TR8 (sold to US/Can Forces, Diplomats in Europe) and a number in the engine bay was required to get past some sort of legal / type approval issue.

 

BL/Triumph used a number of chassis number systems for the TR7/8 range, on the whole they appear to have been used correctly but there are a number of instances where this hasn't happened. Certainly late cars for the UK appear to have all been designated 1980 model year, where cars destined for the USA and Canada appear to have all been stamped correctly with both 1981 and 1982 year models appearing as well as the 17 digit check number chassis system.