So your going out to look at a Lucerne Blue 1972 455HO Trans Am or perhaps a 1988 Formula with the WS6 package and you'd like to go armed with the knowledge to ensure your getting what's being advertised? Did you just buy that 1968 convertible Firebird you've always wanted and now would like to find out as much as you can about it? Well follow the steps outlined here and use the information provided in these pages and it will put you a LONG way toward understanding just what it is you have and how it was built and optioned. Keep checking back to, as I find more methods for validating information I will add them here.

Decode the VIN. This is the Vehicle Identification Number and is found on all Firebirds from 1967 to 2000. Location as well as decoding information is located with each of the Year by Year Codes & Figures pages.

Decode the data plate. The purpose of each item on the data plate is provided here to help you understand which codes are what. The codes specific to each year are located with each of the Year by Year Codes & Figures pages.

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Typical data plate

Line 1: ST 69-00000            APL 123456

The two digit code to the right of the ST characters is the year model of the Firebird, in this case 1969.

The next five digits decode the division series and body type. Normally these five digits should match the first five digits of the VIN and decode the same. However they do not always match and this is not an immediate cause for alarm. Often the VIN number was used to specify a more generic model type while the data plate was used to identify a more specific model type. An example of this is seen with 1970 Firebirds. Data plates on Norwood built Firebirds always contain the base Firebird style even if it was actually built to be a Formula or Trans Am. To differentiate Norwood added the UPC code "WS4" to the plate which in that case identifies a Trans Am. Data plates on Van Nuys built Firebirds utilized the correct 5-digit code to identify model type, 22887 for a Trans Am.

The next three letters define the assembly plant where your Firebird was built. The three plant codes are as follows:
Lordstown  LOR
Van Nuys   LOS
Norwood   NOR

The next six digits define a consecutive body number. This number is not significant.

Line 2: TR 000            000            00

The first 3 digits are the Trim Code. This defines interior color, seat style and seat material type.

The next 3 digits is the Time Built Code. This tells you on what date your car was built. The format should be two numbers and 1 letter i.e. 06C. This is decoded as follows:
   The first two digits define the month: 01 = January, 02 = February, 03 = March etc....
   The last character defines the week: A = 1st week, B = 2nd week etc...
So our particular example above decodes to 3rd week of June 1969. *Remember the year is not part of this code its located on line 1! Also note that this code may be located directly above the year model and body type codes.

Visit the year by year Codes & Figures pages listed below to get all the information about your Firebird:




*As they become available they will be listed here.

Whether your looking at a particularly rare Firebird and must have absolute proof or you already own one and just want to obtain a copy of the billing invoice, the last step is to send $35 to Pontiac Historical Services. They can be reached on the web at The service they provide is invaluable and well worth it. No other auto manufacturer provides this service, only Pontiac. For your $35 you'll get an extensive amount of information about the year model Firebird you own, a copy of the billing invoice, a photo of your year and model Firebird and several other items of interest. I have used PHS three times and have never been disappointed. They are an industry standard for true authentication of Pontiacs. Quite often you will see "PHS documented" in classified ads.

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