VOLVO Vehicle Identification Plates - Up to 1960

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Type
Chassis Number
Color Code
Upholstery code

Body Number plate

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The main identification and body number plates shown above are both located in the engine compartment. For the 444, 544, 210 and 445 the plates are screwed on the firewall, on the right side of the engine compartment. For the 120 Series the main plate is on the left side of the car and the body number plate is srcewed on the left inner fender.


Type

The type starts with a "P" followed by 5 numbers and a letter. The table below shows 2 examples.

Digit # 1 2 3 4 5 6
P 5 4 4 2 6 A
P 1 2 1 0 6 B

Type Decoding

Digit # Description
1,2,3
Chassis
The first 3 digits of the type identifies the chassis.
121 120 4 door, B16A single carburetor engine
122 120 4 door, B16B dual carburetor engine
210 544 station wagon
444 444 2 door
445 444 station wagon
544 544 2 door
4
The 4th digit of the type is not known.
0  
1  
2  
5
Version
The 5th digit of the type identifies the version, including the engine and transmission. Click here for more engine information

544 and 210 Versions

1  
2  
3 Standard: B4b or B16A engine, 3 speed transmission
4 Special II: B16A engine, 4 speed transmission
5 Special I: B16A engine, 3 speed transmission
6 Sport: B16B engine, 4 speed transmission
7  
8 Sport USA: B16B engine, 4 speed transmission
9 Sport USA: B16B engine, 3 speed transmission

121 and 122 Version

4 3 speed transmission
5  
6 4 speed transmission
7  
7
Production ID
A letter identifying the production batch, which is closely related to the year. Please refer to the production tables to determine the year(s) corresponding to each letter. For example the 1951 444 is production ID = "B".  Before 1961 the same production batch could be sold for a few years without any changes. For example the same "A" batch of 444 was sold from 1948 to 1950.

Example decoding

  1 2 3 4 5 6 Digits
P 5 4 4 2 6 A
  • 544 = 544 2 door
  • 2 = ?
  • 6 = sport version with B16b engine, 4 speed transmission
  • A = 1960
  • The year can also be checked with the chassis number 294581 in the 544 production table. The 544 chassis number 294581 turns out to be a 1960.
P 1 2 1 0 6 B
  • 121 = 120 Series 4 doors with B16A engine
  • 0 = ?
  • 6 = 4 speed transmission
  • B = 1958, 1959 or 1960
  • The year can also be checked with the chassis number in the 120 production table.

Chassis Number (Ch. Nr)

A consecutive number assigned to each chassis produced.  Each chassis style (2 doors, 4 doors and wagon) have a unique set of number. The year can be determined with the chassis number (Ch. Nr.) by looking up it the production tables. Note that the chassis number was not reset to zero when the 444 was changed to 544.

Upholstery Code

The upholstery code identifies the style, colors and materials covering the interior of the car. The code is different for 2-door, 4-door and station wagon models. The materials and colors changed almost every year and therefore many codes exists for the same car. For example there are 7 different upholstery codes just for the 1963 120 4 door.

Body Number

A consecutive number assigned to each completed car as it rolls down the production line.  The difference between body number and chassis number is not clear, but it is supposed that the body number was assigned only to completed cars ready for sale. Some chassis were scraped during production or used for development and testing purposes. This explains why the body number is always smaller than the chassis number. In any case you should always use the CHASSIS number.

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