How to Decode a VIN on an MG

A vehicle identification number -- or VIN -- is a unique number that is assigned to a car during manufacturing and positively identifies that vehicle. Unlike number plate numbers that can change periodically, a VIN remains constant. The VIN is important in helping to identify car ownership, especially in the case of a stolen automobile. This VIN also gives useful information about the specific car that might be of interest to the owner or potential buyer.

Locate the VIN on your MG car. For some older models made before 1970, this number might be on a plate stamped under the hood near the radiator. MGs made in 1970 and later have the VIN plate on the inside of the driver-side door post or on the dashboard, under the windshield. All newer cars put it on the dashboard on the driver's side corner.

Identify the make, engine, and body type. The VIN for every MG car will start with a G: simply standing for MG. The next letter will most likely be an H, signalling that is in the 1400-2000cc class. The third letter will be an N or a D for the two-seat Roadster or Coupe body types, respectively.

Identify the market and model year. After the third letter for the body type, there will be a U, L, or R. The U and L both mean that it is for left-side driving, with the U indicating it was produced for the United States. The R signals it is for right-side driving. The fifth letter tells the model year. They are sequential letters beginning with A for the 1969-70 model year, B for 1971, and so forth. The years before the 1969-1970 model did not have this letter.

Identify your unique car number. The final numerical digits are the positively identifying number for your MG. Depending on the year and how many were produced, you might have as many as seven numbers in the VIN. They typically count up sequentially from the first one manufactured. This makes many low-end numbers of classic cars even more valuable, as they are the first ones produced.


If you are interested in buying an MG and the VIN has been scraped off, be very cautious. This could be a sign that the car is stolen.

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About the Author

Matthias Will began his professional writing career in 2010 as a copywriter for ecommerce provider Mountain Media. His works have been published on an industry leading SEO site, SEOmoz. He is a passionate web developer and Internet marketer, and in his free time loves gardening, bicycling and hiking.