IH Serial Numbers

Information provided by Howard Pletcher. This is an updated version (June 29, 2004)
There is little to decode from IH serial numbers. If you have a table of them, they do identify the time frame a truck was built in, but that is not hidden within the serial number. The system used depends upon what time frame you have in mind.

For many years starting in the 1930”s or earlier, each individual model had its own serial number sequence starting with 501 when the model was introduced. For example, there was an R100-501, R120-501, R130-501, etc.

When the S-line was introduced in 1955, it also started with serial S501, but there was no separate sequence for the various S models. S501 may have been a 110, S502 a 130 or 150, etc.

Serial numbers started over with SA501 with the A-models in 1957 and again with SB501 with the B-line in 1959. However, when the 1961 C-line was introduced, the serial numbers kept going with the SB numbers rather than starting over. This sequence continued until 10/65 when a new 13 digit VIN was introduced.

There were various other prefixes besides SB used for other models–FC’s were Scouts, W’s were Emeryville DCO-405’s, FW’s were the DCO-405’s built at Fort Wayne, and there were more for different models at Fort Wayne in particular.

The VIN structure used from 10/65 until the start of the 1973 model production consisted of a 6 digit model code followed by a letter indicating the plant it was built in followed by a 6 digit serial number. The model code was a specifications code that basically meant what model the truck was sold as. There is some meaning to the codes if you have the code table to interpret them.

The plant code was a G for Fort Wayne, H for Springfield, C for Chatham, Y for San Leandro, and L for Bridgeport Metros, and the serial was a sequential number. Trucks were generally built in serial number order, but not exactly for numerous reasons. Example: 781956G200123

For the 1973 model year, the VIN was modified to consist of a 5 character model code, followed by a letter indicating the model year of production, the plant indicator, a production line within the plant indicator, and a 5 digit serial number that started with 10001 each year. The plant indicators were the same as above. The model year indicator was a C for 1972, D for 1974, etc. The production line was either Line A or Line B for Fort Wayne and Springfield and A for Chatham. The Scout line was always line D in Fort Wayne (there had been a C line for a time, but it was discontinued about 1970). C and D were used at Springfield when the A and B serial numbers passed 99999 and started over. Example: H0062HGD39515.

This system continued through 1980, and then was modified by a US Federal Standard that specified the VIN structure to be used by all manufacturers. This system added 3 characters at the start of the IH VIN to indicate the country of origin, manufacturer, and type of vehicle and another character just ahead of the model year letter that was calculated from the rest of the characters to produce a check digit to help detect alterations to the VIN or errors in computer processing. The year indicator was B for 1981 and continued through Y in 2000 (skipping I, O, and Z ) followed by the numerals 1 through 9 through 2009. The sequence will restart with A in 2010. In the mid-1980”s, Navistar dropped the production line indicator which wasn”t required by the law and quit restarting the serial numbers each year. A similar system is in use today on any vehicle you may purchase in the US–and probably anywhere in the world. Using this you can tell if your vehicle was built in the US or not–1 for the first character=US, 2=Canada, and every country has a particular number or letter, although I”m not sure what they do after the first 36 countries. Example: 1HT36B2C9CHA12345.

One question often asked is ?Where was my truck built?? Prior to the use of the plant indicator in the VIN beginning in 1965, there is little indication on the truck itself. The VIN plate does not indicate. It says ?International Harvester Company, Chicago Illinois? or ?International Harvester Company, Hamilton, Ontario? for trucks built in Canada. The city is the location of the IH Headquarters for that country, not the plant where the truck was built. IH built only the first 100 Autobuggies in Chicago and a hundred or so trucks in Hamilton in the 1920?s, but all trucks say Chicago or Hamilton on the VIN plate.

As a rule, the lighter duty models were built in Springfield and the heavier ones at Fort Wayne. The dividing line appeared to be around the 1 ton models?K3, or the 130 series in the early years, although it varied from year to year according to production needs. By the 1960s, all the light line vehicles were built at Springfield up through the 150/1500 and the light end of the Loadstars–the 1600 and 1700–were also added.

All, or virtually all, IH vehicles sold in Canada were assembled at Chatham including Light Line and Scouts up through 1967. These were assembled from parts both built in Canada and shipped in from the US. After this, an Automotive Trade Act permitted manufacturers to trade production across the border and all manufacturers began to concentrate production of specific models in their Canadian plants. Chatham then built the CO-Loadstar/Cargostar models and the heavy end of the Loadstar line until the Fort Wayne Plant closed in 1982, after which Chatham built the heavy-duty conventional models.


About jimhadfield

Retired and enjoying it.
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37 Responses to IH Serial Numbers

  1. I have a Loadstar 1600, SN# 416060C036640*, can you tell me the year it was built. Looking to sell. einarsoncp@shaw.ca

  2. Pingback: Determine year of International pickup? - Hot Rod Forum : Hotrodders Bulletin Board

  3. dave327736 says:

    Hi Jim,
    Your article says they changed the format in 1973, and that a ‘C’ was for 1972. Was there some overlap?
    I’m working on a Fleetstar 2010A that is registered as a 1974, but the serial number of 74722cgb23781 would suggest it is a 1972, built in Ft. Wayne on Line B.
    What have I got?

  4. I have a International Harvestor manufactured by International Harvestor, Hamilton Ontario. Serial number is C-HFA-10111. Can you tell me what year it was built. Thank you

  5. Hello,

    My grandpa has one sitting out back at his farm. I found the paperwork on it can came across the vin# as SB310963A. It says its a ’64. But i was wondering if you had any more information on it as to which line it was. In this article, from my understanding, it can be either a B or C line. Can you confirm which line it was and what more of the model was from this? If you can, let me know at your earliest convenience.


    • jimhadfield says:

      If you are lucky, there may still be chrome pieces on each fender, or just above that on each side of the truck.

      • Jim,

        To keep up with you I found the stamp on a piece of metal on the driver side door. I have come to find the truck is a C1100, commercial grade 3/4 ton pick up. I am trying to determine the engine size so I can progress with this project. Any ideas on how to determine the size of the engine? I have seen many say things between a 372 and a 394 or something of that nature. Is there a stamp or a marking or some way to determine which it is? Please let me know at your earliest convenience.


      • jimhadfield says:

        Try looking on the right (passenger) side of the engine block for the engine size in the casting.

  6. Cody Dowling says:

    Hi Jim, very informative article. Thank you! I am looking at a FD77486 on a Loadstar 1800. I’m told it’s “probably” a 1963. How can I find more about it?

  7. Jim Hayes says:

    Looking for year of manufacture for a older pick-up Model R-110 SD-220H5 Serial 241962..

  8. Hi Jim,
    My uncle has an International Harvester Scout Model 800A and the serial # is 7828276410719 he is wishing to sell but has no idea what year model or how much it is worth. Can you help please?

  9. Jim- Thanks for this info. I have a Metro R-120. I have a title but I cannot find anywhere on the van where the number from the title would be. The title lists the VIN as SD220306393. Is that a proper VIN for a 55 Metro? I have two ID tags that came with the Van. One states Model D1200, Ser# 513208H587397. The Other has nothing stamped in the Model space, and a Serial # of AM 122M39790B. Can you help me sort these out? Is there a spot on the body or chassis that the VIN is stamped?

    • jimhadfield says:

      The SD220 is the engine model number.
      As for the truck VIN, I usually refer to my Crismon book. However, seems to have vanished when we moved last year. You could get onto our forums and ask there.

  10. I have an International truck R-110 W.B. 115. Chassis serial number 32361. Serial number 242325. Also I have numbers SD220. ?power 90. 3600 rrm Maximum weight 4200 lbs. made but international harvester co in Chicago Illinois. What year is it? Please help me. I know R110 was either 1953 to 1955. Please answer me. Thanks

  11. I have an A100; serial# 47780. BD-240 , 120650 made in Hamilton. What year is this truck?, 57 or 58?

  12. Hi Jim, I Just found a serial number on the frame of my 1958 A-100 P/u. The number is SA 125865. What can you tell me about the truck? I’m curious to know if the step side box is original to this truck.

  13. Jim,
    I have an old International Cargo star Dump truck the tag beside the seat says CO-1700-A SB544341F. Any idea on the year? Thanks Brian

  14. ej25 wagon says:

    i have a international r-110 long bed, the chassis serial number 10982 and my engine model number sd-220 trying to find out what year this truck is. and where i can find out how to decode the vin number
    thanks, bob

  15. Jim,
    Father and I just got our hands on a 39 D-2 series…. I am trying to de code the Id tag…. any help would be great…. color/motor…. anything to get us pointed in the right direction it reads as follows:
    Model D2-213 125
    Chassis No. D2-69095

    Plate says Chicago USA

    Much appreciated! and any other websites for further history would be great!

  16. Jeff Edmonds says:

    Cant find the vin on what i was told 68 international semi truck. Trying to rebuild it but i seem to just find random numbers stamped in the engine block.

  17. Hi everyone!
    i just got a L122 International SD220
    I tried to register it in NYC but the DMV as issue with the VIN
    I gave them just the serial 4 digit, too short!
    Can anyone help me figure it out what is the proper number here’s what i have on the inside factory plate:
    Model L-122 WB127 Chassis serial number 2769
    Model SD-220 serial 6663
    HP 90 at 3600 rpm
    Thanks for any help

  18. Kayla Landry says:

    hello trying to figure out the year of my truck emblem says r-100 Series but the tag on the door info:
    Mod R-112 WB 127
    Chassis Serial # 9228
    Engine Model SD-220
    Serial # 209216

  19. Ernest McAlister says:

    I’m trying to buy a 60s model international loadstar 1600 and it doesn’t have a title where would I find the vin if the vin plate is gone so I can get a bonded title

    • jimhadfield says:

      Most of the big car/truck events have someone there that sells their service. Personally, I do not remember any names, however, the most recent one that I saw was at the Iola, WI old car show.


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