The VIN or Vehicle Identification Number tells alot about a car. 1969 and newer cars will have the VIN located on the top of the dash on the drivers side viewable through the windshield. Beginning in 1981 and continuing today, VIN's consisted of thirteen characters -six of which bieng the sequential production number.
My VIN- 1G3WH12M6TF3xxxxx
1 -The first symbol indicates the country in which the vehicle was produced. In my case a "1" means that the car was produced within the United States as were all 1996 Cutlass Supreme's
G -The second symbol represents the motor company. "G" stands for General Motors (kinda redundant)
3 -The next character represents the division. "3" is for Oldsmobile
W -The fourth symbol represents the platform which the car is built upon. The "W" stands for GM's corperate W-Body platform which was also home to the Chevy Lumina/Monte Carlo, Buick Regal and Pontiac Grand Prix for the 1996 model year.
H -The fifth character indicates the model. "H" stands for Cutlass Supreme SL. All 1996 Cutlass Supremes have VIN "H". The Cutlass Supreme convertible, which was discontinued for 1996 carried VIN "T" through 1995.
1 -The next symbol indicates the body style. 2-door coupes, like mine, carry a "1" as the sixth character in the VIN. had it been a sedan, this would be a "5" or if a convertible, "3".
2 -The Seventh symbol indicates the type of restraint system. The "2" means that the car is equipped with active(manual) seatbelts and has driver and front passenger airbags.
M -The next character is the engine code. for 1996 "M" represents the 191 cubic inch 3.1L V6. The optional 207 cubic inch 3.4L V6 carried "X" as the engine code.
6 -The ninth character is a "check digit". Regulations in the United States and Canada require that the 9th digit of
the Vehicle Identification Number be a check digit. Its purpose is to provide a means for verifying the accuracy of the VIN transcription. Here's how it works.
T -The tenth symbol indicates the model year of the car. "T" was used for 1996.
F -The eleventh symbol is the plant code. This is where the car was produced. "F" stands for the Fairfax, Kansas plant.
3xxxxx -The last six digits are the sequential production number, unique to each vehicle. The 1996 Cutlass Supreme's started at 300,001.
An excellent online resource for decoding VIN'sReturn to my cars main page