See Figures 1, 2, 3, 4 and 5
The vehicle model type (1800, 142, 144, 145, 164, 240, 242, 244, 245, 262, 264, 265, 740, 760 or 780) and chassis number appear at several locations on every Volvo. For purposes of this guide, models sold in the early 1980s without number designation (ex: DL, GLT, Coupe) are considered members of the 200 Series of vehicles. The type designation and chassis number is stamped on the front door pillar on the right side of the car. Additionally, the numbers are stamped on a plate which is mounted under the hood on the right shock absorber tower.
For example, the vehicle type designation and chassis number may appear as VC 24445 L 1275965. The VC represents the manufacturer's code. Of the 24445, the first three digits, 244, indicate the model type (family is 240, model has 4 doors), while the last two digits indicate engine type and if the engine is fuel injected or uses a carburetor. The letter code indicates model year (in this case, "L" equals 1978), and the number following the letter code indicates location of the manufacturing plant that made this particular car. The final one to six digits comprise the vehicle's chassis number.
On models 1981 and newer, the U.S. standard 17 digit Vehicle Identification Number (VIN) is used. This number is most easily found on a plate mounted on the left side of the dashboard and visible through the windshield from the outside of the car. Again, it may also be found on the plate mounted on the right shock absorber tower.
It should be noted that although both styles of vehicle number (1970-80 and 1981-89) contain a letter code for model year, the codes are different before and after the 1980-81 change. For example, prior to 1981, the letter H denoted a 1977 model. In the longer, 17 digit VIN, H denotes a 1987 model. 1988 models are denoted by a J, and 1989 models by a K, as the letter I is not used.