VIN Plate Puzzle

Most of the Datsuns I have ever owned have had the same basic style of VIN plate screwed to the bulkhead. These generally have black print and measure about 100mm x 70mm. I had noticed before that a few cars inexplicably come with a smaller plate measuring 80mm x 60mm and I was also aware that some cars even had plates that weren’t printed in black… and it’s these coloured plates that have sparked my curiosity. I’d never considered that the different coloured plates, although they aren’t common, might have some significance, but it seems that they may have.

For some reason my black KP710 has a small blue VIN plate, yet the previous three I have owned before all had the common larger black plates. Curious to know why, I had a look through a stack of old VIN plates I have, most of which came from JDM models. Whilst this provided no immediate answer, I did notice that the coloured plates have a number in a circle that the black plates don’t have (shown above). This is constant with all the plates I have, coloured ones have a number… black ones do not. So the burning question is, what’s the significance of the coloured VIN plates and what do they and the numbers on them represent? If anyone can shed some light on this I be glad to hear about it!

Another thing I noticed is how some plates are marked in the top left corner (in Japanese) ‘Datsun’ and some ‘Nissan’. Often it’s not entirely clear which models were sold under which brand name in the domestic market, but I guess the VIN plates provide a definitive answer. Just a shame I don’t have one for every model!

2 thoughts on “VIN Plate Puzzle”

  1. just a guess, but perhaps the different colors designate different factories?

    datsun or nissan? that’s one of the three great mysteries along with 2) how prince survived as an autonomous entity up until the ghosn era and 3) bizarre domestic dealership structure


  2. Initially that’s what I considered it to be but the vast majority of plates are black and not numbered and the cars that bear those are made in different plants. I did wonder if maybe they were cars who assembly was done outside of Nissan plants? I read somewhere that other manufacturers (I think Daihatsu may have been one) assembled some Nissans at some point as they had spare capacity.


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