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Discussion Starter #1
I posted this information in Max Performance forum last fall, but with spring arriving in northern regions and folks getting excited about buying a new GTO, this information may be helpful for some potential buyers of 1974 GTOs.

When evaluating a possible 1974 GTO for purchase, the prospective buyer can do some quick due diligence to see if it is a factory produced '74 GTO or a "tribute" or "clone". The first seven digits of the VIN # can give you a pretty good indication before you ever get to ordering PHS documentation on the vehicle.

1st digit should be 2 for Pontiac
2nd character should be Y or Z for base or custom Ventura
3rd & 4th digits should be 17 or 27 for hatchback or coupe
5th character will likely* be B for 350 ci 200 HP engine
6th digit should be 4 for 1974 model year
7th character is the assembly plant (W= Willow Run, MI, L=Van Nuys, CA)
8th - 13th digits are the sequential build # for a specific car

Ex. 2Z17B4W??????.

I have had a 1974 GTO in my possession since it was born in 1973 and my VIN is 2Z17B4....... I know a K for the 5th position is listed in some literature as the 350ci 4bbl, dual exhaust for 1974 Pontiacs, but I haven't seen a 1974 GTO VIN that doesn't have the B engine code in the 5th position, but perhaps there were some produced with a K in the 5th position of the VIN.

Hope this helps anyone to be able to do a quick VIN decoding to see if the car they are looking at is a factory '74 GTO.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
VINs were first used in 1954 in the US. From 1954 to 1981, there was no standard for VIN numbers, so different manufacturers used different formats. In 1981, the NHTSA in the US standardized the format to a 17-character VIN.

So the problem with pre-1981 cars is there is not a standard for all cars, therefore you have to find out the decoding for a particular car company's vehicles for a given year. Not all websites are completely correct in decoding all of the possible characters. Here is a URL that provides decoding for '67 Pontiacs, which could be a start for you. I will warn you that the 1974 decoding for this site is mostly correct, but not completely correct. I don't know enough about 67's to tell you how correct the decoding on this site is for 67 GTOs. This site says its a 2 dr. Sport Coupe 67 Pontiac GTO, built in Kansas City, MO, with an 8 cylinder engine--so not a clone/tribute GTO based on the VIN.

Jim is correct, the Data Plate can give you a lot more information about the details of the car, like paint colors, trim options, interior and exterior options, etc. PHS can give you a good snapshot of what the car was like when it left the factory.

Good luck.
 
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