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How to locate your chassis number
and how to find out when your Land Rover was built. Update 24-10-2004 información en castellano

by Annette Flottwell

Peter from the Netherlands recently bought a 1979 Stage One. That is what I concluded from his chassis number. But the station wagon's German papers told a completely different story. Just what I needed to write this.
Series Land Rovers come in most cases with some sort of registration papers. I have seen or owned them in two different Belgian versions, French, Dutch, German, Ozi and of course British. When I recently helped our member Patrice to buy a Land Rover in Spain, I learned that there are different Catalan and Castellano versions as well.
It is amazing how much all these papers differ. German papers are the most complicated ones I have seen so far, I think the only thing they don't list is the engine nš. But that does not keep them from listing other weird thingies like your colour nš or the tyre size.
Many papers feature your engine specs like power in HP or kW. My Belgian registration lists it as 84 [ :)] but British or French papers don't.The French have fiscal power instead, which means nothing and is a lottery. I guess it is determined by the calendar or your birth date.
But they all proudly feature your chassis number and a date of 1st road registration. The latter is often made up by some administration and has nothing to do with the true age of your Old Lady. Even the chassis number you find in these papers is often wrong. I have seen an engine number in a french Series Two document.

With the exception of Spain, none of these papers ever tell you when your Land rover was built. This can be very important, though, if you want a historical registration. Again, here the rules are different all over Europe and the US.

Please tell me the snags and dates for your country if it is not listed.

Belgium: 25 years. Not to be used as your everyday transport, traveling abroad is only allowed to meetings and oldtimer events. No road tax, cheap insurance.
France: 25 years. You must stay in your department and those next to it. Not to be used as your everyday transport, traveling abroad is only allowed to meetings and oldtimer events. Huge discounts apply for insurance. »Contrôle technique «is a lot easier.
UK: 33 years. No restrictions, no road tax.
US: 25 years, often the only way to import a Land Rover.
Germany: 30 years, very cheap road tax, simplified technical control but your vehicle must be »original«. You must own another vehicle which is fully taxed
Netherlands: 25 years. after 1st REGISTRATION. Oh socks. Details to be added later.
Italy: seems to be a major headache, like you have to be a member of a classical car club.
Spain: a vehicle is considered as historical 25 years after the offcial date of manufacture. It must preserve the original looks and parts. There is no restriction and no road tax. Technical controls are every to years till the age 0f 35 years, then every 5 years. It is highly recommended to join a classic car club. (I was told the expertizing needed can take up to 9 months)

So where is the chassis number? Yes, you have asked me so often now that I decided to put it here:

Series One and Two: The number is on the plate you find riveted to your bulkhead, under the instrument panel. Here above is the Spanish version.

Earlier Series Three : In most cases you'll find the plate riveted to the seatbox, the exact location is depends on the importer. The Belgian plate to the right here is quite typical, in Spain the plate is just on the opposite side.

Later Series Three and early 90/110s: Bulkhead inside the engine bay bears the plate. In some countries it is again the seatbox.

But of course a chassis number is to be found on the chassis as well. In Belgium you risk to have to apply for a 500 Euro importer's certificate if it is not readable.

What do I look for?

after cleaning off the mud and rust carefully ( do not sandblast, that is one way to destroy your number!!) you should find something like this:

80": on the chassis, near the LH engine mount, see picture.

All others: Here, above the RHS front spring hanger. The letters are often aligned like this, in an elaborate off-road alignment:

Javier confirms below that all types of Santanas use the same chassis number location, just opposite the British Land Rovers:

The front LHS spring hanger!

So far I was told about one exeption: The owner of a former MOD Series Two tells me his chassis number is just on the opposite side of the chassis.. Strange.

On factory prototypes: Nowhere. Don't talk about it. Mine has the number stamped on a flimsy aluminium plate on the radiator frame.

So how do I find out the year of manufacture:

If it is a Series One or Two, NOT IIa, ask Wim's fantastic applet. The result will look like this:
3 Model year: 1953
6 Model: Land Rover, Series I, 80in, petrol
1 Body type: Basic
3 Destination: Left-hand drive (LHD), export market
1234 Serial number

Or look in your workshop manual, the first pages will tell you.
For all the rest, there is unfortunately no strict table. You are welcome to ask me, I may have an idea. If you own a Stage One, you simply have to tell me. That is for the Stage One Register and it is free.

But it is a better idea to ask Land Rover and tell me the result. why: Because we are trying to get the chassis numbers and years together for as many Land Rover numbers as possible. So one day we will able to tell you whether the vehicle you want to by is really a genuine 1971 oldtimer or unfortunately from 79.
Write a polite letter with a copy of your paper to

Mr Eric Pagan, Project eng.,
Land Rover,
Lode Lane,
West Midlands,
B92 8NW,

Exceptions: CKD kits or Santanas and Minervas which have been assembled or built by another manufacturer have their own tables.

For CKDs Mr Pagan will give you at least a time frame, but he can hardly tell you when the parts which were shipped to say, South Africa have been assembled to leave the factory.

That is something you have to ask those manufacturers. In some cases, even here Land Rover has the full details. It is hard to trace a south African or Indonesian chassis number, but for Australia I have recently received a complete list for some Series Three years. for the latter please contact me, I have also got a Minerva list and Javier is working on a better Santana list.

When you have thus obtained your birth certificate, contact these stubborn authorities again and tell them that is not an 1982, nor a Defender, but a 6 cylinder 1978 Series Three.

Has your Land Rover been registered in another country? When?

More about stupid administrations: Peter just told me that in the Netherlands it is 25 years after the first registration. So he has to find out where on earth his Stage One has been registered before. So how does it work?
Imported from the UK: If you have got your old number, which already gives you the YEAR of 1st registration, check for further details with the DVLA, Swansea SA991BD. The suffix R in XXX 000R stands for 8/1976 -7/1977 for instance. Military vehicles can be verified with the MOD etc.
België: Beherman Demoen was the official importer, see plate above. They have records of all official new imports into Belgium.
France: Lottery. If you have an idea WHERE your Land Rover has been registered in France, try 'la préfecture' of the department in question. Be aware that Series vehicle 'dates 'are often pure genius in Frnce and as often based on the amount of pastis involved in the deal. If the age is unknown, they usually go by the chassis number. But once you got one trace you can find it back through 17 departments if need be.
Switzerland: Very precise as you might expect. Peter tells me you can enquire with
the Minister of transport about your vehicle.
Germany / Deutschland: The Fahrzeugregister or Kraftfahrtbundesamt is supposed to know it all. I bet they do.

Spain: en castellano, por Javier de Mazarrasa
En los Santana el numero de chasis está grabado en el soporte delantero de la ballesta delantera izquierda además de en la chapa (como en la foto) fijada sobre el tunel de la caja de cambios y en el asiento izquierdo.

En España se considera vehiculo historico a parir de los 25 años de su fabricación, debe conservar su aspecto y elementos originales. No hay limitación de circulación, está exento de impuestos, ITV cada 2 años hasta los 35, después cada 5 años. Es aconsejable pertenecer a un club de clasicos.

Para conocer la fecha de fabricación y matriculación, si no hay Ficha Técnica, hay que dirigirse a Santana Motor para los fabricados después de 1985 indicando el nš de chasis.
Para los anteriores, a las correspondientes Jefaturas Provinciales de Tráfico (JPT) o a la propia Dirección General de Trafico (DGT)
To learn your date of manufacture (which is only unknown if the official papers were lost or destroyed) you can ask santana Motors for all Santanas built since 1985. For earlier vehicles you have to ask the the provincial or general trafic administration DGT, see link above.

Good luck!! hint: I know this document wants improving. I am really grateful for any hint or bit of supplementary information.

by Annette Flottwell

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