How to Find the Year of a VW Bug Engine

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In 1938, under orders from Adolf Hitler, Ferdinand Porsche built the first Volkswagen. Looking back, with all the precision cars of today, it is hard to believe that the little “bug” was designed for high-speed driving on the Autobahn. The VW Beetle is a sturdy little car, making it one of America’s most beloved import cars. If you own a VW and want to determine the year the engine was made, it’s easy to find if you have a computer with Internet access.

  • Locate the serial number on your VW engine. This will be stamped on the crankcase, or at the bottom of the generator/alternator stand. You can locate the generator/alternator by following the serpentine belt until it crosses the alternator pulley. Look between the pulleys for the number and write it down.

  • Go online to lightner.net/ybdb/serno.html. Here you will find a chart with three columns.

  • Look down the third column, on the right of the chart, until you find numbers matching the first few letters or numbers of your serial number.

  • Once you find the match in the third column, look to the left. The first column will tell you the year of your engine.

Tips & Warnings

  • Note that if the engine case was replaced, it will have no engine serial number.

References

  • Photo Credit Getty Images/Getty Images News/Getty Images
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