Your Very Own Enigma Code?


While you are waiting for your perfect rig to show up at auction, let’s talk ID. More specifically, Chassis ID. If you want to sound all JDM-Mitsu, you don’t wax poetic about blister fenders, and gen1’s. No, it’s all V46WG and L049GW. And you don’t need an Enigma machine to figure it out.

A VIN Down by the River

If your rig is made for the North American market, your VIN will look a little something like this:

Meanwhile, back in Japan…

Instead of a 17 digit VIN (vehicle identification number), each Japanese Domestic Market vehicle is issued a chassis ID, based on engine, body type, trim level, etc. The metal plate on your firewall, even if you have a North American model, should enlighten you as to what your model is actually called. If you are looking at a JDM, the Chassis ID is on this plate, near this plate on the firewall itself, or in the right rear wheel well.

Imagine the consternation you can foment at your local registry/DMV when they ask you for your VIN and you spout off “V55-1000581.” Even after you supply the corroborating paper work, you invariably get passed to a manager, who has to make a phone call.

Maybe You Have Too Much On Your (Firewall) Plate?

Even if you never ever import a vehicle from the land of the rising sun, it is still good to know the nomenclature. You may want to look up parts in other continents, where chassis ID is king. Or maybe you just want to sound like you know what you’re talking about on that international forum.

Bear in mind of course that other parts of the world have their own ideas as to what our rigs are called. Talked to an Aussie lately about his NH Pajero? Or a POCUK member about his MK2? At least with a chassis ID, we are speaking the same language, for once.

If I was to sort out all the chassis ID’s for Pajeros going back to 1983 I’d be here all day, so instead here’s a link to a JDM catalog, specifically pointed to the Pajero page, and you can browse for what you want. Bear in mind this catalog only goes back to 89, so models before that may not be fully represented.

Numbers Game

Just to give you some idea, here is a list of the numbers back to a build date of 1989/June:

-Late Gen1’s: (because old habits die hard)
L044GV L049GV L141G L141GW L144G L144GW L144GWG L146GW L149GW L149GWG

Gen2’s:
V14V V21W V23C V23W V24C V24V V24W V24WG V25C V25W V26C V26W V26WG V34V V43W V44W V44WG V45W V46V V46W V46WG V47WG

Pajero Evolution:
V55W

Gen 3’s:
V63W V65W V68W V73W V75W V77W V78W

Gen4’s:
V83W V87W V88W V93W V97W V98W

The “L” series was what we now call the Gen1. V’s have been used since then, with the V2X’s and 4X’s standing for the gen2 (2 and 4 doors) and gen3’s starting at V6X (right after the V55 Evolution). The newest gen4’s begin with V8X.The X gets replaced with a number that codes which engine was under the hood.

It needn’t be a riddle, wrapped in a mystery, inside an enigma.

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