All cars need to have some kind of unique permanent stamped identification and the RS200 is no different in that respect. There is also a requirement for the vehicle to carry on it a plate which repeats that stamped number and gives some other basic information about the car. On many other FORD cars there is then a second stamped plate often referred to as a “Trim Plate” which gives information about the colour of the car and it’s internal trim but the 200 does not have this. There are certain standards that motor manufacturers adhere to when they make up that unique stamped identification and over the past years it has come to be known as the VIN (Vehicle Identification Number) and it follows a recognisable 17 digit layout with the plate referred to as a “VIN PLATE”. On an RS200 the VIN plate is riveted to the body of the car on the right handside (if you are sitting in the car looking out the front screen) – In the interests of security I won’t divulge where the stamped number is.
The number can be broken down as follows:- The first 3 digits are widely known as the World Manufacturer Identifier (WMI) with S being assigned to Great Britain and F to Ford. Most people simply quote SFA as relating to cars built by Ford UK. The 4th and 10th digits are used by Ford to show the body type with C meaning 2 door coupe. You really need to read the FAQ “Why are there gaps in the chassis number range” to know about the 2nd chassis number ! The 5th and 6th digits are, on at least Ford UK cars, always XX. The 7th digit relates to the assembly line with B meaning “own assembly”. The 8th digit relates to the assembly plant which I can only assume was given J to reflect Boreham or Shenstone. Some reference materials show the plant J to be Caracas in Venzuela but we know that didn’t happen ! The 9th digit shows the model and 2 is a reference to the B200 project. The 10th digit is a duplication of the 4th digit. The 11th digit represents the year of build with E being 1984. The 12th digit represents the month of build which being an D shows it was built in July. The 13th to 17th digits represent the sequential number of the car in question which in this example is 003, the ford prototype car. The vast majority of cars built were all given build date of January 1986 so most cars have GL rather than ED prior to their seqential number. You really now need to read “Why are there gaps in the chassis number range” to understand about the 2nd chassis number of a 200 ! – Justin