model year / VIN at 'facelift' ?

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MoBrighta
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model year / VIN at 'facelift' ?

Post by MoBrighta »

Hello all,

I need some help figuring out when BMW changed the design of the back lights on E21 models... I believe the change-over date is Sept 1979, but I am looking for the VIN number marking the last car made with four light sockets, and the first made with five light sockets. Online parts sources show a 9/79 and later date of manufacture having different rear lights. BUT the site does not indicate where in the VIN numbering this change happened.
If someone knows (or knows where to find) a VIN that is the last car with the early lights, I will be MOST grateful!

Early lights have five sectors, with the center one reserved for the harness connector, and only FOUR bulbs.
Later lights have five sectors also, with the center one a large 'rear marker' or running (US: 'tail light') light, and sockets for FIVE bulbs.

I have some of each light version, which I am restoring, in the shop -- and adding upgrades for larger, brighter, more reliable tail and brake lights.
This is of course to increase visibility and reduce the chances for crunching noises from some idiot's front bumper... and ALWAYS done with safety first, and a 'Do No Harm' approach (my Auto-Hippo-Cratic oath). I have done this upgrading and restoration for years now, from E3 to E28 cars. I don't want this E21 model to be left out in the cold, so that's why I ask.

Once I get these lights done, I will post some pictures, and see if anyone wants rear lighting improvements for greater safety on the road.

THANK YOU FOR YOUR HELP!

Andy


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Re: model year / VIN at 'facelift' ?

Post by Manitoba »

Can’t help you on your VIN question but I think it’s a good idea thinking of better visibility for the old ladies. Looking forward to your ideas and pictures. Good luck!

Greetz,
Walter.
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Jeroen
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Re: model year / VIN at 'facelift' ?

Post by Jeroen »

+1!
Regards/groeten, Jeroen
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nic65
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Re: model year / VIN at 'facelift' ?

Post by nic65 »

I think it's difficult to find the exact number Vin, maybe we can get closer if we do a census of ours if needed, mine is February 80,is it useful? 7020935
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Re: model year / VIN at 'facelift' ?

Post by Jeroen »

But what would be the added value? Sofar I have not seen that BMW worked that precisely so they could draw a line at a certain chassis number, first occasions I have seen that to be possible was with the E30. Lots of facelift changes have come in effect a few months earlier up to even a year later.
Regards/groeten, Jeroen
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nic65
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Re: model year / VIN at 'facelift' ?

Post by nic65 »

I believe that even writing the Vin on ETK and looking at the set-up you can get to the truth ... but what is the use?
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MoBrighta
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Re: model year / VIN at 'facelift' ?

Post by MoBrighta »

nic65: "... mine is February 80,is it useful? 7020935"
-Thanks, nic- I'll start my spreadsheet with yours.

Jeroen: " ... what would be the added value?"
nic65: " ... what is the use?"
-Jeroen, nic- to learn how to tell 'early' or 'late' from DOM (month/year) and VIN, so I can speak more intelligently when contacted. Sometimes folks want to swap lights, some will send theirs in for the work. This will help me pick the correct version. A picture of their lights will also serve, that is best.

This raises the question - are these lights interchangeable (backwards compatible)? I will do some measuring of the lights I have, see if I can tell that way. Feedback and direct knowledge is invited.

Glad to see there is some interest in this!

Thanks, Bedankt, Vielen Dank, Tack, Kiitos, Gracias, Merci beau coups!
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Re: model year / VIN at 'facelift' ?

Post by Longneck »

Hi All,
Anyone can help me regarding this VIN plaque number?
is it from a pre-facelift or facelift EURO 323i?
photo from the plaque:


VIN NUMBER is : WBA18310007209924

Thanks in advance.
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Re: model year / VIN at 'facelift' ?

Post by nic65 »

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Re: model year / VIN at 'facelift' ?

Post by uwbuurman »

In general: pre facelifts have the short VIN, so 7 number only, starting with a 6 most of the time. In those cars is no number at the other front wing (body number or whatever that is)

The long vin of 17 digits, starting with a W, is on the facelift models.
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Re: model year / VIN at 'facelift' ?

Post by Jeroen »

And basically, model year changes were done during the factory summer stop: old series ran until production July of that year, August was for maintenance and production line conversions, and start of new series was September. So in basis, September should be facelift. Exceptions to the rule: if there was overstock of old version components. They had an issue with extensive stocks of the pre facelift upholstery for example, so that was fitted way into 1980 and there are more examples.
Regards/groeten, Jeroen
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Re: model year / VIN at 'facelift' ?

Post by Longneck »

Many thanks all!
So I have to accept that's a facelift car.
I'm restoring this particular car as a ALPINA Recreation/tribute but with a Roll cage (Alpina C1/2.3).
I have strip down the entire car and painted it in BMW 164 - GOLF, that I think that's a colour that was discontinued when facelift versions appeard.
Can anyone confirm that facelift versions didn't come in GOLF yellow color?

Also I have found a nice 320/6 pre facelift donor car with a very nice dashboard and interiors that I'm thinking to use in the restoration.
So, That's my dilema...;)
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Re: model year / VIN at 'facelift' ?

Post by Longneck »

uwbuurman wrote: Tue May 28, 2024 9:09 am In general: pre facelifts have the short VIN, so 7 number only, starting with a 6 most of the time. In those cars is no number at the other front wing (body number or whatever that is)

The long vin of 17 digits, starting with a W, is on the facelift models.
Are you sure? Not true I Think.
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Re: model year / VIN at 'facelift' ?

Post by uwbuurman »

pretty sure, at least in Europe. Curious to find out where you think that I am wrong. Pre facelift is also different in the ledge under the vinnumber, flat and no "dent" that is spotwelded to the inner wing with 3 spotwelds.
From the top:
Old and rotten
Old and repaired
New and type 2, W&N

Image

What’s the difference between type 1 and 2? Gap in the middle, type 1 is not round. The edge on top, that fits around the vinnumber. The are perfectly interchangeable, but that’s not how it should be ;-). The advantage of the type 2 is, that that one can be attached to the inner wing, unther the chassisnumber.
Type 1:

Image

Type 2:

Image
For more info on this,see this topic
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Re: model year / VIN at 'facelift' ?

Post by Jeroen »

Longneck wrote: Tue May 28, 2024 1:38 pm...Also I have found a nice 320/6 pre facelift donor car with a very nice dashboard and interiors that I'm thinking to use in the restoration.
So, That's my dilema...;)
Well even though colours can vary by the country I'm pretty sure no facelift E21's were produced in 070 Golf yellow (afaik available from 1975 until 1979, I used to own a Golf 320 from 1975) , but that time it was superceded by Corona yellow (148 Koronagelb, had an early 1980 323i in Korona). Mind you, according to my info this 'new' color was only available from 9/79 to 9/81.
Regards/groeten, Jeroen
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