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Date registered: Mar 2013
Vehicle: 2008 ML320CDI 4Matic, 161K miles; 1983 380SL (die Rostlaube), 238K miles
Location: Fairmont, Minnesota, USA
Mentioned: 2 Post(s)
Quoted: 381 Post(s)
Your VIN is one digit too short. It must be 17 characters.
Mercedes VINs do not have specific characters assigned to specific engines. Instead, the six digits are a chassis type, which includes the engine as part of it. The 231 part says it's a W231, which is the overall model for the current SL-class; the next three digits specify the submodel, which includes the engine but other information as well.
Then after that are supposed to be the check digit and standard model year designation (for 2013, it's D). The letter is supposed to be a plant of assembly, but is really part of the chassis number, which are the final six digits.
You notice that I just specified 18 characters. That's because the model and submodel are encoded in five characters for the US (for example, my 2001 E320 wagon, chassis type and submodel 210.282, are encoded as JH82J, and no, I don't know the algorithm). I don't know what gets dropped for European and Asian market VINs.
That's a long-winded way of saying that there's no specific encoding for anything beyond the chassis type and submodel.
Last edited by jaymaynard; 07-16-2013 at 07:14 AM.