VIN Decode

Decode a Vehicle Identification Number

This probably only works for 2004 to 2006 or so VIN numbers.


The registry has been removed. Interest does not warrant continued maintenance. Should you wish to take on the effort, I will happily supply the original database (MySQL) and the php code used to enter and display the registry.

The Lotus Elise registry attempts to document the vehicle identification numbers and configurations of the following cars (generally Toyota 2ZZ-GE engine powered):

  • Lotus Elise 111R
  • North American
  • Exige (2004)

Vehicle Identification Number:

The vehicle number can be found under the left front corner of the windscreen and stamped in the aluminium chassis in the front right wheel arch. The engine number is stamped on the engine block next to the gear box at the rear of the engine. See the service manual, page two of the introduction, for exact locations and for additional information on how to decode the vehicle identification number.

The Vehicle Identification Number is required to add a new entry in the registry and to edit an existing entry. It is never displayed and cannot be harvested. It must be entered as shown, all in upper case. Please let me know if you have additional concerns about abuse of VIN numbers or any other information included in the registry.


  1. It is important to enter the correct build date. The table is sorted according to the build date since Lotus did not necessarily build the cars in serial number order. The build date can be found on the sticker inside the driver side door, on the door jam at shoulder height.
  2. This registry works with model years 2005 and 2006. It has some features anticipating 2007.
  3. The Vehicle Identification Number is required for a new entry and to edit an existing entry. It is never displayed and cannot be harvested for illegal purposes. It must be entered as displayed, currently all upper case.
  4. The serial number is decoded from the VIN based on information contained in the service manual. Lotus may change the information as the production continues. Entries that do not conform to the specification are rejected to prevent incorrect entries. A legitimate entry may be rejected because it does not conform to the current definition. Please contact the webmaster if you are convinced the entry is correct and it is not accepted.
  5. Only the vehicle identification number is required for the registry. All other information is optional. The entry in the registry cannot be modified if the correct password is not supplied.
  6. The algorithm for the check digit is known but not implemented.
  7. The email address of the owner is requested in order to email the password if it is forgotten. This feature is not implemented yet. The email address is not required and will not be used for any other purpose. The form entry of the password is treated inconsistently. Email the webmaster if you want your password reset.
  8. Please contact the webmaster with any questions, inconsistencies, additions, or errors. Every effort will be made to respond to requests but since this is a volunteer effort, it may take a bit of time. Please let me know if you want your entry deleted.
  9. The security of this database has not been tested. Please do not enter any data that you want held private.
  10. Known bugs:
  • You can enter contradictory information. For example, you can have one and two oil coolers. I did not want to progam the consistency checks. For implementation questions, please contact the author.
  • I have removed some of the manufacturing changes as they are difficult to understand and the data was inconclusive. I can easily add new changes if you can supply pictures of the change, before and after.
  • I need pictures of the various manufacturing changes. Please review the characteristics page and send contributions to the webmaster. I will attribute pictures as specified. I also need further definition on things such as shift lever update and diffuser bolt patterns.
  • This registry only works for the cars listed. Send me information about VINs for other Lotus models and I will consider adding them.
  • Picture URLs must be current. If I already have a picture of your car in the picture database, please let me know and I will make the connection.
  • The form requests input on items that are not consistent with the options checked. For example, the LSS wheel finish check box is active even when the car does not have the LSS Sport Pack option.
  • No search capability is implemented. It is not clear if this is needed. Do you want to see all VINs that meet a certain criteria?
  • I limit the number of entries to 300 in order to prevent some bot from filling up the database with spam. I will increase it by 50 every time it gets close to fill. I might prefer to limit the time between entries, thus frustrating a bot. The complexity of the VIN prevents too much spam. Even better might be to crack the code on the ninth digit and further validate the spam.

Special Thanks

Special thanks to Cranium (EliseTalk, Jack) for the original implementation. Thanks to Alexander (apkom), Tim (TimMullen), and Andy (andykeck) for help testing. Thanks to ? for UK implementation.