VIN Numbers Explained

A car's VIN or chassis number is a unique number assigned to each and every car. Unlike the registration number which can be changed and is not assigned until the car is sold the VIN number is assigned to the physical chassis in the factory. The VIN number is a code which can be broken down to give details about the car.
Using the above example, WMWRA32070TB00081, we can see a MINIs VIN can be read like this:

Characters Value Meaning
1 W Country
2 M Manufacturer
3 W Type
4-8 RA320 Vehicle Description
9 7 Check Digit
10 0 Year
11 T Plant
Last 6 B00081 Serial Number

It's the last 6 digits that go some way identify the order the car was built. Often this is referred to as the last 7 digits, including the plant of manufacturer as well, in this case, TB00081.

You will notice that the above MINI ONE VIN starts with a B0, so what does this mean? It transpires it allows you to identify not only the model but also the gear box, region and whether the car is left hand or right hand drive. The below table further breaks down the Serial Number and explains the different possible prefixes known and relevant to 2001 MINIs. I have included Manual Cooper S VINs because technically the first ones were built in 2001 and also they are very similar to R50 numbers so will avoid confusion.

Prefix Model Gearbox LHD / RHD Region
TB0 ONE Manual RHD UK & Other RHD Countries
TC0 Cooper Manual RHD UK & Other RHD Countries
TC6 Cooper S Manual RHD UK & Other RHD Countries
TE7 ONE Auto RHD UK & Other RHD Countries
TE0 Cooper Auto RHD UK & Other RHD Countries
TA0 ONE Manual LHD LHD Countries
TC3 Cooper Manual LHD Europe
TB3 Cooper Manual LHD USA
TD0 Cooper S Manual LHD UK & Other RHD Countries