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Help with 1981 trim codes

9966 Views 21 Replies 4 Participants Last post by  SMYDA
Guys I'm looking at a 1981 Vette that is silver over charcoal two tone with a red leather interior. The car has a red and orange stripe that runs around the midsection that divides the silver and charcoal. The stripe is also on the center of the hood of course.

I have never seen this color combo (red/orange on silver and charcoal) before and cannot find another like it on the internet. Is this an original factory combo? The trim tag has the following numbers:

74I 33L 33U 39M E

One site I visited said that the two tone silver over charcol exterior should be 33/39, that would explain one of the 33's and the 39 but what about the other 33 and the 74? The interior numbers that I found for 1981 Vettes do not list a 74 or a 33 for any of the late model C-3's.

Also what do the letters mean after the numbers? Is there any way to tell from the trim code if this car in fact came with the red and orange trim?

Any help would be appreciated.

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Thanks for the reply, I was starting to wonder if anyone was going to chime in on the subject lol.

By the way the trim code on this vette does have the two different numbers for the two tone with the 33 being for the silver metallic and the 39M being for the charcoal bottem half. But I see what you are saying about the U being for upper and L being for lower. I just do not see why they would use that if the car was all silver metallic. Then the tag would only have one code and that should be the traditional code for silver "13."

Does anyone else have a different opinion? Thank you again for your response. ;o)
Sorry it took so long since my last reply, I went to play a softball game and then to dinner but thanks again. I knew I had seen the 39M on the L81 registry site as being the secondary code for the 33 silver and 39M Charcoal.

But I have been looking all day and I am yet to find another silver over charcoal with the red and orange trim. It is a good-looking color combo so I have no idea why Chevrolet would not have chose to use it on their silver Vettes.

Like you mentioned above I have only seen the red and orange on the dark burgundy two tone cars:agree: . I have put some pictures in my photos so you can see the amazing color contrast of the red/orange/silver it is truly a thing of beauty. They are awaiting approval but as soon as they get approved I will post in a thread.
Let me see if this works:

This is a front shot of the vette and as you can see the combo of the red/orange/black on the silver hood is quite pleasing to the eye.

I sent Eckler's an email this morning regarding the stripes so I will let you know what they say about them when they respond.

Here is another shot:

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Bigbird, thanks for the link. However, I do not think the stripes on the hood of this one are the same as the stripes on my hood. Also this one has a dark blue interior not red. In my opinion, this color combo wouldn't look as good with the red and orange stripes.
Follow the link to their personal website. E-mail them for their trim codes. Also, take note that their build sheet shows St. Louis.:thud:

Yeah I did notice that the build sheet shows St. Louis and not Bowling Green. Thier web site only has the one picture of the vette and from the looks of it that stripe on the hood is not the same as what it on mine. I will try to send them an email to ask some Q's, thanks.

Email has been sent
74I might be 74L indicating red leather for '81
Thanks, yeah I just got an email back from Ecklers and their tech said that 74L was for dark red interior so I may have looked at it wrong. I will be picking the car up on my next off day (Wednesday) so I can give her a real good look once I have her here in my driveway.

As far as CAC (Corvette Action Center) goes I have been there and posted the same information as here. So far the general thinking over there is that my car probably did not come with the red and orange stripes originally. However, no one has given me a deffinate no either. I will try to contact the fellow you mentioned to see if he can help.

I'm sure that once I get the car home I can do some more digging.
Thanks Mike. I was wondering, any chance the "M" in 39M stands for "Metallic" or "Middle" as in mid stripe?
See if you can remove 1/2" piece of the stripe in a Not-so-obvious place like
in one of the door jams. If it is a placement then the original may still be
present under it.

You are exactly right on the money with the stripes. I picked up the car today and just got her back home. I looked closely at the red and orange stripes in the door jam area and discovered that they indeed were covering the old light gray and dark gray striping. That mystery is solved.

I have to say that the drive back to my house was pretty nice. We only saw one Corvette on the trip back, an older gentleman in a C-4, and tried to get our first wave. He was too busy talking on the cell phone to notice I guess.

Oh well time to get out and do some preventative maintenance on the Vette such as change the oil and filter and add some gas treatment and high octane gas. The car was a little sluggish but the owner had it stored at a storage facility near his home and did not drive it much. I even have the original 8-track player if I ever wanted to go that direction. Thanks again for the help on this issue, I’m sure I will back with more questions soon.
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It's been a few weeks since I last chimed in on this topic and since I have found out a few more things I thought I would give this post one last shot of fresh air to wrap up the discussion.

I found out what the 74I stands for in my trim code. It is for "Dark red interior trim" according to my build sheet that I just received from the Corvette Museum. My car also has the "742 Dark red leather."

My Vette is an original two-tone car with the 39M on the trim plate representing "charcoal accent" according to the build sheet. It also lists "Z05 Two Tone Paint" and "D84 Two Tone Paint" on the build sheet with the "D88 sport stripe" option. It lists the original color for the stripe as "83A gray stripe."

Thanks to all for your input and I hope that I have helped clear up the mystery of the 74I trim code.
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