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Help with 1981 trim codes

9964 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.

1 - 6 of 22 Posts
74I 33L 33U 39M E

Maybe I can answer some of your questions.

L and U are for Lower and Upper in regards to two tone paint.
Appears your car was one solid color originally with both numbers being the same.
The two-tone and stripe could have be easily added.

My car also has the two tone stripe you speak of but mine is the 80/98 combo.
If you can get to the build sheet the code for two tone is D84 and the code for
the stripe also starts with a D but I can't make out the rest of the number on
my particular sheet. It is right below the color combo.

The codes for the interior Red colors are 74C "cloth" and 742 "leather" 752
Medium Red Leather so it would be safe to say the 74I is NOT an interior code.

Can't speak for the other numbers.

I have heard reports that "all 2-tones were built in BG" is not accurate but
have not come across HARD proof Ya' or Na'. My car just happens to be a BG car.

Take a look to see if the two tone on the car in question runs all the way
inside the car on the jams and inside the doors. It does on my car.
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I could be wrong on this one :surprised but don't think so.
If I am........well I learned something new.:D

I don't believe the 39M is a color code since the L and U numbers
are both present. Even though the 2 digits match in this case.

It is not uncommon to have an L and U number match and both
be present. Just means the car is not two tone.

Code 13 silver is a different silver than code 33 and my references
show they were both used in non two-tone all over color options.
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I could be wrong on this one :surprised but don't think so.
If I am........well I learned something new.:D
I checked some more and..........I'll be damed :spanked:
The 39M on your car is a paint code. :D
I have not run across an upper body color listed under the L and U number
then having the Lower color listed separately like that.
Guess cause 99% of the cars I work on are less then 10 yrs. old.
What that "M" means I don't know but I intend to find out. ;)

Also according to the Eckler's web site.
The Two-Tone Red and Orange stripe were:
# Used With 1981 GM Paint Code 80/98 Autumn Red/Dark Claret
# Used With 1982 GM Paint Code 13/99 Silver/Dark Claret

While Two-Tone Gray was:
# Use With 1981 GM Paint Code 33/39 Silver/Charcoal
# Use With 1982 GM Paint Code 13/39 Silver/Charcoal

So whether the "stripes" are original will be interesting to find out.

Hope this helps you.............It helped me. :thumbsup: ;)
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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. If there is no sign of a previous stripe and the car still
has the original paint. Then it's one of two things.....their original.....or
someone did a really thorough job of replacing them.

My car had been repainted at one time in it's life and on the rear bumper they
just put the new stripe right on top of the old. On the rest of the body
the old ones were removed. The door jams were never touched.
Also, take note that their build sheet shows St. Louis.:thud:
Hey man, Thanks for finding that...........that should confirm what I had heard. :thumbsup:
Thanks for the update :thumbsup:

My car also has the Dark red leather and after our discussion
a while back I took a look at my trim tag and also noticed the
74I code, (after telling you it probably wasn't a "trim code" :laughing: ),
I started wandering if I was wrong AGAIN :huh:

Damn! these corvettes :surprised I'm learning real quick ain't nothin' about them
like the other cars.

Looks like I need to order a Build Sheet as well.

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