The Hull Identification Number (HIN) is stamped on the backside of the transom on the upper right side and should also be on the Coast Guard capacity plate and your registration and/or title. You may also find it stamped underneath the splashwell. If you have a model built between 1976 and early 1984, your HIN probably looks something like the following:
Here is how it works:
Each number starts out with HSP which stands for HydroStream Pipkorn. The next three numbers is the serial sequence. This doesn't tell us too much since Hydrostream simply started with the number 001 and ran them to 999. At that point, they just start over again at 001. This sequencing continued throughout the years, so that particular number could be assigned over the years to several different models. The next two letters indicate the hull model, in this case "VG" is for Viking. The codes for the various models is listed in the chart below. All of the HINs that I have seen for years 1976 through 1984 have "M" for the next letter. My guess is for Minnesota, but again, that is only a guess. Maybe Pipkorn had dreams of production factories in other states? The next two numbers indicate the year, and finally the last letter is the PRODUCTION month. The letters A through L were assigned for January through December (Jan. = A, Feb. = B ... Dec. = L). The kicker is that, like auto manufacturers and many other boat manufacturers, there was a model changeover in mid-calendar year. For HydroStream, this was usually June. When that happened, after June new boats were registered on the MSO (Manufacturer's Statement of Origin) with the following year's date. In other words, a boat built in July of 1983 would be stamped with a 1984 date.
Example: a HIN that is HSP688VLM80E is a Vulture built in May of 1980 while a HIN that is HSP425VTM80J is a Vector built in October of 1979!
Boats built prior to 1976 have a slightly different system, specifically the last four digits. The "M" is not used nor is a letter for the month. Rather, the month and year are designated with normal calendar numbers (e.g. 0474).
Now, around May of 1984 the system changed and in 1985 the system had to change even more since some models now had two different hull designs (V and XT). The HIN now will look something like the following:
This HIN would be a Vegas XT ("XE") built in February ("B") of 1987 ("787"). For XT models, the first letter of the model code changes from a "V" to an "X". For YT models, the "V" changes to a "Y". Again, refer to the chart below. The production month letter now follows the model code, and the year consists of three digits. The year 1987 would be designated as "787", the year 1989 would be "989" and so on. Once again, the model year changeover was in effect in mid-year: it was possible to have an HSP762XEF989 (Vegas XT built in June of '89 and registered as an '89 boat) to be immediately followed by an HSP763STF990 (HST built in the same month & year but registered as a '90 boat).
For the I/O models that were introduced in the mid '80's, an "I" replaced the letter in the seventh position of the number. So a Voyager XT, for example, would show an "IY" in the HIN instead of "XY".
* The Viking/V-King code changed to VK during July of 1986. Prior to that, it was VG.
The above information is accurate to the best of my knowledge. If you find any discrepancies with your HIN, please let me know. Also, I am missing the codes for some of the models, so if you have one that I do not have, please let me know so I can add it to the above chart. Canadian Edition used a slightly different system; maybe I can cover that in the future.
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