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VIN marking location on 1998 ES300 ?

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I've had a used 1998 ES300 for about ten years and not managed to get it legally registered here in New Zealand. Apparently when it was imported from Singapore the paperwork was lost - I am now the third in a line of stupid suckers who thought it would be easy to get re-issue of the necessary documents. The problem is that I cannot prove which standards this car was manufactured to satisfy.

I managed to get a de-registration certificate from Singapore LTA, a waiver from NZTA for fuel emissions standard requirements, and because the vehicle is now over 20 years old frontal impact standards are no longer important (hey, don't ask me...). But there are still a bunch of other standards it needs to be shown to meet. For imports from Singapore the typical procedure is to show a "Technical Letter" from Singapore LTA, but after many calls and emails that has been flatly refused.

I think if I knew the VIN number (Lexus VIN number, not the NZTA VIN number of course) I would be able to get somewhere, either with Toyota NZ or Lexus Singapore, and get a statement of compliance. Problem is, there does not seem to be a VIN marking in any of the typical places. I believe it should be a 17 character code like JTJBC11A202418624. I have looked:

  • front corners of windscreen (owner's manual says VIN should be here)
  • firewall (only 'model' and 'frame' numbers here, eg. GF-MCV20-xxxxx and MCV20-xxxxxxx)
  • door jambs, door pillars
  • front cross-member just above radiator under plastic trim (found a five digit number here, is this relevant?)
  • under lining of trunk, top and bottom, under spare tire etc
  • under lining of hood
  • under carpet of front seat floorpans
  • wheel wells

The lower edge of the windscreen is fully black tinted and has no clear opening, which is what I've seen on other cars so that the VIN there is visible. It occurred to me that perhaps the windscreen has been replaced but I really doubt it and shining a strong light between the glass and the dashboard shows nothing there (although admittedly it's a bit hard to tell).

Are there any other places I should try?



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