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Another Serial Number Lesson Learned

Discussion in 'The Hokey Ass Message Board' started by Swifster, Apr 10, 2011.

  1. gerry miller
    Joined: Feb 3, 2012
    Posts: 108

    gerry miller

    Good article. Thank you.
    I bought a car from bank for parts and never noticed VIN tag missing. Over zealous CHP charged me with possesion of car with missing or altered VIN a felony. Took three years to get it thrown out. Needless to say I double check titles and VIN now!
  2. lolife
    Joined: May 23, 2006
    Posts: 1,125


    Well this thread is a year old...

    My reason for car insurance isn't for my car, it's for me killing or maiming someone in an accident, or for my damage to someone else's car.

    But here's the deal, my insurance company did a VIN inspection when I insured with them.

    If your insurance company only does one VIN inspection after you make a claim, they are taking your money under false pretense. Still though, if you don't compare your title to the VIN that is insured, who really is the crook?

    That's why I use a traditional insurance company. These hot rod insurance farms are all knee deep in exceptions. When you kill someone in an accident, you have to know your agent has your back.
  3. mustangsix
    Joined: Mar 7, 2005
    Posts: 1,297


    I've owned a fair number of MG's and GNU is puzzling. The S/N on an MGB of that vintage should be GHN5UCxxxxx. G=MG, H=1.8 engine, N=roadster (D for GT), 5=MkIII, U=USA LHD, C=1972, then the five digit car number. That number is on the door plate and stamped into the right side frame rail in addition to the dash plate.

    Did this ever get resolved?
  4. BamaMav
    Joined: Jun 19, 2011
    Posts: 4,979

    from Berry, AL

    Alabama never issued titles before 1975 on anything. If you have an Alabama title on a vehicle built before 1975, it's a fake. They have never issued a title for a pre 1975 vehicle even if you had a title on it from another state.

    Now, the law is anything older than 35 years old doesn't need a title in Alabama. It makes it a lot easier to build an old car here since all you need to register it is a bill of sale with the VIN number.

    I bought a O/T motorhome a few years back from a dealer. It came out of GA, was a trade in, had a GA title. One number was wrong on the GA title, and AL kicked it back. Sure it was a typo, but it was GA's fault and AL wouldn't even inspect it to verify the VIN, it had to go back to GA to be inspected and GA had to send AL a corrected GA title before AL would issue a AL title. I took the motorhome back to the dealer and made them get it right, because they never noticed that the GA title had the typo, and I never saw the GA title to verify the numbers. I did verify my AL title app and the bill of sale had the same numbers as the motorhome.

    Swifter makes a lot of good points that I had never considered on VIN's and titles. I always check the numbers to make sure they match. One typo or misplaced number or letter can cause a lot of greif....
  5. Swifster
    Joined: Dec 16, 2006
    Posts: 1,449


    Your state controls how the insurance process works. An insurance company (lets say Hagerty) may do business in all 50 states, but they are guided by the rules for a given state. Most states require an adjuster to be licensed in that state. A national company will have adjusters licensed in multiple states. I'm licensed in Florida, Georgia and South Carolina.

    The 'exceptions' are ones that limit the risk a vehicle is exposed too. This is why the insurance is far cheaper. VIN exceptions are no different than with a standard insurance company. In fact, I think you'd find that a classic car insurance company will more than likely try to help you work your way through a problem than a State Farm or Allstate.

    As for killing someone in an accident, your collector car policy covers you the same way as Allstate or State Farm (Geico, USAA, etc.). The policy is the policy. What you purchase as limits are completely up to you. Go with minimal limits because you don't think you'll need it on THIS car, who's fault is that.

    As for the VIN inspection, yes, your agent should check the VIN. But keep in mind, no matter who your insurance company is, your agent is a salesman. Half the owners don't know where their VIN is at. And you expect the agent to know (especially on say...a '47 Lincoln Zephyr). And the chance of having a hardass as an adjuster is more likely at a standard insurance company vs one that deals with collector cars.
  6. Swifster
    Joined: Dec 16, 2006
    Posts: 1,449


    Yes, the car was repaired. Finding a problem doesn't mean their is a REAL problem. As mentioned, this can be a typo on a title or registration. Sometimes a lot of this can simply be resolved by advising that the registration and serial number have a slight difference. Most owners will get it taken car of.

    '32 Fords are a far bigger issue than MG's... :D
  7. Swifster
    Joined: Dec 16, 2006
    Posts: 1,449


    Lessons still not learned. People buying cars for the body when the numbers are all on the engine and frame. Let the nightmares begin...Some people need to reread this thread...
  8. Here's one for ya. I bought a Willys overland pickup from a fella in kansas.
    It came with a title and the vin tag that matches the title, uh almost.

    The vin tag for the willys has the vin in two seperate boxes, xxxxxx then in the next box xxxxxx. The state of kansas in a fit of wisdom instead of putting a space between the two sets of numbers used a zero as a place holder. The state of missouri even though it is obvious what was done does not accept that. so now I have to do a bonded title through the state.

    Last edited: Sep 4, 2013
  9. Mr T body
    Joined: Nov 2, 2005
    Posts: 2,192

    Mr T body
    Alliance Vendor
    from SoCal

    Just had the CA CHP VIN verifier inspect the frame stamping on my '31 Ford coupe. This is the 2nd time he had come out (the only office I know of that still has a FIELD verifier). The first time all he could see was the engine serial and he wouldn't use that for the vehicle serial#. Said pull the body, look for the stamping then give me a call.
    Pulled the body last Sunday and started looking for the frame stamp. Found it, but (as I'm sure happens alot) it didn't match the engine#. Cool part was, he checked that the stamping was clear and it was genuine '31, then made a state tag with that #. Asked if I wanted it on the frame and body, frame only, or body. I'm boxing the frame and didn't want to open that can of worms, so he mounted the label on the driver's B pillar and it was good to go.
    Point being, I bought the car KNOWING the easiest way to obtain a clear title was with an original frame and the verification process to avoid titling pitfalls. With the State VIN tag, insurance shouldn't have any issues other than the small block and 9".:D
  10. 22george
    Joined: Feb 12, 2011
    Posts: 25

    from ohio

    This is about the most important and informative post I have ever read. I'm just starting a build on an original 36 Chevy. I will do what was suggested in this post before I spend any money on the car.
    Thanks to all who contributed:):):)
  11. Swifster
    Joined: Dec 16, 2006
    Posts: 1,449


    PNB, if you can, try another DMV and see if they will take it. If not, get the bonded title. Compared to a lot of guys with no serial number on the car, you're doing pretty good.

    It all depends on the state. Michigan took three attempts to send me a correct title, but they at least kept trying until the got it right.
  12. Swifster
    Joined: Dec 16, 2006
    Posts: 1,449


    Mr T, this is getting a title the right way.
  13. Man, seeing this thread pop up sure made me think hard. My Plymouth came from PA with a clean title, so I didnt give it much thought until I saw this thread. I went to look at my VIN plate immediately, and found it had been smoothed with filler and painted over when they did the jambs.


    So of course I had to know. I grabbed the dremel and a flap wheel, and created some dust. Luckily, the numbers match, but now it's just a bright metal plate with a number stamped into it, no Plymouth designation or anything. Looks to me like the original rivets in it though, so that's a plus.

    I cant believe I didnt even look when I bought it, but I had no idea where to find it or even if they had one. :eek:

    Anyone know where the numbers are on the frame?
  14. Nobody pointed out to this guy that the new car model year starts in the fall, with production starting in like August, so your next year cars are in the showroom before the calendar year starts?

    New York just requires a photo or pencil etch of the VIN on a car. In theory it's possible to put plates on a VIN tag and not even have a car. I've seen some crazy stuff, I remember one guy had a '73 Trans Am - had to be, since 70-72 are reg only - and the window sticker said it was an '85 Buick. But even those tags are not too hard to change because of the way they mount - if you're not afraid to pull the whole dash out of the vehicle that is.

    The bottom line is you have to do your homework on these cars, and if something is fishy, either get it corrected or pass. Because while in some states it's not the end of the world if the title or VIN has problems, in others they treat you like a criminal.

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