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Customs How do I get a title for a junkyard buy missing the VIN plate?

Discussion in 'The Hokey Ass Message Board' started by Flynn's_57, May 15, 2021.

  1. Flynn's_57
    Joined: May 10, 2002
    Posts: 931

    from Nor*Cal

    Hey guys-
    I "recently" purchased a '58 Edsel from a wrecking yard.
    I have found the VIN # stamped on the frame, but the VIN tag on the door frame is missing.

    I ASS-u-me that there's a DMV form or something I can fill out, but my buddy says "don't mess with it unti there's a title,".

    What should I do????
    chryslerfan55 likes this.
  2. Listen to your buddy!
    gggholson, LWEL9226, XXL__ and 9 others like this.
  3. oldolds
    Joined: Oct 18, 2010
    Posts: 3,185


    The standard answer here it to check with your states Dept. of Motor Vehicles. There are 50 states each with it's own process. Some have more than one way to do it that are legal.
    Then there are a hundred or more different ways that could land you in jail.
    kidcampbell71, ClarkH, X-cpe and 9 others like this.
  4. cornfield county
    Joined: Feb 10, 2007
    Posts: 147

    cornfield county
    from Indiana

    Every state is different. You need specific info for YOUR state.

  5. chopolds
    Joined: Oct 22, 2001
    Posts: 5,967

    from howell, nj
    1. Kustom Painters

    The "Easy way" or the "Legal way"???
    loudbang, guthriesmith and Flynn's_57 like this.
  6. exterminator
    Joined: Apr 21, 2006
    Posts: 1,626


    Go to a DMV service. If you go to Dmv, they will jack you around and send you to the Chp!
    Flynn's_57 likes this.
  7. GTS225
    Joined: Jul 2, 2006
    Posts: 1,199


    Oh, SHIT! And in California, too. (Where's the facepalm emoji?)

    My first thought here is that the yard sold the title and VIN tag to somebody, and they have a car running around with "your" VIN in place. Whether theirs is a re-tagged stolen vehicle or not, I'll not speculate.

    There's a can of worms waiting for you in this car, but your buddy's right. GET A LEGITIMATE TITLE before dropping a ton of work and money into it.

  8. G-son
    Joined: Dec 19, 2012
    Posts: 822

    from Sweden

    Yeah. Get the paperwork right first. You don't even know if it's possible until you've tried.
    H380 and Flynn's_57 like this.
  9. Onemansjunk
    Joined: Nov 30, 2008
    Posts: 233

    from Modesto,CA

    Make appointment with CHP and drag it down there first and get the ball rolling. It’s a Pre-Smog car BAR will address the engine and require a PVC installed. Don’t install a later model smog engine or all hell breaks loose!

    Sent from my iPad using The H.A.M.B. mobile app
    chryslerfan55 and Flynn's_57 like this.
  10. 51504bat
    Joined: May 22, 2010
    Posts: 3,015


    Don't know where exactly you're in NoCal but @gimpyshotrods could provide you with what needs to be done LEGALLY.
  11. squirrel
    Joined: Sep 23, 2004
    Posts: 49,794


    Go back in time, to before you purchased the car, and don't purchase the car.
  12. bill gruendeman
    Joined: Jun 18, 2019
    Posts: 574

    bill gruendeman

    See what it takes to do it LEGALLY or use it for parts on your NEXT Edsel.
    Flynn's_57 likes this.
  13. Way too many ways this can go sideways, I would not do anything until you have it titled in your name. My personal rule is that I don't invest a cent into a vehicle until I have it titled in my name.
  14. 1446A769-8D2A-4FB9-B22A-B769147881EC.jpeg

    I don’t care !!! That’s friggin funny :D:p
  15. Flynn's_57
    Joined: May 10, 2002
    Posts: 931

    from Nor*Cal

    I'm in northern California, right by Chico.
    I checked with a guy from the Edsel owners club and it's not a VIN that is in their database of registered cars, so I suppose that's good...
    The car had Oregon plates when it was on the road, but it sat in the yard roughly 30-40 years.

    Sounding like my best bet will be a salvage title or a special construction title....?

    And I plucked out the FE engine because it was frozen...
    chryslerfan55 and guthriesmith like this.
  16. MCjim
    Joined: Jun 4, 2006
    Posts: 321

    from soCal

    IF you can get that VIN on the frame verified by a bonded title service, authorized DMV employee or the CHP, you should be good...I said IF. I have had three variations of your situation, and have been issued three titles.
    HSF and Flynn's_57 like this.
  17. 1971BB427
    Joined: Mar 6, 2010
    Posts: 7,040

    from Oregon

    Don't know about Ca., but here in Oregon once a car has it's title turned into the state by a wrecking yard, it can never be titled again! They are designated salvage, so only parts can be sold, and the whole car could only be used for racing or offroad purposes.
    I inquired with a local wrecking yard years ago here about a cool old car I wanted to buy and bring back to the road, and after they explained it couldn't be titled again I gave up.
    I'd have the VIN number run past your DMV first to determine if it can be titled with an "assigned" DMV number tag, or if it's even legal to put back on the road.
    Flynn's_57 and chryslerfan55 like this.
  18. hotrodjack33
    Joined: Aug 19, 2019
    Posts: 2,779


    What the hell is wrong with you people?

    @Flynn's_57 finds a car worth saving...and saves it from certain death...and gets his ass chewed for doing it because everything isn't "just right". It takes a shit-load of work to build a car, and it may take a shit-load of work to get the car legal, but isn't that what we're supposed to do?
    If there was a picture posted of that Edsel getting crushed, everyone here would be crying "what a shame".
    Last edited: May 16, 2021
  19. G-son
    Joined: Dec 19, 2012
    Posts: 822

    from Sweden

    Is it still worth saving if it is impossible to get the paperwork so it can be used on the road again? I'm sure it'll look great as yard art, but one might regret pouring loads of money into a restoration only to realize it will never be going down the road legally. The sensible thing is to start at the right end, get the paperwork situation under control first, and then you know if it's a good idea to keep pouring money into it, or if it's just a parts donor.
    5window, loudbang, Wanderlust and 4 others like this.
  20. abe lugo
    Joined: Nov 8, 2002
    Posts: 2,504

    abe lugo

    In CA
    You need to have a bill of sale from whom you bought it. Also a statement of facts form. There are a few other forms needed. You can use the registration service or do it yourself. After the dmv. You will need a vin verifier to come check the number. Then back to the DMV and get you mr plates. there is a few threads about it with the exact process for CA for the DIY.
    I actually did this last summer through the service. With service dmv fees and vin verification. You get into 300-400 dollars get it done.
    Also CHP doesn’t do the check if your car is too old. You have to get a VIN verifier to do it.
    Also note that if the vin number on the chassis is legible you can use that for the verification. Use paint remover and clean.

    also if you do go to the DMV don’t give any more info than “I want to get a title for this car I bought. What forms do I need”. But all the forms are available online.
    Last edited: May 15, 2021
  21. Budget36
    Joined: Nov 29, 2014
    Posts: 7,219


    @Flynn's_57 just because the Edsel club doesn’t have it in their data base, doesn’t mean the tag wasn’t used somewhere else.
    I’d have to wonder why it’s gone, they don’t just fall off, guess they could, but removed is more likely
  22. 51504bat
    Joined: May 22, 2010
    Posts: 3,015


    Someone correct me if I'm wrong but in CA with a bill of sale only and no other documentation like a registration card only the CHP can verify the vin. And as far as the CHP not verifying cars that are too old I spoke with a guy just this morning who drove his 28/29 roadster p/u to our Saturday morning coffee get together. He had the CHP verify the vin within the last couple of months. Best to get the straight scoop as it exists today from a licensed title service or the DMV. JMO
    5window and egads like this.
  23. evintho
    Joined: May 28, 2007
    Posts: 1,833


    First thing you need to do is call DMV 1-800-777-0133. There's a 2 hour wait but they will call you back so you don't have to sit on hold. Fully explain to the clerk your situation. It's better to call than to go in so you won't have to deal with an overzealous, on site clerk who may confiscate your paperwork, or entire car! They can guide you as to what needs to be done. As far as the specially constructed vehicle title.....been there, done that. BAR wants to see a vehicle that's been assembled from parts. My avatar roadster passed 'cause it was originally an RPU but I swapped the bed for a turtledeck, had a homemade frame, etc.
    Here's a write-up I did on the process......
    Technical - Registering as a Specially Constructed Vehicle in California. | The H.A.M.B. (
    blowby, Flynn's_57 and Tman like this.
  24. abe lugo
    Joined: Nov 8, 2002
    Posts: 2,504

    abe lugo

    DMV will flag to CHP. If it is not flagged you have to use a Vin Verifier or AAA DMV.
    you need a statement of facts. That is the seller stating the title was lost or whatever.

    You can try the AAA DMV but is is all the same.

    I was going to use CHP but they check for you DMV papers receipt number and tell you whether or not to bring it in or use a verifier.
    you cannot make an CHP verification appt without starting your DMV paperwork.
    I literally did this not to long ago. Also the whole system is backed up.

    What does the spcl construction have to do with this? Just register as what it is.
    Last edited: May 15, 2021
    Flynn's_57 likes this.
  25. 1934coupe
    Joined: Feb 22, 2007
    Posts: 4,646


    It's funny, nobody comes on hamb and asks that question BEFORE they buy a vehicle. Always after. Like squirrel said "Go back in time, to before you purchased the car, and don't purchase the car "

  26. Why ask people here about legal matters? Ask the authorities that handle these matters as their job.
    LWEL9226, egads, lurker mick and 3 others like this.
  27. Flathead Dave
    Joined: Mar 21, 2014
    Posts: 3,457

    Flathead Dave
    from So. Cal.


    Attached Files:

  28. williebill
    Joined: Mar 1, 2004
    Posts: 2,843


    Why do people ask about legal matters on here? The same reason they ask their buddies when they're hanging out, having a beer.
    Irish Mike and Flynn's_57 like this.
  29. bobd1976
    Joined: Sep 24, 2010
    Posts: 84

    from Illinois

    I agree with Squirrel. No clean title with a good vin I am not buying! I have several acquaintances who have bought several cars without titles and the DMV saw something sketchy and refuse to issue them titles no way no how period!
    egads and Truckdoctor Andy like this.
  30. The basics of the matter is that it is a federal offense to sell a car that has the VIN plate removed. It also is a federal offense to possess a vehicle that has had the plate removed. This includes wrecking yards. I'm guessing the seller had another used for the plate. I'm also guessing that the seller gave you no paperwork with the car as to not tie himself to a federal charge. If the shit hits the fan he can shrug and walk away.

    Your best bet is to admit you are not all that bright, push the car into the street, and call 911 about an abandoned car in the neighborhood. Next time get the paperwork and make double sure the paperwork that you get is for the same vehicle you are about to buy.
    egads likes this.

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