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Technical Model A Title questions

Discussion in 'Traditional Hot Rods' started by mountaingoat64, Apr 7, 2017.

  1. mountaingoat64
    Joined: Aug 5, 2012
    Posts: 3

    mountaingoat64
    Member
    from california

    Looking for some suggestions or help . I scored a barn find on a 31 cabriolet. The question is in regard to titling the car . The car was last registered in 1967 and I have the registration from that year , the vin/engine # matches the original engine that is in the car . The issue is , in order for me to title the car in the lovely state of CA, the vehicle has to be inspected and the #'s cleared to get a new title issued . Question # 1 are they inspecting engine /vin # , or frame # that is from what I understand under drivers side cowl ? Question #2 if it is the engine #'s , and my intent is to change engines , can I , or should I try and title with the motor I intend on using ? any help on the subject would be greatly appreciated .

    Thanks
     
  2. flatford39
    Joined: Dec 3, 2006
    Posts: 2,444

    flatford39
    Member

    Get it titled in you name asap prior to doing any work on it. You may have to lift the body to show the state inspector the vin. Don't be surprised if you lift the cowl that the number is gone.
     
    hipster and LOU WELLS like this.
  3. I went through this in 1971 in California so a lot may have changed. The car was currently titled/registered in the state of California. The paperwork I had matched the number on the engine. They used that fact to establish it was the car on the title and then added a tag to the door jam to register it. This is probably what they will want to do with you but call them. Get the paperwork done before you do anything else.

    Charlie Stephens
     
    30coupeWa and LOU WELLS like this.
  4. christmas tree
    Joined: Dec 7, 2009
    Posts: 336

    christmas tree
    Member

    I have been told that Pennsylvania will issue a title in situations with very little complications. Any body know anything about this?
     
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  5. H380
    Joined: Sep 20, 2015
    Posts: 428

    H380
    Member
    from Louisiana

    You should be fine. Problem is when guys split the car and put the body on a new frame and try to title it. THEN try to sell the old frame with a title also. You can not have 2 titles out of one original titled car. One will need to be a new title. How that happens depends on the state you live in.
     
  6. Mark T
    Joined: Feb 19, 2007
    Posts: 1,853

    Mark T
    Member

    I doubt it
     
  7. Mr T body
    Joined: Nov 2, 2005
    Posts: 2,124

    Mr T body
    Alliance Vendor
    from SoCal

    Had to have a CHP VIN verifier inspect the stamping on the frame, engine wouldn't do.
     
    gimpyshotrods likes this.
  8. gimpyshotrods
    Joined: May 20, 2009
    Posts: 16,928

    gimpyshotrods
    ALLIANCE MEMBER

    The number on the frame rail will need to be inspected by a CHP inspector, or a licensed VIN verifier.

    CHP is free to inspect whatever part of the car that they choose.

    A licensed VIN verifier will look to see if the stamping is correct.

    I will leave it up to you which one you think is a better deal.

    Your profile does not say where in CA you are located. Here is a list of CA licensed VIN verifiers:

    http://www.asapvehicleverifiers.com/VV2LocationsServed.html
     
    Flathead Dave likes this.
  9. 51504bat
    Joined: May 22, 2010
    Posts: 1,649

    51504bat
    ALLIANCE MEMBER

    Model A's were registered by engine number. If the engine number matches the paperwork you have you should be OK. I went through many hoops years ago when I registered my '31 model A in CA but it had a '29 engine in it. Got it straightened out without having to lift the body but that was back years ago. Suggest a DMV licensed Vin inspector before using the DMV or CHP, might make things go a bit easier.
     
    BradinNC likes this.
  10. sloppy jalopies
    Joined: Jun 29, 2015
    Posts: 3,744

    sloppy jalopies
    ALLIANCE MEMBER

    Had many model As, every one had the #s under the driver's side cowl...
    got a coupe from TX. no rust on the frame... no #s either...
    for the heck of it a dragged my sandpaper down the frame... there they were halfway back, under the left door... plain as day...
    got the front half of an A frame from a buddy last fall, no rust under the cowl, no #s... when the snow melts i'll go check if his #s are mid door...
    were the #s in different places depending on where the A was built ?
     
  11. BradinNC
    Joined: Mar 18, 2014
    Posts: 213

    BradinNC
    Member

    I ended up doing a bonded title for my Willys. It's not that expensive. About 200 dollars for the bond, about 100 dollars for the title paperwork. It's a three year wait for a standard title. In the meantime, when your car is finished, you can drive it with a bonded title. YOUR state may differ. The main thing is, be honest with the DMV inspector you deal with, they have much data available, and they can figure out if you are BSing them. And that won't end well.
     
    mike in tucson likes this.
  12. gimpyshotrods
    Joined: May 20, 2009
    Posts: 16,928

    gimpyshotrods
    ALLIANCE MEMBER

    That's a bad plan if the frame and engine and frame numbers do not match. If you swap the engine, your proof-of-ownership is no longer attached to the car. You might have to pay more than it is worth to get it out of the tow lot, if you can even get it back....
     
    Last edited: Apr 7, 2017
  13. gimpyshotrods
    Joined: May 20, 2009
    Posts: 16,928

    gimpyshotrods
    ALLIANCE MEMBER

    No, but things occasionally got sloppy on the line.
     
  14. gimpyshotrods
    Joined: May 20, 2009
    Posts: 16,928

    gimpyshotrods
    ALLIANCE MEMBER

    Absolutely not worth the hassle when the numbers are there.
     
  15. gimpyshotrods
    Joined: May 20, 2009
    Posts: 16,928

    gimpyshotrods
    ALLIANCE MEMBER

    Title it to the frame, period.
     
  16. woodiewagon46
    Joined: Mar 14, 2013
    Posts: 1,568

    woodiewagon46
    Member
    from New York

    Gimpy brings up an interesting point. During the '40s and '50s Model A engines were basically throw aways. They were so plentiful that you could go to the scrap yard and pic one up for $10. What happens if the DMV inspector finds that the frame and engine numbers are different? I would try to use the engine number and not open a can of worms.
     
  17. gimpyshotrods
    Joined: May 20, 2009
    Posts: 16,928

    gimpyshotrods
    ALLIANCE MEMBER

    And when he does an engine swap, he can no longer prove he owns the car.

    CHP officers and inspectors are not dumb, nor do they accept excuses. Many of them are out to change the world, one impound at-a-time. They will tow the car if there is any question. They will take it apart. If they THEN find that there is a serial number on the frame that does not match the paperwork, you will never see that car again. If there happens to be another car registered with that serial number already, that car's owner, and you, both will be attempting to explain this situation to a judge. You both may well end up losing your rides. If the serial number on your frame is on the hot-sheet, you will be in the market for a good lawyer to defend you against a possession of stolen property charge.

    Trust me. I am a California car builder, and I ain't guessing. I have seen too many people take advice from people who do not understand the system here end up losing their rides.
     
    hipster likes this.
  18. sloppy jalopies
    Joined: Jun 29, 2015
    Posts: 3,744

    sloppy jalopies
    ALLIANCE MEMBER

    I have a Texas title with #s for a '30 coupe... Maine only askes for the chassis #s as we didn't start titles till 1975... no original from the factory MODEL A's sold in Maine came with a title...
     
  19. BradinNC
    Joined: Mar 18, 2014
    Posts: 213

    BradinNC
    Member

    If you have all the numbers, including a title, I'd agree. But North Carolina laws have gotten sticky in the last 10 years or so. I had a bill of sale from out of state, no title,VIN on the frame, engine number not matching(which is normal for a Willys). Don't believe me? Move here for new fun and games.
    And people here in NC wonder why I'm moving back to the Midwest.
     
  20. woodiewagon46
    Joined: Mar 14, 2013
    Posts: 1,568

    woodiewagon46
    Member
    from New York

    Gimpy, quick question as I'm from NY and don't know much about CA DMV laws. If they do want to see the frame numbers who dismantles the car? I have a Model A coupe and just thinking about what it would take to lift the body makes me crazy. At the very least, if it is absolutely necessary, I would hope that the DMV would allow the owner to do his own work. I can't imagine what the car would look like when it comes back from a state run shop.
     
  21. Mr48chev
    Joined: Dec 28, 2007
    Posts: 26,516

    Mr48chev
    ALLIANCE MEMBER

    It would and will be a pain in the butt to loosen the body and lift it high enough so the vin on the frame can be checked but high enough to slip a 2x4 between the body and frame should be high enough.
    I'm assuming that you have a good bill of sale from the then registered owner or that person's legal heirs to go along with the registration slip or proper papers to show you came by it legally.
    I have to agree with FlatheadFord39 100% get the paper work done and a title in your name before you ever turn a wrench on it except to raise the body to find the vin on the frame. At least no changes except to get it running if it will run if that state requires one to run before they will inspect it.
    At least once a week some guys comes on one of these boards with the "I just spent $$XXXXX on my project over the past YY years and now I have no clue how to get a title on it. Half of them didn't save receipts and document where the major parts came from or any sort of bill of sale for major parts. Almost every frigging one of them has never once checked his state's DMV web site or gone into the proper state dmv office to seek out the proper forms and information. That's all stuff that should be done from the time you start thinking about building a hot rod or custom.
     
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  22. Glenn Thoreson
    Joined: Aug 13, 2010
    Posts: 78

    Glenn Thoreson
    Member
    from SW Wyoming

    Raising a Model A body is not complicated. Right now, I'm going through a somewhat similar situation on my most recent build. Not that bad here in Wyoming.
    Remove the body to frame bolts, remove the bolts that hold the rear fenders to the body. Unplug wiring. Remove steering column. Then, you do it like Ford said: Run a well padded 2X4 through through the door windows (that's the balance point) and use chain hoists or man power to lift it off the frame as high as needed. 2 to 4 men with strong backs and weak minds can easily walk off with it. Seats, trunk lid, etc can make it lighter. The coupe body only weighs about 400 pounds. Model A construction is pretty minimal. Give it a try.
    Glenn Thoreson
    Cokeville, WY
     
  23. gimpyshotrods
    Joined: May 20, 2009
    Posts: 16,928

    gimpyshotrods
    ALLIANCE MEMBER

    If you trailer it to the DMV, you can prop it up on a 2 x 4's, at-least as of the last time that I took on through (October).

    If it gets impounded, CHP or whomever impounded it does it, and they DO NOT have any obligations to you. If they have reason to believe that it was in any way associated with illegal activity, through civil asset forfeiture, they can keep it, even if you have not been convicted of a crime (should not be legal, but the Supreme Court says it is).

    If DMV requires you to take it to CHP, they do it, unless you find "the right guy" to take pity on you, when you bring it, blocked-up, on a trailer.

    This is why you want to get the SELLER to take care of getting the title, and why you never buy a car without a valid, current title.
     
  24. 51504bat
    Joined: May 22, 2010
    Posts: 1,649

    51504bat
    ALLIANCE MEMBER

    If the motor number matches your paperwork use that and get the car transfer ASAP and if you decide to change the engine later get a DMV assigned Vin. Had the CHP assign a VIN to an O/T MG years ago with no problems.
     
  25. 5window
    Joined: Jan 29, 2005
    Posts: 7,170

    5window
    Member

    This is a bit off topic since the OP is in California. PA can be as difficult as anyplace, I'd say. When I bought my car in PA in 2003, it went from a standard registration at transfer, because that's all that could be issued at the swap meet where I bought it, to a street rod title in my name. (Had to be a SR because of the height of the chopped windshield).
    PennDOT ended up vacating my car's original VIN and issuing me a new VIN tag to mount on the firewall. Difficult enough for ya?

    Just to get started:
    http://www.dot.state.pa.us/Public/DVSPubsForms/BMV/BMV Fact Sheets/fs-strv.pdf
     
  26. H380
    Joined: Sep 20, 2015
    Posts: 428

    H380
    Member
    from Louisiana

    In California that maybe the case. EVERY STATE is different. All the laws are on the internet from your state's DMV. Your tax dollars put it there for you to use. It just takes time and reading.

    For instance in Louisiana. For a pre-VIN car I can only get a new title for a complete running car. No titles for just a frame. So there is no way to get a title for a pile of parts called a "project car". I will need a state issued replacement VIN. Then the title is created. It is up to the inspecting Trooper to what year the car will be titled as. I need receipts for everything. The on site inspection by a State Trooper decides the value of the car when the new is VIN stamped on the frame and a new VIN tag is put on the body. All this adds up to the tax I pay to have the car registered. Once this happens. The car is just like any other car with a modern VIN. The old frame and engine numbers do not really mean much here even if I had a matching title. Still need a new VIN issued to get a new title to get it registered.
     
  27. gimpyshotrods
    Joined: May 20, 2009
    Posts: 16,928

    gimpyshotrods
    ALLIANCE MEMBER

    Well, the OP is in CA.
     
  28. Not to be a downer, but it's California. Last year we bought a '31 Model A Coupe from Oregon and it took 8 months to register, and everyone has their hand out. It's sad but it was actually explained that they want to do away w/ old cars. Be patient, you'll get it eventually.
     
  29. I have a 1929 coupe with a '31 motor number and a '29 frame number. It is registered by the motor number, which I am now using in another A. In 2011, when I transferred it to my name they did not even look at the car.

    In the early-mid 1990'when I registered my 29 cabriolet, the chp vin verification officer was not satisfied with the engine number matching the title and my stating with 99.9% certainty that it also matched the frame (family car bought new by my father). He insisted on me pulling the body if I wanted to keep the same registration number. He "blue tagged" it by riveting the tag to a piece of door jam sheet metal held in place by a few nails, covering the wood B pillar.

    You are, to an extent, at the mercy or mood of the DMV officer and the CHP Vin verifier, if they decide to look that far.
     
  30. Jimmy2car
    Joined: Nov 26, 2003
    Posts: 1,707

    Jimmy2car
    Member
    from No. Cal

    Mountain Goat
    Make your life easy.
    Forget all the previous advice.
    Call Donna Leek in Grass Valley, CA.
    Give her all the pertinent info, pay her some money
    And go and drive your car & be happy
    Donna Leek, 530 320-5708
    Best phone call you'll ever make
    Jim
     

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