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Projects Now what

Discussion in 'Traditional Hot Rods' started by 87notch, Mar 12, 2020.

  1. 87notch
    Joined: Oct 31, 2008
    Posts: 81

    from kentucky

    Look for info, preferably from experience, on a predicament I’ve found myself in. A few years back, probably 5 or 6, an older guy brought me an early 55 Chevy pickup. It was on a 4wd blazer chassis and he wanted it put on a 2wd one. I found an s10 and bought a complete swap kit from a company who specializes in these swaps. Came with everything including hardware and instructions. I got the body mounted on the frame and put new front and rear cab corners in it. He bought me a motor and trans which I installed. He told me to let him know what parts to get and he would bring them. This went on for a while and I asked him to get me a radiator and a gas tank and he said he would. Quite some time went by with him bringing the parts and the project got shuffled to the side while I waited. About a year or so later someone posted Facebook that he had passed away. Now comes my predicament, all I had was his cell number which is no good now and he lives over an hour away and I have no way to contact his wife. She has been to my shop with him several times and I expected her to come asking about the truck. It’s been well over a year, maybe 2 since he passed and I haven’t heard a thing. Drove out to his house and it looks abandoned. Not sure if she moved or passed or what. I’ve had a few people ask about the truck and if it would be ford sale. I have no idea where to go from here. Not sure if I have to right to sell it or how to go about it. I’ve been storing it for at least five years in my shop. Naturally I’d like to see his wife and get her input but not sure where she is or if she’s still around. Anybody else ever have this happen?

    Sent from my iPhone using The H.A.M.B. mobile app
    mitch 36 and chryslerfan55 like this.
  2. BJR
    Joined: Mar 11, 2005
    Posts: 6,389


    Have you googled her name? Call your local DMV and ask about what to do to get a title for an abandoned vehicle that you worked on. Explain the details to them and see what they say.
    flatford39 likes this.
  3. LM14
    Joined: Dec 18, 2009
    Posts: 1,933

    from Iowa

    I would talk to a lawyer familiar with your state laws on issues like this. Not always a pleasant conversation but anything else is a guess.

    You have a vested interest in the truck and I would assume unpaid labor and/or storage fees. Might be worth your time and a few bucks to get a professional answer.

  4. Mike Colemire
    Joined: May 18, 2013
    Posts: 1,219

    Mike Colemire

    In Ky now they changed the law, no more abandoned titles. Going through getting a serial # and title on a plymouth body I bought and it is a joke. Get someone to post on facebook that you are trying to contact her and try that first.
    loudbang and chryslerfan55 like this.
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  5. uncleandy 65
    Joined: Jan 14, 2013
    Posts: 3,003

    uncleandy 65

    In Indiana you can get a mechanics lean and they will give you a title. If its abandoned you can have a state sale and get a title. Check with your DMV in your state to see how they do it.
    VANDENPLAS and loudbang like this.
  6. vtx1800
    Joined: Oct 4, 2009
    Posts: 1,045


    You should be able to find the obit on line and then search for the wife/children, shouldn't be too hard to make contact.
    Example. There was a post a couple of years ago on here about "did you ever wish you would have kept that car"? I thought about a guy that I hadn't talked to since the mid 60's and since he was a car guy back then and had a nice 57 Chevy hardtop I decided to try and find him. I started digging, finally found two phone numbers on him in Colorado, the first, a business number was disconnected, a lady answered on the second number. He had died about six months before:(
    chryslerfan55 likes this.
  7. wvenfield
    Joined: Nov 23, 2006
    Posts: 5,077


    With a name, address and phone number you can find all sorts about people online. Most certainly you can find relatives.
  8. Fortunateson
    Joined: Apr 30, 2012
    Posts: 3,224


    Yeah some of the mechanics I’ve dealt with spent way too many hours leaning; I should have put a lien on them! LOL
    chryslerfan55 likes this.
  9. Fortunateson
    Joined: Apr 30, 2012
    Posts: 3,224


    I don’t think you “Ford sale” a chev...
    clem and CobraJoe like this.
  10. Along with VTX100 post; google the obituary, find the funeral home. Approach them in regards to contact info for her. Even, if you have to leave your contact info with them to forward to her or other family member.
  11. VonDutch51
    Joined: Apr 16, 2011
    Posts: 7

    from Virginia

  12. tractorguy
    Joined: Jan 5, 2008
    Posts: 649

    Member newspapers and county records where he lived......if he had a will, it needs to be published several times before it can be acted upon.......that will give you info on who is handling estate.
  13. oldolds
    Joined: Oct 18, 2010
    Posts: 2,991


    If you go the mechanic lien route, remember that if your original work order had no mention of storage fees and nothing was ever signed by the owner at a later date you can't just start charging them. That caused a friend of mine some problems. When the owner fought the claim the judge told him that he had to redo the bill with no storage because it was never agreed to in the beginning. My friend still won because the owner could not come up with the money in the time limits the judge set.
    uncleandy 65 likes this.
  14. ekimneirbo
    Joined: Apr 29, 2017
    Posts: 1,262

    from Brooks Ky

    If you search on line for funeral homes near where the person lived and then check their sites, they often have online burial information. Might find something there. Also, an online "people search" will often turn up the names and locations of relatives of the person. Last resort is to drive to his last known residence and ask neighbors . While you are there you might go to the property tax office for that county and see if they can help.
  15. X-cpe
    Joined: Mar 9, 2018
    Posts: 973


    I don't remember what information is on them, but a Death Certificate has to be has to be filed at the courthouse. It's public information.
    irishsteve, loudbang and tractorguy like this.
  16. Lloyd's paint & glass
    Joined: Nov 16, 2019
    Posts: 2,411

    Lloyd's paint & glass

    Call a lawyer. Gotta be a statute of limitations on this sort of thing. I'm sure after 5 years, a family member would have been in touch if they wanted the truck.
    loudbang likes this.
  17. I can find almost anyone I have had to. With FB you can track down friends. If you know his street and house number, try Spokeo and you may find where his wife is now or identify his kids.
    loudbang likes this.
  18. Budget36
    Joined: Nov 29, 2014
    Posts: 3,590


    To me, just do the right thing. Yes, try to contact family and friends, if not?...well you have a pile of parts and treat it as such.

    Why (not that you are) try to go through the hassle of titling a bastardized truck that you most likely don't have paperwork for?
  19. Lloyd's paint & glass
    Joined: Nov 16, 2019
    Posts: 2,411

    Lloyd's paint & glass

    It's simple to get a title in Ky. Just gotta sign the affidavit stating you've owned the vehicle for 5 years or longer and never had a title. That goes to Frankfort, they send you a VIN tag with the instructions on where to mount it, within 30 days of receiving the new tag you have to have a sheriff's inspection completed on the title application, and voila! They send you a title. Done this with every model A I've built.
    bobss396 and loudbang like this.
  20. I'de go the lien about now.......Time has passed. If you attempted making contact, and to no avail, that is not on you.
    If it was a close friend, then yes- a lil different. But if a customer- differentiate the two...... Also- for what ever it matters,regardless of circumstances, you have not been contacted.
    Comes down to close relations, or just a job.
    With this tale of which I've read, I'de go for the lien, get it in my possession,(legally), then do what you want......
    I think we need a lil more info regarding this.............. Being a stand up person is great, but , there are always but's...... Up to you to decide........... You've been given the rod and reel- How will you fish?
    iwanaflattie likes this.
  21. loudbang
    Joined: Jul 23, 2013
    Posts: 29,853


    In the good old days before the internet it used to be a requirement in some states that a legal notice HAD to be posted (usually in the back section of the paper with the classifieds). It would have that guys name and whatever else info you had on him and why you need him (or attorney or legal heirs) to contact you. There was a specific amount of time it had to run like 30 days. THEN if no contact you could proceed with what you need to do with the truck.
    1947knuck and uncleandy 65 like this.
  22. ekimneirbo
    Joined: Apr 29, 2017
    Posts: 1,262

    from Brooks Ky

    I think I would go to a different Ky license bureau than the one you plan to use later and inquire if they show a "current owner" for the vehicle in KY. If there is no record, then things are fine. If they show an owner, even though he may now be deceased, I don't think you can get a title for it. The reason I say to go to a different license bureau is if you walk in later with different info on the vehicle, you could have a ask questions at a bureau that you won't be using later.
    That said, I think you can buy replacement VIN tags for those old trucks if all else fails.;)
    loudbang likes this.
  23. Well,,,it never hurts to do the right thing.
    That also works for you as well.

    I assume he gave you some money along with parts he was bringing ?
    That sounds like a lot of work for no money along the way ?

    What kind of agreement did you guys have,,,,I guess you did talk about payment along the way ?
    A lot of time passed here,,before and after his passing .
    And the wife might have passed as well,,,it has happened several times here,,,,,,after one dies,,,30-60 days later the other one dies .

    When you read on Facebook that he had died,,,you should have contacted someone,,,at the least the one that posted it,,,they would probably have known him ?

    I’m not beating you up,,,,,but ,,,if this goes to court,,,that will be the first thing the family attorney will ask you .
    An attorney I know told me once,,,he said he never takes a case against an old person or a child ,,,he said,,,you can’t win and the jury will blame you .

    One more thing to think about,,,you live in Kentucky,,,,,if the people up there are anything like here in Tennessee,,,,,relatives can get very angry if they think they are being mistreated,,,even when they are not !
    Keep the law on your side,,,for safety sake .

    Since you are in the repair and build business,,,,watch your reputation,,,word of mouth can ruin you .
    Good luck .

    Gasser 57 and loudbang like this.
  24. Well that's rough sorry you found yourself in that predicament. In most states an estate information becomes public domain. I am not sure how you would find out who is handling it. Also in most states you can put a mechanics lean against the truck, I am not sure about Kentucky in Missouri the state contacts the owner and you get a title from the state.

    I would try and find the estate and whomever is in charge of it and apply a mechanic lean against the truck if that is something you can do in Kentucky. You may need to contact an attorney to be sure of what you can do in your state
    Budget36 and loudbang like this.
  25. The Shift Wizard
    Joined: Jan 10, 2017
    Posts: 2,001

    The Shift Wizard

    Nothing against the Facebook idea. Myself? I wouldn't know how to navigate a Facebook if it came with a map.
    With the property address, a five-minute search of the county tax records can tell you the current owner details plus maybe any previous owner if there has been a recent sale. If you're not computer savvy, a local Real Estate agent will happily do it as a courtesy for you. This is helpful if an heir holds title but lives somewhere else and nobody local knows who/what/where. If the wife survives, she may reside with family or worse case, an old folks home. It's most likely none of the heirs want to cough up any unpaid invoices but will turn over the title, if they have it, as payment.
    Last edited: Mar 14, 2020
    bobss396 and loudbang like this.
  26. irishsteve
    Joined: Jan 10, 2017
    Posts: 769


    His will may be on file at the county seat.
    loudbang likes this.
  27. 03GMCSonoma
    Joined: Jan 15, 2011
    Posts: 225


    Google "John Doe obituary" and you should be able to isolate the one you are looking for. You may also want to Google his wife in case she has passed away. His obituary would have his children, if any, which would give you ideas on who to look for. It would be worth it to pay the one time fees via white pages or any of the other services. Good luck.
    loudbang likes this.
  28. Budget36
    Joined: Nov 29, 2014
    Posts: 3,590


    Well, what is the OP's obligation here? Maybe it varies by state? But how much time and effort should he put into searching for relatives, etc? And is that time he spent doing such, if needed, reimbursable?

    Does it make a difference if you are a business, or a private guy?

    For me-private guy- if I had a vehicle at my place and the owner went AWOL-for whatever reason, I'd try last known contact I had if that didn't pan out I'd sell parts off and haul the rest away.

    IIRC there's a old truck body on a newer chassis? Not real desirable (imo) to try and title and sell. But then again if someone wanted it built that way, someone else my want it...There's an ass for every seat.
    loudbang likes this.
  29. tguptill
    Joined: Aug 12, 2012
    Posts: 51

    from Maine

    We have a similar situation at work now. We have a customer bring us a 1950 jeepster that was burning a lot of oil and wanted to rebuild the motor. He agreed to leave a deposit and we went ahead and pulled the motor out. He was going sailing in the Caribbean and never sent the deposit and have never heard from him since. Can't find any info on whereabouts of him or any relatives. Have stored it for years now. We are looking the use of the garage where it is stored this spring so need to figure out what we can legally do with this car.
    loudbang likes this.
  30. TA DAD
    Joined: Mar 2, 2014
    Posts: 213

    TA DAD
    from NC

    In NC you can go on the DMV website and down load two forms needed to file a mechanics/storage lien. Most of the time the state does all the leg work. I have had a few where I had to post a copy at the court house.
    bobss396 and loudbang like this.

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