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Question about titling an old car with no vin number....

Discussion in 'The Hokey Ass Message Board' started by dats a Cadillac, Dec 4, 2011.

  1. dats a Cadillac
    Joined: Dec 4, 2011
    Posts: 5

    dats a Cadillac
    from Texas

    Guys, long time new car guy, new to vintage. I found a car a I really want but the guy selling says no title and no VIN plackard. It's a 40's Cadillac. How do I get it titled? How do I prove it's not stolen? Thanks in advance for the help. I seriously love it so much I might buy it just to look at.
  2. shinysideup
    Joined: Sep 1, 2008
    Posts: 1,627

    from ruskin, fl

    Have HIM get that done before buying.
  3. carcrazyjohn
    Joined: Apr 16, 2008
    Posts: 4,846

    from trevose pa

    check with your dmv might be able to get a reconstructed title and also if you know who it was registered to last send a registered letter to them ,When it comes back unanswered ,They can help,This is at a notary,Ask the questions there ,Everything else is illegal.
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  5. resqd37Zep
    Joined: Aug 28, 2006
    Posts: 3,216

    from Nor Cal

    See if you can have someone but a lien on the vecihle. In California with all of the proper lien paperwork completed the DMV will issue you all new paper work with vin number verification. Every state has their own way of doing things though.
  6. acadian_carguy
    Joined: Apr 23, 2008
    Posts: 792


    You should have done an intro on yourself in that section before you posted here

    Good luck with registering a 40's car (your not sure the year of it?) with no title or VIN plate.
  7. dats a Cadillac
    Joined: Dec 4, 2011
    Posts: 5

    dats a Cadillac
    from Texas

    Okay. I'll introduce myself. Thanks for the help.
  8. Mopar Jack
    Joined: Jan 24, 2010
    Posts: 1,337

    Mopar Jack

    It all depends on what state you live in....
  9. marman1950
    Joined: Jun 29, 2008
    Posts: 163


    In California they only allow a certain numbers of "kit car" vin numbers. I think they call it special build cars. It doesnt matter if its real metal or fiberglass to the DMV They can assign you a number but they dont make it easy. You have to get weighed and go to a CHP inspection. That's what will make or brake you. Technically they check for horns, turn signals, wipers etc... If the cop ain't cool then it can be tuff. After that you get your numbers but like I mentioned earlier... I'm pretty sure they only do a certain amount each year... That's what they told me at least...
  10. marman1950
    Joined: Jun 29, 2008
    Posts: 163


    Oh yeah... They will assign you the year based on the motor. That means you better have a pre smog engine cause if not you might have to play the smog game... And those of us from sunny California know how much of a pain that is:) like I said earlier... It's all about how cool your CHP cop is!!
  11. bobwop
    Joined: Jan 13, 2008
    Posts: 5,952


    it is very likely the car in question was titled using the engine number as the VIN.

    but it should be the seller's responsibility to get you the required documents.

    unfortunately, judging by your moniker, you are already hooked. or may even already own the car?

    or perhaps you are the seller and are here just trying to solve your problem?
  12. Someone (either alive or deceased) holds title to that car. I am guessing the big problem will be VIN verification if all the tags are missing and the engine trans are missing as well. Research the requirements for your state BEFORE handing over any cash.

    In Ontario Canada it is actually illegal to sell a car without a title (yes it can and has been done but it is not legal). As has been suggested, the present owner (who obviously has no way of proving he legally owns it if he does not have an ownership or any way to identify the vehicle through VIN tags) should deal with this issue before he sells. If this actually is your car, you need to talk to someone at the DMV regarding replacing an ownership, retitling, and VIN verification etc.
  13. 1949 caddyman
    Joined: Jun 30, 2010
    Posts: 200

    1949 caddyman
    from arizona

    Look on the passangers side top of the frame under the hood. That is were the vin # is on my 49 Cad.
  14. dats a Cadillac
    Joined: Dec 4, 2011
    Posts: 5

    dats a Cadillac
    from Texas

    Thanks for all the responses. Found the car online and am going to look at it this week. It's in a storage lot and I am thinking it was abandoned. The guy selling has no interest in doing the work to get the papers. I'm going on what he said when I called him. No title and the vin is missing. I don't want to buy it then have the owner show up or worse find out it's stolen. I am thinking I may walk away.
  15. This guy is probably too lazy to look for the damn vin number. They're stamped on the frame rail and also on the engine, and most of my old books say the engine number IS the VIN through into the 1960s for Cadillac. My book says 1940 numbers are "on the left frame side bar, opposite the steering gear" and "on the crankcase, just behind the left cylinder block, parallell to the dash". These cars NEVER HAD A TAG ON THE BODY.

    Not only that, but in Texas into the 1950s they used engine numbers on the title anyways.
  16. brokenspoke
    Joined: Jul 26, 2005
    Posts: 2,846


  17. zman
    Joined: Apr 2, 2001
    Posts: 16,511

    from Garner, NC

    the least you need from him is a "bill of sale", if he will not give you a "bill of sale" run away. And make sure the bill of sale has both his and your names and a description of the car as well as any numbers on the car. Having it notarized is also good.
  18. khead47
    Joined: Mar 29, 2010
    Posts: 1,234


    What zman said.
  19. porknbeaner
    Joined: Sep 12, 2003
    Posts: 38,751


    You can do the same in Missouri but it is a pretty crooked way of doing it.

    In answer to the question your '40s caddy would have been titled off of the engine number. There was no vin tag or vin number.

    If you check the SEMA site you can find titling information for your state. they have a PDF I believe that tells the titleing requirements for every state.
  20. electromet
    Joined: Mar 19, 2011
    Posts: 154

    from Tucson, AZ

    A bill of sale is useless unless the seller is legally able to sell the car. Make him get a title.

  21. get a notarized bill of sale...the storage area owner may have no knowledge of cadillacs.....find out some history on the car by asking questions to lot owner and see if theres an old registration slip in the car.....there are alot of companies out there that can get a title....look under the hood where the other gent specified....I would consider buying it .....I have a gal that verifies older vehicles for $150. good luck gump
  22. fordcragar
    Joined: Dec 28, 2005
    Posts: 3,122


    Like what has been mentioned, contact your state motor vehicle department, they will tell you what you need.

    What condition is the car in? Is it a project or a complete and running car? If the seller doesn't want to give you a bill of sale, that sounds suspicious. Good luck!
  23. davidbistolas
    Joined: May 21, 2010
    Posts: 962


    Actually, MTO does have a procedure for titling a car without the ownership papers. You need to draft up an affidavit and provide "reasonable" proof that the vehicle is legit.

    In my case, I had to have an appraisal done (for taxes), and I did a canada-wide search (faxing, calling each dmv) with the vin # to show that the car wasn't stolen. I managed to trace my '51 chevy back to Saskatchewan - where it was last titled in 1989. I wasn't able to obtain (the dmv there didn't keep records that far back) the last owner's details unfortunately - but the MTO was satisfied with the affidavit and background history and issued me my greenslips (as unfit, the car wasn't running) in the end.

    It's a convoluted process though. I called the MTO 5 times and got 7 different answers on what to do. Finally, popping into the Cambridge dmv, and a hop over to city hall (to get the affidavit notarized) I had all the facts straight.

    Now- in this case, the serial number was still on the cowl and luckily, that's what was used in Saskatchewan in 1989- so I was good to go.

    Without a vehicle identification number, it would be impossible to tag the car- unless it was registered as 'home built'. I think THIS is the illegal part.

    Ontario has made it impossible to import a kit car thought, so those cool little track-t type roadster kits that Speedway sells would be out of the question. I would need to source the frame, body and so on from different vendors to be able to register it. MTO would assign a 'kit' or 'homebuilt' vin - with a similar process- affidavit with reciepts, taxes, and plenty of KY.
  24. davidbistolas
    Joined: May 21, 2010
    Posts: 962


    Search here on Title services- they seem to be hit/miss affairs...
  25. It's the storage guys responsibility to get you a title, if he wants to sell it that's part of the cost of doing business, if he is not willing to do that I'd call bullshit, and not walk away, I'd run!!! I mean if you've never done anything with old cars, a 40s Caddy is not the place to start.
  26. I stand corrected ... maybe I am thinking of a car with no VIN tag (getting old ya know:)).

    I bought a 1980 Vette years ago with no ownership and the VIN tag (on the windshield post) rusted beyond readable. I remember looking into it at the time, guess I just got my facts mixed up. I just wanted the thing for parts anyway, so it didn't matter ...

    This is actually a good example to the original poster though ... the people you need to talk to regarding this issue work at the DMV (or that type of gov't service) ... clowns like me posting inaccurate info doesn't help much when it comes time to register.

    Good luck
  27. dats a Cadillac
    Joined: Dec 4, 2011
    Posts: 5

    dats a Cadillac
    from Texas

    I hear you. The engine isn't even original so that rules out getting the VIN off of that. I am sure I'd be in over my head with a 1946 Cadillac but I just love the car.

    The storage guy is definitely all about selling it as is with No Title. Thanks for all the responses. I may still do some digging but I don't think this is going to happen.
  28. Mr48chev
    Joined: Dec 28, 2007
    Posts: 21,467


    In Texas you definitely have to have your paperwork on a car transaction notarized.

    I'd find a bill of sale form online and print it out so that you will have all of the necessary info. The Notary may have those forms but it would be good to take one along.
  29. 41 C28
    Joined: Dec 17, 2005
    Posts: 1,670

    41 C28

    No paper work would seriously reduce the price. If the current owner says it easy to get a title require him to do so before buying.

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