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Re-Stamping VIN Numbers...or beating dead decide!?!

Discussion in 'The Hokey Ass Message Board' started by crazycasey, Aug 25, 2011.

  1. I know that this discussion has been had a million times and a million ways, but...

    I have a 1931 Ford Model A that I recently picked up. Got the car from the second owner. He had the original pink slip and the car was currently registered in California, so he did the DMV transfer into my name through Triple A, and I got my copy of the Pink Slip in the hassles with VIN verifications, or any of that stuff.

    I plan to put the body from this car onto a new '32 frame. I will keep the original Model A frame (hang it from my rafters), with it's VIN number intact. Legally and practically speaking, would I be better off to stamp the numbers from my "Original" frame into my "Replacement" frame, or just leave it blank? The stock frame that I am replacing is heavily rusted, so it could be argued that the replacement is a necessity, and I know that it was commonplace at one time to replace car frames and re-stamp the original numbers into the new part.

    I guess technically speaking I should seek to obtain a "Special Construction" title, but that is just ridiculous. I know that I have heard it said that the legality of re-stamping your VIN number depends on whether or not your intentions are to commit a crime (i.e. re-title a stolen car).

    Anyway, even though this question has been asked a million times, it seems like it usually centers around somebody trying to get a car registered without a title, or by somebody who has purchased a title for a car and is trying to stamp those numbers into another vehicle. I couldn't find a thread about a situation similar to mine, so I thought I would start a new one.

  2. R Frederick
    Joined: Mar 30, 2009
    Posts: 2,658

    R Frederick
    from illinois

    All these different circumstances start at the top of a big funnel called the Secreteary of State. At the bottom of the funnel, the results are always the same. With the government, you are faceless.:(
  3. Larry W
    Joined: Oct 12, 2009
    Posts: 736

    Larry W
    from kansas

    Contact your MVD in Calif. Legally speaking no. The "Special Contruction" is probably the legal way to go . Each state is diff.
  4. Have you asked the Auto Club? I would be interested in knowing what they say.

  5. jville_hot_skater
    Joined: Apr 9, 2009
    Posts: 1,002

    from jville

    If you already have the Matching title/engine/frame.
    you should get everything put in your name first so that you can claim the car is legally yours...and that everything is original...therefore they cant give you a specialty construction title.
    second...if your swapping frames from the A to the '32...its obviously that its not matching numbers anymore (which doesnt matter, since you already got the title in your name.)

    if your wanting to stamp it because you want to prove its your car if anything happens to it.
    I would stamp the frame...but not in a obvious place.
    and i would get a body vin tag, and stamp the numbers there also.
  6. It's already in my name. But if I were to get pulled over...
  7. jville_hot_skater
    Joined: Apr 9, 2009
    Posts: 1,002

    from jville

    If you were to get pulled over,
    It must be very serious for the cop to get down on the ground to search for the vin number on your car.
    But Im sure having your car registration paper's and driver license is enough to prove that you own the car and that its legal.
  8. badshifter
    Joined: Apr 28, 2006
    Posts: 3,397


    And they ask to see the VIN number(not likely) and you point to the numbers you stamped on the frame, you get arrested for VIN tampering which is a felony. OR... they ask to see the VIN number (not likely) and you say it's a replacement frame, it does not have numbers on it. The OG frame is at home in my garage. Then you get (maybe) referred to the CHP or DMV for further investigation.
    I'd rather be caught with nothing than with proof I was doing something wrong.
  9. s1buell
    Joined: May 12, 2011
    Posts: 35

    from Indiana

    I agree with stamp the new frame. I would not raise any flags or questions from the DMV. Chances are if ever pulled over those looking would not know that the stamp on the new frame was new or even that you had 32 rails on an A.
  10. The Model A numbers are under the cowl. If you get pulled over with the OEM frame, what's the LEO going to do, make you pull the body? I know you will get all sorts of replies from people claiming that it happens every day and Pelican Bay is full of VIN stampers. I wonder how many "A"s on '32 rails are running around with the original "A" numbers on the title. I'd keep the old frame as proof and not sweat it. You are not trying to defraud anyone and you will not be sent to prison
  11. jville_hot_skater
    Joined: Apr 9, 2009
    Posts: 1,002

    from jville

    Son, you know how fast you where going?
    Now...Ima need your License, Registration, and Vin Numbers.
  12. jville_hot_skater
    Joined: Apr 9, 2009
    Posts: 1,002

    from jville

    Like I said,
    i would stamp the frame...but not in a obvious place.
    Just so you can prove its yours if anything does happen to the if it gets stolen or goes to a chop shop.
  13. This is the direction I am definitely leaning. I guess it would really suck if the car got stolen though. No possible way to prove that it was yours should it resurface. Also no way to claim insurance if it were totalled.
  14. I guess we were thinking the same thing at the same time with this one.
  15. I would assume that if you get oulled over and the oficer just happens to notic that your new frame is a duece and your title is for a model A it could cause you a big problem if you have model A numbers on the frame.

    What I may do is carry the point of origin papers (reciept) for the duece rails with me. That way you will have something to show him. I may even have some pictures of the original chassis and a close up of the numbers. Lots of paperwork for them to sift through is always a good thing when they start getting nosey.

    Do they still do numbers checks when they stop you out there? I know that i never got stopped on my hog when I lived out that way that my numbers didn't get checked. But that is a totally different circumstance i am sure.
  16. It's never happened to me, but I've heard some horror stories. I had a buddy that had two 900SS Ducati's...same year\make\model, and he only licensed and insured one of them and would swap plates from one to the other depending on which one he wanted to ride. Got the bike impounded during a routine traffic stop because the cop checked to make sure the vin matched the title. I was always nervous enough with my old A, since the VIN could never be found on the frame with the body on.
  17. Kenneth S
    Joined: Dec 15, 2007
    Posts: 1,527

    Kenneth S

    Here in Texas, as long as the vin tag that is rivited on the body has the same number that matches the one on your title that's as far as they'll look into it.
    I'd stamp it on the frame in a couple of places where only you know where they are incase someone steals your ride, then you could positivly ID it should the cops find the car.

    Your mileage may vary!
  18. badshifter
    Joined: Apr 28, 2006
    Posts: 3,397


    Sure, stamp your name, a serial number, anything on it somewhere and record it. Put the invoice number of the frame, anything, and keep a record of it. A pencil tracing or digital pic., whatever. Just not a VIN number. There is no law against identify marks on your own property. The law is real clear on VIN numbers. And I know, it is such a remote chance that you would EVER get called out for it, but why risk it?
  19. Model As don't have vin tags.
  20. I thought about this as an option to, but I think that a firewall tag would be just as illegal, were you to get stopped, if the officer was "in the know".

    As for stamping the number in the frame for a positive ID in the case of a loss, I PM'd Swifster, who is an Insurance Appraiser here on the HAMB and asked if he would weigh in on the subject. Hopefully he will.

    See expert's opinion would be helpful in determining if these measures would be sufficient to protect yourself. Hopefully Swifster will chime in, and then ANOTHER thread about VIN stamping won't be just a waste of HAMB band-with.
  21. HotRod33
    Joined: Oct 5, 2008
    Posts: 2,533


    Have an accident and make a claim and have no numbers on the frame or your car and your insurance company will not pay your claim..... An insurance adjuster will need to check the vin number on the car to file a claim..... and a good adjuster does have the info to know where to look for it .... If someone gets hurt and your insurance won't pay you are probably going to be involed with a lawsuit.... Don't think that it is a problem check with an insurance company.......
  22. Bigcheese327
    Joined: Sep 16, 2001
    Posts: 6,691


    Are you really asking about re-stamping numbers, or cutting away the weak parts of your frame and replacing them with new metal? I mean, you did say everything besides the area around the serial number couldn't be reused, right?* ;)

    Seriously, though, rather than speculating about intent and other things that might or might not be in the California Vehicle Code, you should read it yourself. If you're really unsure, see if you can get a California lawyer to write you an opinion letter. Asking a bunch of guys on a multi-state/international forum is probably just going to confuse you worse.


    *Disclaimer: In Michigan that may be grounds for a salvage title.
  23. This is why when I posed the question I said "Legally and Practically". Sure there might be a chance that I could get in trouble over stamping my A vin on my replacement frame, were somebody to throw the book at me, but if I ran over some school kids and my insurance failed to cover me because my car had no physical "VIN' on it, I'd stand to lose everything. Still, I don't want to go all Henny Penny based on speculation, so maybe somebody "in the know" can chime in here.
  24. RF
    Joined: Mar 13, 2001
    Posts: 1,897


    Seriously? You're not talking skateboards here, Spicoli. It's not uncommon nowadays for cops to conduct VIN inspections on hot rods for the very same reason this discussion is taking place--it's illegal to tamper with and/or modify VINs. And more often than not, they know precisely "where" legit VINs are to be found, so you're advice towards to putting them somewhere inconspicuous is equally wrong. There are proper ways in which to go about this (the definition of "proper" has more than one interpretation), and discussing in an open forum is not one of them. Each state/county has its own "written" rules pertaining to titling, registration, etc. It's wise to know what you may be dealing with before you go swinging any hammers.
  25. HotRod33
    Joined: Oct 5, 2008
    Posts: 2,533


    Do a search and read this thread it is from insurance adjuster he does know........ Another Serial Number Lesson Learned
  26. CVC-10750a: No person shall intentionally deface, destroy, or alter the motor number, other distinguishing number, or identification mark of a vehicle required or employed for registration purposes without written authorization from the department, nor shall any person place or stamp any serial, motor, or other number or mark upon a vehicle, except one assigned thereto by the department.

    Ok, so I am not defacing, destroying, or altering the number...just not using the part that it was stamped on. Could it be construed via that the part I put in bold would allow me to stamp my car's VIN (assigned therto by the department) onto my car where ever I wanted?
    Joined: Nov 2, 2010
    Posts: 196


    I was all ways told that tampering or changing a vin# was a bad bad deal,like jail time!! I dont think that in the states opinion it would be any diff. than changing them on a stolen car even though you own the original .... there would be 2 frames with the same vin

  28. I appreciate your insight, and it is important to point out bad advice for sure, but a public discussion, especially one in which some actual positive information could be gleaned is never a bad idea. I'm not discussing anything illegal or covert here. I am trying to be very open, and trying to make the best decision by which to act in accordance of my local laws, and protect my personal property at the same time.

    Special Construction titles were created for reproduction bodies and kit cars. While your average bureaucrat would love for me to go down and apply for one of the 500 SB-100 titles issued each year, so that they could later regulate my car out of existence, I disagree that this sort of regulation applies to a car put together from "mostly" original parts, even if I am replacing something as significant as the frame.
  29. poboyross
    Joined: Apr 29, 2009
    Posts: 2,142

    from West TN

    It's sad that the police and legal system in general has time to waste with crap like this. It's obviously intended to apply to the "modern era" of cars.....not 80 year old tin that had a system that was clown shoes compared to what goes on today. What's even more sad is that there would be any police officer that would still give you sh*t after you proved that the car was yours beyond any doubt whatsoever....but its all a money making racket, anyway.
  30. Every time I have tried to talk to the folks at my local DMV they are completely clueless. The most common answer I get is "you can't do that". I wanted to register YOM plates to my car..."you can't do that". I wanted to correct the typo on my 1965 BSA title that said 1965 BAA..."you can't do that". I have given up on them.

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