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Technical Vin follows body or frame in TN?

Discussion in 'The Hokey Ass Message Board' started by Midnight 50, Mar 7, 2021.

  1. Midnight 50
    Joined: Jul 27, 2008
    Posts: 568

    Midnight 50

    I’m putting together a project and looking to use a newer frame (new enough to have it’s own VIN stamped) based on what’s available to me. State by state there are different laws, so I’m looking specifically to TN HAMB’ers who know the answer. In TN is the title to the body or the title to the frame the one which LEGALLY transfers to the vehicle?

  2. Budget36
    Joined: Nov 29, 2014
    Posts: 10,864


    TN DMV is who I would ask.
    MO54Frank, mgtstumpy, XXL__ and 2 others like this.
  3. squirrel
    Joined: Sep 23, 2004
    Posts: 53,099


    Might depend on what car it is...some cars at times had a serial number on the frame, others on the body, some on both. But some cars had a number on the engine, that was also on the frame, others had a number on the engine that was different than that on the frame or body.

    The thing about the states, is that some used engine numbers for titles in the old days, some used body or frame numbers, some used both. All this was before the number that we know as the VIN even existed.

    you might think carefully about using a body that originally had a serial number, on a frame that has a different serial number. I think some jurisdictions frown on that.
    lonejacklarry likes this.
  4. greybeard360
    Joined: Feb 28, 2008
    Posts: 2,023


    Check the Tn dmv.

    In Texas they will merge a frame and body numbers in their system when this is done. It is so that if say a truck cab (or car body) is replaced with one from a salvage yard the merge is done to show that the two parts are now as one. But.... You have to have titles to both or bill of sale with the proper vin on it.

  5. Based on my experiences, it is for the body.

    Is your title for the body that you have?
    And you’re simply swapping frames and drivetrain?
    What’s the year difference between the body and the replacement frame?

    My roadster was titled as a 31 Ford, which it was, but was on a 32 frame, which was stamped with the Serial # on the title (31). My 41 pickup has a P&J frame for 35-40, but has the proper 41 Serial # on it.
    BUT, there are a bunch of R**R**s running around on late model frames that are titled to the body year.

    If you sell, I would have the title Serial # stamped on the frame.
    But another state might or might not recognize the differences in years if it’s inspected before title transfer.
    A restorer wanting Serial # to match an actual production schedule might be a problem.

    How friendly are the folks at your county courthouse tag department?
    Mine don’t verify, ask or care.
    Last edited: Mar 7, 2021
  6. brando1956
    Joined: Jun 25, 2017
    Posts: 155


    I bought a wrecked motorcycle while stationed in TN in 1977. Frame was damaged and I replaced with a factory frame that didn't have a VIN#. Showed them receipts and they provided an embossed VIN tag that had to be attached to the steering head where the factory VIN would be. I wouldn't count on things being the same 44 years later. Have you checked to see if the TN DMV has a website? That may provide info.
  7. Bigdavid
    Joined: Feb 10, 2012
    Posts: 39

    from Tennessee

    I built a car that to the best of my recollection only came with a number on the engine.
    Original engine wasn’t used,I applied and got my title and registration with no problem.
    Sold that car to someone local.He has no problem.He eventually sells it to Ky,and then the fun began.He had to go through the state to apply for the car to have a car number and
    tag to be put on the car.A State Trooper had to come out and look it over and he gave him the number tag.In Ky they send someone from the county out to check your numbers
    I don’t think that vin numbers were even a thing until the early 50’s,before that it was a “car” number.
    Last edited: Mar 7, 2021
  8. unfinished
    Joined: Jan 8, 2020
    Posts: 100


    I have titled 3 pre 40 cars in the last five years and 2 in the 60's. I only had the title with numbers to the body and it was very effortless. No questions. Lifetime antique tags for each one.
  9. krylon32
    Joined: Jan 29, 2006
    Posts: 8,746

    from Nebraska

    Most early Fords had the VIN stamped on the left frame rail in front of the firewall. Many also had the same number stamped under the body, never did figure out that one?
  10. MO54Frank
    Joined: Apr 1, 2019
    Posts: 440


    Six month Tennessee resident, so I don’t know much. I agree that you will have to eventually ask someone at the Tennessee Dept of Revenue. Go to your County Clerk and talk with someone.
    Do you have any title for any part of the project? Title with VIN that matches the body serial number? Does the body have a VIN or serial number? Bill of Sale?
  11. Budget36
    Joined: Nov 29, 2014
    Posts: 10,864


    What would happen if there were no serial numbers on the body? I/e my two 36 PUs don’t have body numbers just frame numbers.
    Would they assign a s/n or vin tag?

    Either way seems easier than here!
  12. Midnight 50
    Joined: Jul 27, 2008
    Posts: 568

    Midnight 50

    The covid thing has everything messed up so I can’t visit the courthouse snd all calls are routed to a VM. Basically can’t ask and get an immediate answer. No issue with the car, titled and running. Just wanna frame swap it. New frame would come from a choice of a few things but probably an s10 like usual. That would also have a title, hence my question.
  13. Since you kinda, sorta revealed the frame, I would use the body title, whatever that is(?).
  14. Mr48chev
    Joined: Dec 28, 2007
    Posts: 32,409


    Title to the frame donor proves that you actually legally owned the frame donor. That is a big frigging deal in any state but especially with the frame you mentioned as somewhere you have to know that someone has been jacking trucks that were sitting around, stripping them and posting the rolling chassis for sale.

    I am on record as not liking frame swaps on AD trucks unless you just flat don't have a decent frame to start with.
    1. no matter how much you spend frame swap rigs and especially S-10 swaps top out around 20 K. YOU have never seen those talking heads at the Barrett-Jackson auctions raving about that "wonderful frame swap under that truck" There is a reason for that. No matter how much you spend people see them as being a cheap build.
    2. unless you lift the cab and bed several inches off the frame you end up cutting away about half of the front end inner sheet metal to clear suspension.
    3. Unless you jump though every flaming hoop the dmv has to make sure that you have it all inspected and legal. Your insurance may decide that you cobbled the rig together and refuse to pay off if you are in an accident. With some of the cobbled together mess frame swaps I have seen around here that is all too likely.
    hotrodA likes this.
  15. unfinished
    Joined: Jan 8, 2020
    Posts: 100


    I cannot count the cars I have owned. There has never been a conversation about the frame numbers.
    Budget36 likes this.
  16. Rusty Heaps
    Joined: May 19, 2011
    Posts: 889

    Rusty Heaps

    Every car I have owned has always been titled to the body VIN tag. I have registered several ‘40s and ‘50s model vehicles and have never had a problem.

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