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Diving an unregistered car from FL to KY....


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On Friday I'm flying to Florida and buying a '52 Ford Victoria which I will then drive almost 900 miles back to Kentucky. I will have it insured and will have proof of it with me but there's no way I can register it here until I get it here and they can verify the VIN/serial number. Can I just drive it with no license plates on it, should I put an original 1952 Florida plate on it, or should I bring an unused Kentucky antique plate with me and put that on it? Does anyone have any other suggestions? I'm not going to drive down there and haul it back on a trailer or hire a transport company to haul it back for me, I'm definitely driving it back. Thanks....

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The short answer is, no. The longer answer is, hell no.

In no state, in the union, can you legally drive an unregistered, unlicensed car. Slapping some old plate on it will only compound the issue should you get pulled over.

That being said, I'd probably do it, but I'm a bit of an idiot:D

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Bad idea on several levels. Be sure your AAA membership is up to date so you can call a tow truck when you break down. Check your insurance to be sure it provides bail bonds so you don't rot in a back water town where the circuit judge comes comes around once a month.

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In the time I took to type up a polite way of saying no one in their right mind would try that, 6 replies cam on, and probably another 6 by the time I finish this. Legalize yourself in each state you're going thru or your adventure could beconme a nightmare.

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So Lebowski... The posters with huge concerns are right to be worried. They may very well belong to those poor class of folks in the vile yankee states with tyrannous laws and taxation or even worse, Left coasters, but as you well know, things are nicer in the south. I don't know the law in Fla. however in Alabama (my home) and Tennessee. The law is that you have ten days from the point of purchase (date on the bill of sale) to tag the car. All you will need to be verifiably legal is proof of insurance and a fully filled out bill of sale with a date less than ten days prior to being pulled over. If you indeed have these things (and creating a second bill of sale with a more updated date to fall within these parameters is SOP), I would leave the prior regiistered YOM tag on the car. If it was not registered with that tag, I might leave it off. You may get pulled over but will be totally legal and will be fine. BTW, the myths about once a month judges and vicious constable are doing a great job for the anti carpet bagger campaign!! Also, street cred goes a long way in the south and a fine ride gets waved at more than pulled over. Good luck and if you have a problem near birmingham/Huntsville, feel free to call for advice/assistance, etc. 205-482-0165. Good Luck

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If he wants to be legal he could just follow the directions in my first reply... which is the link that answers this question from the Florida DMV site.

"and sales tax in the amount required by your home state must be paid."

In Kentucky all cars that get antique plates are valued at $100 even if it's worth several hundred thousand dollars so 6% of $100 is $6. Do you really think Florida is going to sell me a temporary tag for $6? Of course I would gladly pay that but once they find out I'm paying $14K for the car they'll probably want several hundred dollars.

"Also, street cred goes a long way in the south and a fine ride gets waved at more than pulled over. Good luck and if you have a problem near birmingham/Huntsville, feel free to call for advice/assistance, etc. 205-482-0165. Good Luck."

And thanks to Sambarn for the advice and offer of help. I'm not sure if I'm going through Georgia or Alabama but if I'm passing through "Roll 'Tide" country and need help I may take you up on your offer.

Here's some pics of the car. It looks mostly stock on the outside but it has a lot of newer features inside....

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If you want to take your chances at breaking the law without at least making an effort at doing it legally because you think that they will not be happy with your state's sales tax rate, that is totally up to you. If the Florida law requires you to pay your state's sales tax rate that should be what you will pay. Each state's DMV is quite aware of what the other state's laws are, because they have to work together.

With over 30 years of law enforcement service I will only say that in my experience following the law is usually a lot cheaper than getting caught not following it. Good luck in any case.

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Hey! Go ahead and do it! What have you got to lose except the $14,000 when they confiscate the car, or at least storage charges at the local impound area @ $35 a day, your drivers license, a Hefty fine for unregistered automobile.

And lastly but most important, your house and all of your assets if you accidently kill someone when the brakes fail. (Insurance does not cover an illegal car)<O:p></O:p>

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You've gone through the trouble of getting insurance, why not go the extra mile to be legal. For starters, check with your DMV. Many states now have on-line services. As an example (yes I know that laws in the state of VA don't apply here, but it's an example) in Virginia you can go online and purchase a temporary trip permit, good for a one way trip within a three day period, for the very reasonable sum of $5. You can do this on line and print out the temporary permit in the privacy of your own inkjet printer. Now, out of state police may not recognize it (I got stopped in MD while using one, for example) but after a short call they verified that it was legal and I was on my way. You'll be money ahead to see if your state has a similar option.

Of course, the bigger point is, you're going to buy a car and you don't have the VIN yet???

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Agree, this is the best way. Suspect the reason did not find was because I am a Florida resident and it does not apply for residents.

ps I have transferred tags by myself at the tag office when purchasing a new toy but made sure to have all of the proper paperwork first. As long as the PO's name/signature is in all of the right places (s)he does not need to be there.

Edited by padgett (see edit history)
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you're going to buy a car and you don't have the VIN yet???

Of course I have the VIN. When did I say that I didn't have it? I'll call the KY motor vehicle department tomorrow and see if they have a one trip 3 day deal like Virginia does....

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Be sure your AAA membership is up to date so you can call a tow truck when you break down.
I know from experience that AAA will not assist you if the vehicle does not have current registration. The first thing they ask for (at least here in CA) is the vehicles registration and if it is not current they leave without rendering assistance.
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I'm buying it from a private party. Matthew Hinson posted this same link in post #2.

Of course I'll gladly pay $7 for a temporary tag. Some states like California (where I lived from 1977-98) charge over 8% of the purchase price which would be over $1000. The seller is going to check on it tomorrow. I wouldn't have a problem paying up to $100 for a temporary registration. Thanks to all those who posted positive comments....

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Is it possible to just drive on the seller's tags if he has them? Send them back when you get home?

I made that suggestion to him and he wasn't too enthusiastic about that idea because "if you kill someone I'll get sued." I've done that with buyers before with no repercussions but if I can get a temporary registration for $7 I'll be glad to go that route....

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I think that's the way to go. Get the temp tag and register the car and pay the titling tax when you get home to KY.
The two times I bought temp tags it was $7 period and you pay your state's tax when you register it there... Unless they changed the law to try and steal MORE money.
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In my experience, if you pay sales tax to an other state when buying a vehicle, your home state credits that amount when you go through the registration process.

In the old days, you could slap on a set of plates and roll the dice with a much greater chance of success. These days, there are license plate scanners and stiff penalties for violations.

Get a temporary tag and do it right.

FWIW, I've bought a number of out-of-state vehicles and haven't had any issues getting a temporary tag in the state-of-purchase.

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Go thru GA instead of AL if for no other reason because AL is a pure comparative negligence state when it comes to insurance. I don't know of any other state like that. It's an anitquated way of handling auto claims where if you are even 1% responsible, you may have no recovery rights.

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I'm not going to drive down there and haul it back on a trailer or hire a transport company to haul it back for me, I'm definitely driving it back. Thanks....

Just curious...aside from adventure, why not?

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Just curious...aside from adventure, why not?

It's faster, easier and cheaper to fly down and drive it back. And yes, I like an adventure once in a while. My wife doesn't like to take vacations so this will be the closest thing I've had to a vacation since we drove a '58 Citation to Peoria, IL in July 2000 and spent two nights there at the annual convention of the Edsel Owners Club....

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UPDATE!!! I called the local vehicle registration office down there and spoke with a supervisor. She spent about 10 minutes looking up the info regarding Kentucky and she said we have a usage tax here and not a sales tax so I will only be charged $7.50 for the temporary registration and nothing else. I got her name and she said she'll be there on Friday afternoon so that sounds like great news to me.... :) :) :)

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UPDATE!!! I called the local vehicle registration office down there and spoke with a supervisor. She spent about 10 minutes looking up the info regarding Kentucky and she said we have a usage tax here and not a sales tax so I will only be charged $7.50 for the temporary registration and nothing else. I got her name and she said she'll be there on Friday afternoon so that sounds like great news to me.... :) :) :)
That's what I thought. I think that's the ONLY DMV bargain there is anymore, a $7.50 temporary tag! lol
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I like some adventure too!

Do us all a favour and post pictures of your progress / adventure good or bad please. At least we can live vicariously through you.

Wishing you a successful trip!

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Do us all a favor. DO NOT put the t-tag on the car. Simply leave it on the front seat and make the trip. It's still an adventure but a much safer one. This way we all get to hear what did or did not happen

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I have bought a number of cars out of state, and got temp tags for them all but one. It was my first Reatta.

On a Saturday I flew down to Florida from Wi. not knowing if this was going to be "it". [it was, and it was my first Reatta]. I looked it over, liked it, paid the guy cash, went with him to get the bill of sale notarized, and headed back home to Wi. with his plates on it. I never checked, but thought I had heard somewhere that I had 3 days to get it registered and knew I could make it home by then. As it was a Sat. afternoon by the time I arrived, checked out the car, and closed the deal, it was what I had to go with because the DMV offices were closed.

As I went down the road heading for home I never worried about getting pulled over, I worried about getting home as I started getting a "Service Engine Soon" light warning, [which turned out to be a burnt out dash light bulb]. I did hit a 2x4 dumped off by a truck but caused no damage.

Made it home safe and registered the car later that spring as the car went into storage upon my return.

Not a good example of "Do as I say not as I do" but it sure was interesting...

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