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I purchased my 1940 Buick 56s eleven years ago in California, the car was bought with a California title. This car was manufactured and owned by two previous owners within the state and I lived in California at the time. I say this as the section on the vin number stated RE4110. This number is stamped on the engine block and this is the number of a remanufactured engine. 

I had never purchased a classic car so when I purchased the car and the title was transferred into my name there were no issues. Three years ago while reading a thread on this forum I started worrying about the title and the incorrect number, but the car was not on the road and I was just retiring and moving to North Carolina and this is where the problem starts. 

To get the car titled in North Carolina the DMV gives you a year to get the car inspected and check the vin number. You must drive the car to the DMV inspection station. The inspector noted the difference between the RE number and the numbers attached to the frame. Frame number is 23713919. The young inspector determines that he needs to call Raleigh, NC for guidance. He runs a title search on the car and everything comes back clean. He submits the paper work to the state capital and four months later I received a "clean" title with the proper vin number. If I buy another car, the first thing I will ask to see is the title, the second thing I will check is that the number on the frame matches the title number. I love my car, but had I done my due diligence, I probably would not have bought it.  

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You got lucky.

Yes, Title has to match exactly.

I am currently having an issue getting an Oregon title that I bought in New York.

NY doesn't issue and actual title and Oregon requires an actual title on any transfer of ownership.  Can you say "Running in circles"?

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Have said before that in Florida, most advertisements will say "clean Florida title" and if not there had better be a good reason why. I put the value of a Florida title at $300 just in DMV fees.

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8 minutes ago, padgett said:

I put the value of a Florida title at $300 just in DMV fees.

 

Thats what it costs if you have one.

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You were very lucky.  North Carolina is a very tough state to correct title problems in.  Through the 1940's and possibly early 1950's NC titled cars by the motor number.  If the motor was changed, the title had to be reissued using the replacement motor number.  Sometimes the serial number was listed as "original motor number / replacement motor number".  Your car most likely has a replacement engine ("RExxxx") which NC had a procedure to deal with.  Your other option would have been to file for a bonded title.

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3 hours ago, Brass is Best said:

Just a friendly reminder. The TITLE and VIN / SERIAL # are more important then the car in the eyes of the law.

 

This is most certainly true. One other important related thing to check is for multiple owners listed on the title...AND making sure that ALL people listed as owners have signed the title for sale. I had issues on three different cars with this because I didn't pay attention, as my mind was focused on other things when buying the cars. On my 2005 Impala and '65 T-Bird I was able to resolve things pretty easily.

 

My ex-'55 Chysler, however, was a PITA.  One of the owners on the title had died, therefore no signature. I had to go to a library and research the microfiche obituaries of some small town newspaper until I found the entry for the deceased. Only when I gave them a copy of the obit did the DMV transfer the title.

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JamesR......I'm surprised you got the title on the 55 Chysler.   The deceased had an estate and whoever handled the estate

normally would be required to do a title release. Or the beneficary  to whom the car was assigned to thru the 

 the terms of the estate settlement

 

At any rate...glad for you that it all worked out

 

Jack Worstell

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15 hours ago, Carolina Chevrolet said:

I've purchased several antique cars from out of state. The NC DMV man has always came out to my residence to inspect the cars. Any antique car that is being titled in NC from out of state has to be inspected by the DMV.

In NC (Asheville) not every DMV office will provide all the services that you need. Registration is done at one office, Drivers License at another and inspections and title at another. I applied for registration at one office and was given a year to have the car inspected for my title. I was given a form that stated that an inspector would come to my house to inspect the car. When I called the office to get an appointment to have an inspector come to my house, I was told, "we don't do that anymore and I would have to drive the car to the DMV office that does inspections". Maybe the process has changed with the number of vehicles that the need to inspect.

I do believe that I was lucky, but the fact that a car has a title does not necessarily meat that it is "clean". I can only surmise that when vin numbers came about, around 1956 that the California inspector was new to the process and filled in the REXXXX number in the vin space and as the car never left California, this was never scrutinized. 

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My 31 Plymouth has no title in NY but a transferable registration with the motor number as the VIN.  Do you think I should try to get it registered with the serial number on the door frame?  Has anyone NY done this?

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Just might mention that on a title, the words "And" and "Or" have very different meanings. If "And" then all the people listed must sign. If "Or" then anyone listed can sign. "Or" is best for married couples who intend to stay that way.

 

 

Edited by padgett (see edit history)
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1 hour ago, 31plymouth said:

My 31 Plymouth has no title in NY but a transferable registration with the motor number as the VIN.  Do you think I should try to get it registered with the serial number on the door frame?  Has anyone NY done this?

My concern is that the day will come when the car has to be, or wish to be sold. To best avoid any concerns that a potential buyer has in the future, I would want to have the title carry the serial number as the vin stamped, or attached to the frame. 

Vin numbers came about around 1956, so although they are known as that today, when the car was built these were serial numbers that identified the place and time of manufacture. 

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31, was the motor in your car changed at one point? On my Model A, the motor and frame numbers are the same. Does your frame have numbers stamped in it somewhere? I would think the frame and motor numbers should be the same, but I'm not sure if the body number should also match. I would contact someone that has Plymouth expertise. 

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It has been my experience that as long as the numbers are visible on the car somewhere, most DMVs will accept it. Sometimes you'll get a stickler who knows a little more than he/she should about it or someone who doesn't understand that a 1908 car can have a 4-digit VIN and "the system" rejects it, but that's fairly rare. Most of the VIN inspectors don't know anything about cars and don't care what or where the numbers are as long as the numbers match the title. The state of New Jersey, for reasons I can't understand, sometimes drops the first and last digits of VINs on cars over a certain age so that they can be more easily identified in their system. Of course, this makes for all kinds of mischief when you sell a car outside of New Jersey and two digits are missing. We bought a car back for this very reason--the title didn't match the car in the eyes of the Florida DMV, even though it was obviously the same VIN just the first and last digits were clipped by New Jersey. Short of scratching off the first and last numbers on the car, there was no other solution because the new owner couldn't title it. Ugh.

 

We even had a Model T that was titled by the engine CASTING number. All the DMVs involved let it fly anyway because it matched the title.

 

Some states like New York make it fairly easy to change a VIN on a car or the title. I had a Model A with a swapped engine and, of course, the title didn't match. Fortunately, I bought the car in New York and they just needed to see the old number, the new number, and I filled out a form. Voila! Fixed the registration to reflect the car as it is today. Most states are not this accommodating, however. Most are a nightmare.

 

If your title matches some number on the car, leave it alone and it should be adequate for 95% of the situations. Don't go chasing this particular rabbit down that hole because all kinds of horrible things can happen if you do. Remember, all the DMV computers are now linked and they never forget...

 

 

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21 hours ago, padgett said:

Have said before that in Florida, most advertisements will say "clean Florida title" and if not there had better be a good reason why. I put the value of a Florida title at $300 just in DMV fees.


 

Clean Florida title means nothing.......my 1917 White had a clean Florida title..........and it took three months of BS to get my new one. All because of a duplicate five digit VIN that was also on a vehicle in Minnasoda.

Edited by edinmass (see edit history)
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Matt, consider yourself extremely lucky in dealing with New York State DMV to change something on a registration. In the metropolitan area around NYC and on Long Island it would be a nightmare. I actually spent three days involving three local DMV offices, just to register my 1946 Ford. Because I'm on the road a lot, it was convenient to go to different DMV offices. I went to the first DMV office and was given several forms to fill out. Went to a different DMV office with all the forms and was told that two of the forms were incorrect. Filled out the new forms and went back to the first DMV office and was told "incorrect forms" again. I went to the third DMV with both sets of forms and told the agent to just pick out the forms that she thought were correct and it finally worked.

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Ed, you had an odd situation. Few years ago I had to title a Mini with an Italian title and a six digit VIN. Did have to take to the one DMV office that had a FHP inspector & also had about 1/2" of other paperwork including a Military registration for Japan & Atlanta import papers (was a serviceman). Only odd thing is that the Make is listed as "MNNI" and not "Innocenti" but had a Florida title with the right s/n. Did take three trips to DMVs before finding the right one. Was before the late unpleasantness. The second DMV even gave me a temporary tag to drive to the Office that had an inspector.

 

So all in all the other Orange country DMVs have been very good for me.

 

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3 hours ago, 46 woodie said:

31, was the motor in your car changed at one point? On my Model A, the motor and frame numbers are the same. Does your frame have numbers stamped in it somewhere? I would think the frame and motor numbers should be the same, but I'm not sure if the body number should also match. I would contact someone that has Plymouth expertise. 

The engine was never changed and that is what is on the registration as VIN.  The serial number is on the door post.  Engine number and serial number( car number) are different.           

Body number(on firewall) is different. I have had the car for 50 years.

Just thought it might be better to have it registered with the serial number but it may not be worth the trouble. Attached a copy of the Chrysler historical original build card just for fun. Still have the original key U326 as shown on the build card.

Plymouth build card  with Key.jpg

Edited by 31plymouth
Trying to reposition picture and text edit (see edit history)
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When I lived in New York I converted several early-'50's Plymouths from 'engine number' to 'VIN' (really vehicle number) registrations.   It was a simple process and the DMV people were very helpful.   One woman told me something very interesting:   Titles are mandatory for '73 and newer in NY, but can be issued to earlier-year vehicles.  I don't know if this is still the case, but might be worth looking into.  I'd call the main NYDMV Title Bureau in Albany for their advice.

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On 1/29/2021 at 11:26 AM, kingrudy said:

I purchased my 1940 Buick 56s eleven years ago in California, the car was bought with a California title. This car was manufactured and owned by two previous owners within the state and I lived in California at the time. I say this as the section on the vin number stated RE4110. This number is stamped on the engine block and this is the number of a remanufactured engine. 

I had never purchased a classic car so when I purchased the car and the title was transferred into my name there were no issues. Three years ago while reading a thread on this forum I started worrying about the title and the incorrect number, but the car was not on the road and I was just retiring and moving to North Carolina and this is where the problem starts. 

To get the car titled in North Carolina the DMV gives you a year to get the car inspected and check the vin number. You must drive the car to the DMV inspection station. The inspector noted the difference between the RE number and the numbers attached to the frame. Frame number is 23713919. The young inspector determines that he needs to call Raleigh, NC for guidance. He runs a title search on the car and everything comes back clean. He submits the paper work to the state capital and four months later I received a "clean" title with the proper vin number. If I buy another car, the first thing I will ask to see is the title, the second thing I will check is that the number on the frame matches the title number. I love my car, but had I done my due diligence, I probably would not have bought it.  

I'm from North Carolina and I've bought and sold many cars over the years. Here's what I've learned from the DMV. If the car is more than 30 years old AND the car is coming from out of state, then, yes it has to be inspected by the DMV. Mostly to make sure it isn't stolen. And also so a new title can be issued.  But, if the car is from inside the state no matter how old or new the car is, no problem. Whim, bam, boom, and several hundred dollars later, a new title is mailed to your address. 

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Harold, I don't think that N.Y. will issue a title for anything newer than '72. I have registered many early car's since 1964 and never once saw anything about offering a title. Many older cars have only 5 or 6 digit I.D. numbers and the N.Y. DMV Title form requires all the spaces filled in.

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4 hours ago, 46 woodie said:

Harold, I don't think that N.Y. will issue a title for anything newer than '72. I have registered many early car's since 1964 and never once saw anything about offering a title. Many older cars have only 5 or 6 digit I.D. numbers and the N.Y. DMV Title form requires all the spaces filled in.

When I moved to New Jersey one of my Plymouths had a NY transferable registration signed over to me, with the motor number instead of a VIN.  New Jersey refused to issue a title with the VIN and told me to go back to New York to straighten it out.   That's when I called NYDMV and the woman I spoke to at the Title Bureau told me they could issue a title to a pre-73 vehicle if I wanted it.  Instead, I got a NY transferable registration with the VIN (in my name and with my NJ address) that I presented to NJ.  They then issued a NJ title to me.  This was a number of years ago and things may have changed  since then.  I wanted to share my experience in case one of the other posters might benefit by it.   

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Thank you the numerous replies. This has been a long and frustrating process and it wouldn't have occurred to me had I not moved out of California, but when I sold my car to possibly an out of state buyer there most likely would have been a problem. IMO everyone entering this hobby should make certain the title of their car is as straight as possible given the laws of their state. After all, my car is just over 80 years old and at some point it will go to a new owner. I would not want my wife to have to clean up a situation that I should have taken care of. 

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In Florida just add her to the title as "or". Anywhere else ?

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Simply to allay some fears about New York DMV. I have a 1956 Mercedes that had been registered to its original owner using its engine number. I continued with this registration for some 40 years until I thought it wise, and to forestall any future problems, to change the registration to the chassis number.  One or two forms, a quick trip to a regional inspection office, payment of a nominal fee, and a new transferrable registration was issued under the chassis number.  

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  • 4 weeks later...

Be careful though, even though you are sure of your car history and know its title is clean, it might not always be the case. Maybe you should get its history checked yourself too. Just google vin check online and take any of the tools available to check it. Here's a couple of useful things for you:
- how to read the vin report https://cars.usnews.com/cars-trucks/what-do-vehicle-history-reports-say 
- a sample tool I found online for free vin check https://www.autodetective.com/
- what the whole vin thing is about and how it works https://wiki2.org/en/Vehicle_history_report

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On 1/29/2021 at 5:12 PM, Carolina Chevrolet said:

I've purchased several antique cars from out of state. The NC DMV man has always came out to my residence to inspect the cars. Any antique car that is being titled in NC from out of state has to be inspected by the DMV.

      It's also true in western NC, they will send a trooper to do

      the inspection.  

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If you go back to the teens you can run into all sorts of numbers. Engine number , frame number , body number and makers number. In some cases right from the factory they are all different numbers.  And any of them may have been used 100 years ago to register the car. Things were entirely up to the owner and the person issuing the licence plate at the time the car was new. DMV people today have no Idea how hit and miss the numbers and registration document process was 70 - 100 years ago.

 

Greg

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17 hours ago, carlover_2020 said:

Be careful though, even though you are sure of your car history and know its title is clean, it might not always be the case. Maybe you should get its history checked yourself too. Just google vin check online and take any of the tools available to check it. Here's a couple of useful things for you:
- how to read the vin report https://cars.usnews.com/cars-trucks/what-do-vehicle-history-reports-say 
- a sample tool I found online for free vin check https://www.autodetective.com/
- what the whole vin thing is about and how it works https://wiki2.org/en/Vehicle_history_report


These services are absolutely useless on any cars made prior to the (relatively) new 17 digit VIN formatting. 
 

 

526AE51A-5584-4F6D-9D09-0A06C47C27BA.jpeg

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15 hours ago, Paul Dobbin said:

      It's also true in western NC, they will send a trooper to do

      the inspection.  

This is what I was told when I first went to the DMV in Asheville, NC. I received the one year registration and was told that an inspector would come to my house to inspect the car. After doing much work on the car, I called the number on the form and was told that was no longer the process and I would have to bring the car to the Patton Ave.  office for inspection. I do not know if something changed because of Covid 19, or this was an administrative change. This was my experience recently. 

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My last experience with NC titles was 3 years ago, when they were nice to deal with.   Remember they are out sourced contracted workers with NC, not employees of the state.  I also think service can vary by county.   That being said it was similar to Florida in the the lady that's been there the longest makes the rules.  Gald you got it resolved.  Read EdinMass story on this forum about gettting a title for his1917 White   "When the Phone Rang"

Edited by Paul Dobbin (see edit history)
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I don't know if things have changed temporarily because of the virus, or if this is due to the increase in the population, but your thought as to the whim of the lady running the organization may be accurate. If anyone is familiar with the Asheville area, they know there is no such thing as a straight line here in the mountains. Getting from point A to point B can be a challenge with an 80 year old car.

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Slap shift on my Jeep is handy in the mountains, lots better than the in-line in my Caddy.

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