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Title nightmare - 1950 Plymouth in Indiana


Mjh
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Hi

I purchased a 1950 Plymouth whose title has the original serial number as the VIN on the title.  The original engine has been replaced.  I was told that the original engine VIN was also stamped on the left outboard side of the frame above the rear axel.  This would help our State Police verify that the original car is for real so I can get them to sign off and hence, title it in Louisiana.

 

Is the location of the original engine stamp correct?

 

Thanks

 

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No, just a body number.  The serial number is on the driver side door post but it is screwed on so the DMV won't accept it.  I need to show the stamped original engine number which is supposed to be on the frame.  

 

The car is in shipment so I cannot look at it yet.  Was just checking if anyone had this problem.  Thanks

 

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The frame stamp is going to match the door plate. Not the engine #.. There were a handfull of states that used the engine # as a vin #.. It was a stupid bureaucratic idea then that has only multiplied the frustration of owners across the decades..

 

If your screwed on Vin matches the frame # you shouldn't have a problem getting it titled. but you may have to go with a reconstructed and let the state assign you a vin and tag.  Can you get a bonded title in your state?

Edited by BHWINCVAP (see edit history)
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I took the left rear tire off and looked for the Vin stamp on the frame above the rest axle. Couldn't find it but could be painted over. Is it safe to wire brush the paint off with my drill wire brush without hurting any stamped number beneath the paint?

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Yes you are not going to hurt the stamping if you use an fairly soft wire wheel.

 Have you tried asking on https://p15-d24.com/ someone may be able to give you the exact location and maybe even share a picture of one to kind of guide you in your search.. It took me several attempts to locate the last one I went looking for, it was very lightly stamped the digits were very thin and almost non existent on the  bottoms.

 

Just for S's & G'g was it from Texas? as I believe they were one of the states that used engine #'s back in that era?

Edited by BHWINCVAP (see edit history)
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It IS the engine number that is stamped into the left rear of the  frame.

Somewhat towards the rear of the car from the centerline of the left rear tire.

You will not damage the stamping with a wire wheel.

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Hi. I'm at my wits end here in Louisiana. I purchased a 1950 Plymouth in Indiana.  

The engine number and frame numbers do not match. Therefore I cannot title and register it here. 

 

The engine swap was made 2 owners back in VA. I contacted him and he said that they only used engine numbers in VA so he did not worry about the frame. 

 

I can't sell it or even junk it without a title. It's a beautiful car in mint condition. I'm thinking of taking my losses and donating it to a university or museum of i can do it without a title. 

Can anybody help me out there?Thanks

Any thoughts on how to title it or donate it without a title?  

 

 

Thanks

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In 1950 did the numbers even match in the first place ? Often engine numbers were different from frame numbers right from the factory at this time. 

I am no expert on 1950 Plymouths , but several other cars I am familiar with had engine numbers totally different from the car serial number and were that way from day 1.  Sounds like you need to do some factory parts book and shop manual research.  Your local DMV may be asking for something that does not exist.

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Can you find someone in your state who deals with selling classic cars for advice.  If you can't title it you sure should be able to sell it with a bill of sale to someone in state that only needs a bill of sale.  Good luck. I hate you have to deal with such frustration.

 

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Every state is different. Some states are easy, a few impossible. Most, somewhere in between. You need to talk with people familiar with your state. In some cases, the only 'fix' is to have an out-of-state title generated (legally), and then after a few moths transfer back into your state.  Usually, there is a simpler and more legal way to be handled. 

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17 minutes ago, wayne sheldon said:

Every state is different. Some states are easy, a few impossible. Most, somewhere in between. You need to talk with people familiar with your state. In some cases, the only 'fix' is to have an out-of-state title generated (legally), and then after a few moths transfer back into your state.  Usually, there is a simpler and more legal way to be handled. 

 

46 minutes ago, 1912Staver said:

In 1950 did the numbers even match in the first place ? Often engine numbers were different from frame numbers right from the factory at this time. 

I am no expert on 1950 Plymouths , but several other cars I am familiar with had engine numbers totally different from the car serial number and were that way from day 1.  Sounds like you need to do some factory parts book and shop manual research.  Your local DMV may be asking for something that does not exist.

Not sure at this point. According to Plymouth blogs the frame was stamped with the original engine number and that is what my state is saying. So confused at this point I don't know. 

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  • Peter Gariepy changed the title to Title nightmare - 1950 Plymouth in Indiana
49 minutes ago, wayne sheldon said:

Every state is different. Some states are easy, a few impossible. Most, somewhere in between. You need to talk with people familiar with your state. In some cases, the only 'fix' is to have an out-of-state title generated (legally), and then after a few moths transfer back into your state.  Usually, there is a simpler and more legal way to be handled. 

I was thinking along the same lines.  But some states probably wouldn't recognize a title with mismatched numbers under any circumstance, which doesn't make sense on old cars.  Many have been restored that had a cracked engine block replaced.  Maybe the previous owner can get a statement notarized from the person he bought it from who did the actual swap.  

 

Regarding the question as to why does the engine number matter to title the car?  Some states in the old days went only by an engine number.  The new VIN system started with 1972 models was universally adopted by all of the states on new cars as far as I know.

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The 18(?)digit number that we now use started in 1981.  Before that I expect there was a hodgepodge of manufacturers using their own system.  My 52 Plymouth is titled with the engine number.  The body number and serial numbers are different from it.  Folks here talk about a bonded title. Might that work? Depending on the amount of the bond needed to be put up I suppose. I have read about a rebuilders tag sometimes put on an engine to give a new number incase of replacement.  Shame the guy that replaced the engine did nit get a corrected title at the time.

Edited by plymouthcranbrook (see edit history)
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I think a lot of us here are well aware that government officials and politicians are not always very smart. In Califunny (there are many reasons I call it that!), they ignore three quarters of a century history, and INSIST on a frame number for model T Fords, twelve plus million of which NEVER had a frame number!

Edited by wayne sheldon
I hate leaving typos! (see edit history)
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4 hours ago, Mjh said:

Hi. I'm at my wits end here in Louisiana. I purchased a 1950 Plymouth in Indiana.  

The engine number and frame numbers do not match. Therefore I cannot title and register it here. 

 

The engine swap was made 2 owners back in VA. I contacted him and he said that they only used engine numbers in VA so he did not worry about the frame. 

 

I can't sell it or even junk it without a title. It's a beautiful car in mint condition. I'm thinking of taking my losses and donating it to a university or museum of i can do it without a title. 

Can anybody help me out there?Thanks

Any thoughts on how to title it or donate it without a title?  

 

Assuming you have the title that was signed over by the previous owner? It would be all you need in many states; where I live (MD) nobody from the state would ever look at the car. I could get a title for a car that no longer exists, walk into to the DMV and as long as I had insurance I could get tags & title. So the Plymouth isn't "worthless", maybe just to someone in Louisiana! But there has to be some way of dealing with this. I'd start by looking up an independent tag & title agency in your state and seeing what they have to say. Otherwise, someone at the DMV knows a way to get around this.

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44 minutes ago, Bryan G said:

Assuming you have the title that was signed over by the previous owner? It would be all you need in many states; where I live (MD) nobody from the state would ever look at the car. I could get a title for a car that no longer exists, walk into to the DMV and as long as I had insurance I could get tags & title. So the Plymouth isn't "worthless", maybe just to someone in Louisiana! But there has to be some way of dealing with this. I'd start by looking up an independent tag & title agency in your state and seeing what they have to say. Otherwise, someone at the DMV knows a way to get around this.

Where I live, in Pennsylvania, if you are trying to title an out-of-state car you either have to have a VIN trace OR have the car present for the DMV to check the VIN on the car.

All states are different in how they handle this.

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4 hours ago, alsancle said:

Since engines get swapped all the time that seems like a bad system if they expect them to match.

 

It's idiotic. In the 1950s and prior it was super common. It wasn't always even predictable by state. I had a 50s car once that was a unibody, and when there is no frame "frame number" stops making sense. Those particular cars had a serial number that functioned like a VIN. Washington State used it, and others Washington cars like it had the serial number on the title. As it turned out, mine was originally sold in Oregon, and brought to Washington 7 years later. Oregon used the engine number. Apparently Washington just copied the number over.

Edited by Bloo (see edit history)
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57 minutes ago, Joe Cocuzza said:

Where I live, in Pennsylvania, if you are trying to title an out-of-state car you either have to have a VIN trace OR have the car present for the DMV to check the VIN on the car.

All states are different in how they handle this.

Thats interesting I have NEVER done that on any I have brought into the state..?

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(From the other Forum)

 

post-250-0-27307600-1384830560.jpg.68818f3637942e8e3477c30e1d280c75.jpg

 

IMG_20210424_142027.jpg

 

 That’s my buddy’s old 41 Plymouth frame.

When I asked this same question someone posted the first photo. 

 

I found mine in the same place. Just rear of the arch, near the fuel filler tube.

 

Mine is a 47 Dodge. 

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I had a title and my car had a serial number nailed to the wood. The CHP inspector was not going to accept it and I pointed out a plate the previous owner had riveted to the frame top under the hood. It was somewhat crude with the numbers hand stamped into a piece of 1/8 " alloy. The officer was happy to accept that. I guess it all depends on the state and the particular inspector.

 

Dave 

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12 hours ago, plymouthcranbrook said:

The 18(?)digit number that we now use started in 1981.  Before that I expect there was a hodgepodge of manufacturers using their own system.  My 52 Plymouth is titled with the engine number.  The body number and serial numbers are different from it.  Folks here talk about a bonded title. Might that work? Depending on the amount of the bond needed to be put up I suppose. I have read about a rebuilders tag sometimes put on an engine to give a new number incase of replacement.  Shame the guy that replaced the engine did nit get a corrected title at the time.

I was thinking of when GM when to THEIR new VIN system that also included the engine code.  Thanks for the correction.

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You can try contacting Chrysler Historical for the build-card for your car.  As I recall, it has the body number, vehicle number, and engine number on one document.  It might help when dealing with  the state.

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Louisiana only issues titles to matching-numbers cars? That's ludicrous. They should absolutely accept the frame number if it matches the title. Even when the car was new, the engine number probably didn't match the frame number. Surely there are 1932 Ford street rods with Chevy crate motors that don't match. How did those guys get titles?

 

Sounds like perhaps you should try a different location and see if you get a different answer from a different inspector. Someone may already have made up his mind and it has been my experience that mediocre people in positions of moderate authority like the DMV and highway patrol don't like being wrong and will work overtime to make your life miserable as long as they don't have to admit they made a mistake.

 

Do they even know what they're looking for? If someone were to, say, stamp the correct numbers into the frame somewhere and age that location with dirt, undercoating, and paint so that it looked like it was always there, would that work? Not that I recommend such an activity, of course, but people have been known to do it in such situations.

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3 hours ago, John348 said:

Is there any paperwork for the car now? If so what numbers are on that?

 

 

From the original post:

"I purchased a 1950 Plymouth whose title has the original serial number as the VIN on the title"

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I know this doesn't help, but my purchased-out-of-state 1950 Plymouth was inspected by the DMV cops in my notoriously title-nazi state, and they had no problems accepting the riveted/screwed on factory data plate number. Didn't bother with looking at the engine #, as I recall. I'm also perturbed by this story because I know that one of the reasons reason they won't accept your car is because all the nefarious backlot flippers will complain that it's not fair when the DMV accepts the screw on plate on your '50 Plymouth but won't on their '98 Camaro or Mustang. How many stolen '50 Mopars are floating around out there? I know it's more than none, but far fewer than Camaros and Mustangs. And think of all the street rods

 

If you've exhausted all of the appeals avenues at the DMV, I would suggest connecting with as many vintage Mopar or street rod clubs in Louisiana as you can...there has to be SOME experience with this kind of out-of-state purchase issue residing in those clubs.

 

Don't donate the car. Is the title still open? (named to and signed by the seller but not by you.) If it is you could resell it out of state as a last resort.

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On 6/25/2021 at 8:06 PM, Joe Cocuzza said:

Like Joe posted...this is what you will find...the actual original factory engine # stamped right into the left rear frame...

The engine # shown D24-205.. designates a 1946-48  Dodge. The number portion will set the year of production.

Easy to locate with some effort.

IMG_20210424_142027.jpg.200e15883c4b73ac8148a04a933669c0.jpg

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On 6/28/2021 at 10:52 AM, Matt Harwood said:

Sounds like perhaps you should try a different location and see if you get a different answer from a different inspector. Someone may already have made up his mind and it has been my experience that mediocre people in positions of moderate authority like the DMV and highway patrol don't like being wrong and will work overtime to make your life miserable as long as they don't have to admit they made a mistake.

Yup! Thats how you play the game. 

 

I understand that DMV people do NOT know their own rules or procedures. It is up to you to read up and understand how to "create" a title in your particular state.  The first thing that you need to accept is to stop trying tell the DMV people the full story. Tell them a story that fits THEIR view and THEIR understanding. 

 

I am in CA and I have learned to only tell them what THEY want to hear and give them the papers that they want to see. It keeps them happy. Yes it might involve creating a few signatures on their official documents where they want to see a signature, but who cares? It makes them happy. 

NOTE: I always know the full history/story on the car so I know that there is nothing stolen or fraudulent.

 

In more than a few situations I have ended up reading the vehicle code to DMV employees and asking (loudly) "So why dont you think that you have to follow the law?"  This commonly brings  manager who takes them in the back and when they return the process goes just as I wanted it to. 

 

Typically when I have a car with "impure paperwork" I create what needs to be seen by them. 

With this method I have titled two Full Classics (both with out of state titles and one with a stack of probate stuff out of Oregon) By creating a "new to CA" title (I put all the out of state stuff in the file just in case it ever becomes important) While doing this I also adjust the value on the vehicles which means lower fees during my entire ownership. 

 

I once bought a running 1958 car in Canada. The seller sent me a xerox copy of his title. I created and took the "proper" papers into the DMV and created a CA title in  my name, paid fees, got new plates. I then flew into Canada (paid the seller) put my CA plates on the car and drove it home. Crossing the border it had CA plates in my name and there was no issues about any import issues or taxes. According to CA I owned it 2 months before I bought it. 

 

Trouble with a title? Stop telling the DMV the whole truth and start telling them only what they need to hear, and put that story on the forms they expect to see. Its so much easier that way. 

 

Edit: Forgot to add, I have a 1924 T touring that came to me with a Virginia title and an Oregon assigned VIN sticker. (no idea of the story) Nothing of course that comes close to the block number.  I would be crazy to turn any of this paperwork mess into my CA DMV, they would never understand it.

 When I am ready I will start from scratch by removing  the Oregon sticker and make a CA title based on the block number. Simple and effective. 

Edited by m-mman (see edit history)
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2 hours ago, John348 said:

From what I understand there is a VIN verification process correct? Is anyone other then a DMV employee able to perform this verification?

In CA yes a verification is needed.  Surprisingly enough I got my DMV license to do verifications. . . . . Becoming licensed wasn't difficult at all. 

 

You can not verify your own car, but (fortunately) my best car friend also happens to be a licensed verifier. . . . . .  one hand washes the other. 

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