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Title nightmare - 1950 Plymouth in Indiana


Mjh
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I am the original poster. The car was bought in Indiana and shipped to Louisiana. When I had a physical inspection done be the Louisiana State Police they found an original engine number stamp on the frame which does not match my engine number. That's the issue. In Indiana the car was titled with the engine number not the frame vin number. Thanks 

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One more item concerning the screwed-on Vehicle Number:  I recall seeing an official Chrysler service publication that said if you added a driver's side courtesy light switch you could move the tag by drilling out the rivets and relocating it.  There is a hole for the switch punched under the plate on the driver's hinge post for that purpose.

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1 hour ago, John348 said:

I am getting confused here, the original poster needs the title in Louisiana, not California correct? So if he was in California he would have a possible solution.  

Exactly  All state laws are the same and yet each one is a little different. You need to learn exactly how the laws work where you are. 

 

I am not an expert on Louisiana law. but the problem seems to be that ONE LA officer has the idea that on any old car there should be an engine number and a frame number and that they must match. I seriously doubt that LA law says that every car must have a matching number on the frame and the engine. (if this were true, how would you ever register a 1970s+ car?)  

 

The only number that really matters on any car is the "frame" number. The number stamped on the biggest part of the car.

 

Yeah I know, more ancient cars had number on flywheels, transmissions etc. but this is a 1950 car. Some ancient cars also had 3 or 4 digit VINs and dont meet the modern standard for a 17 digit VIN. So every state has some exemptions, somewhere that would make a car 'legal' to be licensed for the street. And when it is legal to be licensed, the state can then begin collecting taxes on that car so there is a motivation for them to make it legal for you. 

 

What you need is an officer/DMV official to understand that the Indiana title is incorrect (it unfortunately used the "random" number stamped on the engine, not the significant number found on the frame) 

Then there must be a process within the LA DMV system to file whatever papers are necessary with whatever verifications are necessary to issue a LA title based on the frame number. 

 

I have seen several cars from the 1950s and 1960s that were originally registered, brand new, with a typo in the serial number. Somebody at the original dealership typed up the original papers wrong and nobody noticed for 50+ years. (Sometimes this typo/error is found when the now collector car, is sold and attempted to be titled in another state). I have never heard of a state where something like this could not be corrected. 

A hassle? can be, but there is always a process. 

 

What is needed is a sympathetic bureaucrat who can understand what happened and fill out the papers correctly.

Easy to find? maybe not BUT keep asking, there is one out there somewhere. 

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1 hour ago, Harold said:

One more item concerning the screwed-on Vehicle Number:  I recall seeing an official Chrysler service publication that said if you added a driver's side courtesy light switch you could move the tag by drilling out the rivets and relocating it. 

THIS is exactly why a verification of a vehicle ID number is always made based on a "permanent unchangeable stamping".  A car should never be verified or titled based on something that is not permanently attached. (ideally this includes engines that can be swapped, but on ancient cars that is what they used at the time) 

 

Any good verifier, law enforcement officer, DMV official SHOULD know where the number is stamped on the car (FYI they are sometimes in multiple places and may take a bunch of scraping and rubbing to see it) and then use THAT number to title and register the vehicle. 

When there are serious questions, or local officials who just don't get it, then usually auto theft investigators are consulted because THEY CERTAINLY understand vehicle ID numbers and can make sure something is correctly titled. 

Edited by m-mman (see edit history)
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1 hour ago, Mjh said:

I am the original poster. The car was bought in Indiana and shipped to Louisiana. When I had a physical inspection done be the Louisiana State Police they found an original engine number stamp on the frame which does not match my engine number. That's the issue. In Indiana the car was titled with the engine number not the frame vin number. Thanks 

 

Does the title match your current engine number?

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2 hours ago, Mjh said:

I am the original poster. The car was bought in Indiana and shipped to Louisiana. When I had a physical inspection done be the Louisiana State Police they found an original engine number stamp on the frame which does not match my engine number. That's the issue. In Indiana the car was titled with the engine number not the frame vin number. Thanks 

 

53 minutes ago, Bloo said:

 

Does the title match your current engine number?

 

That seems to be what he is saying, Though it's not 100% clear to me either. The Indiana title has for a "VIN" the number of the replacement engine. So no numbers on the frame could be expected to match this Indiana title.

 

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Apples to oranges but I have a 'slight' title problem with a car. I pointed out the issue when the title was being transferred into my name. The title was MD to MD, but the MD dmv said that the original state of issue had to make the correction, they could only copy what was already there. In my case the original state is Maine and they have no vehicle records going back to the date of my car. 

 

In the case of the OP, if Indiana 'made the mistake' on the title, they MAY have to correct the issue.

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1 hour ago, mike6024 said:

That seems to be what he is saying, Though it's not 100% clear to me either. The Indiana title has for a "VIN" the number of the replacement engine. So no numbers on the frame could be expected to match this Indiana title.

 

What I am not clear on is whether the Indiana title matches any numbers currently on the car. If it matches the current engine, that is one thing. If it matches some long gone former engine, that is quite another.

 

Edited by Bloo (see edit history)
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4 hours ago, Mjh said:

I am the original poster. The car was bought in Indiana and shipped to Louisiana. When I had a physical inspection done be the Louisiana State Police they found an original engine number stamp on the frame which does not match my engine number. That's the issue. In Indiana the car was titled with the engine number not the frame vin number. Thanks 

 

So, there are no numbers on the car that match the paperwork you have for the car?

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It sounds to me like the car was titled by the serial number on the tag in the door jamb, which was also the original engine number. The original engine is gone and a replacement is installed. The tag on the door jamb is still in place but Louisiana, for reasons that aren't altogether clear, will not accept a factory-installed tag as evidence of the car's serial number. Now we're searching for a frame number which will likely not match that serial number, which was common at the time (I'm surprised the engine number matched the tag). 

 

The problem is two-fold. One is Louisiana is being difficult because they won't accept a VIN tag, even though it's OEM. And two, whatever other part on which that number may have appeared is no longer present.

 

 

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I don't think that can be the case, because according to posts by Joe Cocuzza and c49er, the stamping on the frame *is* the original engine number on these cars, and apparently(?) it does not match the title.

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38 minutes ago, Matt Harwood said:

It sounds to me like the car was titled by the serial number on the tag in the door jamb, which was also the original engine number. The original engine is gone and a replacement is installed. The tag on the door jamb is still in place but Louisiana, for reasons that aren't altogether clear, will not accept a factory-installed tag as evidence of the car's serial number. Now we're searching for a frame number which will likely not match that serial number, which was common at the time (I'm surprised the engine number matched the tag). 

 

The problem is two-fold. One is Louisiana is being difficult because they won't accept a VIN tag, even though it's OEM. And two, whatever other part on which that number may have appeared is no longer present.

 

 

 

18 minutes ago, Bloo said:

I don't think that can be the case, because according to posts by Joe Cocuzza and c49er, the stamping on the frame *is* the original engine number on these cars, and apparently(?) it does not match the title.

 

Thank-you both, now I have a better understanding of the situation.

 

This can not be the first time that this problem has happened in the state of Louisiana. you just have to ask around, first place I would ask is the local street rod club. They have to know somebody who encountered this problem, and know some way around it 

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

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. 

 

Again, different states, different BS.

But here in Califunny (a lot of reasons I call it that!)? I am generally opposed to the idea? But I have been told by several CA DMV persons to lie on my forms and sign papers I am not supposed to. And they wonder why they have a dishonest population?

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The RMVs care about only three things:

 

1.  Is the car stolen?

 

2.  Are you paying the appropriate registration fees and sales taxes (based on the state).

 

3.  Am I as the RMV guy going to get  in trouble somehow.

 

What I don't understand is why they were inspecting the car in the first place.     Is that typical of every out of state title transfer?   It should have been a simple paperwork transfer.

 

Once the inspection happened,  the inspector is following his rule book.  See #3 above.

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Out of state VIN inspections are fairly common. Ohio has done it for decades. It ensures that the car you are titling is the car that is actually on the road. Otherwise guys could just buy a junkyard title and register whatever hunk of junk they want.

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4 hours ago, Matt Harwood said:

Out of state VIN inspections are fairly common.

 

Yup, EVERY out of state transfer, newer, old or older has to have a VIN inspection coming into Oregon.

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When I titled my MG TD here in California, it underwent a VIN inspection because it came from Texas. I had our local police do the inspection as we do not have a DMV office in our small town. It was a farce and cost $60 but they agreed that the vehicle serial number was the VIN. The vehicle was titled in Texas using the engine number but California switched it to the 5 digit serial number when I pointed out the error. The only consequence of having a 5 digit VIN is that I cannot renew registration on line, California’s software only handles modern VINs.

 

It seems to be a common problem that titles for our old vehicles have bad information. The MG has a chassis serial number, an engine number, and a body serial number on the inspection plate. Also, the screwed on plate is a real problem: to the DMV, it screams that there is an issue.

 

I used to live in Louisiana and it is difficult dealing with their calcified bureaucracy. Good luck to the OP and I hope you get it sorted out.

 

 

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18 hours ago, Matt Harwood said:

It sounds to me like the car was titled by the serial number on the tag in the door jamb, which was also the original engine number. . . .

 

For Chrysler products like the Plymouth, the serial number and engine number are different.

 

For 1950 Plymouth the serial number will be all digits and be in one of several ranges depending on if it is a P19 DeLuxe, P20 DeLuxe or P51 Special DeLuxe and also which assembly plant (Detroit, Evansville, Los Angeles, San Leandro) is was put together in. For example, a P20 DeLuxe assembled in Detroit will have a number in the range of 15359501 through 15456084. The only place I am aware of that this is on the car would be on the serial number tag affixed to the front left (driver) door hinge post.

 

The engine numbers are prefixed by the engineering code for the car so the original engine number will be something like P20-nnnnnn. On the 1930s cars, and I think also for the 1950, the original engine number was stamped on the outside of the left (driver) side frame rail. Location varied depending on year, etc. but usually around the kick up for the rear axle.

 

If the car is registered using a replacement engine then it is compounding the problem.

 

Chrysler kept the records filed based on serial number. So if the number on the screwed on serial number plate (wasn't screwed on originally) is original then perhaps the Chrysler Historical Collection could be contacted to get a copy of the build card. The build card will list the original engine number which should match the number on the frame. I don't know if that would help fix the LA paperwork issue but it might help.

 

5 hours ago, Joe in Canada said:

Take the screws out and replace with pop rivets on the id tag.

 

At least on my early 1930s Plymouth the serial number tag was held on with drive nails. I think that was true for later cars too.

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There should be enough documentation out there to prove that the number is held on with screws. I still think asking around local clubs will help, there has to be a police officer or even two in the hobby that might be able to point him in the right direction to get this resolved

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Illinois used to charge you an extra fee if you brought in a title from out of state for an Illinois title.  The reasoning was that they would conduct a deep title search to make sure it was clear.  I don’t think they do that anymore as the last two cars I titled from other states(one was from Ohio) there was no mention of it. 

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On 6/29/2021 at 10:40 PM, Bloo said:

I don't think that can be the case, because according to posts by Joe Cocuzza and c49er, the stamping on the frame *is* the original engine number on these cars, and apparently(?) it does not match the title.

I'm sure the Hot Rod clubs know how to fix this problem.  They would just re-stamp the block with the original numbers.   

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Can you purchase a surety bond to indemnify the DMV? North Carolina requires this now in situations such as yours. They will also issue a unique “NC vin” to the vehicle when there is a questionable (in their eyes) situation. 

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6 hours ago, Reicholzheimer said:

I'm sure the Hot Rod clubs know how to fix this problem.  They would just re-stamp the block with the original numbers. 

 

Perhaps they would, although if I have read this thread correctly those are not the numbers on the title so I fail to see why you would do that.

 

5 hours ago, carolinagreg said:

Can you purchase a surety bond to indemnify the DMV? North Carolina requires this now in situations such as yours. They will also issue a unique “NC vin” to the vehicle when there is a questionable (in their eyes) situation. 

 

I wouldn't do that unless forced. Nobody wants that car when it comes time to sell.

 

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