Page updated on 04-22-2018

Old Car Title help

04-15-2005, 08:03 AM
Hello all,

First off..I already know The old saying Buyer beware...and I broke that rule.

I purchased an abandoned vehicle that was sold to another party without title...I in turn bought that car also without title.

Please dont remind me that that was a foolish course of action. Im quite aware.

The fact is I am now in possesion of a 1964.5 Mustang (coupe) with no title, and two bills of sale.

The question is...Can I register this vehicle..can I get a new title for it?

Ive done some research, and a vin check...I dont see any stolen records, or any liens...just that the vehicle was last registered in Washington DC in 2001...I have the original owners address..but thats it.

I have been told on a few occasions that State Title enactment laws vary on the age of a vehicle requireing title. Most states need a title for anything younger then 30 years. With a bill of sale and insurance...I can apply for a certificate of registration...the DMV will do a check to see if the car is stolen...and if there are any liens...if all is clear, I should be able to get the car registered in my name.

Does anyone know if this is the case? Or am I just a victim of being an idiot?

Any information would be helpful..besides the obvious..:)


04-19-2005, 08:09 PM
This is actually a good question.
I own a '69 Pontiac where the ownership VIN does not match the car. Three numbers have been transposed (reversed) the ownership (in my name) technically is not for the car I have in my possetion.
The most straightforward thing for me and you would be to approach the original owner to get a bill of sale, but of course that would leave us at the past owner's mercy.
I would be intersted to hear of other people's ideas.

04-20-2005, 06:43 AM
A common thing to do with classic cars in that situation is to buy another parts car with a good title and "convert" your car to it.

04-22-2005, 10:45 PM
Have you tried to contact your state's DMV office to see what the laws are for your particular state? That might be a good place to start. Here in NY, vehicles require a state issued title for vehicles 1973 and newer, and just a vehicle registration for 1972 and prior to transfer ownership.

04-29-2005, 10:43 AM
In PA its dirt simple. You call the DOT, tell them its an abandoned vehicle since (whatever the last date is on the registration) and you want to research it. If they come up with info they can help you at the DOT. Chances are they won't, since the computers were updated 10 years ago and only renewed vehicles were updated in the database. In that case, you schedule a hearing at the court of common pleas, take your VIN and maybe some other stuff and they will issue you a form that you send to the DOT for a replacement title in your name. Skip the bill of sale part unless there are special circumstances. If its a sale there are a few things that will throw a wrench in the works; 1) you'll have to pay tax and (depending on the state) some pretty serious fees for lapsed registration, 2) its no longer an abandoned car if you paid for it. Abandoned car by definition in PA is one that has been left on your property for a certain period.

I did this with my 65 Scout. I accepted the gift of a free abandoned vehicle, transported it to my property, then did my research. I called and they just asked how long it had been abandoned and if it was on private property. Where it actually is was immaterial.

Your state's website will have all of this info. If your state doesn't give you satisfaction, find a state that does... seriously. Its pretty common (and perfectly legal) for people in neighboring states to use Louisiana as a titling state. They find a friend that lives there or set up a P.O. box. LA lets you do it all by mail and suddenly you've successfully titled a car. Now you can just transfer that title to your state as if you moved or bought an out of state car.

Its not as tough as you think, but it will require some research on your part for your particular state (they are wildly different). Probably your best resource is AAA. If you're not a member, become one. Its $45 in this fight you'll be glad you spent. I asked them the same question about my 65 and they opened up the huge PA vehicle code book and copied about 30 pages out of it pertaining to my situation.

06-09-2005, 06:28 AM
somebody from a mercedes list sent me this link... It's the title/registartion rules for each state:

09-22-2006, 11:05 PM
I'm having some title problems here in Wisconsin too. I want to title my 72 Honda sl 350 Motorcycle. I bought this thing about 15 years ago as a dirt bike without a title. Now, I have the resources to restore it, and I see it for the classic it is, but really would like to get it titled if I'm going to put a lot of work into it. The original owner is long gone. Never had any papers. Do you think those car title places like Broadway really work?

09-25-2006, 12:04 AM
I dont know about other states but I had a similar problem in Arkansas with my 89 s10 i had to get a form to apply for a bonded title in which i sent it off and they researched the history and sent me the paperwork to get a bond inwhich cost me a 100 dollars and was able to tag and i recieved a bonded title.:p

11-18-2006, 07:44 PM
This is an old post, but I'll add what I had to do.
I have purchased many Camaros the last several years. Cash exchange and no paperwork. None of them came with titles, peolpe just don't keep track of that kind of stuff. It's not stupidity, that's how cheap deals for old cars are usually done.

I pulled a '69 Camaro out of this guy's field and hauled it home. It had been there for many years. It was stripped of most of its parts and in really bad shape. I took the vin#s to the local DMV office along with picturess to document its condition (but that didn't matter). The vin was not on record and I gave them the name of the original owner. Since the vehicle had been unregistered for more than 20 years, a current title was registered to me. I was just charged a small filing fee.
Not much of a hassle.

I am presently filing paperwork for another Camaro. Same story as Strams. I bought the car from a friend of mine. He bought it from one of his friends that purchased it from someone else. It's the typical situtation.
I contacted the DMV office, they gave me the proper forms and informed me to the name and address of the current registrant. I send the appropriate papers "certified mail" along with a letter stating my request of obtaining a title.
If there is no response within 30 days or if the letter is refused and returned in an unopened condition, a title will be issued to me.
I'll have to wait and see if the letter is answered or returnd.

It doesn't seem to be much of a hassle in Texas.

Add your comment to this topic!