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post #1 of 11 (permalink) Old 04-19-2017, 02:26 PM Thread Starter
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Help on getting a title

A while back I picked up a giulietta spider project in California. I live in N Y. The car came without a title. The seller acquired it in Wisconsin intending to restore but this never happened. No wheel ever touched the ground in Ca. I have been able to title untitled a couple of my current stable here in New York State for cars predating the issuing of titles, {in New York titles were not introduced till 1972}, and with a statement by the seller that it is his or her property etc. The minute I mentioned California at our DMV road blocks became impenetrable. A mess!! Suspect Wisconsin is an early title State as well. Soooo, anyone have experience with firms which will pursue a car title on one's behave? Seems like the best way to proceed.


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post #2 of 11 (permalink) Old 04-19-2017, 02:56 PM
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These laws must be put off the books!! STUPID States.
Here in VT if the car is over 15 years old NO Title is required.
They do try to Tax the crap out of me using the collector estimates for the Value rather than the price I paid for it.
So I resort to having my ALFA's appraised. Cost $, but save more in taxes.
Sorry your states DMV are Bone Heads! Good luck hope you find the sacred title?
Should POST the VIN Number!!


1972 Montreal (The Pumpkin)
1975 Alfetta Sedan
1975 Alfetta Coupe Race Car
1982 Spider
1984 GTV-6
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post #3 of 11 (permalink) Old 04-19-2017, 02:59 PM
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Had something similar happen to a friend with a MG about a year ago. He's in the process of parting it out. Just got frustrated and said F it.

Ciao tutti

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87 Milano (not red)
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post #4 of 11 (permalink) Old 04-19-2017, 04:51 PM
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it sounds like it was never titled in CA, so I have to assume that the last title was from WI. the best option is to try to get a hold of the last person to ever have a title and inquire about obtaining a duplicate title from that state and then signing it over to you. of course there's effort and trust involved, but the alternative is to lose it to parting out. this assumes that WI does not demand an inspection with in-state title duplicates. Now, it just occurred to me that perhaps that former owner notified the DMV that the car was sold and he's off the liability. then that option is likely not available or more hassle than it's worth. what about asking a mechanic from an established shop to put a mechanic's lien on it?
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post #5 of 11 (permalink) Old 04-19-2017, 05:45 PM
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It's so state-specific. In Calif, a car with no title, as long as it has "fallen" out of the DMV system due to advanced age or was never in it (from out of state) needs a VIN inspection from a peace officer or DMV inspector. Then off you go to register it. In Wash, I just discussed this with them, depends on the county. Rural counties with no smog check, walk into the DOL with some a title and bill of sale, walk out with new title. At least that's what they told me on the phone.
A phone call to your DMV/DOL would be useful, stay anonymous in the first call. And read all you can on their website.

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post #6 of 11 (permalink) Old 04-19-2017, 07:29 PM
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Look into a "Bonded Title". Essentially you purchase insurance, based on the value of the car, against the possibility that a former owner will appear and claim the vehicle. As long as you have a bill of sale, you -should- be able to do a bonded title through this process.

I've done it in Texas, with a car from out-of-state where the title was unobtainable.

Here's a link to a site with a very brief explanation of the process
Here's How To Get A Bonded Title In NY

Note: I have no experience or even knowledge of the company posting the information, so this isn't an endorsement of them. The site is just being used as an example of what to look for

71 Spider
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post #7 of 11 (permalink) Old 04-20-2017, 03:55 AM
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Technically, you acquired the car from Wisconsin if it was never titled in CA. Sometimes the State police barracks have experts on how to get you through a knot hole like this. They are the folks who know the laws because they enforce them. If you go to a local barracks and take the info to them and be honest on what has occurred, they can tell you what to do and even recommend a different DMV office which will be more customer friendly. It might come down to applying for a salvage title as a way around all fine print. It might even be as simple as selling the car to your spouse or sibling.

Another scenario would be you bought the car from WI or CA and the title was lost....the SP's should be able direct you. I had a situation where I bought a car in NH a no- title state and the SP had to visit it to confirm it existed. That was painless. Then I took my repro antique plate in for registration and title. The DMV refused my plate because it was not manufactured in 1957 and "too new". a trip to the SP fixed that problem. They directed me to a town next door where it sailed through without a problem.
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post #8 of 11 (permalink) Old 04-20-2017, 06:28 AM
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I've gone through the "Improper Evidence of Ownership" procedure in NJ.
To start you have to send a form to NJ (with a check), for a title search, after which they send you the results.
They require that you send a form to the 6 states around NJ, (Conn.too!)
and request a title search, the states then send you back the results. Every state has a fee involved.
1), 3 sworn notarized affidavits that say they have seen the car in your possession.
2)' A letter from the local Chief of Police saying they have no record of the car.
3), Many forms that are on the NJDMV website, to be notarized.
4), An ad in the county newspaper asking if anyone has knowledge of the car to reply to the paper, which is to run for 2 consecutive weeks, after which the paper sends you an official sealed document that no one has replied to the ad.
5), 4 photos of the car, from all sides.
6), A photo and tracing of the VIN number.
7), A form saying that you are not a dealer, to include the milage of the car.
8), A notarized bill of sale, with the VIN number and year.
9), If ANY state has a record of ownership you must send a Certified letter to them stating that you now are in possession of the car. If the letter is returned unsigned for, you then must send another letter by regular mail and wait for it to return also, then send the unopened letters to the NJDMV,
with the rest of the (now thick file), they do not accept Fedex or UPS, only USPS mailing, and no, none of that email stuff for them!
I received the search from PA saying that there was an owner in 1965, I searched online for his name and actually was able to contact him and his wife in FL. now, both are in their 90's, and said that they did not remember but think that their son had a white Alfa, and they gave me his phone number. He is a helicopter pilot for the Forestry Service who drops water and supplies to forest fires in CA. he was out of cell phone range when I placed the call.....
SO....after all this is put together there is one more form that is not on the DMV website that you must include, it comes by a request.
THEN....send it all to NJDMV with a check (this adds up to around $400 all told) and wait for your brand new title.
Well.....I got the title, one small error though, the VIN was incorrect. Had to send it back with another form to request an altered title, which took another 2 weeks.
Then you have to go to your local DMV office and stand in line (with the 4 mug shots of the car),to register the car, I had to have another form for antique plates, this was actually fun, the clerks were of Italian descent, (hint; if you have a choice, go to the window with a clerks name that ends in o or i). and fell in love with the photos of the Giulietta.

The process took close to 6 months to complete, the best advise is to remember to be nice as you can be to whoever you are speaking with, after all, this is the DMV and for some reason they don't seem to make too many friends. The clerk in the 'Special Title Unit' who I now know on a first name basis and her family history too, said that I was the only applicant whose application was 100% complete. I'm thinking of going on tour and charging for all this knowledge, with a course to go with it.

My advise to you is to send for a title search to the last state the car was in, then take that to your DMV, if you Google, antique car titles, or look in Hemmings, you'll find a lot of companies that specialize in just what you are trying to do.

Last edited by skyarchi; 04-20-2017 at 06:32 AM.
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post #9 of 11 (permalink) Old 04-20-2017, 07:30 AM
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Wow - all of this information just increased the value of any vehicle for sale with 'have a valid title, in my state, in my name'

Sure gets messy fast. Even though I am Live Free or Die NH, I have always gotten a new title in my name.

Well, one exception - our 1972 Mercedes did not come with a title.


John R
So. NH, USA --'87 Spider Veloce 'Beige'
other current members of the fleet
2009 VW Jett TDi - latest addition to the fleet
2006 Subaru Outback - almost a driveway requirement in VT & NH

2004 VW Jetta TDi - daughter totaled this one, March 2017
1984 Mercedes 300TDT wagon, rust took that one
1972 Mercedes 280SE, got in straight swap for the Discovery
2003 VW Jetta TDi, son totaled it on a wet, local street
1996 Land Rover Discovery
1992 Volvo 740 wagon, non-turbo, awful in snow
1986 Volvo 740 Turbo Wagon
1974 Volvo 164E - a beast
1984 Mazda 2 Dr. 626
1980 Ford Fiesta - car that would not die
1969ish Olds Cutlass Station Wagon
1966 Chevy Bel Air - inherited family car
1962 VW Bug - 6 volt
1974 Triumph Spitfire - wobbly driveshaft kept destroying stuff
1972 Triumph Spitfire - got totaled while parked at DMV
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post #10 of 11 (permalink) Old 04-20-2017, 11:33 AM
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I used to live in WI and the DMV changed the date of mfg. of my 66GTV from 69 to the correct 66 with several consistent production serial number sources.

The previous owner from WI should apply for a replacement title as they might have some prior registration proof, would not hurt to ask WI what they would need
then he/she signs over to you and life goes on. WI has people who handle this past archived information.

Good Luck Austin
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post #11 of 11 (permalink) Old 04-21-2017, 10:37 AM
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Help on Getting a Title

Originally Posted by skyarchi View Post
...The clerk in the 'Special Title Unit' who I now know on a first name basis and her family history too, said that I was the only applicant whose application was 100% complete. I'm thinking of going on tour and charging for all this knowledge, with a course to go with it ...
And I thought I was the only one that knew my DMV clerk on a first name basis. We had so many cars that we acquired with messy titles that I ended up mailing all of my information to the San Francisco DMV to one girl that could do it right the first time. I would call her in advance so that she would know that a package was coming. I met her when the local DMV could not figure out how to title the 2600 from Lorraine, Ohio; she also handled the John Lennon 2600 title change from Martin Swig.

(Not an authority nor SME on anything, just PATSYF)
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