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It's not necessarily a show stopper. Each state has slightly different rules-dealers don't have to register or title a vehicle in their name, but they must have something that shows they legally own the car-i.e. previous owner released title to them, proper sales documents from said previous owner etc. Some states (CA) require a title to register a car, which is very difficult (but not impossible) to do if the car originates from a state (CT) that doesn't issue titles on vehicles older than a certain year. (Yes, I'm speaking from first-hand experience).
 

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That is the FIRST title issued to this car as a NEW car purchase ( odo 10 miles) in August 1987 and title says NEW. If the original owner still owns the car it is perfectly valid. I am a resident of MA and read the print on it. It is legit. The car (Silver QUad). If the original owner has the car as I suspect he is, there is nothing awry with this title that I can see.

The blocked out part on the front is the MAILING ADDRESS which is 4 lines if two owners (Mr. and Mrs) street and town

..and under that Owner (s) names and address .. same 4 lines

On the backside, I can't make out the "ASSIGNMENT of Certificate OF TITLE BY OWNER"

It seems to be filled out and I might guess the car was turned over to a garage as payment for fees not recouped by the garage (there is a reputable AR garage ironically in Allston (Boston) from the original owner and the car was not retitled under the garage. The garage can then pass on the title to a 1st re-assignment if he has a DEALER's license... It's all above board and contact with the seller should put your concerns to rest.

I'm only guessing but litigation over unpaid mechanical bills is a problem and can take years to settle .. if this is what has happened. Only a guess. Another thing might be one of the owners passed away and now the survivor reassigned the title to a daughter or son or heir and that person is now selling the car after never putting it on the road with proper documents other than title...
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Thank you for your input, but I've decided not to purchase the car for other reasons as well.

I assume this is the reputable shop you are referring to (Motorsport Garage). He came across to me as a total scam artist.

This is an obscure reference, but he reminded me of the lawyer for the cigarette companies that Martin Short played on Saturday Night Live. "Says something" then 30 seconds later says "I didn't say that, why would you think I said that".

I am glad the title might be ok. One of the reasons I asked is because I didn't want somebody else to get stuck with it.
 

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Thank you for your input, but I've decided not to purchase the car for other reasons as well.

I assume this is the reputable shop you are referring to (Motorsport Garage). He came across to me as a total scam artist.

This is an obscure reference, but he reminded me of the lawyer for the cigarette companies that Martin Short played on Saturday Night Live. "Says something" then 30 seconds later says "I didn't say that, why would you think I said that".

I am glad the title might be ok. One of the reasons I asked is because I didn't want somebody else to get stuck with it.
Sorry, he runs a pretty up front business. Selling cars is not his business so perhaps he's a little short with people he judges as not really interested and because he probably doesn't want to have to be in a position to sell it. . I wish you had tacked on your question about the title on your first post about the car. It might have helped put some context into what you were pursuing.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
It wasn't the title that stopped me from purchasing the car.

He may be totally legit, but he doesn't come across as such.

We negotiated a price on the car and scheduled a date for me to pick it up.

It started the night before, when they called to tell me I owed them $600 for replacing the water pump. A repair we never discussed and I certainly did not authorize.

I rented a trailer, got a bank check, drove 6 hours to Allston and got a hotel room so I could be at the shop in the morning.

When I got there, he didn't want to let me drive the car (he just wanted me to ride with him) I had to ask twice to drive; when the car didn't start I mentioned that he agreed to replace the battery - first he denied saying that and after I kept bringing it up, he admitted that he said it but said he never agreed to replace it with a new one and grabbed a year old one from the floor of the shop; when I pointed out the cat was bad he said the outside was good and I was better off with a bad one because the car will perform better and that a replacement one would not be quieter than the blown one on the car.

The Martin Short reference came from him repeatedly telling me the car was perfect (puffing of course) then when I brought up the bad cat he said he accepted my low offer (13.2 against an asking of 14.0) because he knew it needed work.

I was excited and ready to buy, but wanted some credit for the bad cat (like an offset for the unauthorized repair bill).

Instead he started, literally, yelling at me.

Everything he said and did came across as shady, which made me wonder if there was something I was missing.
When he started yelling at me, instead of talking with me, it seemed he was mad because he lost his patsy.

We never got to the title questions.
 

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It wasn't the title that stopped me from purchasing the car.

He may be totally legit, but he doesn't come across as such.

We negotiated a price on the car and scheduled a date for me to pick it up.

It started the night before, when they called to tell me I owed them $600 for replacing the water pump. A repair we never discussed and I certainly did not authorize.

I rented a trailer, got a bank check, drove 6 hours to Allston and got a hotel room so I could be at the shop in the morning.

When I got there, he didn't want to let me drive the car (he just wanted me to ride with him) I had to ask twice to drive; when the car didn't start I mentioned that he agreed to replace the battery - first he denied saying that and after I kept bringing it up, he admitted that he said it but said he never agreed to replace it with a new one and grabbed a year old one from the floor of the shop; when I pointed out the cat was bad he said the outside was good and I was better off with a bad one because the car will perform better and that a replacement one would not be quieter than the blown one on the car.

The Martin Short reference came from him repeatedly telling me the car was perfect (puffing of course) then when I brought up the bad cat he said he accepted my low offer (13.2 against an asking of 14.0) because he knew it needed work.

I was excited and ready to buy, but wanted some credit for the bad cat (like an offset for the unauthorized repair bill).

Instead he started, literally, yelling at me.

Everything he said and did came across as shady, which made me wonder if there was something I was missing.
When he started yelling at me, instead of talking with me, it seemed he was mad because he lost his patsy.

We never got to the title questions.
I would not have made the trip when he called to tell you you owed him $600 for a water pump on a car that you didn't own. Oh, well. No need to keep this goin' any further. Your message is clear..
 
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