I'm looking to buy a car that doesn't have a title. anyone familiar with the process of acquiring one and are there other negatives that might arise because of the absence of a title?
Get a bill of sale,then check with your local DMV for instructions.
It will vary from state to sate, I'm sure.
William: Just for the record here in Redding California. I put together a 1919 Touring, no title just a bill of sale. When it was road worthy I trailered to our California Hiway Patrol office, and had the Motor Number Verified then took it to an out of town DMV office and applied for title. In about 2 or 3 weeks here came a nice "PINK SLIP. Mine was a "NO BRAINER" easy to do trip. Next my 1917 Depot Hack was assembled and that same was done. CHP and then DMV. This time I did not take the car(DEPOT Hack) to DMV. 2 or 3 weeks New title. The touring had not been title for and unknown lenghjt of time.
Not knowing where you are it may be different but ask first and then proceed from there.
Good luck on the titling.
You don't have the state you live in on your profile. If you live in Missouri contact me off line and I can instruct you on how to acquire one. I have so far gotten titles for 3 title less cars.
Check with the DMV from your state. That's the best/only way to get exact information.
I have owned and cut up two cars because I got them with only a bill of sale.
I have worked on restoration projects that the owners could never register.
I wouldn't touch a car that has no title.
It depends on where you are. Some jurisdictions make it easy to get a title with just a bill of sale, and some make it well nigh impossible. Ask your local DMV about the procedure where you are. If and when you begin the process, don't volunteer any information they don't ask for.
Hi: In Arkansas all you need is a bill of sale and 3 receipts showing that you have bought something for the restoration of the car. Any receipt over 100.00 will useally appease them. If no big receipts just bunch a lot of little ones together. That will get you antique tags and a good Arkansas title for anything 25 years old or older and has not been street rodded. I have done it lots of times. It will also vary office to office, as to how compentent the government worker is. If not from Arkansas, check with your state. I would not be afraid of anything with a bill of sale from someone who looks legit. Now someone, with a car on a trailer in a parking lot, on the bad side of Chicago, may be something else. To Arron, it sounds like you just did not want to do the homework and find out what it took in your state. Sounds like 2 cars are no longer with us, to have and enjoy....
I've titled 6 T's in the last 2 years. Depends on where you are. I've got some good deals over the years that other people were afraid of, because of no titles. Where are you?
You can NEVER get a title for any Model T in Alabama. We did not start titles for cars till 1975. All you have to do is get a tag. Dan
(Actually, I'm with Aaron. Never had his experiences but the horror stories turned me off from ever buying a car without a title).
For you in Wisconsin try this:
Call: (608) 267-2103
Or visit their web site (not much help) at
Get an old brown title and transfer it. Some cop gonna arrest you for driving a 100 year old car with a different motor? FWIW... Wisconsin started issuing titles in 1931 or 32. Just an owners ID card before that. Many cars were scrapped during the war or just rusted away behind the barns. Titles are available. If you transfer an old one, request it returned as an historical document with an SASE. The DMV will advise how. Mine is stamped VOID but still neat to have. I applied with the oldest DMV guy at the counter and he called all the help over to see the old title. "When was the last time you guys saw one of these...?"
I always stop and BS with the cops for face time. Ill give them a wolf whistle and they'll return with a siren blast. Its good to be known.
If you choose to go the other way, applying for a new (or lost) title, and you cant prove ownership, the DMV wants a legitimate appraisal ($$) and then a 25%(?) appraised surety bond for 5 years. I believe they also want an in person inspection from Johnny Law.
It varies a LOT from state to state!
Aaron G's statements surprise me. Having lived in Califunny most of my life, titling antique automobiles is one of the few things I find tolerable about this state. That and the weather. They can be silly, and difficult, in some really stupid ways. However I have titled eight (I think) antiques with little or no paperwork to begin with over the years. Legally. I have not yet had a car I could not get a title for.
New York, Massachusetts, and especially Pennsylvania, I have heard too many horror stories for. Some mid-West states require almost nothing for antiques. Some states (including the three I mentioned) want to rewrite history and other state's laws to conform to their ideas. I guess some states are more stupid than Califunny. (I call them that for very good reasons, even though many of the reasons really are not funny)
Check with hobbyists in your state. Usually, there is a way.
Drive carefully, and enjoy, W2
Beyond differing from state to state, the level of difficulty can vary from office to office, and according to the knowledge and attitude of the individual person you deal with. Some folks want to help, and some want to hinder.
I had trouble in Florida registering my Chalmers Detroit. I had a registration from NY ( no titles issued in NY until 1972) but everything in Florida is computerized and when they set it up they put in the names of all the cars they could think of but Chalmers Detroit was not one of them. First they told me there was no such car and when I protested they insisted that I prove there was such a car which seemed a bit ridiculous as I had it there at the DMV for a Vin inspection. Once they were convinced that there was in fact a car named Chalmers Detroit they tried to add it into their system with no success. This went on for months. Eventually they told me they could not register it as a Chalmers Detroit so as a compromise it was registered as an Allis Chalmers. At that point I just wanted my Horseless Carriage plate so that is what I wound up having to do.
Did you paint it orange?..........
Actually, I wonder and sometimes worry if the one I have upcoming is going to be the one I cannot do. We do not know for certain even who built it. For that reason, I cannot be certain even what year it was built. Research has given us the names of three likely possibilities for who and when built. None of them built more than a couple cars and are not likely to be on any standard list. I don't much care what I have to call it. I may just call it Smith, short for blacksmith as it was built by an unknown blacksmith. Whatever the Califunny DMV will accept, I will be happy with.
Another point with most motor vehicle registration personnel. Be very pleasant, and polite. They receive a lot of grief from a lot of people and have to deal with many of the worst of human-kind. (Although a lot of the grief is well deserved) Often, however, you will get much better service if you smile and greet them well. Not always easy for a sourpuss like me, but it often helps.
Val S, Chalmers Detroit built some great cars! And quite a few of them. Funny they didn't have it on their list. Enjoy that wonderful car!
Drive carefully, and enjoy, W2
I know what you're talking about Val. The title for my 1927 Tudor said '1928' on it. When I went to register it with the Florida DMV, all I wanted them to do was to correct an obvious 'typo' since there is no such thing as a 1928 'Model T' Ford. What a mess that turned into. I finally had to track down a copy of the title for the car when it was registered in Georgia (as a 1927, half a century ago) before I could prove to them THEY had screwed up the Florida title, in the first place.
Check with the DMV first or you may waste a lot of money.
I check the title first to ensure the person selling me the vehicle actually owns it and has a legal right to sell it to me.
That was something I learned after I bought a car for a good price, about half the blue book value.
The seller represented it as one he was selling for an estate of a friend and told me a long story about how the guy died.
He gave me the original title signed by the dead guy and instructions on how to get a new title.
I later looked up the phone number and called the dead guy. There was no answer, but I left a phone message.
The dead guy called me about two weeks later and assured me he was very much alive and had just returned from a two week vacation in Europe.
He had sold the car for salvage and with a bad engine and transmission. Those problems soon showed up again.
The car was legally parked hit bad and totaled about four months later, so all the money paid was recovered, the best part of that deal.
The car was one of those that had been repainted by a factory recall and it looked like new.
The odometer had 62,000 miles on it. The title noted 189,000 miles and it did not run so good.
I should have know the bargain was too good to be true.
Not only didn't they have Chalmers Detroit in their list of cars but when I went to register my 1908 Autocar Runabout I had to do it as a truck!