I have collected parts, 1923 model T running gear, engine, trans,front and rear ends all from the same car, frame from another and 1923 touring car body from another. I need to register this car in Texas to keep it legal and wonder the least expensive way to do it. Just an old guy with a dream, part time jobs and SS income.
Do you have a title or bill of sale from any of that? That's what I'd use for registration purposes. Just DON'T volunteer any information that isn't asked for, especially that you assembled it from various sources. Make it easy on the bureaucracy by providing them with just an old car and a bill of sale. No need to confuse the poor dears with unsolicited input that may cost you extra money, time, and aggravation. Folks who live in Texas and have done this may provide more specific advice.
I'm not familiar with Texas in particular. Is the car assembled? If so, just use the engine block number above the water inlet (on side of the engine between the cylinders) as your VIN number. It won't cost much at all, but get with your local DMV tag office and tell them you have an antique car to register. Most likely they'll want to have a State Trooper or someone go inspect the car (make sure it's not a hotrod trying to sneak in as a T) and hten you can get a title and tag. I would NOT mention that you put it together from parts, there's no reason to. Just tell them it's a car you want to title. Don't volunteer anything, just answer questions. "Yes this is original, yes it came from the factory this way, just been cleaning it up to drive"
Steve answered while I was away from computer =) Definitely good advice. Maybe some Texas folks can chime in on anything specific to do or not do. Like Steve said and I'm repeating: it's just an old car with Bill of Sale that you want to title, short and sweet answers and don't volunteer anything (you're not being sneaky or doing anything wrong, but for some reason too much information makes the DMV go insane and do utterly crazy things).
Does Texas require a complete or near complete car with drive train in order to call it a car? The title will reflect the year of the engine manufactured number.
I once had a car with a bad engine. I did find another of matching year. I had to take the car with bad engine and title and the new block to the state highway patrol office to have the two engines inspected and title paper work changed.
This was more of an unavoidable hassle then it cost lots of money.
I live in the state of Washington and I just registered a 1915 assembled for parts. I needed notarized bills of sale and a running car plus an inspection from the state patrol (who spent WAY more time ooing and ahing than looking for things wrong). The state patrol put a VIN Tag and number on the frame and that is now the vehicle number. They didn't care about the engine serial number although I had all the information/documentation available here on the FORUM for them.
It actually went quite smoothly.
Here in the state of Texas to register that car You need to go to your insurance company and get a policy showing you have insurance for the vehicle with the appropriate model year and VIN from the engine.
Then you need to take the car to any state inspection station. They will charge you $1 to inspect the serial number on the block and verify it.
Then you need to go to the DMV and apply for a title in your name with the green sheet and insurance card in hand. You need to tell them the car was built prior to the existence of titles in the State of Texas, therefore it has never previously been titled. Best bet is to tell them you bought it from a relative who is deceased, or produce a bill of sale from someone else for the car.
Under no circumstances do you tell the DMV that you constructed a car from parts.
You can call me at 214 538 8838 and I will be glad to help.
My '15 T is titled with the engine number that inexplicably is also stamped in the frame, right where Ford stamped the '26-27 numbers. That made life very easy when dealing with the DMV; it also helped that the verifier was a car enthusiast too. Know your verifier, if at all possible!! On advantage to the frame number registration is that if you ever have to change engines, it doesn't effect the registration.
My last car came out of a barn and I only had a bill of sale from the guy who pulled it out. That one I actually paid a title service to run it through the DMV--and I'm CHEAP! but I just didn't want any hassles, and it went smooth as silk.
Your mileage may vary--but do NOT in any way hint that the car may be assembled from parts!!! I know, the factory assembled them from parts, but that seems to be irreverent in this situation.
A "bill of sale" for parts or even a whole car makes no sense to me. Any joker could provide a bill of sale and that satisfies some states. Yet there is no requirement that the person providing the bill of sale actuality owned the vehicle or parts.
I think Alaska has a better idea. If a person has no proof of ownership they require a three (3) year non-cancelable surety bond for one and one-half times the appraised value of the vehicle, or a cash bond to DMV. That protects the State some if the item turns out to be stolen. I guess after three years it is finders keepers. Maybe other states are like that, I don't know.
You ARE restoring the car from the remains of an original car. Never forget that. (It may be several cars, but don't say that). Most cars have had a number of parts changed over the many years. Some more than others. Califunny started having engine numbers stamped onto frames in the '20s. Only a small percentage were ever done, but I have seen many and owned several. When I was in high school, I met a retired sheriff's officer that was proud of his long career, and told me many stories of his early days, stamping numbers.
Drive carefully, and enjoy, W2
Stay away from the DMV! Those idiots couldn't pass the post office test, so the DMV hired them! Find a good independent company to register your car. Don't lie about anything, and tell them exactly what you are doing. I did this a few years back, because I know my car is authentic, and I didn't want any registration plates rivited to the car. The whole deal, including the original 1925 plates cost me $225. The owner took care of everything, and did all the DMV work for me.
Caution thread drift!
Speaking of parts brought this to mind.
Royce, I'm sure that acquiring a title for a car in Texas WITHOUT a title is completely different (and much more difficult) than acquiring a title with an existing title. I also know that the title procedure can vary from county to county as it seems not everyone who works in a Texas county Tax office knows the rules and follows them religiously. Case in point. I live in Fort Bend county, Texas. The county seat is Richmond, Texas. Since 2010, (I don't remember the exact year), I walked into my county tax office with FOUR Model T titles.
One was to a 26 fordor that had a legal California title. Title procedure was simple and quick. One was to a 27 coupe that had a legal Texas title. Once again, title procedure was simple and quick even though that car had a non-matching motor number and I asked that the title motor number be changed to match the new motor number. Third car (another 26 fordor) came from a seller in Georgia on a Bill of Sale and no title. The clerk took a quick look in the procedures book and that one was done without a hitch. The last car (a 26 coupe) had a Kansas chassis and legal title, and a Texas body, but NO motor to match the title. In fact, NO motor number at all. Procedure, again, was quick and simple.
The clerk did ask me if I was just applying for titles to all four cars, or did I want to get plates for them too. I told her, No, that I just wanted to get legal Texas titles, because all of them needed varying amount of work before they could be licensed and driven. Now, I have since sold the California fordor and the 26 Kansas coupe and having a Texas title to each in my name, made them a lot more valuable and easier to sell. When I do get plates for the 26 Georgia fordor and the 27 Texas coupe, I bet that I have no trouble, other than showing proof of insurance since I already have clear titles in my name, but I may be wrong, but I can't believe after having clear Texas titles with matching motor numbers that I'm going to have to get their motor numbers inspected by an inspection station or a law enforcement officer.
Roger, here in Texas the County court and I believe the JP courts have the authority to issue a court order that states that you own the car. Take this Order to the DMV, pay a title fee and in a few weeks your title will come in the mail. Call me if you have questions. Bob at 903 824 1949
Just a different twist for interest. I had kept a pair of number plates from the 20's which originally were on my second T back in the 60's. That car was damaged in a crash from behind and in the rebuild I fitted a new valance and kept the Ac-U-Ret dipstick rather than drill a hole in the new valance.
When I went to register my next T in 1987, I wanted to use those plates, but the registration dept. wanted me to buy them for $400! There was a second scheme where the number could be issued to the original car for half that price.
I called a schoolmate who worked for the registrar and talked to him. With his connivance, I drafted a letter stating that the car was rebuilt using parts from a wreck which carried the plates. I did use the damaged valance and the dipstick, so it wasn't a lie. The car still carries those original plates made with cast aluminium numerals.
Allan from down under.
The process I explained is for titling a car for which no title exists. Bringing any vehicle to Texas from out of state, title or not, is very similar. Out of state vehicles also require a "green sheet" from a Texas State Inspection station. Again, it costs $1.
I just finished titling my (previously Kentucky titled, in my name) trailer in Williamson county. The process is identical in any Texas county.
You must provide proof of liability insurance when you title and register your vehicle. If you do not provide proof of insurance, you may apply for ‘title only’ using Form VTR-131, Application for Title Only.
A long title story!
I live in central Texas and I only had the original 'application for title' that my Grandfather received from the original owner in 1942 for my 24 Coupe.
I was given the car in 1958 and my father drug it home in 1959.
40+ years later after I restored it I discovered and finally realized that I really didn't have a title when I went to the DMV to register it.
I had no paperwork actually saying it was mine.
After explaining to an older employee how I acquired it,
he explained to me leagally it actually belonged to Father since he inherited the property and its contents after the death of his father(my Grandfather).
To save a lot of hassle he told me if I could provide a picture and serial no. of the car, that would prove my ownership since I inherited everything that my Father had after his death.
I did that and received a Title in my name about a month later.
End of a long story.
I hope Texas didn't copy the rule book from North Carolina. Even after you jump through all the hoops mentioned above and you appear at the DMV for inspection and you don't have a speedometer, the rule book says no title. Some inspectors are realists and understand but if you get to a new inspector who is afraid to color outside the lines, you get rejected.
I'm glad I live in Alberta a bill of sale is all that is required & a trip to my local AMA (AAA) office (the registry offices were privatized a couple of years ago) and Bob's your uncle.
Here in Texas there's a place on the title application that says "odometer reading". Right next to that box is a check box that says "Odometer Reading beyond factory limits or disconnected". You can either put a number in the box or check the other box, they don't care which. There's no requirement to actually have a speedometer so long as you understand that one of the boxes must have something in it.
Royce, I readily admit that my previous statements applied to three cars (26 Kansas coupe, 27 Texas coupe, and 26 California fordor) all of which had legal open titles, and I understand, and am not doubting, your word about the registration procedure for registering any T that does not have a legal open title. So far, we agree. The two points that I was trying to make were:
1. that it is possible to get your county tax office in Texas (or the DMV) to change the motor number on a valid Texas title (in this case my 27 Texas coupe) from the original motor number to a new replacement motor number, just by asking them to do so and not having to have it "inspected" by anyone. I think I took a pencil tracing of the new motor number with me, but I don't recall having to show it to prove the motor number change.
2. 26 Georgia fordor was simple to title (again no motor number inspection) although it came from a "non-title state".
Now, I haven't tried to get plates, yet, for the two cars (26 fordor) and the 27 coupe) that I still have. I know I'll have to show proof of insurance when I apply for plates. Everybody in Texas has to do that, and the rule for vehicle inspection in Texas is changing. The new law does away with a vehicle inspection sticker, but you still have to get a safety inspection before you apply for new plates or renew current plates. The current inspection requirement applies to vehicles being registered with regular plates (not antique or year of manufacture). It is my understanding that Texas does not require a safety inspection for antique or year of manufacture plates, because such vehicles are not supposed to be driven as everyday vehicles, but only in parades or on club tours, et cetera.
If, when I apply for plates, it will probably be "year of manufacture" for the 27 coupe, and regular plates (allowing me to use car as a daily driver) for the 26 fordor. Only time will tell if any motor number "inspection" will be needed for the 26 fordor, but with current valid Texas titles in my name, it is unforeseeable that my county tax office (who took my application for the title) will require any separate motor number "inspection", but only time will tell.
Again, I do not doubt your knowledge about registering a vehicle in Texas without an existing title or Bill of Sale. I'm only saying there are exceptions where no "motor number inspection" is necessary when titling a vehicle with a valid title, or when transferring a vehicle from a 'non-title' state. At least, that has been my experiences in Fort Bend county. Again, I sometimes think that rules are not followed by the book, from county to county in Texas.
1. Never tried that
2. The DMV is supposed to require a green sheet to be turned in for any (ANY) out of state vehicle under any (ANY) circumstances. Your DMV must like you or be blissfully unaware of state law.
Royce, I don't remember all the paperwork that was required with the 26 fordor. If a "green sheet" was filled out; it was filled out by the tax clerk with the information that I provided, and once again, no inspection by anyone was required. I do remember that the out-of-state title application was the only one that the clerk had to even consult the law book about the procedure required, but it only took her a minute or two the find the page and read what it said about the procedure and type out the title application on her computer. If I remember correctly, I had to sign a document saying that each vehicle was inoperable at the present time, and possibly, another signature saying that I bought the Georgia car from a non-title state, but that was it.