My '23 Touring that was bought new by my great grandfather is now in my possession after being in storage for the last 8 years. I'm glad it's back but I have started to look things over and its not good. The wood is goner. Really, chunks are missing and the previous restorer thought it would be a good idea to put foam in the doors so those are either close to rusting all the way through or THEY HAVE rusted through in spots. The good news(?!) is the rot is all in the body and from the splash aprons down things are good and the engine isn't frozen. I'm going to price the wood kits and see how bad many of the metal panels are.
Also, the DMV rejected my application for a title so I am looking at alternative ways of getting a title. I recently found out that in many states you don't need one on older cars. Wow, I wish I lived back east where that existed!
Start with a valid Bill of Sale.
Was the car every registered>
Is so get that too and you SHOULD get somewhere with a title.
Craig, here's the problem: the previous owner was my father who bought the car in 1946 but has passed away without a will. There is literally NO paperwork or records for this car. There is also no VIN so this drives the people at the DMV crazy.
I have a few cards to play to get a title that may have some promise.
Is there a number stamped on the engine block, on the pad just above the water inlet?
In 1923, the only number on the car will be the engine number, the number was not stamped on the frame.
There is a number on the block but I don't think Ford put it there. That wouldn't matter to the DMV so at least I have something to start with.
I will need a title before I carry on with any work on the car. No title = no registration, no plates, etc.
Engine numbers in model year 1923 (September 1922 to July 1923) range from 6473197 through 8122674.
Engine numbers in calendar year 1923 (January 1923 to December 1923) range from 6953072 through 9008371.
Does the number on your block fall within this range?
I had a similar situation with my TT. It was my grandfathers since 1946. It hadn't been registered since 1941 (plate still on it 60 years old at the time), and there was no paperwork whatsoever.
I don't know about Oregon, but here in California I was able to obtain a Statement of Fact form from the DMV, on which I wrote a factual and brief description of the situation and signed it "under penalty of perjury". This along with Bruce McCalley's book as a means of establishing the year model with engine number and the table in the book, and a physical inspection got it done for me.
P.S. They did accept the engine number as a VIN because that's what I put in the the appropriate box on the form.
I have posted a photo of this engine number before and a few thought it was NOT put there by FoMoCo.
Henry - I filled out all the paper work at the DMV with my story and all the gal did was take my money and mail off the paperwork. A few days ago a check showed up from the state saying I had an "incomplete application". I am considering a title service that would issue a title in another state and I would transfer that into Oregon. Costs $$ but at this point I just want it done!
Jim, thanks for posting the picture, I had forgotten that you posted it before.
Ignoring the dash after the first 7, if the engine number was 7730605 it would have been assembled on May 29, 1923.
If 7730605 isn't already in use in the system, you could tell them that the VIN is 7730605 and that the engine is the only place that it was stamped in 1923.
More news - the DMV had already sent my $$ back for the application fee saying I had turned in an incomplete application for title. Yesterday, the application was mailed back and there was a note suggesting I needed to re-submit it with more paperwork and all will be good. I called the DMV to verify and the guy was VERY helpful and told me exactly what I needed to do and even recited the state statutes spelling it out.
All this is a royal PITA since I need to get the car inspected by the police to get a VIN issued and the car is nowhere near running/driving. I don't have a truck nor trailer but I have some friends who would help. I will get this done!! When it is done, I'm going to have a party or get riotously drunk.
I did consider using a title service but they wanted $900(!!!) and if this goes as planned I will be in it for about $150 including buying lunch and gas for those who help me.
Sounding better! Thanks for the update. And good luck.
The number on your block is the VIN. You need to be sure the government official knows that. Otherwise they will ISSUE a VIN and affix an ugly state VIN tag to your vehicle. That would permanently hurt the resale value of the car in the future. I know I would not buy a car with a state issued VIN.
Jim, what do you mean by "inspected by the police"? I bought my T in Illinois and when I registered it in Missouri, what the police did was verify the engine number. It wasn't an inspection in the usual sense that we understand it. I called my local PD and the dispatcher sent a cop over to the house. He asked what he was supposed to do, so I showed him the engine number on the Illinois title and also where it was on the block. He signed the state form stating that the numbers were the same, added his badge number and I was good to go.
I would have at least offered the PO a donut and a cup of Coffee.
John, I might have but he showed up too quickly. Kirkwood has an efficient PD.
It was actually kind of funny. He was fairly young and didn't know exactly what he was there to do. I pretty much had to walk him through it. He did know that he had to radio in the number to be sure it wasn't on the department's hot list... After that, it was smooth sailing.
I'll give everyone the official line from the .... officials.
If the car had been registered with the engine number previously then that will suffice as a VIN. If there is no record of the car (my situation) then a VIN needs to be issued by the PD. Engine # is not acceptable for new title. I could care less about a tag on the frame as long as I get a title.
I spent 1 1/2 hours at the DMV yesterday and some time on the phone with the State Police confirming all this info. The DMV needed to issue me an official referral (a piece of paper) to the SP/PD and I need to call the SP/PD to make an appointment for inspection which as of now is about a month out. At the inspection, they will issue a VIN, I submit all the paper work back to the DMV and I will get a title. I can also get collector license plates which are a one time charge and good for life so not a bad deal!
The only other bit I will add is that apparently the first time I took the car to the DMV in a small town a few weeks ago the girl didn't know what to do and basically took my paperwork and $$ told me to go away. I found out yesterday she was 100% wrong to do that, which I knew at the time but she was the supervisor so I was SOL. Moral of this story, go to a busy DMV branch since there is likely to be someone there who has done this and knows what to do.
I bought a '14 T from California that had a VIN number on the title that matched the number on the dash tag and not the engine number. While I would have preferred to correct the error and use the engine number that was correct for the car I thought better of of it and perpetuated the mistake. When the cop came to verify the VIN I showed him the number on the dash tag which matched the number on the title and that was that. When it comes to dealing with the DMV wherever you are it is better to let sleeping dogs lie!
Jim, If you do decide to replace the main body I definitely have the front panels of a 23 touring, and I THINK the back panels and back pieces are also for a 23 touring. Feel free to email me at email@example.com if you'd like some pictures or anything like that.
Val - I'm with you. Play ball their way so there are no issues down the road.
I'll update this as things progress if for no other reason than leaving a record for someone else that is going through the same thing.
The only thing I will add is do your homework and understand the state statutes what you need to do to get a title. In my circumstance, calling the State Police would have been an ideal starting point since they seemed to know exactly what I needed to do. Second, find someone at a DMV branch is has been there awhile and knows what they are doing. I have had 3 interactions with the DMV (1 phone call and 2 visits) and I have learned something each time but only 2 of the 3 interactions moved me forward.
To Dick Lodge - I had almost exactly the same experience with a local cop about 20 years ago. As did you, I had to explain to him what was needed and show him the RMV form for the purpose. There was a blank for his badge number.
I've been down this same road many times in several states including Kentucky, California, Texas, and Minnesota. You have to tell the state officials that the ONLY VIN the car has ever had is the ENGINE VIN number. You must then explain to them that the car has not been titled with that VIN because it has not been registered or driven since your state began issuing automobile titles. Most states, including yours, did not issue titles prior to WWII. You need to have in your possession an insurance ID card with the VIN on it and a bill of sale with the VIN on it.
Confronted with facts the state official will then have a method to issue the title using the ENGINE VIN number. When titling any antique car be sure to check the box on the title application "the odometer reading is NOT actual mileage. WARNING - odometer discrepancy."
Royce - the way it works in Oregon, if the car in question was ever titled/registered with the engine number as the VIN, that is acceptable for that car. Basically it is grandfathered in. If the car has no record, the engine number is NOT acceptable as a VIN and one must be issued by the State.
The reason behind this is for people building custom cars, the builder of those things are often bringing together many old and new parts so a VIN must be assigned. The state is choosing to lump original old cars in this same category.
Also, if I went crazy one day and decided to build this thing into a hot-rod and I tossed out the original motor for a V8, there could be 2 Ts with the same VIN and that's a no-no.
As I said, I'm not too concerned about a tag on the frame or wherever they need to mount it. If anything, it proves the car is 100% legally documented. It's a hassle because I need to trailer the car to the other side of town for this but I also have a fully documented car from here to the end of days so I'm okay with that.
I figured Orygon would be less stringent........seems to be a pretty liberal state in other respects.
Even an anal state like Wisconsin is pretty easy to get along with where OLD cars are involved.......
Jim, I had my grandfathers T and title was lost, I went to the DMV and had them look up my grand fathers name, they had to go to files to find it instead of computers and there was a title for a T in his name, then I had top have my father notarize it since he was executer of the estate, so now I have a title!
Joe - I have no idea if there was ever a title for this thing and if there was, I don't know who's name it would be in and whether or not I could legally claim ownership since I would need to establish a line of succession from whomever is listed on the title. I know for certain my father never titled it in his name since I checked with all the authorities that would have a record and there is no record of a title using the engine number as a VIN in anyones name.
Craig - things are generally very liberal out here but I think there is enough car-stuff happening that many of the odd problems that have crept up forced regulations to be written.
I have no problems following the rules but I get frustrated when the people who are supposed to know the rules, don't. I try to explain the regs to these people and they won't listen since their sliver of authority over powers their duty as a civil servant. Don't get me going on this ....
Here in South Central Texas, I am lucky, the local DMV office has some employees that are used to dealing with antique plates and titles.
There is a local car club that has a lot of antique cars (No Model T's).
Some years ago when I was dealing with Houston, most of the employees did not know what to do and tried to get rid of you and that antique car.
I even had to attend two title hearings, but I always got my titles and antique plates. (sometime two or three trips)
I towed the car to the state police for a VIN inspection. Surprisingly(?!), they didn't find one. (No charge for this.) They signed some piece of paperwork saying they looked at the car and there was no VIN. Gee, thanks....
I immediately took the car with the stash of paperwork to the DMV, again, and paid them money, again, and they put a sticker on the right frame rail under the front passenger area that is an assigned VIN. (The DMV employee wanted to put it on the firewall. I suggested the frame was better since sheet metal rots easier than iron frame rails. He was concerned the VIN would be covered by a metal panel but I kept reassuring him the only panel over it would be a removable wooden panel. I won that battle.)
Paperwork was sent off to the capital for processing and now I am waiting on a title. The brusque lady at the counter at the DMV reminded me this is only an "application" and does not guarantee me a title. If I don't get a title after this malarky I.....well....lets just say I will get VERY creative.
Here in Washington State they disregarded the engine number and assigned a VIN (complete with tag) to the 1915 I assembled. I just needed the vehicle inspection from the state police and notarized receipts for the parts.
It will be easy for the next owner to transfer the title.
It always blows my mind the rough title stuff ya'll deal with up north and out west. I had a police officer verify my VIN (engine block #) and he came out to my house to do so. It was free, and then all I had to do was take that to DMV to get title and plates.
I think I know what you mean by creative. I have a set of those too, and a big hammer. So far, fortunately, I haven't had to use them.
Joe was very lucky to find any record of his grandfather owning a T. Many states purge their records after a few years and all history of previous owners is destroyed.
I envy the luxury Dick enjoyed, having the officer come to his house. Here we now have to take a car to the county seat between 11 AM and 1 PM on Tuesday or Thursday to have a cop look at the number.
Looking back over previous posts I didn't notice any comment on the reason for the configuration of that engine number. I agree that its format looks very non-factory. Replacement blocks were supplied with no number and were supposed to be stamped with the number of the original engine when they were installed. That's probably the reason for your oddly arranged number. Somebody engaged in poetic license when they installed a new block.
I forgot to mention that when I take a vehicle to Winfield for the cop to look at the number, it costs $10. Cash only. This inspection has been required just in recent years. Before that all I needed to register a car and get a title was a bill of sale, even if it was only a handwritten note. Our legislators, most of whom like to bloviate about getting government off people's backs, decided they weren't harassing us enough.
To paint a clearer picture of what a pain this was, the police inspection is only on Wednesdays and you need to make an appointment a month in advance. I'll quit beating this topic like a dead horse. Hopefully I am done with the legal stuff and can move on with the restoration.
Steve - I think you are correct about the stamping on the engine. It looks home-brew to me. In the bigger picture I don't know that it matters much so i'll plow on.
^ Keep it going until this is resolved........happily I hope.......
Last time,(maybe in 2008?), a titled a car in MI, I only had a bill of sale, with the VIN# noted. I signed an affidavit swearing the number was correct, they did a search for liens, other owners or theft notices, which took 1 hour. They then had me fill out an application, took my $12 and I had a title 2 weeks later.
If they start talking about surety bonds, say o.k. thanks, walk away and go to a different branch office.