Thanks Mark and Tony regarding mis-posting.
I want to build a Model T from parts, which is basically just like a speedster, except it will have a standard T body and turtle deck. Standard T frame (pre-'26), standard T motor. Just no top and no fenders.
I would like to hear from those in California who have gone through similar builds and how they have accomplished the registration.
Tom, When I did my 25 TT C Cab it was from parts also. I told them Ive had it for 25 years sitting in my back yard. I told them all the papers were lost in a fire. You could tell them from a move years ago. Then you fill out a statement of facts. Yes its mine and it has been stored all these years and has never been on a street. Then have the Highway Patrol inspect your can and sign it. you should trailer it to the Highway Patrol office. You may want to want to take in a book or so that shows that ford did not use frame numbers till a certain date. Then the motor number is it.
Good luck and KEEP YOUR MOUTH SHUT, Scott
ps do not take in any type of paper work, NOTHING
Scott has some good pointers UNTIL he advised taking it into the CHP. SOME CHP verifiers can really screw things up. Pay for a licensed verifier to do that, and pick one that knows old cars. Even better, around here there is a former DMV clerk who will get your paperwork through and hand you a valid title. Costs a bit, but is very worth it. IF you insist on doing it yourself, FOLLOW SCOTT'S ADVICE ABOVE--KEEP YOUR MOUTH SHUT!
Never mention "building it from parts"!!!
Been there, done this more than once--and it's getting harder to do too.
Martin Vowell just went through that . He's the guy. I'll let him know.
We have had good days and bad days with Ca. DMV. You will need to fill out a pink form, "Application for duplicate title" This car belongs to you and you have lost the title. Volunteer NO information as it will only serve to complicate things. It is up to them to prove you do not own the car. Don't let them force you to prove you do. A vin verification will be required. Some DMV offices will do them, some will want you to make an appointment with the CHP. Don't mention engine number to anyone. Buy a set of 1/4" number stamps and stamp your number on the frame. Don't let anyone lecture you about this being some kind of federal crime. It's yours! When you have the car verified, it must look like a complete vehicle, not just a frame and axles. It is best to have fenders or you may face questions about that and if you say it is a special built speedster they start thinking "kit car" and want you to have a brake and light inspection and smog equipment. Scared yet? I got screwed on that issue last time I built a speedster. I finally went back to the same clerk and filed for a junk slip. She asked why. I said because "you have done everything possible to prevent me from writing DMV a check and registering this car, so I parted it out and sold it out of state and now they get the money" Then I started over, lesson learned, at a different office. I confess to being a little testy with the DMV, as some of their staff apparently consider it a personal and professional failure if you leave with what you came for. They get real sniffy when I haul out my copy of the vehicle code and educate them as to the law. I have also done business there with personnel who were helpful, pleasant, and competent regarding the process. It just depends who is at the window when it is your turn. Consider Dave's advice about using a licensed verifier who can help. I spoke with one at the Auburn meet and will do the same in the future. I hope I haven't turned you off with a bunch of bad news, just want you to avoid a headache.
Repeat after me. "Several years ago (10?, 20?) I acquired (purchased, given to me by father, friend?) a significant remains of an original antique automobile (model T Ford). I spent a few years caring for it and purchasing some of the few parts it was missing and doing minor repairs and restoration. It is now about ready to take its place as a (whatever year and model) again and be driven as the antique automobile that it is."
You "restored" a car.
Drive carefully, and enjoy, W2
California has gotten pretty bad with vehicle registration espically old cars at least in the town David and I are in.right now been in a year process of trying to register a 56 Chevy pickup and I even have the title.its because all vehicles that have fallen off the records "computer" have to be Vin verified and and a lot of chp have no clue on classics but also Dont be fooled by DMV saying you have take it to chp Any DMV worker,chp or Vin verifier can do it.the DMV tries to be lazy sometimes I always go in and ask how do I get a job here to basically do nothing all day lol.ive been lucky so far and bought a 1919 speedster with horseless carriage plates and got them registered and figured you can only drive on car at a time so which ever one wanted drive that day just switch plates it take a very model t knowledgeable cop to tell the difference.OK my rant over now.and hope the spelling is alright lol
Ok, when you get your car done, and you want to get it registered, don't ever tell the DMV that you built the car! If you do it'll be registered as a "Manufactured Car of Ford Model T type" and subject to modern requirements for licensing a car. That means semi annual smogging and seat belts and probably turn signals too...although those are a really good idea, nobody these days seems to know what the bloody hell hand turn signals are, they'll all think you're waving at them (I'm not even sure it's on the bloody test anymore), but on a real antique they're not required, and a stock Model T will never pass a smog inspection. Which will require you to bring it up to current codes.
What doesn't make any sense to me is that no matter how you come by getting your car, unless it's a barn find. They're all built up from parts by whomever owned it before you all through the years any one person had it. If you bought something from Model T Haven, most of the rust buckets he's selling, are just thrown together parts and pieces of other Model T's he's got in his stock pile out there. So what is the bloody difference between a "real" Model T and a built up one...nothing! They're both more then likely built from parts, some more than other, unless, like I said it's a true barn find, but then who really knows then either? I've always said that if you restore a car, you're more than likely going to wind up with 3 of everything, too much for one car and not enough for two. But if you build it, you'll have exactly what you need and if you find some piece that's better than what you had, you can always trade up and sell the other part.
My car is a 1922 Touring, I built it from ground up and it's very stock (with the exception of bits of brass here and there, mostly screws and acorn nuts, I like brass), but I told the DMV I had inherited it from my great grandfather through my grandfather. That it was a farm vehicle in Oklahoma was never registered because farm vehicles in the 20's weren't or didn't have to be. Which seems plausible to the DMV because until recently they weren't required to be registered and licensed for the road here in Calfunny either.
I went to two different offices of the DMV, the first one I went to was near here and a big mistake, they were rude and wanted an insane amount of verifications, of which I had none)...they were not certain what to do and I wasn't interested in the hoops they wanted me to jump through either.
The next office I went to (in a small town), they were actually very polite and nice and one of the office managers knew Model T's. He wrote on my paper work that the VIN was my engine number. I paid my money, got my plates (which are YOM's) licensed to my car and got a driving permit for 90 days for the wait time it takes the DMV to get things settled. They wanted me to drive it in to their office for an inspection, but that amounted to I've got 4 wheels, one in each corner a spring on each end, a motor up front and a nut behind the wheel. Nothing on their list of things to check was on my car and since it was a "stock antique" Model T Ford, they signed off on it and passed the buck to the CHP to inspect the car.
You have to make an appointment for that, but all they're going to do is look the car over, take your VIN (engine number) look up on their computer to see if it's stolen or not. This is a good time to show them a bill of sale if you have one, make sure the bill is for the car not just the engine, since I didn't have one of those, things were a little more involved, otherwise I probably would've blown through the DMV without the CHP visit. In my case they signed off on my car's VIN being the engine number because of what the DMV office manager wrote on my paper work. On a 26-27 there is a frame number which is your VIN, make sure you have that number handy and photos of that number stamped onto your frame and be able to show it to them if they ask. Otherwise they're going to want to fix a 17 digit VIN to your car. If this happens, try to talk them into putting it inside you door jam, like modern cars have, it'll be less visible. Otherwise they'll fix it to any outside metal surface (with ugly pop rivets) they can find and think is plainly visible.
My advice to you is to build a stock car and modify it after you get the registration and licensing done. Otherwise it'll get registered as a "Modified Antique" and I'm not sure, but I think all the modern car requirements will apply then too.
Good advice, Wayne. Just thought of another thing. It is imperative that you handle this before the car appears valuable. If it looks to be worth $5000 or more, the DMV will demand you post a bond to protect the State in the case that you fraudulently register a car that belongs to someone else. Not an unreasonable thing for them to ask, just something you want to avoid by getting it done while the car is in the rough. I like to think that the great majority of DMV staff are dedicated public servants who just like me can have good and bad days at work. The key is to know the law and how to make it work. I think the whole process got real hard when Boyd Coddington made a mockery of DMV on his show by building six figure value 32 "Fords" with nary a one 32 part and registering them as 32's with YOM plates and low fees. Now the State thinks everyone trying to title and register an old car is out to screw them. I, for one, am not. I just want to title and register my car and will pay what is asked.
I live in Omaha Nebraska. At one time Nebraska was popular for laundering titles, as it was too easy to license an out of state car. Anything with an out of state title now has to be inspected by the county, or the county Sheriff. Omaha has a garage especially for this purpose. One way to get around this is to find out from your local club, who the "reasonable" inspector is, call and ask for him/her, and make an appointment with that specific inspector. For an extra $10 they make house calls. A title from anywhere is a big help
I paid for the house call. My T was from Kansas, and the engine in the car's s/n did not match the title, but I had the engine that did match in the corner of the garage. That was good enough for this inspector. We titled a Model A with an Iowa title, whose engine also did not match the title. He told us he would pass the car based on the number stamped in the frame under the left front fender. There was nothing there when we took the fender off, so we added the number where it was supposed to be. The inspector commented "normally they used a larger stamp" he knew but passed the car anyway.
I have also know those who have had an official looking brass plaque made with the serial number on the title, used appropriate fasteners (rivets or slot screws) to mount in a proper location, and gotten away with it.
Do a little homework if you can, both with the DMV, and others who have done it locally and you will get it done.
I agree offer no more information than you have to. What you say could hurt you, and by all means do not mention any modifications other than pure out of the box original stock car parts. if you are looking for a YOM plate, historical/antique registration. They want original engines, axles etc. The guy who inspected my car told me this. He was reasonable and could see a T was really no harm to society.
Licensing the car is separate after the inspection, and YPM plates have to go to the capital for inspection. You can mail them, or take them in in person. We drove to Lincoln to get it done. What normally takes a couple of minutes at the window took an hour to licensee the A and the T. Mine is an original unrestored plate in good condition, and passed fairly easy. The A's plate was repainted in original colors, we even had a spot on the back of the plate we mask off to show the color match was dead accurate, and had a time getting it approved.
The more information you give them the worse it will get no matter which state you live in. Use to not be that way and some states are worse than others.
Some of the folks you talk to at the DMV's are idiots's. Not all but some are.
And when it comes to old cars they think any old car is a Model T.
I would suggest going through a Bonded title service that deals with antique cars to get the necessary paperwork together. Most States have them.
These folks know all the in's and out of getting a title. They can save you a lot of headaches and misery. It may cost a lttle but its well worth it.
Not related.....but you might take the hint...
I was given a Honda trail 90 motorcycle that had been stored in a barn for over 20 years. The original owner had long since moved from the area and a state required registered letter sent to his last known address came back as undeliverable. The DMV then started me on the long...and expensive...process of holding a lien sale, posted publicly, then following up with reams of paperwork in order to obtain a California title and license. I finally got disgusted with the entire process as it was not a stolen Corvette, just a little trail bike that would never be "on road" anyway.
I investigated the licensing process for the state of Vermont, discovering that a motorcycle over 20 years old and under 300cc did NOT require ownership (pink slip) papers. I sent in the required fees and taxes, amounting to $70 and now the bike has Vermont plates. No big deal.
During this investigation, I noticed that Vermont also has methods of licensing older vehicles without all the hoopla here in California. So, you license your vehicle legally in Vermont and then proudly walk into a California DMV and change the plates. Voila'!
Something else I forgot to mention. Don't ever fall victim to the "I don't have the pink slip, but I can give you a good bill of sale" routine. The DMV will laugh you right out of the office.
Why? Because legally the guy who gave you the "good bill of sale" didn't own the car in the first place. Without ownership papers it's almost impossible to get ownership or license something in this state. This does make for a good price haggling point however. Just tell the seller that you'll buy the vehicle if he will personally accompany you to the DMV and explain that to the staff. That usually shuts them up and jolts the price down considerably.
You know there's a lot of good info here but in case I missed it I'm going to say it again: Do not, under any circumstances tell ANY DMV in ANY state that you assembled a car from parts. You're just begging for trouble. Find out if, as in N.J., you need pictures. Show them only a completed car. Not a collection of parts. Remember: You bought it that way. I understand that, as George mentioned above, the Vermont thing works but there's a catch here in N.J. I don't think they'll accept a title from Vermont so changing it over won't work here. I can't swear to this but I've heard stories.
Stay away from the DMV! They will only mess you up. Go to an independent registration service, and let them do the details for you. I did it, and the guy I used hated the DMV. He did all the paperwork for me and submitted it to the DMV, and got me YOM plates too.
Well I don't know where to start! I put a 1919 Touring together, and it was various parts, and some I bought. Job done went to DMV got the paper work for dup title, went to Chp, officer verified the engine number went to a different DMV office, paper work in hand, YOM license pates in hand, about 1 hour later on my way home, and DMV never even looked at the car. The second vehicle is a Depot hack w/special plates. I ordered the engine and body from out of state and the fenders from in state. I again went to DMV and got the paper work for the DUP title, then to CHP for engine verification and to the DMV office for the final paper work. Ironically the CHP office had failed to sign the left bottom corner of the form. So 35 miles back to CHP then to DMV and 3 weeks later title. Did not have a problem other than an incorrect number on the paper work, (my fault). It depends on the person and the DmV office you have to deal with. DON'T TELL ANYMORE THAT YOU HAVE TO!!!!
Wow guys, I posted this before I went to bed and you ALL helped immensely!
Erik, it was finally nice to meet you Saturday, great swap meet! Wayne, one of these days we will connect :-)
I am 2 days away from biting the bullet and buying the body and turtle deck. I've had a pre-'26 frame (no VIN) for a number of years, originally purchased to build a speedster. I also bought 4 A wheels Saturday at the swap meet. So I am JUST about on my way. However, I don't want to proceed if I am not comfortable that I will be able to.
So, first of all, at the bottom is the car very similar to the one I am trying to build from parts.
It won't have fenders, I see that could be a problem?
I know this is DMV's rule:
V C Section 27600 Fenders and Mudguards
Fenders and Mudguards
27600. No person shall operate any motor vehicle having three or more wheels, any trailer, or semitrailer unless equipped with fenders, covers, or devices, including flaps or splash aprons, or unless the body of the vehicle or attachments thereto afford adequate protection to effectively minimize the spray or splash of water or mud to the rear of the vehicle and all such equipment or such body or attachments thereto shall be at least as wide as the tire tread. This section does not apply to those vehicles exempt from registration, trailers and semitrailers having an unladen weight of under 1,500 pounds, or any vehicles manufactured and first registered prior to January 1, 1971, having an unladen weight of under 1,500 pounds.
I gather since I will have no title, they hopefully will treat this as a previously registered car, lost title. That will get me past the "first registered prior to January 1, 1971".
Regarding using an independent registration person, if you can email me some names or a company to contact, that would be great!
tom at tvracer.com
PS. So yes, I will be registering a car I bought, did not assemble from parts, have no bill of sale, but I will ensure any motor I get is not in the system, not stolen, and on the up and up.
Looks like Thomas car, he built it here in Sweden and posts here occasionally. We do have our problems registering old pieced together cars too, but if you tell the authorities just what they need to know, it can work.. Usually we must have them inspected - with fenders - to get plates. I made temporary fenders out of old tires just for that, they're off my primitive pickup again.
But you have a weight limit in Calif that should be possible to come under, My pickup weighed in at 1457 pounds with fenders, full tank, lots of tools and a gas can at the inspection. Alu head and trans cover but no starter lightens it some.
Charlie B, whatever you heard about Vermont titles not being accepted in NJ is incorrect. They will work.
Vermont does not title Model T's. They Register them. That registration serves as the "title" to the car. That registration is a legally transferable document to NJ and most likely anywhere else.
New Jersey is crazy though. They issue you two Historic Vehicle tags for your car but by law any car manufactured before 1945 on the road in New Jersey is only required to run one of them (on the rear)
This is the car that was registered in California in May 2015. I was built from the car we bought in Minnesota, actually a pile of half assembled bits. No fenders, no idea of the weight (never heard this one before), no seat belts and no windshield.
It now has a hood held down with straps, all we need now is a big brass carb!
You guys think you got problems? My 1918 (casting date) engine has the serial number boss whacked out by some ancient chisel. Maybe a hot T?
In any case, getting it titled and licensed in the future is going to be interesting.
I am amazed at what you guys have to go through. I had two sheets of paper to fill out. Verification of VIN, which can be done by DMV, or law enforcement, and application for lost title. Told the girl it had likely never been registered, she literally made up a new title, and away I went. total time, one hour, including the 50 minutes the Mountie hung around my garage and talked about old cars!!!
I bought this one in 1994. It was a pile of parts and I got a bill of sale. Before I restored it, I wanted to get it registered so that I wouldn't spend the time and money in vain. In our town there is a business "vehicle registration service". I called them and they sent out someone who verified the vin number on the engine and filed the paper work. I got the title and registered it as "non-operation". Then in 2003 when I got it together and running, I registered it and have been doing so each year since.
I went through Broadway Title in Alabama. In Alabama they did not have titles prior to 1972. Just a bill of sale. So I sent them 200 bucks and signed via notarized bill of sale, to them. I sold it to them for ($1.00). They sent me back loads of paperwork. A signed notarized document from the attorney general of Alabama. I got it inspected as a 1916 from an inspector station. It sailed right on through the DMV. I got a title for it in 4 weeks. I got the Vintage plates while I was there and a temporary title. I have been told that Broadway Title is real expensive now and that there is another state that has the same title as Alabama had. It may be Vermont or Maine, I am not sure but someone on the forum will know.
George, As far as the numbers go. Get a plate from one of the vendors that has a place for a serial #. Go to Harbor Freight and buy a cheap set of number stamps. Stamp your block number on the plate and then affix it to the firewall. They would rather look at it than your rough number on the block. Make it look old. They are made of brass, so it is easy to age it. Tarnish it rub a little grease and dirt on it. In other words make it look like it belongs. I put mine on my flat firewall just above the steering column on the inside of the car. And like the others have mentioned; don't volunteer a lot of information. Tell them: it's the same number on the block and it is just easier to see here on the firewall. Don't lie just do not volunteer.
In California, it is money well spent to hire a licensed vehicle verifier rather than going to the CHP. I used a good company located in North SF Bay Area. Contact me if you need the name of the company.
Kevin.....the problem is that I don't know what the original number is! Looks obliterated, probably a roving gang of model T thieves back in the twenties .All may not be lost though as my two stepsons are coming over tonight to lug it into my shop. Hopefully with some careful cleaning I may be able to pick up enough numbers to get close.
Sure hope I don't inadvertently end up with someone else's T engine number by mistake though!
Biggest issue is folks cant keep there bleeping mouths shut
Get the car inspected with dmv form by highway patrol have few books of info for motor number take the form to dvm with proof of insurance with matching number and a bill of sale dated many years ago just tell them you been restoring the caryou may be required to give a writen statement and or do 50 state vin search but dont give any info just let them ask if it is not asked not an issue keep kool and be prepared for a return trip
I done many T‘ s in nevada but then each state is differantone more thing take T on a trailer or atleast pictiure of it and vin number and i got a pic of a t in a pile of rusted parts online and added it to the mix
One more thing only pressent the info as requested
Roger, bingo, that's Thomas's car! I like it a lot, obviously.
Thanks everyone for your generous help, I'm very pleased. I got the name of a Vehicle VIN verifier, so I am hoping my next step of buying the body works out.
Interesting on this thread, the biggest point being made, keep quiet :-)
Rob in Nova Scotia, you had TWO sheets of paper?? In Ontario it's just one. I made up a statement that said "The car was purchased several owners ago as a parts car with no intent to register but I brought it back together and I do intend to register it. I bought it for _____, I own it, it's mine." They made me pay the tax on the appraisal and I walked out the door with a clean title for T12842303 five minutes later.
Like everyone else said, go in knowing what they need and offer no more than what they ask for. These things can throw up all kinds of red flags whether real or not. I almost had to register mine as a commercial vehicle because I let it slip that it was a pickup. After a bunch of unsuccessful explaining I pulled out my phone to show the MTO (our DMV) girl a picture. She laughed and registered it as a car.
For those of you in CA, I repeat as I've said before--DO NOT GO TO THE CHP FOR YOUR VERIFICATION.
I can tell you a few horror stories that ended up involving court dates, 'expert witness" and still took months to straighten stuff out. Some CHP officers are very helpful, others think we are all criminals and they will find out what we are "trying to pull"--to the extent of sanding off the block numbers to see if there are signs of other previous numbers!
The licensed verifier at the Auburn Swap meet told me he charges $40. WELL worth it--here's a guy that knows our cars and will not mess things up verifying the car.
Even I, who have done many vehicles used a pro for my last purchase. I probably could have done it myself, but as Casey noted above our local DMV office has some real screwballs who can make your life impossible--or can be helpful--it's a crap shoot here & it changes from minute to minute!! (I actually had this happen to me, clerk was not going to help me, but then decided to help me (license renewal & the system lost my reservation). the process with a pro was so easy--and no waiting in line at a DMV office either! (That part alone was almost worth the fee!)
I live in CA and have a neighbor down the street that's a police captain. He watched me through the restoration of my '11, then came down and did the verification in my garage. If you know someone that's a police officer they can verify as well as a CHP officer if they are willing. I filled out the statement of facts attesting to the car being mine, and I had a bill of sale with no title. I had no problems. I agree, do not volunteer any information, and remember you restored a car, you did not assemble one.
^ Which proves again it's not what you know it's who you know.
I'm not saying that to be cheeky as there are times you need to use every advantage you can!.......
I have called a couple lawyer friends to run something past them a couple times too........there is no substitute for knowledge and ammunition.
And go to AAA if you are a member. They want to help you as you are there customer. Quick and easy if you keep your mouth shut, Scott
George Andreas, Buy an old block at a swap meet or from a friend. Maybe buy a cracked block and use that number. That way you would know that it was not someone else's #.
I too had a neighbor who was a CHP Captain. He came over to my shop and did the VIN verification on my T. He was very helpful. When I asked him what I owed, he simply said to give him a ride when the car was ready.
THEN, he bet me $5 that I wouldn't make it through the DMV in a single visit. I asked him if there was a problem with the car or the paperwork. He said, no, everything is perfect. It's just that the DMV was so incompetent and adversarial and that he was willing to bet that I would have some problems.
He was right. I owed him five bucks.