First off I cannot wait till this is over and to cruise around town getting a bunch of weird looks because of how old the car is and how young I am. But, here is the situation. This is my grandpas model t and he had it previously registered in California and I have the old title and everything. As I was submitting paperwork to the dmv they sent me back that I needed a vin verification, which is weird because the car is staying in California and is not salvaged. But they asked for one and I found a company that would come out and look and get it verified. The guy came out and said that the 1927 vin numbers will not match because they did not start stamping them on the frame till later. I informed him that he was wrong and that they started to stamp the same vin numbers in late 1925. Then he said that my vin numbers were fake and not originally stamped by Ford because there was not a ford special stamp at the end of the frame vin number. I looked into it and found nothing on the vin number being different or having a special stamp for on the frame. He then said this can only be certified by the CHP and I would have to tow the car for them to approve it. I would not like to do this because it is a hassle to tow the car just across town. Does anyone know about the special stamp on the frame? It is located on the passenger side under the floor board right? Because he said that was wrong too. The whole weird thing about this situation is I do have matching vin numbers and I have the old title with the same vin number on it.I can take pictures of the vin to show you guys and see what you think if need be. I also have the dm number too right in front of the drivers seat. Does anyone have any experience with this. Any advise at all would be helpful.
I will be watching this post as I have a '23 Touring that I purchased with a bill of sale, but I have since found the VIN stamped on the RH front floorboard riser. I live in Washington state. I believe that I can take the car to the WA state patrol and they will inspect it and then provide me with whatever I need to obtain a title. I hope it is that simple.
Paul in Tacoma
Donít go to the DMV, they are not there to help but to stretch out the process to prolong their employment.
Do go to a private organization such as AAA or a local DMV expert. It costs a little but is no hassle.
There is a lady in San Diego who came to the house, asked what we wanted which was to licence a speedster, that came from MN with just a bill of sale, and have custom plates. 20 minutes later it was done and a couple of days later the custom plates, SPEDSTR, arrived. :-)
It's too bad with confident fools that think they know everything - and a confident fool with some power to cause you problem is even worse, but that's unfortunately not so uncommon when it's about the DMV - in most states and countries (I have my experiences from Sweden too..)
Maybe the guy knew something about Model A and later, but your info about the T is completely correct - stamping of engine numbers in the frame started december 1925 above the hand brake cross shaft, most often on the RH side - and Model T numbers didn't have any special star at start and stop as later models had.
Try get another person to look at your frame - or go to another DMV - maybe they won't have that demand for number verification?
Here's what the numbers usually looks like:
Happy to hear you're about to enjoy a T on the road.
Sorry to hear about the struggle.
Seems like this type of thing happens often when registering old vehicles.
Look forward to seeing pictures.
Curious if the numbers are stamped in the size font Ford used or if they are stamped with a store bought steel stamp set.
Be careful about taking your car to the CHP for VIN verification. I was in your same situation a couple of years ago with my 1917 barn-find and the DMV wanted a VIN verification filled out (even tho I had the last registration from 42 years before, it matched, and the car was outside). I was told the VIN verification form could be filled out by DMV, AAA (they both refused), local PD, or the CHP.
The CHP wanted to issue a new VIN , and they were going to stamp it on a blue plastic fob and rivet it to the dashboard. No way on a matching car!
I contacted the SDPD and not only found a police officer who would fill out the VIN verification form, but was a car collector also, so he understood.
Take the car to the police station and have them fill out the form, or politely ask them to come to your place if you don't want to drive it (the officer who did mine said no self respecting officer would hassle me for driving it unregistered to the station under the circumstances).
I did this already about 2 years ago...but I went to the DMV in Newhall CA. because somebody told me they were a "Model T friendly DMV" (there was a guy there who knew Model T pretty well)...I didn't have a title, nor any previous registration for that matter either. They accepted my engine number as my VIN, had me go to the CHP for VIN verification, all they did was run that number to see if it was stolen or not and sent me on my way.
My car is a 1922 touring, I told them I inherited it from my grandfather who got it from my great grandfathers farm when he cleared the place out after he died...in turn he gave it to me to get it out of his garage. Funny thing about farm vehicles, especially in OK (apparently)...they're never registered, so the lack of paperwork didn't even phase the DMV.
I also had them scrub a YOM set of plates and register them to my car, which they did for an extra fee. All told I got out of there with my tags for $146.00.
As has been pointed out, you ARE correct, and your "professional verifier" is all wrong.
DO NOT go to the CHP--at least in this area the officer in charge of verifying VINs is also a Bully, proud of his power, and he abuses it (and I'm being kind here!) You're in Livermore, life will be different there, but FIRST, find some local club members who have done this before and get their advice as to whom to get to do the task.
Yes, it seems strange they want the number verified, but they pulled this on me some years ago when I let my utility trailer registration lapse. NO changes in ownership or anything, but I had to have the numbers verified.
When I had my Ts verified, there was a verifier who was also a car collector, and the deeds were done post haste.
By the Way, how old is the pink slip you have? You may want to "lose" it so you have it as part of the car's history. Way back in the 1960s my Dad turned in my model A's original 1930 pink slip when the original owner passed it on to my family--he later regretted that, but then it was too late.
I'm in CA not far from you Russell. It's been about 12 years, but I had a similar situation when I registered my TT, which had no old or new title. The license plate was. 1941 plate, so it had been out of the system for nearly 70 years.
Once I got the Statement of Facts done they wanted to verify the VIN. So, with a temporary registration (red sticker) I drove it to DMV. I showed them the engine number stamped on the engine and then, with Bruce McCalley's book in hand, I showed them the page that demonstrated it was produced in June, 1923. They accepted that as evidence of year model, made a copy of the page and issued title and registration.
I'm in So-Cal and I did this two years ago and even with an old original CA title (mine was from the 60's) they required me to get the car verified. I used a company here that came out to my house and performed all of the required verification.It cost me $75 and they brought the correct forms. AAA in So-Cal no longer verifies old cars so it's the CHP, DMV, or a Private company. One thing to remember is that there can be no errors or corrections made to the filled out form or the DMV will not accept it.
I own a 1925 roadster/pickup that I built from parts. I went to a private auto registration guy, who took care of everything, including the YOM plates. I didn't lie to him at all, and told him everything I was doing. I even told him the engine was not in the car yet, but submitted a rubbing of the engine number, and the page in Bruce McCalley's book that showed the day it would have been manufactured. It cost me close to $200 for that service, but to me it was well worth every penny. BTW, the guy had a real dislike for the DMV!
Hi Russel- if you can, go the CSAA rounte. If that does not work, send me a PM as I can refer you to a person who does DMV verifications that is very old car knowledgeable. Dan
In New York State it takes a couple of forms to re-register a vehicle with no paper work. This might include one that the person you bought it from needs to sign. You also include a picture of the car, a certificate of it's actual weight [done at a "weigh station"] and a rubbing of the VIN number ... in this case .. on the block.
Ah, yes, Tom pointed out that AAA no longer does anything much more than registration renewals--and now charges for the service! Granted, it's not much, but gee, aren't we supposed to be members who receive services as part of our membership???
Henry, 12 years ago things were different, but even today it depends on the individual DMV office--they are NOT all run the same! And it even depends on the particular clerk you get.
I have a few horror stories to tell, but here's one from some 35 years ago. I worked for a gentleman who purchased a 1927 American Rolls Royce from a ranch. It had been cut up and used for different purposes--the front half was a manure trailer, the Radiator was hooked to a Ford V-8 running a welder, etc. etc. He had gathered up all the pieces (except the body, which had been lost in a barn fire, but he had a new duplicate one made); however, he didn't get any paperwork, and the previous owner died while we were restoring the car. He went to the local DMV and they titled it as an "Assembled Car" and gave it a modern manufacturing date (1985?--I don't remember). I was able to reach a clerk in Sacramento whose father restored old cars and lent a sympathetic ear--after all we could trace the car to the original date of sale, and the original owner (T content here, it was the President of the Warford Transmission Company) and we had matching serial numbers on almost every large component. It took weeks, but the car finally got its proper registration as a 1927 RR. And, I will add, this was back when the registration process was much simpler!
Do not give any DMV any more information than that which they directly ask for; don['t complicate the story! DO find a licensed verifier who isn't out to prove he knows more than you. BTW, almost any law enforcement officer can do the deed, but some DMV offices don't like that fact. ASK around, find one who is sympathetic to old cars.
First of all, The Model T does not have a VIN number. It was registered with the engine number. The DMV will try to make you put a VIN number on the car but don't let them don it. Insist on registering using the engine number. Second, The DMV will ask you How much the car is worth. That is none of their business. Tell them what you paid for the car and hopefully have a bill of sale. The DMV will tax you on the value you give them so don't be stupid and give them the actual value as they ask. In California if the car is a gift as yours is there is no tax.
Russ, Iam doing a 59 pickup right now. I stopped a CHP to ask for a VIN check. He said he would sent over the guy that did that. And a CHP guy did show up and did the VIN check. He also had his form. He also did a stolen car check and told me I was good to go. Use the frame number for your VIN. It was easy. Scott
You will see in the picture the pile of parts I purchased a number of years ago. In the pile was a 26 engine. I didn't have the title when I purchased it. I didn't want to spend the time and money restoring the car until I was sure I could register it. We have a man here in town who has a business of registering cars. He came out and checked the engine number and took care of transferring the title to my name. It was registered "non operation" for several years until it was restored. In California, we pay $5 per year for "non operation" That just keeps the paperwork in place so that it can be put back in operation when it is running. I have no idea whether there is a number on the frame and have never looked for one, but the engine number works just fine. The state is mostly interested in whether the car has been reported stolen. If the number had been listed as stolen, I wouldn't have been able to register it.
I registered my 11 Touring that came from Nebraska at the DMV in Simi Valley and had no issues at all. And to top it off it was a "gift" from my uncle so I paid only $100 for all the paperwork.
The DMV inspector liked antique cars so I think that helps.
I just registered my new/old T in Newhall, CA back in February of this year at AAA (I'm a newbie to T's, they are the best). The previous owner was in Michigan and had used the engine number as the VIN on his registration. As long as that number was stamped in two places on the car (on mine it is the engine and on the frame), they had no problem registering it to me and gave me plates at the same time. There was no need to go to the CHP or an outside VIN verification. I also registered another auto last week that I had shipped from Washington at AAA and, again, had no problems. If you are a member, give AAA a try and avoid the DMV all together.
This is an easier process than people make it out to be.
1. Call your local DMV and ask what needs to be done to register the car from whatever its present condition is. If they have no idea, call a different office. If they're clearly an expert, ask for their name and see if you can book a time to visit them specifically when all your ducks are in a row.
2. Whatever non-DMV stuff they say you'll need, call the offices of places that do that. They'll either be clueless or helpful, see (1) above for the procedure in either case.
3. Make it to your appointments, get car registered, enjoy car.
This method requires somewhere between twenty minutes and an afternoon on the phone but it saves time and gas running around just to be let down.
Russell: I feel your pain with the DMV as I too live in California. The person doing your VIN verify is confusing the Model A VIN style. I have a 1926 T and the frame stamped number by Ford looks much like the one in Roger's above picture. Have Dan McEachern give you the name of the person he knows in SF Bay Area for number verification. In a side note regarding using the AAA for this, I bought a 1966 vehicle with current Texas title 2 years ago and had the California VIN verify done by a licensed person. The AAA in Fresno would not process the Texas paper work or even re-verify it to process the paper work. I went to the Fresno DMV with the Texas paper work and the California verify paper work and all went fine, so the AAA may not work for you.
Seven years ago I registered in CA a T from a probate sale in Ohio which CA would not accept. I went thru the procedure for not receiving a valid title from the seller, posted a bond and received the title about a month later. In my area the CHP was very cooperative making two trips to my home because the T was dismantled at the time.
You are in Ontario, things obviously work different there. Here in California, they will not register a disassemble car--NEVER tell them the car is apart, because then they will want receipts for all major (and some minor) parts and will assign a value based on that or what they THINK it is worth. The CA DMV is a taxing agency, although they call it "fees" and their job is to collect as much as they can get!
And as you can tell from the postings here, it also depends greatly on the DMV office you go to. Here where I live, one wants to avoid the Oroville DMV office; it is a repressive office that assumes since you are there, you must be doing something illegal. The Chico and Paradise offices, both about 30 minutes away, are much more user-friendly places, although you still need to know the rules and have copies of the regulations that govern your particular situation. If you come prepared, you can USUALLY leave with everything in order, and then go enjoy your car.
For example, Back when I was titling my '25 with YOM plates, I went to the Chico Office with all the paperwork in hand, including the YOM plates. It took them some time to look them up in the book and recognize that they were NOT commercial plates (the number sequence on my plate starts with a "C" which confused them). The only thing I didn't have was the proof of insurance, and my insurance company, being based back east was already closed for the day. So they gave me back everything, marked that I needed that paper, and I paid ALL the fees. The next day I got the proof paper, and was driving by the Oroville office, which I noted had almost no cars in the parking lot, so I figured that since all I was doing was turning in the insurance proof, it couldn't hurt to drop in.
Ah yes, after some shuffling through my paperwork, consulting some books, the clerk came back and told me that the Chico office forgot to charge me for replacement plates--But they're MY plates, not replacement plates! Didn't matter, cost me another #35 dollars to make it "right." One office does not always recognize what another office does! Once you get your title, and keep your registration renewed, you don't have to deal with them! But woe be unto you if you let the yearly registration lapse! Been there, done that!
Thank you guys for the help I just got off the phone with asap vehicle verifiers manager who I asked about this issue and told him the information that the professional verifier told me and what he was wrong about. The manager called the guy and then the manager told me I was wrong and said that they follow a book dating back to the 1900. He also said that he is reporting the vehicles to the dmv investigation unit for stollen vehicles which surprised me. He admitted this has never been a situation before and that he will look into it. I then told him ill help you out and lead you in the right direction and gave him multiple links to websites showing that there are two vin numbers that are suppose to be the same in 1927.
I was actually very nice to the guy who proceeded to be mean to me back by for some reason saying that he will be reporting the vehicle stolen. Please I recommend that if possible you use another verification service because of their lack of knowledge on the model t and because how I was treated. I can guarantee that the car is not stolen because it was my grandpas and was previously registered in California under his name
Just a comment as to David Dewey experience with CA DMV. I did get a T registered while it was in parts (engine out & completely disassembled) however I obtained a title transfer and registered the T as "non-op". Several months later I paid registration and got plates. I spend about an hour at the window when I got the non-op as the gal would not look at the copies I printed from the CA vehicle code and had to call Sacramento for instructions. All was well as it ended well. The gal just didn't do that procedure everyday.
David, I don't imagine registering a vehicle is much different here than it is there. My main point was that some people are helpful and some aren't, and the unhelpful ones won't change even if you know exactly how to do their jobs. This is why I make sure to do my round of phone calls first, even if I've walked through every step before.
FWIW, in Ontario they also like taxing us. To put any car on the road we need to have it appraised (for the 13% tax), safety inspected, and if it was built post-'87(?) it needs to pass an emissions test. All that before you show up to the MTO to have everything changed over. Project cars can be registered here although they don't like to tell you that because they want your tax on the value of the finished car, not the heap you started with. We also see a lot of variance in how things are handled, the offices were franchised out a while back so while the system they work for is government and all of the offices look exactly the same, they're actually all independently owned and operated. Same with appraisers and vehicle inspections. This is where calling around is invaluable.
The more I hear about it, the more I think California just wants to be a sunnier, wealthier Canada.
Russel, it's easy to get freaked out when some government type panics (I deal with that for a living) but if you're in the right then you're in the right. What I suggest is to gather any and all paperwork that you may have showing the car in your grandfather's name, as well as anything verifying that the vehicle was transferred to you. You may need a notarized statement saying it was gifted (or willed or whatever) to you and that you are now the sole owner.
In addition, I would have an expert on speed dial for when you speak with the stolen vehicles department to clear up the business of the VIN number format. If it were me I would speak to the president of the MTFCA because a title like that should have some clout.
Overall, your biggest challenge right now is making sure you can show everything you present is correct. This isn't a moral contest about being right, just a technical challenge of of showing that all of your evidence is indisputable. Your documentation should be able to speak for itself and if it doesn't, back it up with more.
I've just thought about the problems David Dewey had with Oroville DMV and the fact that Chico DMV (30 miles apart) seemed to get it done. Back when I got out of service in Nov 1953 I had a car registered in Texas until April 1954 so I waited to register it in CA. The old bird in Chico stated I had 30 days to register the car and I had to bring my discharge in and I was going to be fined for all days over 30. When he left the gal at the window whispered to me "go over to Oroville" which I did and completed the transfer in about 10 minutes. So you never know.
Is "asap vehicle verifiers" a commercial operation that charges money for being a pack of fools? I would avoid any further interactions with such a bunch of incompetent asses.
I like the idea of asking club members about their successful dealings with the bureaucracy. It may help, although results vary not only by office, but by individuals within a particular office.
Hello Steve: Well when I registered one on my T's the Supervisor setting at the desk had this book (8 inches high) on her desk and she opened it to a page and said Mr.XXXXXX I bet you did not know this about your Model T's registering in
California! It was not only T's but I guess all cars, the plates had certain emblems , like the poppy, the bear, the star and I guess many more. I told her that I did not and she was very nice person! This is at the DMV office in Red Bluff, Cal. That is 32 mile from home and I will only go there for any motor vehicle business as they are very nice to deal with.
When I titled the two T's the total time for each was about 35 to 40 minutes. It is nice to deal with people that are friendly but business like, like the one that bark what can I do for you today in a voice like a DRILL SARGENT!
If grandpa signed the title over to you why should it be so difficult to obtain a new title in your name? After all, it is merely a used car.
Aren't car titles transferred every day by the California DMV?
In Texas we have DMV problems of our own, If I have a complicated title problem I use a title service cost a few bucks, but worth it, in Texas they have a presumptive value the State uses for old cars like a T it is $4000, regardless of weather it is a trailer Queen or a pile of parts,
another trick is to gather up all the documents and fee's due and mail them in to central DMV processing, They haft to make a decision, Bureaucrats hate it, they either approve it or they fill out the rejection forms and send Your money and paper work back,I did that on a Whizzer reproduction moped, I spent hours at the DMV and every time they called the state DMV it got more convoluted, So I took the dealers advise and mailed it in and the title and plates came in the mail, seems to work on grey area titles that are basically correct but have a minor problem or two DMV is hanging up on. and if you are not there in person they cant give you the third degree,
Russel's problems all started with the inept vehicle verifier. I hope the manager has not caused problems by making a false report (stolen vehicle)--If he has, I think he's committed a felony!
Erik, the difficulty is in the VIN verification--it shouldn't have been ANY problem. When I let one of my utility trailers lapse a few years, even though I still held the pink slip, and it hadn't changed ownership, I still had to have the VIN verified. I won't tell you all the troubles the CITY OF OROVILLE went through re-registering their 1922 Buick which also hadn't changed hands, just let the registration lapse a few decades. It took almost a year to straighten out, and this with a vehicle owned by a public entity!
Russel, it sounds like the ASAP verifier service should be investigated, and if they've screwed up your title transfer, sued! (and I don't like lawyers! Well, except my niece who is one--and she isn't a member of Dewey, Cheatum & Howe). This title transfer should have been a "slam-dunk."
Forgot to mention that even I have gotten an unassembled T titled, BUT I was careful to NOT mention that it wasn't a complete, driveable vehicle. It has been on "Non-Operative" registration since then. If the DMV knows it is not intact, it will definitely cause problems.
Interesting, I went to the ASAP website, and it states that since 10/1/16 ALL vehicles must have two VIN numbers. IF this is a correct interpretation of CA DMV Law, then what idiot wrote that law--I know my '46 Ch**y only had one VIN number, on a plate on the dash, my '53 only has one, and technically all Ts prior to 1926 don't either. So does that invalidate the titles we already have?? If existing titles are Grandfathered in, then the law sets up two different standards for the same year manufactured car, depending on when one has to file for a title (transfer or new).
What an interesting can of worms!
It appears that ASAP is large company. Too bad their personnel aren't correctly informed, at least on T VINs.
At least in Florida they will send the Police out to your house to do a VIN verification (at no charge) but you may have to schedule it a week in advance.
Here in Sunny Florida, all you have to do is call the police and they will come to the house to do the verification. The officer showed up a half-hour after I called and verified the numbers of four cars and a trailer (including mt '27 T). All he did was to look at the engine number of the T. The only vehicle that he was a little picky about was the trailer. Florida can be a PIA about some things (YOM plate verification comes to mind), but serial number verification is not one of them.
Biggest mistake folks make at any DMV is start telling them a about the car or how they got it.
treat DMV like the prosecutor in court.
You go in say i need this let them ask give simple answers dont go into details
be nice about it even if they are full of shit they have the power make your life h_ll.
You can usualy go to other offices in your state try again
Get vin inspection done by state city or highway partol.
Worst case use title or simular services
I lived in Southern California for most of my life and DMV was one of the many reasons I moved to North Arkansas. They have a habit of prolonging the issue and making you come back often. they always wanted some kind of signature from someone I could not locate. On a number of occasions I walked outside and forged a signature and returned to sort through more red tape. Last week I registered my recently purchased 1923 "T" in about ten minutes. My new title is on the way and I installed my antique license plate.
Right on Nevada Bob. There are employees of the Ca. DMV who consider it a personal and professional failure if you leave with what you came for and will do whatever they can to stop you. Give them as little as possible to work with and they have to prove you don't own the car. They are convinced you are cheating them out of money. I get a lot of satisfaction out of having all my paperwork ready and in my possession out of sight. The clerk tells me I can't title or register my car until I have such and such. So I pull it out. They are crestfallen at their failure to obstruct me, so they call in a supervisor for backup. Supervisor is also an idiot drone and has to fold his hand when I whip out my copy of the Ca. vehicle code and show him the law that says they must give me a title. You have to know the law and abide by it, but so do they. I go to different offices of the DMV every time I do this. Some are much more friendly than others. It is better to work with an authorized verifier or title service than going to the CHP. Getting a title on an undocumented car is getting harder all the time.
Dave Dewey: I also went to ASAP's website and saw it said that they require two VIN locations for verification, but I couldn't find the Ca. State law that makes it mandatory. It may just be company policy, but if it is State law there are many year cars where the second VIN location is a pain in the butt to get to see. Just imagine buying from another State a titled and newly completed high restoration points Model A and being told Ca. has to see the frame number that is under body and fender area! And if this is new law, for our pre 1926 T's we now need to get CHP assigned VIN mounted in two places on the car.
Thanks Governor Jerry Fidel Brown.
I can remember from my days in law enforcement that every American Car had a secret VIN Number somewhere on the frame. We would call out a Detective who would don overalls and slide under the car with questionable documentation and verify the VIN matched the one in question. In some cases the driver of the vehicle went to jail for an altered VIN. I guess this secret VIN is no longer a secret.