How do you register and get plates for a collapsed barn find that has been sitting 50+ years and does not have a title? Can the current barn owner just give you a bill of sale that most states will accept or is there some specific procedure?
First off in N.J. find the DMV nearest to you that handles collector car plates. They DO NOT all do it. If they don't you'll get bad information. Experience talkin' here. Second, I'm not 100% sure, (well about 99.5%), that you're not going to register ANYTHING without a title.
A "bill of sale" does not constitute legal ownership of a vehicle, no matter how hard the seller tries to convince you. In other words, he's selling something that he doesn't legally own, so it's useless. This does vary from state to state though, so as suggested check with your state DMV first before doing anything.
There are outfits that can provide you with a legal title for a fee and most of them advertise in Hemmings Motor News if I recall. Don't ask me how they do it, but it does work.
Different states, different laws.
Here in Michigan, a bill of sale (or a hand full of receipts showing you built the car up from various
parts) and passing a 10 minute inspection by the local police will get you an application for a
If there are no other titles showing in the state records for your car, they'll issue you a title.
That's how I've titled about a dozen cars (including a 1925 "TT") without a hitch-
Charlie has pretty much said it...NJ will not issue a title PERIOD. This state is really anal on the whole collector car thing yet has a commissioner personally commited to segregate out those '23 bucket builders from the classic/antique segment of NJ old cars.
If you have 1000 receipts in a box, and pictures of the build, (even up to only a complete chassis) NJ 'might' issue you a kit car title but still you'll be testing your luck. As Charlie says, you want to start with the list of those DMV offices authorized to do old cars...then you want to think of the demographics of each one...and then decide which one most probably gets old farm trucks and built up composite cars as routine daily transactions. THAT is the office you need to visit with the box of part receipts and some pictures. I'm not saying you can fool the office clerk and the supervisor, I'm saying they just usually seem to be more understanding and liberal in exercising the law.
Your best bet is to get a Bill of Sale, and find a way to 'move' to one of the Bill of Sale to title states. Either through a 'cousin', or, talk to the UPS store (real addresses now). Then get your paperwork in that state done up and find you need to 'move' back. You'll have to watch who you pay any tax to and the time in between, NJ has a bad habit of not accepting your word as to condition and price and the real savvy counter folks know there is a 'default' value book that the state prefers them to use!
It's not going to be easy.
On the other hand, you can buy a title usually for 400-500 bucks as a souvenir specimen for a car long gone. <cough>. I've heard that a few have gotten brave and took their 'souvenir' to DMV along with pictures exact to the letter of the law, and a fully paid in advance insurance policy that matches the title and have miraculously managed to walk out with a genuine title in their hands.
Haven't had the courage to try that myself...for what it is worth.
Purchased a 58 Chevy Apache from a farm in North Carolina in the late 80's with just a bill of sale. Took it to the RMV to get a title. The lady behind the counter, you could tell from her body language she was pissed, called a supervisor and discussed the situation. She called headquarters, North Carolina hemmed and hawed, but, now I have a title for the vehicle.
Can you believe it a state like Massachusetts would do a kind thing for someone!
As mentioned above, every state is different. Here in Arkansas a bill of sale and three receipts for parts or work will get you permanent antique vehicle tags and a real title. I have done dozens of them thru the years. If you know someone in Arkansas or some other bill of sale state. And you "trust" them. I would suggest to sell your car to them and have them title it in their name and then re sell it back to you with a signed (for example) Arkansas title and a bill of sale to use in your state. I have a cousin who lives in Oklahoma (a very, very, anal title state) He also collects cars. I have had to title a few in my name for him, and then resell back to him with good Arkansas papers. Its all legal, There is no law in either state saying we can not buy or sell and do business with each other. (I checked) So maybe that could be an option for you. good luck, have fun and be safe ...
Although there is a DMV five minutes from my house in Newton, NJ, I had to drive to the DMV in Washington Township, 45 minutes away, in order to register my T.
It is the only location in Northern NJ that issues Historic plates.
The local DMV offices in NJ will not take customer phone calls. If you have a question, you must call Trenton.
I actually had to make two 90 minute round trips, due to the fact that you must provide two pictures of your vehicle (one from the side and one from the front). The car can not be on a trailer when photographed. No one told me that when I inquired.
For almost 13K in property taxes per year, NJ should print up a title for you if you don't have one, deliver the plates to your house with an extra large Dunkin Donuts coffee, and restore your car for free!
On top of the 13K in taxes, there is also the income tax which also gets hefty...
Buy a house in Florida....quick.... Property taxes are maybe 2 bucks a sq.ft. per year after you file for homestead...no income tax....those differences alone let you own a fleet of T's....lol
Don't come to WI and do it! Sometimes its hard enough to get the correct registration completed even with a title.
Thanks for all the advice everybody! In the meantime I searched the internet and there is a You Tube video about getting Vermont plates with a bill of sale and then using the Vermont registration to get a title in your own state. Its a similar idea to some of the responses above. Thanks again.
Here in Nova Scotia, I literally had a bill of sale, a letter of confirmation of VIN from the RCMP. Literally took me ten minutes, and I had a proper title. I feel for you guys. I can't figure our why your governments have such difficulty taking your money
Tom: Check that out carefully! I believe there might be a problem with N.J. accepting that Vermont title. They apparently know about it and there's something going on. Ask before you spend any $ on that as there is a charge from Vermont for getting a title which I've heard is substantial.
Rob, here in taxachussets the answer is simple as
apple pie. They have a license to steel. They
do as they wish. My case for a title; never had
one. Original owner died in 1943. The car went
through 2 more owners that never did anything
with it. I consider myself really the second owner. Ok in five words or less them bums want
her to sign >here< ? Are they saying for me to
dig her grave up, thats what it amounts to. All
this was 2011. I just can not deal with brain
deads. My son goes there with a bag full of lies & worthless papers (they like that) & came
back with title.don't know how. Seven years later I attempt to renew for 2019: Now rejected
they say plate is no good?? You bums issued it
to me and want it back--but those bums issued it to me. PHOTO whats wrong with this plate??
My son says somebody in there wants it for their car & they can do that. Aint going to happen or I run the plate through a shredder.
Meanwhile I print a sticker and they go stick it!!!!!!!!!!!
Here in Texas the answer is who you talk to at the DMV. If you get someone thats older and more experienced they sometimes can make things fairly easy. But not always. If you can start with a bill of sale that's one thing. But if you don't have at least that be prepared for a LONG wait.
The simple answer is to use a bonded title service and be done with. It. Use one thats experienced with old cars that have no titles, bill of sale and etc.
Some folks can't understand you have to have some sort of paper trail to get a title.
One thing to remember is the reason most DMV's want a vin inspection is to see if your car is stolen.
If you can get past that your usually on your way.
N.J. used to have some the orneriest, nastiest
people on the face of the earth in the DMV Don't know if it's still that way. I moved moved to Missouri where they actually have people in the DMV. People that smile and even talk to you in a civil manner. I would't move back to N.J. if they
paid me. My family had been there for a few hundred years but it's not a fit place to live anymore.
In 1972 while in Italy, I purchased, sight unseen, from the back pages of Road & Track, a 1948 Bentley MkVI. When it arrived in the U.S from England it didn't have a title, but I did have a bill of sale.
My next base was in Oklahoma and they allowed a car to be titled on a bill of sale. They required the police to write the VIN on the form and sign it. Then I got my title.
How often & how far do you plan to drive it ?
If you find a VIN on serial number that is recorded to that
Model T and not any other car in your state - it might be worth
pursuing to bring it back to life because at least you can insure it.
Start there to see if the number is assigned to any other vehicle in your state or in the state you plan to title it in.
Kinda asking a gal out on a date thatís engaged - if she is already spoken for then .....
Good advice for anyone with a title problem... Don't live in North Carolina.
Go talk to the folks at Your local storage lot, They are title magicians for the most part, and get titles all the time for cars they have that were towed in for storage. They know all the tricks for Your State.
Bill of sale plus VIN verification by the local police for any car older than 1990 works fine in NH. Title not required for those older cars, but they are happy to issue one if you ask. Just did it for a '23 that doesn't even have a complete body on it. I just pointed to the engine number, they wrote it down, and we were good to go. Title now in hand. No advantage to having a title here, but I get them because it might make it easier if I want to sell to someone in a different state some day.
I bought an '82 C-10 pickup in RI. RI does not require a title on vehicles over a certain age. I presented the bill of sale to the MA RMV and (for a $50 fee) was granted a title. There has to be a way to get a title for a barn find vehicle that almost certainly was never titled.