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  • Titles, how to get one

    Here's a topic for many of us. How to get a title for a bike that you believe is 99% NOT stolen, and fell into the void of neglect, and/or the careless estate of "I don't give a sh!t" relatives who sold it at a garage sale?
    Eric Smith
    AMCA #886

  • #2
    The rules and possibility of getting one vary by state. There is no simple answer. The best first step is review what your state requires.
    Robbie Knight Amca #2736

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    • #3
      Eric, since our state (VT) doesn't issue titles for older vehicles I've never dealt with that issue...BUT there are lots of people who get Vermont plates and registration through the mail without ever setting foot here (...and that's okay with me ;-) So, I'm wondering if you have a valid registration from another state, like Vermont, will that help you get a title in your own state?
      Pisten Bulley is Harry Roberts in Vermont.

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      • #4
        I apologize. This is in the wrong thread and I can't seem to delete it. If it is indeed stuck here; my motive was to get opinions, and anecdotes on other member's experiences. . . Not a lecture on my state's title laws.
        Eric Smith
        AMCA #886

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        • #5
          Thanks, Harry. I am pursuing the Vermont option but have run into the expected Florida government red-tape, and bureaucracy that we have come to know and love in this modern age we live in Like I said, I thought this might be an interesting topic that could include other members experiences.
          Eric Smith
          AMCA #886

          Comment


          • #6
            Eric, it's always good to hear member's experiences when beginning the process of obtaining a title. i seem to recall there was a similar thread a year or so ago and i tried being helpful but quickly became aware that as Robbie said, each state has their own laws, so there is not one answer that fits all 50 states. Here in Colorado, as long as i am able to talk to a clerk with experience understanding that Colorado can process an out of state registration with a license plate that said state does not have a title law (in my experience, for vehicles 25 years an older) and only provide a registration slip and license plate, then getting a Colorado title is as easy as 1, 2, 3.

            in cases where i have had a bike without title that the bike originated within the state of Colorado, then i had to become familiar with Colorado vehicle licensing law, identify the step by step process to get the various pieces of paperwork completed by the various individuals representing different agencies, e.g., proof that i could not identify the last known owner of said vehicle and if i was able to identify said owner, then send them a letter asking them to verify they has sold the motorcycle or or released it from their possession, then state patrol for vin inspection, obtain a bond, etc. Here in Colorado, i have initiated at least 3 titling processes on three different bikes on three different occasions without titles and each time there were variations in the process, so i found it always important to have a knowledgeable title clerk at my local DMV website and where i downloaded forms to begin navigating my way through steps and procedures of what i was reading on the DMV website. in the past, i have also used on at least three different occasions, three different companies that obtain titles or only registration with a license plate in exchange for my money and in those all of those cases said company sent me back Vermont registration and license plate.

            Most recently, when i first began work on my "Frank" project my local buddy walked me through how i could do the Vermont application for registration and license plate from the happy confines of my home. The only thing that required extra effort in following the Vermont process was having a friend who owned a dealership look at Frank's left crankcase to verify the vin which Vermont required and then going to a title clerk i knew at our local DMV who knew the drill on Vermont's registration and plate for Frank coming from Vermont into Colorado so i could obtain a Colorado title, registration and license plate.

            i hope how i just wrote my experiences makes sense. i agree with Robbie, if you decide to do the titling process yourself, then i would think the first step is to familiarize one's self with how to begin the steps of the process your state's DMV requires, obtain the required forms and then ask a title clerk at your local DMV if you are on the right track or ask that title clerk to clarify the process for you. At least that is what i have done in some of my title procurement efforts here in Colorado.

            it used to be that "International Title Company, could provide Alabama registration and license plate, but that was at least 15 years ago and i have since heard Alabama is no longer a non-title state for vehicles older than 25 years, so what i think i understand is correct about Alabama may in fact be untrue.

            i hope this is what you are looking for and if not, please accept my apologies in advance.
            Last edited by Steve Swan; 11-23-2020, 07:01 PM. Reason: spelling and grammar
            Steve Swan

            27JD 11090 Restored
            https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ClUPIOo7-o8
            https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LtuptEAlU30

            27JD 13514 aka "Frank"
            https://forum.antiquemotorcycle.org/...n-Project-SWAN
            https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hNRB...nnel=steveswan

            https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RSDeuTqD9Ks
            https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bwlIsZKmsTY

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            • #7
              Good stuff, Steve. A jungle guide through the bureaucratic wilderness is essential, but hard to come by.
              Eric Smith
              AMCA #886

              Comment


              • #8
                Older bikes can still be registered by whatever document the State requires. What do those States consider valid proof of sale? In NY for all *-72 it's a "transferable registration" with a signature endorsement on the back.
                In 1973 Federal law required a title for every 1973-* vehicle.
                The Linkert Book

                Comment


                • #9
                  Here in Pennsylvania, there is a process to get a county court order directing the PA DOT to issue a title for a vehicle. The basic process is to first get an official search from the DOT showing the VIN is not in their records. You then submit that with your evidence of ownership (bill of sale, etc.) and if you can get one, a National Crime Information Center (NCIC) search run on the VIN showing the vehicle is not stolen (I have not found the NCIC search necessary, but if you can get the police to run one, its nice to have), along with a petition asking for the title. Sometimes a judge makes you run legal ads in your area to advertise your effort to get the title for the vehicle. This process is not only used for motor vehicles here, but also mobile homes, as the old single wide mobile homes were born with a vehicle title issued through the DOT and after they are set in place the titles often got lost, so this is how mobile home park owners can get clear ownership of abandoned mobile homes to get them out of their parks. I would think Florida has a similar process. Poke around on the internet for how people get titles to abandoned mobile homes in Florida and you might find the process. You may have to get a lawyer to file the papers and shepherd the process through court, but then again, you may be able to get it done on your own. If what you are titling has value, the cost of the court process is worth it and your title would be bullet proof.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Eric. is it easy to get a out of state title transferred to a Florida title?

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      I have always found it easy to walk in to the DMV. Fill out an Application For Title. Have the numbers verified, pay some money and get the title. If the vehicle turns up with a registration history then I do a Lein Sale.
                      Be sure to visit;
                      http://www.vintageamericanmotorcycles.com/main.php
                      Be sure to register at the site so you can see large images.
                      Also be sure to visit http://www.caimag.com/forum/

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Chris

                        Not all States do it that way and that easy. If I walked into a Wisconsin DMV with no previous paperwork they might well call the cops - this happened to me 35 years ago. Here local DMV's only handle current registrations. Everything non-current or non-existent has to be done by mail.

                        Jerry


                        Originally posted by Chris Haynes View Post
                        I have always found it easy to walk in to the DMV. Fill out an Application For Title. Have the numbers verified, pay some money and get the title. If the vehicle turns up with a registration history then I do a Lein Sale.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          In Ct. they "don't issue" titles to vehicles more than 20 years old. This really rubbed me the wrong way and when I gave the example of a title being issued for a $500.00 18 yr. old Neon but NOT issuing a title for a $5,000,000.00 50 year old Ferrari , the clerk then saw my point. BUT, in order for me to get a title for my 36 VL it was suggested that I write a letter explaining my position to the Commissioner of Motor Vehicles and maybe he would be able to help me since she was unable to override the "State Policy" even when I was offering to pay extra. Well, I DID write said letter, (3pages!) and duly sent it off, not really expecting to hear anything back. To my surprise, about 6 months later, I got a letter back from the Commissioner (along with my new title), thanking me for my letter and for making them aware of a viewpoint they had not considered. If a vehicle is going to be put up for auction (Barrett-Jackson for instance) the auction house wants all the paperwork, including title, way in advance before they will even accept a vehicle to sell. A title is a valuable document like the deed to a house and is kept in a safe place with other important documents. Legal ownership should not be just the registration (required to be kept on the vehicle in Ct,) making it available to anyone stealing the bike! Anyway, a title CAN be obtained with enough perseverance and communicating with the right people. Don't give up the fight! Hope this helps.....Smitty P.S. They will consider making the issuance of a title an "available option to the owner" at some point in the future. We'll see if that happens.........

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            I have done a 5-6 in NY starting about 35 yrs ago and learned a few things along the way. I will be doing one in the near future and will follow the last process that worked well. It cost a few extra bucks but was WELL worth it. What has changed recently is you need a "Bill of Sale" from the previous owner stating the price paid. After that I have found the following to work well on PRE-70 bikes.

                            1. Go to local DMV and pay the sales tax. You will need the bill of sale for this. This is the last time you want to see the locals as around here they are not very helpful or knowledgeable. You will need to send the sales tax receipt later. Make a copy.

                            2. Find a "Year of manufacture" plate." meaning a real plate the same year as the bike. I know, it costs but saves ALOT of hassle.

                            3. Have local P.D. verify the vin and supply a document on their letterhead.

                            4. Take pics of vin AND license plate. You will need to sign an affidavit that the plate is UNRESTORED. All paperwork is online.

                            5. Purchase HISTORICAL insurance from your choice of companies.

                            6. Send everything including the sales tax receipt to "THE SPECIAL PLATE DIVISION" in Albany NY. They are VERY helpful and nice to deal with. They even answer the phone.

                            Check online for using vintage plates or historical plates. Make sure to do all they ask for. This makes it very easy. ANY other way is a nightmare. After sending everything you should get a Transferable Registration in a short time. With the virus issue who knows.
                            D. A. Bagin #3166 AKA Panheadzz 440 48chief W/sidecar 57fl 57flh 58fl 66m-50 68flh 70xlh

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                            • #15
                              Again, I apologize for starting this thread in the wrong category, but D.A. Bagin, and HDSmitty gave some excellent advice, and personal experience that could help people in other states. Very much appreciated.
                              Eric Smith
                              AMCA #886

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