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eflexter Avatar
eflexter Eddie Flexter
Hey guys.
I'm always cruising the car market for deals. Not long ago I passed on a nice garage-find TR-6 because it had not title. Bill-of-sale only, like that's some kind of special thing I can't just forge myself.

So now I'm wondering, has anyone had any experience getting a title for a car that didn't come with one when purchased? I live in Kansas, and I'm sure laws vary. But I'm curious if ANYONE has had success with that?


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TR3driver Randall Y
Confusion, Los Angeles, USA   USA
As you say, it varies greatly by state. When I bought my TR3 on a bill of sale, the CA DMV didn't even ask to see it! When I said I didn't get a title, they just gave me a form to fill out and generated a new title. There were some other hassles over things like keeping the old license plates on the car, and having them inspect the car (to see that the VIN matched the new paperwork); but that was it as far as the title was concerned.

On one of the Stags, the VIN plate had obviously been tampered with, so they rejected the old title. Took a few days and a couple of visits to the CA Highway Patrol; but they eventually gave me a new title.

Of course, in both cases, I assume the result would have been different if the car had shown up in a stolen vehicle report.

I don't know if they are still in business, but there used to even be companies that would generate titles for old cars. They were located in states like Alabama that did not use titles "back when" and so cars older than a certain age can be transferred on a bill of sale. In effect, you transfer the car to them with a bill of sale, and they transfer it back with a title. Here's one that turned up with a quick Google: (but I don't know anything else about them).

56 TR3 TS13571L Once and future daily driver
71 Stag LE1473L awaiting engine rebuild
7? Stag awaiting gearbox rebuild

pbowen Patrick Bowen
Powell, OH, USA   USA
Any idea where I can find that Garage Find TR-6? I will take a bill of sale!

I had to do this for my '79 Spitfire in Ohio. It was found in Georgia, I started the restoration in Florida, and then moved to Ohio. Each state is different, but all states have some allowance for it.

I had to present the Bill of Sale, a State Trooper's Inspection, documentation from the Georgia DMV with information on the last registration of the vehicle (few emails and $5 I believe), and an affidavit.

All in all it wasn't too hard to do. I would certainly do it again, especially if it gets me a good deal.


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risingsunexperience Avatar
Trenton, NJ, USA   USA
Wonderful thread.

When I got my GT6 I didn't get a title because cars older than; I don't know, 1984 for some reason, didn't need titles according to the law in New York. What I did get was a "transferrable registration" which was basically an unused window sticker; something like an inspection sticker. I said the make and model and year of the car along with the commission number. I can imagine even if it were stuck to the windshield I could have scraped it off and taken that to the DMV.

When I went to the DMV with it I didn't expect to turn it into a title within minutes.

Check for transferrable registration stickers on the windshield of the car you find without a title; especially in New York but there may be other states that do it that way too.

petebro99 Avatar
petebro99 Pete Brown
Alexandria/Bristol, NH, USA   USA
1950 MG TD
1952 MG TD
1957 MG MGA "Baby"
1957 MG MGA 1500    & more
In New hampshire there is a little blue form the police will fill out to verify the VIN. Then registering is no problem

ng19delta Avatar
ng19delta Scott Roberts
Merchantville, NJ, USA   USA
1974 Triumph TR6 "Gypsy Rose T..."
My TR6 didn't come with a "no title" issue- it came with an OLD title problem! When I bought it, the guy I bought it from had owned the car for around 30 years: He had never titled it in his own name... Not a big deal if the title is signed off, but the owner previous to him hadn't titled it either! So I had the title signed over to HIM- from 1982! I let it ride for a year or so: doing a full frame off, I figured I had some time...

One day I called the guy I got it from, and started talking about the guy he'd gotten it from- I figured I might trying contacting him, and see about getting it titled over, and then signed over to me. But I had another idea- I contacted the guy HE'D bought it from- a small roadside used car lot. I guess I got lucky- the company was still in business(REAL LUCKY- he just shut down his shop two weeks ago after over 50 years in business!) and not only that, but it was the SAME owner who'd sold the car so many years back!

So I took an hours ride down to his shop, and had a pleasant time talking with the guy- He'd bought the shop after working for the last owner since the day he got back from the Army in 1965, and had owned it since the mid 70s. (When he got hired, he was hoping to goof off a few months before getting a job, so he gave the business owner a real high figure for a new mechanic's pay- and he got hired anyway!)

The mechanic took the title, and did the legwork- He ran it back to motor vehicles, and got a duplicate title in his name(perfectly legal- he was the last titled owner, and had the old one in hand. He was also a licensed dealer, and knew what to do) Anyway, I paid him for his time- about 2 hours shop rate: he'd had to make three trips to DMV- but got it worked out. Anyway, he got the new title, and took care of the paperwork- stamped it, and filled in the details. Unfortunately using the worlds oldest stamp- It barely showed up! When I went to title it, the DMV I went to refused it as it was, and I had to run back down, and get him to restamp it, etc...(He'd also written it as a gift- but they told me he couldn't do that) So down I went and he restamped it, and I paid tax for the amount he specified on the title. Back to a different DMV closer to home.

Well, THAT DMV trip was a little easier- the DMV person actually had British cars in the family! They checked over the title, and I told her the whole story, and had my title in no time...

Just thought I'd share... There is hope...


hoyt Avatar
hoyt Hoyt Duff
Virginia Beach, VA, USA   USA
In Virginia, you collect all the paperwork you have on the car and call the Special Inspections Unit of the DMV (804-497-7100) and they send a State Police officer to do a VIN check. The officer examines the car, your paperwork and checks to see if the VIN is reported as stolen. If it's all good, they fill out a form that you take to the DMV and register the car. You can use the old VIN number or, if the tag is absent or damaged, the state will issue a new one (with their number).

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vitesse6 Avatar
vitesse6 Cecil Wise
Coffeyville, KS, USA   USA
1966 Triumph Vitesse 2L "Blue Brick/flying Brick"

I live in Kansas and have had this same issue before. Given that the car is over 35 years old, it is very easy to get a title with just a bill of sale. All you have to do is have the highway patrol come out and inspect the car. He will than fill out the paperwork to get a title for you. I don't recall what it cost, but it was cheap. I also did this same thing when one of the cars I bought listed the body number on the title instead of the commission number.


christopizza Avatar
christopizza CHRIS S
1954 Triumph TR2 "Clarence"
1963 Triumph TR4 "Photene"
1969 Triumph TR6
1973 Triumph TR6 "6-Pack"
NC is very similar to Hoyt's post for VA.

My TR2 was titled with the engine number vs chassis number - not all that uncommon for older cars. But not a clear title in the eyes of NC Licence Bureau.

It took an on site officer inspection and background check to get the title -- funny thing is - they kept the engine number as the VIN. Not a huge inconvenience, either. Officer was pleasant and professional.

1954 TR2 long door "Clarence"
1963 TR4 German import "Photene"
1969 TR6 - needs a new home "Rusty"
1973 TR6 - needs paint - mechanicals completed "The Pig"

Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 2015-04-04 08:23 AM by christopizza.

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Michelotti Avatar
Michelotti Brad B
Marietta, GA, USA   USA
In Georgia the DMV states titles will no longer be issued for cars over 30 yrs old. All you need is a bill of sale along with a VIN# verification. A tag & registration will then be issued. It sounds like a lot of other states are taking this route in one form or another too.

Given today's law for where I live- a seller that has the police come out & verify a clean VIN# has a Triumph just as valuable as a car being sold with a title.

Kev.1 Kevin VanDeVelde
Prophetstown, Illinios, USA   USA
Illinios is a hassle, I got a TR from Georgia. The owner could not find the Reg. which it would have been over in minutes.

Call the state,for the forms, fill out the forms, do not fill out the form that the local PD has to sign they need to.
Figure the tax, Easy
Get a bond for 1.5 times the cost of the car.
And dont forget to ask about the filing fee.
Plus make sure you send in the orignial bill of sale
Plus appraisel by a vintage club or dealer

If the car is not driveable or apart for restore forget it until it is.
It took me 3 shots to make sure all was right.
Now that I know what all that has to be done not bad, but a pain.
It cost me if I can recall over $200 to title

britsnspits Avatar
britsnspits Michael Stoliker
Bethlehem, PA, USA   USA
1976 Triumph Spitfire 1500 "The Phoenix"
1978 Triumph Spitfire 1500 "Lucky"
Don't even ask in PA. The car is only good for parts without a title. PA requires you to track down the previous titled owner and get him to sign off on any claim to the car. That's assuming you can find a previous owner. Without a previous owner, you're done.

If you do find the previous owner and he won't give you a quit-claim, guess give the man his car. Kiss any money you sunk into it goodbye.

No title? Walk away.

TR3barton Avatar
TR3barton John Taylor
Greenfield, MA, USA   USA
Good Morning,

I have been down this hole four times. Three times involving cars purchased from NJ.

Once with help from the NJ DMV I obtained a NJ title for a car NOT knowing the last owner. Ran local newspaper ads etc etc.

In Massachusetts it is best to have good cooperation from the seller. The local police will need to visit to confirm the serials.

Be careful !!

Born Loser Avatar
Born Loser Silver Member Matthew Taylor
Land O Lake, FL, USA   USA
Had no issues in Alabama, they don't tittle our cars. Brought a couple into the state, and kept the original titles (one from Illinois, and one from Georgia). Good thing too, when I moved to Florida, had all sorts of issues, even though they were wearing good tags, in my name, from Alabama. Had to use the titles, and get them inspected by a State specialist that researched them prior. Couple months.

Took a Jeep to the USVI. Customs punched the work "Customs" through the title, rendering it useless. In the VI, no tittle is issued, just your registration. When I brought it back (years later), the VI registration was not recognized. Because I moved back to the original state it was titled in, I just applied for a lost title, and all was good. If I had come home to a different state, it would have been a parts car.

1960 Triumph TR3a
1970 Triumph Spitfire MK 3
2012 Mini Cooper SS Convertible
2018 Jaguar F-Pace

Yellowhawk Valley Avatar
walla walla, WA, USA   USA
1969 Triumph Spitfire "Walla Walla"
1969 Triumph Spitfire "Portland"
1972 Triumph Spitfire MkIV "Spokane"
1975 Triumph Spitfire 1500 "Dayton"    & more
For many years when I was working the streets in uniform, there were a couple of states that were just a major PITA when it came to tracing or working with stolen cars. Alabama, Georgia, NJ, and another SE area state I can't recall, were part of the headache. Some due to the issues you mention above, and some due to their willingness to just sell titles to anyone. Even the NATB was critical of those states and their processes.
I know many of them have changed over the last few years, but obviously some have not.

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