Gone in 60 Seconds

Do you make a photo of all those numbers after you buy a car?

One of the episodes of Texas Car Wars had a '66 Mustang that when the shop started tearing down the car for paint noticed that the number on the body had been welded in and the police officer found a different number in the other places.

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With the money involved there has been some shady stuff going on over the past 20 years or so. Sometimes engine block numbers are altered, number pads welded and restamped, and in some cases a good number pad from a totally wiped block is transferred to a good bogus block.

There was a story about a 70 Cuda said to be original and numbers matching that belonged to a rock band guitar star. It was discovered to be a number job on the block and that 440 engine block was from a motor home.

Even GM Protecto Plates have been reproduced along with metal build tags. I’m sure a lot of this fraud goes on through the auctions such as BJ and Mecum. The sellers may know or they may not if it existed before they bought the vehicle.

Back in the 60s and 70s VIN alteration became an art form with Harleys. It’s a miracle that legal engine cases even exist at all. There were no VINs on the frames. Some are good; some Ray Charles could spot.
There was a well known Top Fuel Harley guy from OK who owned a double engine drag bike. I looked that bike over closely in the shop once and both engines had the VINs ground off and replaced with some “OKxxxxxxxx” stamps. Bogus as hell but in his defense it might be said that the DMV told him to do it.
During an old HD build once the DMV told me to grind the VIN off and do this. Not a prayer is that ever going to happen. Regrinds or restamps means impoundment the first time a cop sees it as it is considered possession of stolen property even if the current owner bought it that way or the prior 3 owners. Makes no difference; it’s gone to the trash.

A few years ago a restored (not) 1952 Knucklehead went across the auction block at a major car TV auction. Knucklehead production stopped in 1947 and from the quick look I could see on TV it resembled a 52 Panhead chassis more than anything else. 54 Pig Snout transmission, wrong 3 rib fork panel, wrong speedometer, wishbone frame, wrong fenders/forks and on and on. Some sucker gave 50 grand for it. I imagine at some point soon after a real HD guy started providing the sordid truth about that financial suicide and what is likely an equally sordid VIN.


Porsche Panamera found in a lake in Mason County missing the headlights and was stolen from King county.

Heh heh. Friend of my dad’s had tow truck duty that weekend. Called my dad to see if he wanted to ride along on a lake recovery. Said to wear your swim trunks. No scuba gear in those days. I suppose he charged extra.

Watched a bit of venom 2 and noticed the red mustang convert sure had a nice exhaust sound. Not like any 66 mustang I’d ever heard. But, that’s movie magic.

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In Wisconsin, lake 50s, our school bus route went past a bar that had a car on a lake. The bar ran a betting pool on the date/time the car would break through the ice.

On one of The Learning Channel shows saw how cars that break through the ice are now retrieved.

They used to do that here. I think it was a dollar a ticket. Don’t think they ever pulled them out though so lots of nice 40s cars in the bottom of the lake.

The bar did have a chain attached to the car, would pull it out after sinking.

Maybe they did here too, I dunno but the thing would be way out in the middle of the lake.

The Bugatti recovered from a lake in europe had been on a chain that eventually broke sending the car into deeper water. Recovered and sold for charity.
Lady of the Lake – Mullin Automotive Museum

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