Hot Cars

My teenage daughter is in the market to purchase her first vehicle. She set her sites on an orange and white striped 1999 VW bug for sale at a neighborhood used car lot. She took me to see it last Saturday evening after hours, the lot was closed for business but customers still have access to the cars. At first glance, it really is an attractive car in a teenage sort of way. It even appears to have an expensive custom 3-D paint job. However, upon further inspection I noticed the automatic lock and drivers side door was broken and the vehicle identification number was typed on a small piece of paper and taped in the corner of the front window. I also noticed the lock on the driver?s side door was broken on approximately half the cars we looked at on this particular lot.

Well when we got home, we looked up the vehicle identification number of the bug and found out it was an unauthorized vehicle identification number.

Is it fair to assume that this car may be stolen? In addition, what about all the other cars on their lot with the broken drivers side door locks, might they be stolen as well?

If not, how does a car “loose” its authorized VIN? And what logical explanation is there for all the broken drivers side locks?

I have visited many used car lots in my day and never have I seen so many broken locks on otherwise attractive cars.

What are your thoughts?

Run away from this car! Under NO circumstances give it, or this dealer, any consideration. There are plenty of New Beetles out there.

So you agree they sound a little shady? I was thinking about calling the police.

I probably would. That really does sound like they’re selling stolen cars.

Well, that’s up to you, I’d just avoid the place.

It’s Probably Coincidental, . . . But Then If One Really Thinks About It (For Over 2 Seconds). . . Did The Sign At The Lot Say, “Mid-Night Auto Recovery And Auto Parts” ?

Maybe they just break all the locks to make the cars easier to repossess.

And the funky VINs ? They probably make paperwork easier by using the same VIN on all the cars. It’s probably a cost savings thing.

It sounds like more than just the Bug’s VIN was unauthorized!



P.S. I’m just curious. We had a guy on here named 719Frontier719, talking about shopping for cars at a lot he described as . . . “well, its at one of those ghetto dealerships on the side of the road in town where people get shot and find prostitutes, but i just figure thats where you can find the deals!” Is this the same place ?

Shady? It’s downright pitch black out.
I’d call the local police station as an anonymous tipster and let them know they should send an undercover officer to that dealership. Inform your daughter that, while the car looks nice, it’s most likely stolen, and she needs to stay away from that place.

In my town there’s an aftermarket stereo place that’s been rumored to have customers come in and get their car done, only to have it broken into later on. Suspicion says they’re doing up the vehicles then breaking into them after awhile, but one can’t prove it though.

This dealer reminds me of the Ford dealer in the small town where I went to graduate school. I looked at some used cars there. This dealer had had a run of bad luck with trade-ins. Five of the six cars I examined had odometers that read all zeros. The salesman explained to me that the cars all had bad odometers and had to be replaced.

It’s hard to imagine that they are still in business. Make that anonymous call and let the police figure it out. There is no reason why you have to give your name. If the desk seargent insists, hang up. Maybe he’s in on it too. Hey, they seem to have been in business long enough to fill a lot with midnight specials. It’s possible.

Oh, they have been in business for a number of years and have two car lots here in town. My ex-husband purchased a car from them approximately a year ago, and to my knowledge, he has not had any problems with them or the car.
I am going to place an anonymous call to the police and possibly the news station as well.
I wish I knew how to locate the true owner of the vw bug. It really looks like somebody really invested a lot in that little car.

There’s only one way the invalid VIN can be NOT stolen.

If it were a composite car made up from multiple totals’ parts and a VIN therefore invented, ie; a ‘salvage’ VIN.

But even still, is such a car a wise purchase ?

Just know that the police have caller ID.

Instead of GUESSING about it, why not just ASK THE DEALER about the “funny” VIN??? They are open for business now.

You know it’s more than the funny VIN. It’s the funny VIN coupled with the numerous broken drivers side door locks that makes things appear a little suspicious.

This VIN is BOGUS!

Even VIN numbers issued by states for “one-off” vehicles must comply with federal regulations, and that includes the VIN being attached in such a manner that it cannot be removed without destroying the number itself.

I had occasion to look into the replacement of a VIN tag once and read the federal regs. In my case Toyota had a TSB just to clarify VIN tag replacement. It required that portions of the old tag be sent to Toyota’s main offices along with either a police report or an accident report clarifying what happened to the old tag. Getting a VIN tag is not an easy process. A missing VIN tag is almost a guarantee that the vehicle is stolen.

I urge you to call the police. We had a dealer here in NH that was selling stolen classic cars, and I strongly suspect the dealer you’re referring to is selling stolen vehicles.

ALL modern vehicles have the VIN on a plate visible in the lower-left windshield corner…They also have that same number stamped in at least 2 other hidden locations locations …

For all any of you know, THIS dealer might specialize in theft recovery vehicles he buys at insurance company auctions…I would walk in the front door and ASK HIM!!!

Now there’s a logical scenario I hadn’t thought of.
Which would explain the appearance of so much theft style damage yet in such public view as multiple dealer lots.

Repo auctions come to mind too.

You’ve brought up a good point, Caddyman.

Having said that, I’d avoid it without its VIN tag on the dash. I found out the hard way that these are difficult to replace. You cannot just buy a new VIN label. The one I learned that on required that in addition to some of the old VIN tag being suppied along with an acciddent or police report, the replacement could ONLY be ordered through an authorized dealer. These VIN labels are tightly controlled and a pain to replace. I’d look elsewhere.

Excellent point. I’m sure the police would be aware of this. And why didn’t the dealer fix the door locks? It’s obviously a turn-off to customers.