Old car title

Sounds crazy, but I seem to have the wrong title for a car I’ve had for 32 years. I let the registration lapse on my 1953 Chevy truck when it stopped running 25 years ago. I left it in my Mom’s garage thinking I would have the money to fix it in a couple years. So, a few years back, I move across the country, towing the truck behind the moving van, planning on finally fixing it. Well, I go to register it and they tell me I don’t have the right title because the vehicle number on the paper doesn’t match the number on the truck body. Am I ever going to be able to drive my truck legally again or have I been towing the world’s biggest paperweight all over the country. Thanks in advance for any help.

Here in AZ there is a process to get the correct title. It involves the concept of a abandoned vehicle. Your situation is odd, you have a title for the right make model but a incorrect VIN. Contact a title service business. I don’t feel your situation is at all hopeless. I had 49 Chevy pickup drove that truck as a daily driver until 82.

Back “in the day” cars and trucks were often registered by their ENGINE numbers. Seems really stupid since engines wear out and can be swapped for one with another number. This was especially true of “babbit beaters” such as your '53 Chevy. That was the last year before Chevy went to a full pressure oiling system.

It is possible that the youngin at the DMV (or whatever you have where you live) was not aware of this situation and only checked what sufficed for a VIN plate on 1953 Chevy, or s/he may have checked the engine number and found it to be incorrect per the title.

Where I live, antiques can be registered simply with a bill of sale. No title is needed. Perhaps you can get a title by having someone “sell” it to you. If not, what you need at this point is the help and advice of an auto title service. We have several here, but this is a city of 300,000. I don’t know where you are, but if there are none available in your area, there are usually title services advertised in Hemming Motor News that can do it for you. Hemmings has a website. Google it. A friend in Colorado got a title for a VERY old MG this way. It was not a CO title, but he was able to get one from CO with the out of state title in his name. I think he spent $200 getting it.

These things do happen occasionally, and eventually you may be able to convince the Motor Vehicles Bureau that it is your car. I drove a “phantom car” for a number of years. Its was sold to me as a Dodge Colt (made by Mitsubishi for Chrysler), but on the hood and trunk it said “Plymouth”. When I pointed this out to the clerk at the Motor vehicles Branch, he shook his head and told me “that car does not exist” while looking at it!

I told him it was not a custom job, but he refused to be confused by facts.

Later I learned that initially both Dodge and Plymouth dealers were going to sell this particular model Colt, but only Dodge dealers ended up doing so , I’m told. As a result the Motor Vehicles Bureau never registered the brand and model.

If you can’t find the number on the engine or the frame (and I suggest you look in a Google search for “1953 Chevrolet truck forum” for websites that can help you find a number) then go to the DMV and just forget about your old title. Tell them there is no title for this truck, which is true, and see what happens next.

If you get really desperate ask how a storage facility does it. I was looking at a 66 olds left in a storage unit and due to unpaid fees was up for auction at the storage yard. Their quote was we will guarantee a title. If they can do it you can do it!

Check out this site: http://www.chevytalk.com