VIN does not match Car Model

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#1

I bought a car at a nationally televised auction. Not the car I was looking at but was caught up in the bidding. I won the bidding on this one. I bought some parts for it and realized the VIN was for a 1966 Chevy II sedan. The car was a coupe. The Vin was swapped. The sellers agreement stated “CARS WITHOUT A VIN OR INCORRECT VIN WILL NOT BE ALLOWED IN THE SALE”. A sticker was placed on each car’s windshield showing that it was inspected by retired law enforcement agents for irregularities in other words approved for sale. Do I have recourse here to get a refund. The car was sold “As Is”. All S/N were wiped from the car. I like the car but think pouring money into it will be a losing proposition and it might come up stolen later. It is titled.

Thanks in advance!


#2

The car has been reconstructed as many of these collector cars have been…If the VIN on the car and title match and the title says it’s a 2-door coupe but the VIN says it’s a 4-door sedan, then somewhere back down the line someone got a little careless…Today, these people might be very hard to find…The seller at the auction will claim complete ignorance of the discrepancy…

post the cars VIN and let the forums experts kick it around…


#3

Well it was a misrepresentation at the least, and fraud at the most. So certainly I would be looking at a refund. Did you take possession yet? I would think the network televising it would also bear some responsibility, but good luck.


#4

This isn’t a car question. This is a legal question.
You need to consult an attorney on your state to get the correct answers.


#5

This kind of stuff happened all the time when the value of the cars involved was virtually nothing. It was used as an expedient way to get a title and registration on a project car that had “paperwork problems”…But now, with these $200 cars being restored to showroom condition and sold at televised collector car auctions for fantastic amounts of money, a VIN transfer can result in an F.B.I. investigation with lawyers standing ready to pauperize the guilty parties if they can be identified…


#6

Something similar happened on a recent episode of Texas Car Wars. One of the shops bought an old Mustang roller at auction, took it home to the shop and got to work. Eventually one of the guys noticed that the VIN on the body had been cut out and a different VIN piece welded in. They had the sheriff come in and run the VIN, and it turned up stolen. Goodbye Mustang.

I hope it works out for you, but having all the ID numbers rubbed out doesn’t sound like just a clerical error.


#7

Thanks for the replies. I’m in touch with a lawyer and am seeing him today in fact. I actually talked to the builder since I demanded it. I mentioned the car had a 1967 front end and he told me he changed it from a 1966. I mentioned the VIN at that point his reply “Hey they do it all the time!”. Well alarms went off. I demanded to talk to the seller. They had me talk to him. He said. I sold the car in your state a few months ago??? It’s been built nice but the “what if’s” are looming. I contacted the “Peoples Lawyer”. They felt I had a really good case for the “Texas Deceptive Trade Practice”. They couldn’t recommend a lawyer. The problem with lawyers is that not all of them are versed on these things. I feel I’m going to have to educate this one at my cost. I took the car to the Houston Theft Division. All they did was admire it. “How fast does it go?” Didn’t know where to look for additioanl VINs. I had to show them. You get the picture. I contacted the state office some lady says “I dunno???” These auctions “Live” are junk in most cases…the cars look great on the screen. Don’t go to one if you like to watch them on the tube.
Thanks for all of the info. I’m trying to get opinions here. I took possesion took 7 months of talking to them to finally get cut off when I mentioned legal advice.


#8

As I recall, GM cars of that era had 3 VIN locations…The “special” pop-riveted VIN plate on the firewall near the master cylinder. Fairly easy to swap. But it was also stamped into the frame in 2 places, under the motor mount or in the motor mount area and in the rear where the frame goes up and over the axle. On the inside I think…the only way you could remove those frame numbers was to lay an arc-weld bead over them…Grinding was not as effective as chemical tests could still bring up the number…


#9

I found one on the firewall drivers side. Ground down to scratches. The firewall plate is gone due to shaving it smooth. The rear end is a 9: so the whole rear end is new. Contacted a lawyer the the wheels are in motion.


#10

If It was sold as a matching numbers car, then you have a beef. If not, then you should have expected that the car could have parts from another car, including (especially) the engine. Just make sure it isn’t stolen or unsafely rebuilt and you should be OK. If you still are dissatisfied, you may have to chalk it up to your continuing education.


#11

Isn’t it illegal to deface/remove any markings as the OP described? Even if the vehicle isn’t stolen?


#12

I’m likely of no help on this but if any VIN area has been ground down it’s possible that numbers could be resurrected with an acid test or X-rays.

Most of my old dealings are with motorcycles and any VIN that has been tampered with in any way is subject to immediate confiscation. There are cops at major motorcycle rallies whose sole job is walking around checking for missing or altered VINs. Off to impound they go if found.

Many years ago I owned an old Harley Sportster for a while. It’s a long story but it was eventually determined there were 3 bikes with the same VIN. I owned the legal one, there was an altered one in KS, and another altered one in CA.


#13

I’m no legal expert, but I believe @jesmed has a good point.

I think it’s not legally permitted to intentionally remove those VIN numbers


#14

Vehicle parts can be sold as such, used parts or even scrap. So a frame, a front clip, a rear clip can all be combined to create an operating vehicle…Say the builder had a nice front clip and a title to go with it, a good, legal VIN. So he uses it to register the car…But, hidden away under the car is one, maybe 2 different VIN’s…The title is for a 4-door but the body is now a 2-door…

Nothing ILLEGAL has occurred, but this is no longer a 100% factory numbers matching car, a term you here quite often at fancy car auctions…Let the buyer beware…VIN number Cut & Paste, it’s been going on forever…

Now, if the SELLER misrepresented the pedigree of the car, that’s fraud and that’s a felony…


#15

Very interesting. Please let a of us know how it turns out. Sounds like fraud to me too. Good luck


#16

Have you contacted the auction company? They have vested interest and they might be able to set your mind at ease or act in your behalf. I really doubt that this is outright fraud. Mistake or incomplete paper work.


#17

But JT, its not a matter of the various parts not matching, but the VIN itself is for a different model. They represented that the cars had been inspected for false VINs and that’s what the bidders relied on. Totally different than an engine or trans or fender having a non matching number on it.


#18

I guess the interesting legal question is how much of a car can you replace before it is no longer “that” car?////I asked this once before about importing Mexibeetles and Tsurus…how much of the non-conforming car could be swapped onto the older US model before it ceases being the car identified by the particular VIN…////For firearms, the receiver or frame defines the gun; for car’s there’s more of a grey area. (I know semis have “glider kits” whereby a new rolling assembly can be mated with an older driveline and retain the old ID, but I don’t think it applies to passenger vehicles.)


#19

I don’t know the answer to that but cars have been cut in half and two different halves welded together. You wouldn’t weld a two door half to a four door half though. I’m sure engines, body panels etc. can be swapped no problem. When you marry a new body to an old frame or vica versa, not sure which VIN would be used or maybe a new one issued.


#20

@Bing, see @caddyman’s comment.