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Old 09-09-2020, 08:11 AM   #1
BRENT in 10-uh-C
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Default Title goes with Frame or Engine?

I fielded an interesting question on a topic that has been around for years but maybe modern laws change the obvious answer.

Scenario;

An incomplete Model-A chassis is being dismantled by a hobbyist. One buyer buys the engine and transmission, ...and a different buyer purchases the chassis and what is left of the body. Both buyers want the title. Which buyer does the title legally go to?
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Old 09-09-2020, 08:24 AM   #2
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Default Re: Title goes with Frame or Engine?

Quote:
Originally Posted by BRENT in 10-uh-C View Post
I fielded an interesting question on a topic that has been around for years but maybe modern laws change the obvious answer.

Scenario;

An incomplete Model-A chassis is being dismantled by a hobbyist. One buyer buys the engine and transmission, ...and a different buyer purchases the chassis and what is left of the body. Both buyers want the title. Which buyer does the title legally go to?
Both buyers bought a pile of parts which I don't believe either pile will have a title, at the end of the day piles of parts aren't titled. MHO

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Old 09-09-2020, 08:27 AM   #3
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Default Re: Title goes with Frame or Engine?

I would think that because the engines are very interchangeable that the title would logically attach to the chassis / body.
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Old 09-09-2020, 08:29 AM   #4
aermotor
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Default Re: Title goes with Frame or Engine?

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Originally Posted by McMimmcs View Post
I would think that because the engines are very interchangeable that the title would logically attach to the chassis / body.
But a frame is replaceable, so now where is the title?

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Old 09-09-2020, 08:31 AM   #5
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Default Re: Title goes with Frame or Engine?

Interesting hypothetical question.

I think legally it could go to either, but I think an argument could be made that it goes with the chassis. The chassis mark would correspond to the dash VIN on modern cars. It was easier to read the SN on the engine than the frame. The counter argument could be that it is the motor because in Model T days, the number was on the motor only and later put on the frame.

Does the title mention body style? If it does, then the frame/body is the answer, but I think this is an unanswerable question.
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Old 09-09-2020, 08:34 AM   #6
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Default Re: Title goes with Frame or Engine?

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Possibly sell title to higher bidder, but rightfully should be retired. As aermotor says, they're both parts, which are untitled.
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Old 09-09-2020, 08:41 AM   #7
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Default Re: Title goes with Frame or Engine?

What if you had your old original engine replaced with a newly rebuilt one. The old original block had been done a couple of times and the newly rebuilt one was in much better overall condition.

Would you give your cars title to the person who bought your old engine or the engine rebuilder who wanted the core?

Am I missing something here?

Enjoy.

Last edited by WHN; 09-09-2020 at 04:15 PM.
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Old 09-09-2020, 08:43 AM   #8
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Default Re: Title goes with Frame or Engine?

In Tennessee (Brent and I), the title goes with the engine. If you buy a basket case you can assemble the car and go get a title with the original title. However, you can change engine numbers with a bill of sale with the replacement engine.
It gets more complicated if you have NO title. With that you have to give an affidavit of construction and prove you paid sales tax where applicable on the items for reconstruction. If you have a title, a county will still charge sales tax on the FMV unless you can prove exempt(very few). the If you can’t prove such, they will impute sales tax and charge you!!!
However, the THP has to inspect the build for highway worthiness!
They put a plate on the firewall
Not easy. In TN best to go to smaller county if possible (supposed to be where your domiciled) as the larger ones like to make problems for you it seems

Badpuppy....in TN it’s illegal to sell a title
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Old 09-09-2020, 08:53 AM   #9
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Default Re: Title goes with Frame or Engine?

You can have VIN numbers assigned here in the peoples republic.just put your pile together and some bureaucrat will bless it with legality.
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Old 09-09-2020, 08:56 AM   #10
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Default Re: Title goes with Frame or Engine?

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Badpuppy....in TN it’s illegal to sell a title
I suspect it is most places. So - rightfully the title should be retired. It shouldn't go with either bag of parts.
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Old 09-09-2020, 08:56 AM   #11
BRENT in 10-uh-C
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Default Re: Title goes with Frame or Engine?

Quote:
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Possibly sell title to higher bidder, but rightfully should be retired. As aermotor says, they're both parts, which are untitled.
Legally, the title (-and the number listed) is the documentation that proves rightful ownership of one of those two items. Each state typically recognizes an assembled group of parts as a manufactured vehicle when it displays a number that the Department of Transportation has authorized them to use.
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Old 09-09-2020, 09:08 AM   #12
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Default Re: Title goes with Frame or Engine?

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I suspect it is most places. So - rightfully the title should be retired.
Interesting perspective. The name on the title shows who is the legal owner of item possessing that VIN. No reason to 'retire' a legal document since the item it is representing is still a tangible item.
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Old 09-09-2020, 09:09 AM   #13
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Default Re: Title goes with Frame or Engine?

Interesting question. It was fear of mine with my '31 fordor. I knew the motor had been changed and was afraid that, when I went to register it that somebody may be using the motor/reg already. Don't know what became of the original motor and the car hadn't been registered in many years. Turned out to be no problem but still. On another, only vaguely related, I had bought an '04 short box quad cab 3500 Dodge, cummins that the body was smashed but not reported to insurance so not written off. Then bought an '04 Dodge 1500 quad cab short box that had the motor blown and put the 1500 body on the 3500 chassis. It had to be registered as the 2004 1500 but changed the fuel to diesel. So now i have a Dodge 1500 with diesel, 6spd 4X4 that started life as a gas, auto, 2WD. I stamped the vin from the 3500 on a piece of aluminum and riveted it to the rad support so I have it for ordering parts for the lower parts of the truck. Bottom line, VIN stays with the body with newer vehicles. Of course, there is no vin on the body of Model A's so........
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Old 09-09-2020, 09:15 AM   #14
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Default Re: Title goes with Frame or Engine?

Bought my first Model A in 1983. Since I was doing a Rootlieb Speedster, I bought a frame and running gear. The owner kept the CA pink slip and stamped a phony chassis number on my frame, as I did a bonded title in CO. However, he rebuilt the engine and returned it to me with the number ground off. I reported him to the DMV and he ended up with a hefty fine. Boyd Coddington was building six figure hot rods with Model A paperwork to avoid sales tax.


Most if not all states have some sort of bonded title procedures to register an A built out of parts. My hot rod A has a bonded title and it was probably easier to get than trying to find an original title from a previous owner. Sometimes, Model A owners over think things.


PS....most state DMV offices are on to the Broadway Title scam. Don't waste your money buying a title.
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Old 09-09-2020, 09:21 AM   #15
BRENT in 10-uh-C
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Default Re: Title goes with Frame or Engine?

Quote:
Originally Posted by denis4x4 View Post
Bought my first Model A in 1983. Since I was doing a Rootlieb Speedster, I bought a frame and running gear. The owner kept the CA pink slip and stamped a phony chassis number on my frame, as I did a bonded title in CO. However, he rebuilt the engine and returned it to me with the number ground off. I reported him to the DMV and he ended up with a hefty fine. Boyd Coddington was building six figure hot rods with Model A paperwork to avoid sales tax.


Most if not all states have some sort of bonded title procedures to register an A built out of parts. My hot rod A has a bonded title and it was probably easier to get than trying to find an original title from a previous owner. Sometimes, Model A owners over think things.


PS....most state DMV offices are on to the Broadway Title scam. Don't waste your money buying a title.
We're getting off of topic here. Denis, please give me your opinion of the original question.
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Old 09-09-2020, 09:43 AM   #16
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Default Re: Title goes with Frame or Engine?

Title should go with the chassis/body remnants.

Think of it this way: your punk neighbor swaps out the mill in his '64 Impala for one of those initial motors, and you bought the 327. Would you expect him to sign the title for the Chevy over to you?
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Old 09-09-2020, 09:50 AM   #17
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Default Re: Title goes with Frame or Engine?

In California, a VIN verification (CHP) only applies to the chassis number. Therefore, I'd say the title belongs to the chassis (at least in CA). Engine numbers are inconsequential unless we're talking smog laws, etc.

Theoretically speaking, a Model A with no paperwork would go to the CHP for a VIN assignment, which would be applied to the body via special tag (and possible stamped in the chassis as well).

Have a friend who bought a pickup from out of state. Went to the CHP for VIN verification to get CA paperwork. Frame number didn't match the title, but it did match the tag on the door frame. "No dice", says the CHP. Turns out the truck that the chassis belonged to was reported stolen out of state many years ago. After a few stressful weeks, the CHP finally released the truck with a new VIN number and paperwork. They couldn't care less that the engine was a new crate engine from GM, it was all about the frame number.
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Old 09-09-2020, 09:57 AM   #18
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Default Re: Title goes with Frame or Engine?

title goes with chassis- end of story.
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Old 09-09-2020, 10:07 AM   #19
BRENT in 10-uh-C
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Default Re: Title goes with Frame or Engine?

Some very interesting comments & opinions. Ironically the correct answer is listed in the Ford Model-A Instruction Book. The legal keyword is 'grandfathering' in determining the correct answer.
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Old 09-09-2020, 10:07 AM   #20
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Default Re: Title goes with Frame or Engine?

Why would you report someone and mention that a 'hefty fine' was paid?
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