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Discussion Starter #1
Hello all,

So I am conflicted. I live out in California and have been looking for a nice Mustang for a long time. I thought I had finally found the one, a magnificent 65 Fastback that has gone thru an extensive ground up restoration. I have seen all of the pictures and documentation and just today discovered that the fender aprons were replaced in the restoration process. The builder did document the original VIN's and the person who is now selling the car did have to go thru the DMV registration process to get a clear title but the fact remains that the original VIN's are gone and it really bugs me. I hate to pass on such a magnificent car because numbers are not on the replacement aprons but I do worry that if I do attempt to sell this car down the line it will be extremely difficult. Any thoughts from other in the forum who have gone thru this (preferably in California).

Thanks in advance!!
 

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This is one of the most popular subjects on this forum and results in pandemonium every time it's brought up.
How is the car currently titled? With a State issued VIN?
If the person who rebuilt the car had simply transferred the VINs to the replacement aprons everything would be fine. If he was so ignorant as to tell the DMV that he replaced the aprons without transferring the VINs it's his loss. But you say someone else is now selling the car so maybe he is about to learn an expensive lesson about buying collector cars without the original VIN.
Let the fun begin!
 

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When I replace an inner apron I always stamp the original VIN to the new part.It is just part of the restoration process.It is only fraud if you change the number.
 

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Were all the fender aprons replaced and therefore all three VIN's are gone?

When I bought my 65, the visible VIN was gone because the apron had been replaced, but there was a Washington state sticker with VIN in its place. The other two original VINs were still in place under the fenders. When the Army sent me to Arizona, I went to register here, but the local DMV wouldn't use the Washington VIN as proof. I had to show the VIN stamped under the fender, so I took a 1/2" socket and a flashlight with me. Got it registered! :)
 

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Discussion Starter #6
LeeFred, yes unfortunately both aprons were replaced during restoration process. The car has a clean title status in California with the VIN on the door tag that matches the builder documentation from the original aprons. 1ofmillion+ not sure what you are saying as I have no idea what driving has to do with this and if I was a sucker I wouldn't have posted the question to the forum looking for help before I actually bought the car. Anyway, didn't mean to bring up a volatile subject. Just was looking forward to purchasing a really clean fastback and wondering how big of a problem it is that the restoration process that made it such a beautiful ride removed the VINs in the process. It seems that restoring the pre-dash VIN cars is something that really shouldn't be done.
 

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LeeFred, yes unfortunately both aprons were replaced during restoration process.
There are 3 VINs stamped into the aprons- one in the forward left apron (the visible one), one in the left rear apron and one in the right rear apron. Is one of them still in place?

The car has a clean title status in California with the VIN on the door tag that matches the builder documentation from the original aprons.
What is the VIN on the title? The VIN on the door plate specifically states that it is invalid for registration purposes although it is the same as the other 3 VINs unless the door has been replaced with a used door from another car.
 

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I have a 69 coupe that has a plate riveted to the door jamb from the good old state of California. The plate has a state issued VIN on it. The California State issued VIN matches the original VIN stamped into the fenders of the car. Why it needed another vin attached is a mystery to me. Maybe it was stolen and recovered at one time, or who knows...I have always wondered about it. When I traded for it, it had a Texas title, so it was accepted as "good" by more than 1 DMV, and accepted as good by me.
 

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I would make double sure the car is what the seller says it is. Make sure it wasn't where someone bought a rotted out un-restorable Fastback just to get the title and door tag to use on a coupe to fastback conversion or something similar. If the door tag is there and it matches the title and it shows it's a fastback (3rd and 4th characters should be 09). I would then go over the car thoroughly looking for any evidence of the above. If it all that checks out and he has photos of the car before and after showing the restoration of the original fastback and you are convinced it is all legitimate, then I would consider buying it. If I owned the car and it had a clean title with the matching door tag and I had the paper trail to confirm everything was legitimate, I would stamp the VIN in the appropriate locations on the aprons provided I had a picture of the originals that where replaced.

Also as mention previously in the comments, If you are looking for an investment to buy and sell I would keep looking, but, if you are looking to buy and enjoy it maybe a good car if the deal is right.

Just my opinion ~ Lenny B
 

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Hello all,

So I am conflicted. I live out in California and have been looking for a nice Mustang for a long time. I thought I had finally found the one, a magnificent 65 Fastback that has gone thru an extensive ground up restoration. I have seen all of the pictures and documentation and just today discovered that the fender aprons were replaced in the restoration process. The builder did document the original VIN's and the person who is now selling the car did have to go thru the DMV registration process to get a clear title but the fact remains that the original VIN's are gone and it really bugs me. I hate to pass on such a magnificent car because numbers are not on the replacement aprons but I do worry that if I do attempt to sell this car down the line it will be extremely difficult. Any thoughts from other in the forum who have gone thru this (preferably in California).

Thanks in advance!!
If this car is an A, C or T-code I wouldn't be as concerned about the missing apron vin if this is your dream car. I don't think the value will be affected significantly. If this car is a K-code I wouldn't buy it because the value will be diminished significantly with missing fender vins. Why? Consider this: it's easy to buy a title and door tag of a no longer existing K-code and assign them to a non K-code car after you've replaced both fenders.
 

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When I replace an inner apron I always stamp the original VIN to the new part.It is just part of the restoration process.It is only fraud if you change the number.
this is just not true. Federal law forbids ANYONE stamping a VIN on a car, regardless of whether its the same VIN or a different one. Unless of course you possess a Federal manufacturing license like Carroll Shelby had. Do you have such a license ? By the way, conflicting state laws do not take precedence.

To the OP. You are acting like this car is only car available. At any given moment, there are usually hundreds of fastbacks for sale across the country. 99.9% of those still have the original VIN's in place. Why buy a car thats not going to appreciate as fast as a car with the VIN's in place, and will be a dead duck to sell should you ever want to do so ???

Z
 

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this is just not true. Federal law forbids ANYONE stamping a VIN on a car, regardless of whether its the same VIN or a different one.
You are simply wrong on this point. Federal law specifically provides for replacing the VIN in the course of legitimate repair. Changing the VIN is not permitted, of course. A few states, such as Michigan, prohibit re-stamping the VIN.

4.
With many additional major parts having identification numbers, what doesyour jurisdiction require if the identification number is changed or removed onthese major parts (doors, hood, trunk, fenders, etc.)?
Alabama
Issue an Alabama assigned VIN when the inspecting officer cannot ascertain the
identity of the vehicle due to conflicting VINs on major component parts.

Alaska
No requirements at this time.

Alberta
Police inspection if the identification numbers have been tampered with.

Arizona
Require title dismantle permit for frame and body; if the public and/or
confidential VIN is missing, altered, etc., the vehicle may be referred for a level
II inspection by MVD enforcement, who in turn may check VINs on various
parts; as long as the vehicle and/or parts are not identified as stolen, primary
concern is with having a good public VIN; a number will be reassigned if the
public and/or confidential VIN is missing; if the vehicle is not determined
stolen, MVD may assign numbers to major component parts.

British Columbia
Assigned VIN required if engine replaced on pre-1957 vehicles and any
dashboard replacement where original VIN was attached; all vehicles must have
two original public VINs or assigned VIN required.

California
If the public VIN (dash), the Federal Certification label (door), or the alternate
VIN (NHTSA sticker) is changed, tampered, or removed, the vehicle is referred
to the California Highway Patrol (CHP) for inspection; CHP will assign a VIN
label to the vehicle when appropriate.

Colorado
If public or confidential VINs have been altered or do not match, Colorado
assigned VIN required.

Connecticut
If it is the only number, then inspection and a number is reassigned; if two other
numbers, then it is okay.

Delaware
The vehicle is required to go through the Delaware State Police Auto Theft Unit;
a Delaware assigned serial number is issued for the vehicle and affixed to the
vehicle.

Florida
No action required. However, if the public VIN is removed, vehicle must be
inspected by law enforcement to verify CVIN.

Georgia
If the public VIN is removed, a VIN will be issued for the vehicle and inspected
by a law enforcement officer.

Hawaii
No action required. However, if the public VIN is removed, vehicle must be
inspected by auto theft police officers to verify CVIN.

Idaho
If a public VIN or federal standards decal is altered or removed, a motor vehicle
investigator inspection is required, and a VIN will be assigned as appropriate.

Illinois
The same number, or state-assigned number, will be affixed to the part if theowner can prove ownership. If the owner cannot prove ownership, the part is
confiscated.

Indiana
Nothing at present; if salvage/wrecked vehicle going to a rebuilt title,
notification of parts replaced and numbers of such kept in manual files.

Iowa
Do not renumber major parts; if an VIN is changed or removed, the major part is
seized by law enforcement.

Kansas
Highway patrol inspection if the part has identification of vehicle stamped on it.

Kentucky
Must supply receipts for parts stating serial number; also when required apply
through VIN removal.

Louisiana
Require title/permit to dismantle for frame and body; if vehicle is a 1956 or
earlier year model (but not a 1932 or later Ford), need title/permit to dismantlefor motor.

Maine
Misdemeanor to sell, exchange, offer to sell or exchange, give away or use a
manufacturers’ vehicle ID or serial number plate that has been removed from the
original vehicle.

Manitoba
A provincial government assigned VIN is required only when a major
component such as the cab, frame, chassis has been replaced.

The Fast Track to Vehicle Services Facts Section 1 — 5
©2003 American Association of Motor Vehicle Administrators


Maryland

Massachusetts

Michigan
Minnesota
Mississippi
Missouri
Montana

Nebraska
Nevada
New Hampshire

New York

North Carolina
Northwest Territories
Nova Scotia
Ohio

Oklahoma
Oregon

Pennsylvania

Prince Edward Island
Puerto Rico

Quebec
Saskatchewan
South Carolina

South Dakota

Must bring vehicle into MVA garage for inspection for hidden VIN by police
department and MVA; after vehicle is inspected, title is corrected or a Maryland
VIN is assigned.
A state-assigned number will be affixed to the part if the owner can prove
ownership.
Nothing is required.
Handled on a case-by-case basis; if it appears to be tampered with, may require
replacement of the part, receipt, explanation, etc.
Except in salvage situation. Nothing is recorded on replacing door or other part
with ID number.
If the number on the door is considered the public VIN, a replacement VIN must
be issued.
Inspection and receipt for parts required. If the public VIN on a door has been
altered or removed and cannot trace ownership, may confiscate part. If
ownership is traced, will make notation on the title.
New title Changing make to assembled and year to year of assembly and
assigned VIN.
The main identifying number is the frame number. If frame number is missingor tampered with, the Department issues a unique number.
If public VIN changed or removed, physical inspection by highway enforcement
officer required prior to issuing state-issued VIN decal. No current procedures
in place relative to component parts number change.
Proof of ownership is required for all major and minor component parts. If
manufacturer’s required markings are missing, we investigate the source of
ownership. Unmarked parts may be seized and/or marked with replacement
identification numbers and/or disposed of pursuant to law. Federal anti-theft
prevention standards are followed as guidelines.
Door- if the public VIN is on the door pillar, a NCS number must be issued.
Identification numbers of parts are not recorded.
Reconstructed vehicle forms plus certification.
If a part had a sticker number and was removed due to salvage or theft, and
proof of ownership can be determined on the new part, the state via the Ohio
Highway Patrol, will provide a new sticker number. However, if the sticker was
removed to conceal identity, the OHP will confiscate that part as contraband.
Major component (frame, body) number assigned by Department of Public
Safety.
We do not check for VINs on all major parts. If the public VIN is missing,
altered, etc., the vehicle may be referred to police, who in turn may check VINs
on various parts. As long as the vehicle and/or parts are not identified as stolen,
we are primarily concerned with having a good public VIN. A number may be
reassigned if the public VIN is missing, and police do not determine the vehicleto be stolen. Police may assign numbers to component parts but this is rarely
done.
No specific rules on the use of replacement parts that have unique VIN’s. Each
situation would be treated on a case-by-case basis.
Only Check VIN.
If the identification number is changed or removed, the vehicle must be
inspected by the police auto theft bureau and reassigned the original
identification number if everything is in order.
Only check VIN of the vehicle.
No requirement.
Special serial number is assigned by this department for vehicles registered ortitled in South Carolina.
If an ID number has been changed or removed, an inspection is made by a
member of the South Dakota Highway Patrol Auto Theft Unit. The confidential

The Fast Track to Vehicle Services Facts Section 1 — 6
©2003 American Association of Motor Vehicle Administrators


Texas
VIN is verified and either a new ID number or a duplicate number is installed
depending upon what is found during the inspection.
Motor Vehicle Theft Investigator will have part destroyed if identification
number has been removed.
Utah
Virginia
Washington
West Virginia
Wisconsin
Wyoming
Yukon Territory
No requirements at this time.
These are parts labels used to deter theft. If removed, these are considered the
same as removing a vehicle identification number and is considered a felony to
remove, if not done through the salvage process. Salvage dealers retain the bill
of sale to account for parts used during repair.
Must be assigned number by state patrol. May require bond or three-year
registration only if ownership in question.
Police certification and an affidavit asking for replacement.
Law enforcement inspection to verify primary VIN.
VIN inspection. State assigned VIN.
We are concerned only with the original VIN issued by the manufacturer. If
removed, we issue a VIN upon verification that the vehicle is not stolen.
** END of SECTION 1 **

The Fast Track to Vehicle Services Facts Section 1 — 7
©2003 American Association of Motor Vehicle Administrators


 

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as much as I trust the VMF elders, I trust even more Federal judges who hold an opposite view. No one can stamp a VIN without a Federal license OR under the supervision of an FBI agent in certain circumstances.

Anyone that stamps or re-stamps a VIN on their own authority is risking having their car seized at the very least, or worse.

Z
 

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Discussion Starter #15
Thanks for the responses all. To answer some of the questions, it is a C code car, I am buying it to enjoy and drive, the door tag matches the VIN that was on the original aprons based on the documentation I have seen and that also matches the VIN on the clean title, 3rd and 4th characters on the door tag/title are 09, both aprons were replaced (so all stamped VINs gone) I have seen photo documentation of the restoration and the car started out as a fastback. ZRay that is a good point and you are correct but I have been looking for quite awhile and this is the one that has caught my eye. Maybe I am too picky but I have a vision for what I want the car to be and this one has come the closest so far. I don't have the skill (or $$) to build one myself so I am looking for something that is close to what I would do if I were indeed talented enough to create my own. Guess I'll continue to fret until I can contact CHP for some advice.
 

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To the OP. You are acting like this car is only car available. At any given moment, there are usually hundreds of fastbacks for sale across the country. 99.9% of those still have the original VIN's in place. Why buy a car thats not going to appreciate as fast as a car with the VIN's in place, and will be a dead duck to sell should you ever want to do so ???
Since the OP is in California the thought of buying a car NOT from CA probably never crossed his mind and probably seems ludicrous.

Being from CA I can tell you that the assumption is that any car not FROM CA is a rust bucket. Period.
 

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The car has a clean title status in California with the VIN on the door tag that matches the builder documentation from the original aprons.
Stay away! This car has no VIN. Period. The current seller
got taken by the "restorer". Don't be the next sucker. The
ignorant "restorer" basically destroyed the car when he
didn't handle the VIN panel repairs properly and legally.

I would only consider buying such a car if A) the price
was below the "sum of parts" range and B) the seller
gets a new State-issued VIN before the sale. I suspect
getting a legal State-issued VIN will be near impossible
in this case since there's no way to establish the car's
origins (i.e. not stolen). The car could also be used as
a track-only to build a full-bore racer. So it's either a
drag racer, road racer, or part it out.

On any pre-1968 Mustang, the legal VIN are the stampings
on the engine inner fender. The door tag or any other
attached tag is NEVER the legal VIN and cannot be used
to register the car.

As for the "clean title" status, I suspect the seller is simply
not telling the truth.
 

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I have a 69 coupe that has a plate riveted to the door jamb from the good old state of California. The plate has a state issued VIN on it. The California State issued VIN matches the original VIN stamped into the fenders of the car. Why it needed another vin attached is a mystery to me. Maybe it was stolen and recovered at one time, or who knows...I have always wondered about it. When I traded for it, .it had a Texas title, so it was accepted as "good" by more than 1 DMV, and accepted as good by me.
If your car is lacking the Legal Vin on dash this is what happens. Any other vin cannot be used. The hidden vins are put there to prevent theft but are not looked as the legal vin. As far a original poster goes, I would avoid if plan to sell and not lose money(or it better be cheap). Many people buying mustangs avoid this situation as they don't want possible problems later on. Lastly, there are 2 laws that apply as for as vins getting stamped. Federal and state. We have the same thing in pharmacy law, and we were taught to follow the most stringent of laws. That will cover both bases. If you only do what your state accepts as requirement, another state may say no way. Federal authorities could hassle you. I don't know about you, but I don't have time to haggle with the feds. That all being said, I think federal vin law left the decision up to the states as far as process to re-stamp vin for repairs. But If I was buying a stang having no vins would be a problem.
 

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And anyone could get a clean title for a stang. But it may belong to car that has been recycled into beer caps. Without a vin, there is no way to prove car and title belong together. Whomever did this type of repair was an idiot and I would probably even worry about quality of work they did if they were so stupid.
 

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Stay away! This car has no VIN. Period. The current seller
got taken by the "restorer". Don't be the next sucker. The
ignorant "restorer" basically destroyed the car when he
didn't handle the VIN panel repairs properly and legally.

I would only consider buying such a car if A) the price
was below the "sum of parts" range and B) the seller
gets a new State-issued VIN before the sale. I suspect
getting a legal State-issued VIN will be near impossible
in this case since there's no way to establish the car's
origins (i.e. not stolen). The car could also be used as
a track-only to build a full-bore racer. So it's either a
drag racer, road racer, or part it out.

On any pre-1968 Mustang, the legal VIN are the stampings
on the engine inner fender. The door tag or any other
attached tag is NEVER the legal VIN and cannot be used
to register the car.

As for the "clean title" status, I suspect the seller is simply
not telling the truth.
I wouldn’t go so far as to call the seller a liar, but hsvtoolfool is absolutely right; this car has NO VIN number, legally speaking, in the state of California. People have no idea the nightmare scenario they are signing themselves up for buying a car with no VIN, until they have been through it. Let me please lay out the possible scenarios for you...

If you buy it, you may be able to register it and get a title, but you will be 100% at the discretion of any law enforcement officer who ever pulls you over. It’s not uncommon in a classic Mustang to be asked for a look under the hood, and if the officer were to notice the absence of the factory stamped VIN, your car could be impounded on the spot. I think driving the car with that sense of worry is your best case scenario.

Second best scenario is that the DMV clerk assigns you to the CHP for VIN verification. So, you’ve got your shiny new Mustang, and now you get to wait. The last time I made a CHP appointment, the earliest date was 6 weeks out. That was back before budget cuts had the same VIN officer who used to be based out of my local CHP office, now running a revolving post covering every major CHP office in the Northern half of the state. He told me that there is similarly one officer for the Southern half of the state. I would say you could expect to wait months.

The VIN officer (up here anyway) is a really nice guy, but I wouldn’t go so far to say that the presumption of innocence is something you will necessarily be afforded. Afterall, like it or not, you were just trying to register a VIN tampered vehicle. CHP can issue a new “State Issued” VIN on a blue metallic plate that generally gets riveted to the b-pillar. This VIN number becomes the number by which the vehicle is registered, and it may or may not match the number the car was titled with from the factory. Some collectors argue that, if the number does not match, then the car ceases to become a (in your case) 1965 C-Code Fastback. Like it or not, the CHP Blue Tag is the kiss of death for resale value on ANY classic car.

The third scenario, and, while probably least likely, is that for whatever reason, the CHP refuses to issue you a VIN number. I had a long conversation with the VIN officer up here about this. They don’t “have to”. It doesn’t matter how much you paid, etc. You can simply become S-O-L, with your dream car which you may never legally register for the road in the state of California. I can elaborate on the possible scenarios that were mentioned by this officer to me, but that would be a much longer post.

If it were me, I would absolutely not, under any circumstance, buy this car. But the sad part is some “schmuck” who isn’t a forum member is probably going to, and then the nightmare begins for them.

Thanks for the responses all. To answer some of the questions, it is a C code car, I am buying it to enjoy and drive, the door tag matches the VIN that was on the original aprons based on the documentation I have seen and that also matches the VIN on the clean title, 3rd and 4th characters on the door tag/title are 09, both aprons were replaced (so all stamped VINs gone) I have seen photo documentation of the restoration and the car started out as a fastback. ZRay that is a good point and you are correct but I have been looking for quite awhile and this is the one that has caught my eye. Maybe I am too picky but I have a vision for what I want the car to be and this one has come the closest so far. I don't have the skill (or $$) to build one myself so I am looking for something that is close to what I would do if I were indeed talented enough to create my own. Guess I'll continue to fret until I can contact CHP for some advice.
If you do contact the CHP, you can ask for the local “VIN Officer” to give you a call back. Like I said before, the gentleman in Northern California is very nice, extremely knowledgable, and even a bit of car guy. He’s a straight shooter, and I imagine he will also tell you NOT to buy the car.
 
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