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Discussion Starter #1
I have to make a return to the forum to ask this question. When a car is taken to the metal recycler, it needs a title, yes? Would this be the case even if it is a completely hollowed out shell of a car? I am assuming so.

I brought back a body shell for an LTD II (if you recall that thread). The VIN is stamped in two places on the firewall beneath the dash board and on a dashboard tag.

Can I transfer the VIN of my old car that I'm transferring everything from to this new body? Then the car attributes would still match the VIN as well.

Additionally, I wouldn't have to do a title transfer and pay the fee and the tax. When I take my body to scrap it, I would take it with the VIN of new body. I have the title the owner signed over to me, but is that good enough to scrap it, or do I need an actual Michigan title in my name?
 

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You can NEVER legally transfer a vin/title from one car to another. If the title needs to be in your name, that will depend on the state and possibly the recycler. My dad has scrapped a few old cars without titles by just cutting them into quarters with a sawzall.
 

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ugh....Some things are best not asked! When is a part a part vs a body...call the place and see what they say about you bringing in a body shell with no vin....or 10 pieces of an old cut up car. missing a vin area...Reality is you could probably do what your thinking and get away with it, but legally, heck no!!
 

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It always pays to personally know the guys in the JY, if you simply call them up and tell them what you want to do, they are going to strictly follow the book. If they know you they may slightly bend the rules a little for you.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Well what the recycler will allow begs the question if the legality of transferring the VIN in the first place is called into question. I don't want to do anything illegal.
 

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You do need a title to junk a car, and it must match the VIN on the shell.

You cannot transfer the VIN.

If you still have them, you list the nose of the car on Craigs or even ebay for local pickup. Someone may need a hood, fenders, doors etc. If you have a plasma cutter, slice it up what's left into scrap pieces and bring it to a metal recycler.

John
 

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Transferring VIN tags from one vehicle to another is illegal. You are really concerned about the legality of getting rid of the evidence?
 

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Not all jurisdictions are the same so check with your DMV for the procedures to "junk" a car. Generally, if the jurisdiction licenses auto recyclers they typically have some procedure in place that requires the recycler to verify that the shell you are delivering is actually yours. Further, the recycler may be required to "junk" the car on paper and submit the paperwork to DMV for that purpose. For example, a title in your name and a bill of sale from you to the recycler should be adequate documentation for that.
Keep in mind however, that in some jurisdictions if you cut up a car and dispose of it without "junking" the car on paper (surrender the plates, registration, and title to the DMV in exchange for a junk slip) the DMV may still consider you liable for the annual registration fees even though the car no longer exists. That did happen to one of own a number of years ago and all of his protestations amounted to pi$$ing up a rope.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Transferring VIN tags from one vehicle to another is illegal. You are really concerned about the legality of getting rid of the evidence?
If you go back and read, you'd see I'm concerned with both.

The bottom line is, I have to keep the VIN with the shell, so I will do the title transfer of the new shell to my name in MI, and each VIN stays with its car. I already have the title for my original car which will get junked eventually. I don't want to do anything illegal, I just wasn't sure what was allowed for this type of thing when it comes to car restorations and donor bodies.
 

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You MAY need to differentiate between a junk yard and a metal recycler. I am in Texas. Here are a few take aways:

Junkyard: Old cars sitting out for dismantling and sale. My experience has been, and speaking to owners, every car that comes in they put in the yard must have a signed over title. They are checked periodically and car + no title = significant fine. One place had a "holding pen" for those cars pending title release, no parts could be sold.

Junkyard: Crushers: A lot less paperwork, as the car is brought in and directly, immediately, crushed. They treated those cars as scrap metal, no title needed. They did run the VIN though, to ensure not stolen.

Metal recyclers: Only scrap metal. I have seen numerous quasi complete cars and trucks brought in, as long as they are scrap metal (No gas tanks, etc.), no paperwork needed, just get tossed on the scrap pile, smooshed, and loaded in the outgoing trucks. I have never seen them ask for a title. Likewise, car chunks, bodies, sections, etc. are just back up to the scrap steel pile, push off, and get paid.

As to the title, 1st, read the law:


Section A is often quoted about messing with the VIN, but it also is applicable only to motor vehicle theft or people who are not the owner.

Section B covers the whole messing with the VIN IF YOU ARE THE owner and there is no THEFT involved.

Part of the question that is NOT addressed: When does the VIN'd "car" stop being a CAR and is just a repair part. For example, on a 1965 Mustang, if you cut the car just at the hood hinges, completely across, the back 2/3's has no VIN, so is that just a repair part?

Same car, in 1968, it was hit on the right front, T bone, and they replaced both aprons with NOS Ford, no VIN stamps though. So we take that cut off section from part A, and cut in right along the left frame rail, so it has just a frame rail, shock tower, and 2 aprons left. Is the 65% by weight right side just a repair part, or is now the car?

Same car, in 1973, hit on the left front corner, repaired by Tommy Tent Peg, who had a couple old junkers out back, and replaced the shock tower, frame rail, and front apron off a junker, did not save the VIN, but did a great job. He legally owned all the cars. So if we take that left side chunk we have left, cut off the original car rear apron with the correct VIN, the other section is actually from another car, so it is now just a repair part.

So now we have 2 pounds of steel, with a VIN, the only factory stamped VIN on the car, so that is THE CAR, right? Except, there was rust, so we cut away the rusted section, all the vertical parts, and carefully save the top 18", about 12 ounces, with the VIN that matches the title, WE STILL HAVE A CAR!! and we can store that car in the garage in a file folder.

Stupid example, but if you read the US Civil Code, it does not address weight, "most" of the car, when does a section of the car no longer be a car but a repair part, etc.

If you just cut out VINs and move them, you are on shaky ground, but if you own both the cars, you MAY prevail based on section B, as an owner making repairs, but check with local title people. Be prepared that they know very little about the USCC, and will go with a 1 size fits all pronouncement. Be forewarned you better have your ducks quacking in a row as to why you have a car without a title.

It may be easier to work with a friend who owns a car repair shop and have a lien sale done on the keeper car, and get a real clear title and just scrap the "wrong" car.
 

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Discussion Starter #12
Bob I have titles for both cars. For the one I just bought, the seller signed it over to me, and I need to take it into the DMV to get it transferred.
 

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If you want to do it legally, contact the Secretary of State. What they do in any other state does not matter in Michigan.

It sounds like what you end up with may be considered an assembled vehicle:
 

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Discussion Starter #14
Slight plot twist to this, I took the title in to be transferred...was an Indiana title, Tennessee title before that, and apparently Michigan title before that. Except MI title was either a 'scrap or salvage' title and they weren't sure why. They had to research it before they could do the title transfer. This was a perfectly fine, working functional car before the car I bought the body from stripped it down to the shell and blasted it. And even then, they body is in near flawless shape except for needing new floorpans.
 
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