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Old 04-06-2009, 09:19 PM   #1
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1959 Overlander Clouded Title

After two weeks of negotiating, I was about to buy an interesting 59' Overlander International today. We had agreed on a price and I was making travel plans to go pick up the trailer (trailer is in CA and I'm in WA). Unfortunately, while asking the current "owner" totally unrelated questions about the systems, I learned that the title was still in the name of the original, deceased, owner. Current owner bought the trailer from a friend who allegedly bought it from the estate of the deceased owner, but nobody ever bothered to transfer title or update the registration. So, the trail of documents includes a California pink slip signed over by somebody who claims to be the decedent of the original owner, a bill of sale to the 2nd owner and another bill of sale to the current "owner." I called three DOL offices in my state who all said that without a "notarized letter of testimentary," or a court order authorizing whoever signed the title over to actually sign the title, they won't register it for me.
Back to the search.
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Old 04-06-2009, 09:25 PM   #2
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What a pain in the patoot. Can't you file for a lost title? In AZ, years ago, I filed for a lost title and was required to send a certified letter to the last known owner of the motorcycle (in this case) and if it was returned, I could proceed with a new title. Took a bit of time and minimal expense but it was worth it. Surely something can be done in the state of CA by the current owner. He'd have much better luck than you getting this done in CA. You just can't pass up on a '59, they're the best year.

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Old 04-06-2009, 09:38 PM   #3
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Alabama

Too bad, in Alabama all that is required is a bill of sale for a trailer/boat/car/motorcycle that is older than 1975.
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Old 04-06-2009, 09:58 PM   #4
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Surely something can be done in the state of CA by the current owner. He'd have much better luck than you getting this done in CA. You just can't pass up on a '59, they're the best year.
Brad, I sure hope the current owner can do something about it. I really like the trailer and the year. Unfortunately, when I explained what I needed (either a title in his name or a set of legal docs) all he had to say was "sorry nothing I can do about that." Current owner claims his friend bought it 8 to 9 years ago from the estate of the original owner and just let it sit until he bought it from the friend. Apparently neither 2nd owner or current owner wanted to pay the California fees necessary to transfer title. I have no idea how much that would cost, but I guess it is too much for their taste. In the meantime, a series of strange responses (this being the last of several) to my efforts to buy this trailer has really soured the entire deal. We'll have to see if he calls back with some "new" information.
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Old 04-06-2009, 10:13 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by navyeod View Post
Too bad, in Alabama all that is required is a bill of sale for a trailer/boat/car/motorcycle that is older than 1975.
Navyeod, I've been following your posts for the last several weeks. What a great recovery story. And the speed of your work this weekend was impressive to say the least. Good luck with your restoration. I have a friend here in the Northwest who is doing a shell-off on a 59 Flying Cloud and he works at about your pace. I wish I had that kind of energy and focus.
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Old 04-06-2009, 10:17 PM   #6
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where there is a will there is a way

If the price is right and you like that trailer dont give up on it. You can get a death certificate on the owner and push it through. Get notarized affadavits etc. Lots of trouble but you will forget about the trouble if you get it and like it. Thanks for the kind words, but its pure madness this restoration stuff.
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Old 04-06-2009, 10:27 PM   #7
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Do you have any pictures you can post of this '59? Like to see it.

It has to be worth pursuing. After all, it is a '59.

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Old 04-06-2009, 11:12 PM   #8
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Here are a couple pics from the seller.
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Old 04-06-2009, 11:25 PM   #9
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Originally Posted by nmbosa View Post
In the meantime, a series of strange responses (this being the last of several) to my efforts to buy this trailer has really soured the entire deal. We'll have to see if he calls back with some "new" information.
My policy has always been that if things start getting weird so you feel a little odd about the deal - there's a reason. Someone who wants to sell a trailer with an unworkable paper trail and refuses to be any help in getting it worked out would be a deal breaker for me. I would just let that one go and keep looking.

I had a similar problem with a boat I purchased (titled in OR, I was in WA). The OR marine board had me send a form to the last known owner and if the form was returned unopened, they accepted that as 'signing off' and put the boat in my name. I actually did this for two boats - one letter returned unopened, and the other one the old owner received it and signed off on it. I talked to him on the phone and he said he had sold that boat years ago, barely remembered it, couldn't believe it was still in his name! So it worked out both times. Too bad that doesn't work for trailers.
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Old 04-07-2009, 12:22 AM   #10
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Just remember that we don't want it to be too easy to get title to a trailer.
That could be the trailer that was stolen from you and now someone else has legal title to it!
I insist on a clear title or I walk. If I really want it, I will offer to pay for the title transfer if they take care of it.
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Old 04-07-2009, 06:03 AM   #11
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59

Remember NM you are buying a trailer not the previous owner . that is one fine looking trailer. Has the dual axle option, Interior looks identical to mine except in a hundred times better condition. I would love to see some more pics if you have them. Especially the refrigerator area as mine had been modified. I tried to walk away from Eugene many times and now am so glad I didnt. I believe the AS will be a fixture in our family for a long time. Really gotten used to him being in the driveway. Keep me posted and anything I can do to help its yours for the asking.
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Old 04-07-2009, 07:38 AM   #12
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sounds a little fishy, although it could be as simple as well. if he never transferred title, the state may require him to pay back payments for all the years since he has owned the trailer in order to title it in his name.

but more likely its a shady thing....
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Old 04-07-2009, 08:58 AM   #13
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Get it now

The title "problems" on old Airstreams are mostly self induced. Lots of missing titles on these old ones and I have dealt with several. There are many ways of getting a legal and clear title...sometimes it takes time and always involves some moronic bureaucrat. You have the time and work around the problem person. Buy it now and get to work.
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Old 04-07-2009, 02:11 PM   #14
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Well, there may be some life left in this deal after all. Current owner and his buddy (the PO) called and seem motivated to get it worked out. We will see. Thanks for the responses.
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