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Old 12-02-2004, 09:15 AM   #1
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Missing Title

I recently purchased a old trailer (non AS) it was built in 1949. I found out that it doesn't have a title. My question is 'How hard will it be to get a title for this old of a trailer?' I live in PA which is very hard to get one for a car. I bought it to restore and may never sell it, but would like to get a title incase -- forever is a long time.
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Old 12-02-2004, 09:40 AM   #2
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Vehicle titles are state law matters, which vary from state to state, so you should begin by asking your PA DMV how to get a title for your trailer. Not all states were title states in 1949, i.e., not all states issued titles for motors vehicles or just vehicles, like your trailer in 1949. So your trailer may never had had a vehicle title.

NY became a title state in the 1960s or 1970s; before that, the annual registration was your indicia of ownership in NY. Vehicles were titled in NY as they came up for registration after the title statute was enacted.

When did PA first become a title state? If after 1949, maybe your DMV would just issue a title after an inspection of your trailer to verify its manufacturer and serial number. If before 1949, try another avenue. Perhaps you could title it as a homemade trailer with a PA DMV assigned serial number.

In any event, ask your DMV what options you have and what they require under each option to issue a title for your 1949 trailer. You ultimately will have to meet PA title rerquirements in one way or another, so you best begin there.
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Old 12-02-2004, 10:21 AM   #3
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Here is what I'm doing in Illinois. It is very hard to get titles around here to.
A friend of mine ones a garage. I am having a title search done through him. Once I get the title, then I will place a "Mechanics lean" on the title. After X number of days I will forcolse on the title and it becomes mine.

X days is the number of days times the "$XX.XX" per day of "storage" to equal the value of the trailer.

I have found that the DMV is not very helpful here in Illinios
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Old 12-02-2004, 10:40 AM   #4
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Originally Posted by till
Here is what I'm doing in Illinois. It is very hard to get titles around here to.
A friend of mine ones a garage. I am having a title search done through him. Once I get the title, then I will place a "Mechanics lean" on the title. After X number of days I will forcolse on the title and it becomes mine.
Tedd,

I'm puzzled. Once you get the title, why do you need to place a mechanic's lien on it?
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Old 12-02-2004, 10:51 AM   #5
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I think he means that once he locates the title which whould be in the previous owner's name, he'll put the lien against it, and then his mechanic buddy will claim it, have it titled in his name, then sell it to till for a buck or two.

Previous owner might even be deceased - who knows? Seems quicker and easier than going through the process of locating the actual titled owner, who might say "Hey, that's my trailer, I don't want to sell it," and then find out you've just paid for a bag of air.
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Old 12-02-2004, 11:22 AM   #6
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Dave,

You get the big cigar!!
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Old 12-02-2004, 11:28 AM   #7
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Woo-hoo! (puff-puff...cough-cough!)
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Old 12-02-2004, 11:39 AM   #8
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I think he means that once he locates the title which whould be in the previous owner's name, he'll put the lien against it, and then his mechanic buddy will claim it, have it titled in his name, then sell it to till for a buck or two.

Previous owner might even be deceased - who knows? Seems quicker and easier than going through the process of locating the actual titled owner, who might say "Hey, that's my trailer, I don't want to sell it," and then find out you've just paid for a bag of air.
So, what's to prevent me, or some other unscrupulous person, from doing this? I have my eye on a nice boat across town.
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Old 12-02-2004, 11:47 AM   #9
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Don,
In Illinois you have to be a "tax paying business" to do any of this. That is why my friend at the garage is helping me out. If this were not legal, he would lose his business. On top of all of this, I do have a legal certificate of purchase and a bill of sale.

But what you are saying has (and most likely still happening) in the great state of Chicago. It was all over the news for a couple of days here.
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Old 12-02-2004, 11:55 AM   #10
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Don,
In Illinois you have to be a "tax paying business" to do any of this. That is why my friend at the garage is helping me out. If this were not legal, he would lose his business. On top of all of this, I do have a legal certificate of purchase and a bill of sale.

But what you are saying has (and most likely still happening) in the great state of Chicago. It was all over the news for a couple of days here.
Sounds like the way to do it in Illinois. Here's more info:http://www.sos.state.il.us/publicati...ns/vsd5264.pdf
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Old 12-02-2004, 02:40 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by whistler
I recently purchased a old trailer (non AS) it was built in 1949. I found out that it doesn't have a title. My question is 'How hard will it be to get a title for this old of a trailer?' I live in PA which is very hard to get one for a car. I bought it to restore and may never sell it, but would like to get a title incase -- forever is a long time.
whistler
I know from previous bitter experience that PA is a difficult state to deal with, as far as titles go. You may want to title and register it in another state, get a title there, and use that to title it in PA. Just be prepared to take the trailer to a licensed PA state inspection, or car dealership (and pay$$) to get the paperwork taken care of.
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Old 12-02-2004, 02:58 PM   #12
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Some states are tougher to get this handled than others simply because they have more vehicle thefts and have more security in place. We had a similar thing with an old motorcycle here in New Mexico. Here we filed for an abandon vehicle title. I's been quite a while so I don't remember the details but some way or another the DMV looked for the last know owner of that vin #. When none was found, we had to buy a Bond of some kind for a short period of time. The DMV should be able to give you info on how to handle it. I would be real careful about putting any money into it without a title. You don't want someone to waltz up and claim their trailer ofter you do a restoration.-----Pieman
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Old 12-02-2004, 04:05 PM   #13
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Mike,

That is exactly why I have stopped most of the work on my trailer. If it gets pulled out from under me, I'm out maybe a grand and a couple of months work. I am at the point that tall money needs to be spent, so I will hold off till I get the piece of papaer that says ALL MINE.
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Old 12-02-2004, 09:40 PM   #14
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Try West Virginia...

I used to live in Pittsburgh area, and built a car from wrecked VW chassis, Corvair engine and plastic body, with assorted junkyard accessories, etc.. (It was long ago, and a long long story..)

Anyway, it became impossible to title in PA with only junkyard bill of sale for VW chassis, so we drove to Charleston WV, and used friend's address (though PO Box rental from UPS store works just as well..) and WV DMV was happy to title it and deliver plates for small fee.. Once it's titled and plated in your name, PA or other states are more willing to register it locally, for additional fees and use taxes...

Just had similar experience in Calif with $20 1970's Puch moped from garage sale.. Found special category in CA DMV code and persuaded Calif to title and register by mail with photo's and affadavit, plus good faith check for $19.. Those were not really titled at the time either, and old Motorized Bicycle regs still exist. I've seen several Californians successfully register Airstreams as "Utility Trailers" for $15 fee for permanent plates, relying on DMV workers who were mildly confused (perhaps redundant..). You might want to try separate category of trailer as well, rather than camp trailer or mobile home...

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Old 01-13-2005, 08:42 PM   #15
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I just went through the title process here in Colorado. I call it the sincere pumpkin search (as in Charlie Brown comic strip) The process is tedious but doable. The ideaq is that if you were trying to steal it you wouldn't go through the tedious steps to complete the process. Therefore,by your sincerity in completing the steps. you show that you are not stealing it. Make sure you have the steps required in writing from DMV before you start.
As suggested if the steps in your state are too stupid try an adjacent state or have some relative in another state inquire about their process. Keep smiling as you see just how stupid some of the requirements can be. Example:Step one. Take the trailer to the state police post (appointment required) and have the serial number inspected. Not a problem except the trailer was not ready for the road (it needed tires,bearings and brakes and lights checked first) . Solution drive it to a dealer with no plates to make it driveable to the state police. By now you have some of the picture, keep a cheery attitude and may the great pumpkin smile on your efforts.
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Old 01-14-2005, 06:11 AM   #16
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Or, just register it in Vermont. Vermont will not assign a title to any vehicle over 15 years old, even if previously titled, and accepts a Bill of Sale as proof of ownership. No State Police inspection required. I don't have a title on either of my trailers.

Later, you can re-register it in your home state, pointing out that it was "previously untitled" vehicle and they may accept the Vermont registration as sufficient proof of ownership.
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Old 01-14-2005, 06:56 AM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by whistler
...My question is 'How hard will it be to get a title for this old of a trailer?' I live in PA
whistler
The only correct answer is contact your DMV and do what they say. We all have stories but unless it's in PA it's irrelevant. Please try to do it legally...there are many ways to get around the system but that's why the system has become so restrictive. There's a place down south that will title almost anything for $250. You bought the camper legally and there is always a way to get it registered. Just be straight with them. The first person you talk to may not know all the hoops to jump through but keep trying and eventually you'll find someone with the knowledge , and professionalism to get you through this. You can usually ask questions on the DMV's web site too. Penn's contact page:

https://www.dot3.state.pa.us/contact...50114085018370

My state, Ohio, is tough with titles too but the solution was simple even though it took me a year to get the correct info for my '61 Serro Scotty. Not too cheap either ($50 extra) but simple and I sleep better knowing I didn't try to trick anybody.

Good luck,

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Old 01-14-2005, 07:23 AM   #18
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GA is the easiest.

GA does not require a tittle on vehicles and campers older then 1986. I have sold a couple vehicles to out of state buyers. I provided them with the info that it came from GA and our law does not require a tittle. The people at the tag office get anoyed when you ask them to get you a tittle in your name. LOL

http://www.dmvs.ga.gov/motor/titles/required.asp

After they were furnaished with that info they were able to submit for a new tittle from their DMV. One was to TX and the other was to VA.
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Old 01-14-2005, 02:02 PM   #19
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This has nothing to do with Airstreams but it is about a trailer and its title, so here goes. About eighteen months ago my Haulmark racecar trailer was stolen from my home. I lost everything I had for racing but my racecar, which happened to be in my garage being repaired. My insurance quickly gave me a decent settlement, so that was pretty much the end of the saga.

Even after I bought a new trailer and got on with my racing life, though, I always did a double take when I'd see a trailer in the same pewter gray color as my old one. I'd examine the one I spotted until satisfied that it wasn't mine.

Last Saturday, my habit paid off - I found my old trailer sitting in a nice Nashville neighborhood! I had done a lot of mods to it, so it was pretty easy for me to identify from a distance. The police went to investigate, and then the story took yet another twist.

Turns out my original title had a one-character error in the VIN (vehicle identification number). The patrol officer compared the VIN I'd given her with the one on the trailer and concluded that it wasn't my trailer!

I contacted the Tennessee DMV, who determined that the VIN error was on the original Oregon title. The Oregon DMV researched it and sent me an "oops" letter. This was proof enough for the police, and they're now in the process of recovering the trailer.

Of course, I won't get the trailer back - it belongs to the insurance company. I may well have the pleasure of seeing the original thief brought to justice, though.

Moral #1 - If you live in a title state, never buy a trailer without the title. The fellow who has my old trailer is likely an innocent participant, but he's about to lose whatever he paid for it because he failed to follow this rule.

Moral #2 - Check your title now to make sure it's correct. The title clerk here in Tennessee had faithfully copied the VIN from the original Oregon title, which had been recorded wrong. I never looked at the trailer VIN plate but assumed that the title was correct.

Moral #3 - It's probably also a good idea to write your driver's license number or the VIN in a few obscure places in the trailer and record the locations. That will give you one more surefire ID method if something happens to the VIN plate.

I figure the odds of my finding that trailer must be in the billion-to-one range. If I don't go buy some lottery tickets now, I must be crazy!

Bob
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