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Old 04-05-2013, 11:46 AM   #1
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asbury park , New Jersey
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Buying a VINTAGE trailer with 'bill of sale' only

Iv'e been seeing a lot of trailers for sale lately with 'bill of sale" only. Since they seem to have better prices, I did some digging and wanted to report back for you, in case you were wondering yourself.

Keep in mind that I live in NC now. Laws may change if you read this in three years and you should do your own research before buying.

The first step was me calling my state DMV. I inquired about trailers sold with a "bill of sale" only and trailers sold with a "salvage" or re-built" title.
She woman on the line didn't really know and looked up what she thought was the right info. It was not 100% accurate.

She recommended I call the license & theft office to confirm. After more research, I called License and Theft and asked SPECIFICALLY about "antique vehicles", (see more on the laws about antique vehicle registration and titling in NC here), and what is required for titling in regard to salvage, rebuilt, and non-title vintage campers.

They gave me advice and recommended I call the tag office, who had the final word for us.

Here's what i found:

"Bill of Sale" Only
Some states, including TN and AL (confirmed by NC tag office, TN Tag office, and AL state gov't website ) do not issue titles for vintage campers. However, if you wanted to REGISTER a trailer in TN you do need that out of state title IF the sellers home state requires it. NY may be another state (as reported by internet folk - "NY doesn't title anything older than 1972- the year they began issuing titles" [for trailers] )

In North Carolina, a bill of sale is acceptable to get a title for a vintage trailer you are buying ONLY from a state that does NOT title antique vehicles. (I would imagine the law is similar in many states).

That bill of sale must be sign and notarized. The selling party must also provide a bill of sale from where THEY purchased it, or a detailed written explanation of how they came about ownership of the trailer.

It would not require inspection as it does not have a motor.

Pennsylvania (where my father lives) will not accept a bill of sale from any state. You must "petition the court" for ownership. Only then will you be able to get a title. (DMV provided info via telephone).

Many of us have found vintage airstreams in what we see as perfect condition from a scrap yard or junk yard. They got there either because they were totaled or someone thought they were only good for scrap. BUYER BEWARE if you are looking at a salvage airstream - there are plenty of threads on this already so i won't repeat it.

However, IF someone thought your dear airstream was only good for scrap and sold it to a recycler or junk yard, it is my understanding that it can only be re-sold with a salvage title. This info is from internet research, not an actual government agency. So there are some instances where a salvage titled AS would be, in my book, eligible for a home with me.

That said, In NC, you can buy a salvaged trailer and fix it or , if you believe it to be in good roadworthy order, have it inspected directly by an inspector from License & Theft. You schedule an appointment and they come to your home to inspect. You may then be eligible for a rebuilt title. (info from NC DMV). In some states, including AL, a rebuilt title can be treated no differently than a regular clean title for insurance purposes. (info from AL govt website).

It should be noted that salvage title vehicles are often not permitted to be driven on roads and cannot be registered or insured. This is not necessarily true for your state, but it seems common among many. You would need to have a salvage vehicle towed to you, then inspected and a rebuilt title issued.

Please post links to actual current laws in YOUR state regarding titling a vintage trailer with a bill of sale only or regarding rebuilt / salvage.

Also, do you know the law in your state regarding if a title is issued for vehicles older than "X"? It would be wonderful to compile a master list here.

You can also call a title agency to get a title for you if you have a bill of sale only. The bill of sale must still be notarized.

I researched:
national title and registration - 877-886-4414 (broadway title)

I called:
My Local Tag Office -828-277-7767
My Local Insurance and theft office - 828-251-6081

Hope this has helped some future interweb searcher
NJtoNC is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-12-2013, 08:30 PM   #2
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1969 27' Overlander
Boise , Idaho
Join Date: Apr 2013
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I just looke dinto this here in Idaho. I haven't actually done it, yet, but my state Trasnportation Dept. has a webpage describing a process for obtaining a "conditional title." Lots of hoops to jump through, but you get a conditional title and, three years later, a clean title.
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Old 12-03-2014, 05:04 PM   #3
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This had such potential to be a great thread. What happened??? Was it moved someplace else??
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Old 12-03-2014, 06:02 PM   #4
1964 26' Overlander
bugtussel , South Carolina
Join Date: Mar 2014
Posts: 47
Originally Posted by AStreamLover View Post
This had such potential to be a great thread. What happened??? Was it moved someplace else??
Thats because info is INACCURATE. I live in TN and just got a title for a 1964 overlander with a bill of sale only. I don't know about the rest of the states she talked about.
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