Stolen Tags: 1963 Corvette

1963-corvette

I really don’t know what one would do with this poor Corvette. It’s a good year and the seller claims the frame and birdcage are solid, but the tags and title are missing. They claim the tags were stolen at some point, which seems odd. I guess we have heard of stranger things. That puts this car in a difficult place though, as you have limited options for getting it back on the street. For all we know it was stolen and the thief removed the tags so it could be sold as a parts car. So what do you do with a rough project that you can’t license? Take a look at this one here on eBay in Greene, Maine and let us know what you think!

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Comments

  1. Peter K

    losing the title isn’t that big of a deal in most states. The DMV will have a record of ownership in their system and all you have to do is show positive ID and They’ll look you up.

    • CAR CRAZY

      maine doesnt have titles.

  2. doug6423

    I’m sure someone can come up with a set of tags to rivet back on….
    Problem solved!

    • CAR CRAZY

      and that would be very illegal

      • Pete

        I agree totally not only illegal but also a Federal offense

      • Paul

        I am not 100% positive, but, almost certain he was kidding, boys.

      • Paul

        And, I might add, bidding is strong… Weak for a ’63, but strong for what this one is.

  3. RicK

    Grille is not from a ’63, looks like it’s from a ’66-67, yet it has a ’65 front clip. Anyhow, it needs a ton of $$$$ and work and still no VIN. Hmmmm.

  4. Magstar67

    I think the gauges are from a later car too but not positive.

    What a mess, will be interesting to see what it goes for.

  5. Brian

    Grille hood 66 and front fenders are 65
    Which tags. License plate or birdcage? Big difference in valuing

  6. michael streuly

    No title no vin equals no sale.

  7. Rick

    Looks like a (future) vintage race car to me!

  8. Mike

    With as much work as it needs I’m surprised it’s at $8500 and not met reserve

  9. Leo

    Lots of options on getting it back on the road as far as the titke. Look around for a vin plate even if there isnt a title available for the vin plate. Then go apply for a new “binded” title and after 3 years it washes to a normal titke. There are many many ways to get a title

    • CAR CRAZY

      putting another vin tag on this car from another vette is very illegal.

  10. PF

    @Leo – I think you mean “bonded” title…

  11. RoughDiamond RoughDiamond Member

    Somebody asked him if he would help them load it. You dang right I would help somebody load it they had just paid me 10K for a ’63 Corvette in poor condition with no VIN or title.

  12. Dolphin Member

    ’63 convertibles have been selling at auctions for about $48K, and that has been dropping recently.

    Maybe……if I had lots of ’63 parts sitting around and no better way to spend my time than paying myself about $0.10/hour for my labor. Otherwise, no.

    This kind of deal makes me wonder what someone will pay to be able to own a ’63 Stingray (exactly $10K, so far).

    Then, what the chances are that they will put the time, work, and ca$h into it to get a running, driving car, vs. putting it up on Ebay again in a couple of years.

  13. Rick

    This went to a “solid frame” to major repairs being needed at both kick-ups. The longer it goes the worse it sounds.

  14. Dan h

    Here in Cali, an assigned vin can issued but it’s considered the kiss of death and will seriously hinder the cars value.

  15. John B

    Looks like she went swimming at some point…

  16. Mr. TKD

    Something sounds fishy if you can’t just get a duplicate title. I’ll pass.

  17. S Ryan

    Where did I put my 63 vette titles and vin’s?

  18. Doug Towsley

    Same seller also has a 64 and 65 Vettes also for sale. For full value and restored to 100 points I am not sure its worth it. But there are many options that could be pursued with this car and it DOES have value. Certainly you would need to investigate further and I would run the cars vin numbers. But there are options to get a title and or purchase another basket case and make one good car out of it.
    Some states are difficult to get a Title in some are no problem at all, Some states simply do not HAVE a title issued for older vehicles and simple enough to establish if that is the case here and get a title in your state. of course theres a lot of junk out there being sold JUST for the VIN plates and Title so there IS that option as well.
    Still, thats a cool body style and SOMEBODY WILL buy it, I can promise that.

    • rockribbedrushy

      Seems he sells a lot of Vette parts. And probably buys what he needs to fix what he’s got.
      He just listed the ’65 at 200 to start. BIN for 38K.
      If you like you could be the first bid, non?

  19. Joe

    Seller has to have some document to prove, at the moment, he has “legal possession” (sale or lien judgement, or paperwork trail to him, etc.) from the last documented owner or the last documented owner’s estate. If he doesn’t have documented “legal possession”, he can’t legally assign or transfer the car to any buyer in any State. If you buy it, you are buying a set of parts, nothing more. You have risk that the car or anyone who has been in possession of the car has no liens or serious crimes involving this car–which could come back to bite you after your significant investment. The car can be re-claimed and pulled out from under you or result in a costly legal action. Unnecessary risk and headache, unfortunately.

    • Doug Towsley

      You are correct, However it is not terribly difficult to do this. It just depends on state.
      I have recovered a number of vehicles without titles and no record of previous owners and not a problem. I am doing it currently on a number of vintage motorcycles and I have a 1939 Dodge Coupe that was found in the sticker bushes on a nearby farm.
      NOT A PROBLEM. I have done this multiple times over the last 30 years. Do your research, follow the laws and rules and Bobs not just a close relative laddie.
      Some people are terrified of this, but not a big deal.

  20. Joe

    Doug, can you give the details of “How”? Does this work in any State and applicable to inter-state transfer?

    • Doug Towsley

      Joe, There is no such thing as a one size fits all answer to your question. There is multiple variables that can apply and each state and sometimes even county has different rules. Heck, I try to deal with the same lady at a certain DMV because at times you can get 20 different interpretations from 20 different DMV clerks in the same area.
      I have also found many DMV staff who do NOT know their own rules or the law. I often gripe that DMVs should hire people with real knowledge and skill rather than based on quotas or other standards. After working at multiple Govt agencies myself I could tell you a so many stories about incompetency

      So, depends on the vehicle itself, and year make-model. And where it came from and where you live. I also worked at several dealerships and some of these guys on here trying to say “Thats illegal” or “it cant be done” are either ignorant or stupid. Ignorance we can fix, stupid not so much. Yes, as a dealership employee and as a restorer and shop I have LEGALLY replaced VINs, and Restamped and Altered. All were done legally. I also have blank engine cases and VIN tags in stock right now and I can order more from my whole sale suppliers. TOTALLY Legal.

      Now, In the case of that Vette specifically? If you were to hire me to advise you on the purchase and or restore or rebuild the car for you my advice is have a skilled First person inspection performed. Then as I described above, I would run those numbers thru multiple data bases. If clean, Then here in my state with the COPY of the eBay auction I would then make as terms of sale a NOTARIZED Bill of sale from seller (This is a legal document) Then I would get copies of the State of Maine DMV and tax laws. Highlite the appropriate sections docuementing vintage vehicles in that state do NOT have titles. *IF* the Vin number comes back clean, and You have proof of ownership there IS multiple replacement VIN tag and ID plate shops who WILL make you a replacement VIN tag, or ID plate or Data plate. But you have to prove you are legal and the vehicle is not stolen. I have purchased such plates LEGALLY many times as it is not uncommon at all for tags to be missing or damaged, Now here in Oregon, ANY out of state vehicle transfer requires a VIN number inspection. Used to be State Police did it but they got out that business. Now the DMV does it.

      I have legally exported vehicles OUT of the US to a number of countries WITHOUT a title. Not all countries accept that, But most do. Truth is most countries dont care about a title as you will get THEIR version anyway. ALL they require is some sort of paperwork proving ownership and what it is. In most cases it is BEST to have a title but not a deal breaker. What I do is I take the vehicle up to my local favorite DMV and I ask the nice lady who likes me to come out and inspect. She checks the vehicle, Fills out a official Oregon DMV Vin Inspection form, and then STAMP STAMP STAMP hits it with all kinds of stamps as inspected. I then supply the buyer with a Notarized Bill of Sale and my company information. This is 2 official and legal documents and in MOST states and in MOST countries is more than enough to get a title.

      In my state, State law SAYS, all i need is a bill of sale and unless there is a preponderance of evidence of fraud, they are REQUIRED to issue title.

      I have also explained on many previous postings on HOW to title a kit car AS the donor car as well and to do so legally and under both State and Federal law. But thats another long topic. One other variable is MSO.. This is Manufacturer Statement of Origination. I have built frames and customs and gotten titles or sold and the new owners have gotten titles. That is another separate topic.

      Liens of Chattel, Forfeiture, and Abandoned property is another long topic and Tow companies, and lost and replacement title companies is similarly long.

      And one last issue is “Assembled vehicle title” which is another lengthy topic but one I have done many times as well.

      But again, it all depends on vehicle, and where you are and as stated other variables.
      As posted, this is a topic that is often discussed on MANY different forums and vehicles. Heck, I have done this on aircraft as well and I have a Federal FAA license, as well as inspector. (A&P). What you will find is a LOT of misinformation along with accurate advice. If you do need specific help let me know and I will share what I know.

      • doug6423

        I concur.
        Doug, don’t try and educate those that don’t want to be educated…

  21. CAR CRAZY

    Joe, run away. with out a vin tag, the car can be impounded by the police.

    • Doug Towsley

      Car crazy, YES, I have titled vehicles without a vin tag. I dont know your experience but the reality is there is a lot of variable you dont seem to be aware of or knowledgeable on.

      Vin tags only applies to certain vehicles. And in most cases the VIN is stamped in multiple locations. For example our 68 Chevelle was built from 2 cars. The best one was a race car and well on its way to being stripped. We bought a second car and made one good one. So, in the 68 Some do, Some do not but on ours the VIN is stamped upside down on the floor boards on passenger side on the engine firewall side just below where the glovebox goes viewed from the inside. On some cars it is, and some cars not but SOME mid 60s Chevelles it is ALSO stamped on the frame on Driver side rear near where it Dog legs up for the rear end. Then there IS the Vin tag that is attched with Rivets to the Dash. Now, on my Datsuns (multiple) the Vin tag is attacthed with large Phillips Screws. Which is why I now have a King cab 1972 Datsun 620 pickup. Same with Datsun 510s. My prewar coupes (I currently have 3) are also pretty simple simple.
      I also have bought and sold a number of cars and motorcycles LEGALLY with DMV assigned VIN numbers since those vehicles did not have paperwork, vin numbers or any identification on them. I have done this multiple times in the last 30 years and I dont break the law (Well, I have bent it a few times) and I am not about to start. For every problem there IS a solution. As we said in the military, “Every problem is merely a obstacle to navigate around to achieve the objective”

    • Doug Towsley

      Carcrazy your broad statements are totally BS. please refrain from regurgitating misinformation and totally bogus info.
      There are many different variables and your one size fits all statements are totally useless and unhelpful.
      At any given race track there are paddocks FULL of vehicles without VIN tags or Titles. Under your delusions they could all be seized. Some vehicles were not made with traditional vin tags either.
      Now, Not that I think your comments are helpful at all, I will point out that Police can and DO seize vehicles. It DOES happen. Which is why you do CYA at all times. Boyd Coddington was very publicly B*****h Slapped by the authorities as an example because he pushed the envelope too far and tool long. He was titling NEW customs on old titles and was pretty blatant about it. Not too mention he was doing it in the Peoples republic of California so that was just asking for trouble. I doubt Montana, Idaho, or Nevada would bother with it.

      In the motorcycle world similar issues have happened. On vintage American and some European bikes they dont have traditional VIN info. Early Harleys are often titled off the Frame NOT the motor. However some places will title off the Motor.
      Complicating things is many vehicles do not leave the factory with matching numbers. After 1950 Triumph motorcycles had matching numbers but 49 and earlier do not.
      BSA used 2 different numbers and ID for Frames and Motors up to 1961 then matching, then mismatched again until mid 67.

      I know of a number of cases where Police have seized a vehicle, and owners had to go to great lengths to get them back. Usually the police are wrong. Often its a harassment tool. But again, Thats WHY you CYA. Every year the Cannon Ball run goes across the US and I think current rules are up to 1935 for 2017??? I would have to check, but under CarCrazys delusions every one of those vehicles would be illegal.
      He just does not know what he is spewing out.

  22. Jlee

    Not a ’63 front end.

  23. Mr. Bond

    Somewhere, there is a guy with the original VIN and Title, waiting for this auction!

    Years ago I bought a fox body Mustang GT from an Insurance Yard. Missing all the the seats, console, rear carpet, wheels, tail lights, and a few other parts. A week after, I won the silent auction, I find a guy with seats, console, rear carpet, wheels, tail lights, and a few other parts for sale on Kijiji. I would bet he was a good friend of the original owner. Yes, I bought the last few parts I needed from him, and had a great car for cheap.

    • Doug Towsley

      Maybe there is, maybe not. More info needed. Still not 100% clear the actual vin tag is missing but it sounds like that is the case, More research needed. ALSO you would NEED to run the VIN under multiple searches. See if it has had any activity or history. If It were me, I would have it run under multiple different searches. Insurance, DMV and Police. In my state and most others if there is no activity within certain time frames (Oregon-7 years) its deleted from the active data base and requires a physical search thru state records. You might ALSO have to search thru other states. Some of these do get missed, hence the vehicle stolen in the 1960s and was legally bought and sold legally multiple times but was only spotted by customs after being sold for very large sums of money and was being exported to Australia. That was a Triumph motorcycle and I am very familiar with that situation but other cases have happened over the years. There was a special layer of bullshit involved with that one though.
      ———————————————————————
      However I worked for several govt agencies and I also know a lot of LE folks, I hear this is common in many areas but locally several Russian/Eastern European crime rings were found to be laundering stolen vehicles much as Mr Bond describes above.

      The procedure is multi fold. A friend or family member reports his vehicle stolen and collects insurance. The Crime ring strips the car carefully and stores all the parts, Then drops off the stripped carcass on a well travelled street. It gets towed, The insurance company then sells the vehicle at one of the local auction sales. The crime ring BUYS the vehicle for pennys on the dollar. Now the vehicle has clean paper,. (Relatively clean) then re-installs the parts and sells the vehicle legally.

      I know of more crime rings and local to me is Clackamas town center. These guys have been caught stealing cars there and they have pick lists for make model and COLOR! They have lists from other thieves who need parts as well as an active sales system to local body shops and repair shops. It is disturbing to see that, But one of the ways to combat this is what I do, Pull panels and EVERY part has an ID scribed or stamped on it. Modern cars now also have a VIN number on ALL major assys and parts to try and combat this. This is very common issue

      So, If purchasing a used car relatively new, ALWAYS check for labeling and see if the ID or VIN numbers match on all the parts. Do not count on that vehicle ever being in the system OR that the history is accurate despite what all these car history companies claim.

      Which is ALSO why when purchasing a investment grade vehicle ALWAYS inspect OR hire a knowledgeable inspector and make SURE they do their job. I can go over a motorcycle or car and I can tell, I know what to look for but if you dont or not sure. HIRE someone. Money well spent.

  24. George Meyer

    There is a “hidden” VIN on top of the frame rail above the left rear wheel. Unless it’s very rusty, you can easily lift it off with tracing paper and a pencil. That will give you a starting point to search for title history. Here’s the rub (pun not intended)…you may find the car to have been stolen once upon a time, and property of the insurance company who paid off on it. That happened to me and it was a long and painful process to regain a clear title. I was finally able to negotiate a settllement, which was many times the value of the car when stolen. The visible VIN tag on a Midyear Corvette is below the glovebox and fastened with pop rivets that are easily duplicated. I had my car for 8 years before I found out about the hidden VIN. Personally, if I was looking for a restoration project, I wouldn’t touch the car without searching that frame rail. Car Crazy is right…find a better car.

  25. ACZ

    Nothing about this car looks like a 1963. The gauges, fender louvers, grille are all later C2 than 63. Also, the VIN plate on these cars was welded on to the cross brace under the glove box, not riveted. No small job to remove it, nor would anyone want to. This thing is as phony as a $3 bill.

  26. Doug Towsley

    There are a number of places *IF* you can prove you are legal owner WILL make a replacement VIN plate, Data plates and Trim tags. I have met a number of these guys at swap meets and car shows.

    There ARE a number of sources of such plates that are not legit either and would probably get you in trouble IF you tried to use them. use caution.

    Here are several discussions with a mix of accurate info, and total BS ignorant ranting. but there is so many variables, again there is no such thing as one size fits all so not surprising there are so many different opinions out there.
    See: http://www.jalopyjournal.com/forum/threads/replacement-vin-plate.379406/

    See: http://www.jalopyjournal.com/forum/threads/legality-of-re-attached-vin-tag.822767/

    See: http://www.jalopyjournal.com/forum/threads/anyone-sell-and-stamp-vin-tags.38742/

    Many States and Law enforcement have books that show WHAT a legal VIN number and or tag looks like broken down for make and Model. Not that all of them use it. I have had arguments many times over the years on what is legit and what is not.
    I do valuations and inspections for people and in my experience If I produce a photocopy of pages from a published book it is far more convincing than standing there and arguing with a LE or DMV person. Some VIN and ID #s are Stamped and NOT a tag or plate. Some are stamped using a Block holder and some are hand stamped. I have had this argument that the numbers and letters are too sloppy. The confused look on their faces is when I pull out the book and it shows what they are supposed to look like, What Font is used and the advice on some “If the VIn or ID number is too orderly or perfectly aligned this is a sure sign its a forgery as the factory stampings were sloppy and jumbled. They simply were not this precise”.

    Here is a photo of one of mine. This sort of thing freaks out many ignorant and stupid people. (DMV, LE and alleged internet experts). It is a short VIN number. Totally legit.
    But their brains dont compute if it is not a 17 digit modern VIN or ID number. The solution is add 14 Zeros but that would require brain cells. Problem solved but for many, that just does not compute. In this photo it shows several titles, ALL legit, Early ones are a very primitive title. Then theres a 1960s and 1970s versions.
    Some of the VIN Id numbers are 3 digits, some are 4 and theres one thats 5 digits.

  27. Es Ge

    I agree…. 63 guages were cone shaped… These are later…. Vertical side slots are 65/66…. Grille insert is later than 63…. Only the door panels look like 63s…. Hurst shifter and aftermarket rims could be any C2….. So without vin tags and title …what makes u think this car is a 63?

  28. Eddie

    Do Not Buy Car Without Title !!!!

    • Doug Towsley

      Okay Eddie, But doesnt that limit your search quite a bit? MANY states dont issue titles for vintage vehicles.

      So,” Maine titles only 15 year old and newer. There were no titles prior to 1975. Anything over 15 year old only needs bill of sale as State will not issue a new title.” So, clearly this Corvette is located in Maine, So never buy any cars from Maine??

      Alabama, Georgia, New York, Connecticut and other states I hear have these same issues. No titles issued. What to do?? What to do???

      I also hear about New Hampshire and Rhoad Island too but not 100% sure.

      For those wondering this might be helpful:
      http://www.crankshaftcoalition.com/wiki/How_to_title_a_hot_rod

      Might find this helpful too:
      See: http://allabouttitles.com/legal_legislative/title-holding-states/

  29. Zaphod

    Maine wasn’t a title state until 1995. You can buy it and get a legitimate title as long as the VIN clears the insurance and matches the make and model. Having said that: I go to Greene: beautifl place that’ under 4 feet of snow half the year, and where they spend the rest of the year getting rid of the salt they spread to get rid of the snow. I took one look at this rig and only one word comes to mind: an old ice racer that sank and spent a few month in Mooshead lake.

  30. Ck

    Why would any body want this car ?It got no vin#’s ,and no title.Oh and by the way the guy who is selling it ,you know the guy who evidenly Fixes up vettes DOESNT WANT IT EITHER.WANNA KNOW WHY ?…….CUZ IT HAS NO TAGS AND NO TITLE. Stay clear of this one. Oh and if it is a stolen car ,think about the guy it was stolen from.

  31. RoughDiamond RoughDiamond Member

    The Internet has caused technology to evolve in every area including car theft recovery. It is full now of stories where guys (and I sure some gals too) are getting their stolen muscle cars back 35 years after they were stolen leaving the last owner without any money or the car. You can read about some of these on Hagerty’s website.

  32. Pete

    Stay away from this car. There is a reason why the title and vin are missing. I bet this is stolen. If you want to know the vin of this car look on top of the frame in back behind rear wheel driver side vin should be stamped in frame from factory. My brother bought a Corvette with similar history to this car. When he did find the vin for this car turned up stolen and he lost his a$$ on it. I work hard for my money I don’t like losing it

  33. CAR CRAZY

    thanks Pete, my thoughts too.there are so many cars fro sale. why buy a problem?

  34. Rex Kahrs Member

    It would be nice if the states could get together and create as standard, reciprocal method for titling old cars, and cars without titles.

    Florida and Ohio are a pain in the butt. New Hampshire and a number of other states do not title cars over 25 years old, so you can register an old car in New Hampshire without a title. If you buy a NH car and attempt to title it in FL, NH will tell you that the car never had a title, so they can’t even issue you a replacement title…there wasn’t one in the first place. Maddening.

  35. Joe

    Without a title, many States require an active registration and Bill of Sale from a documented owner (by paper trail or legal judgement). Without either, the Seller may or may not have legal possession or the right to sell the vehicle, which is your first problem. You are buying a basket of parts, regardless of how well they are fastened together. Maybe–Maybe–you can re-establish or re-attach a VIN legally, and establish a title, as Doug points out well. But you will need to investigate the car’s history carefully (interstate transfers, last documented registration, how the seller got his hands on the car, liens, stolen vehicles etc. etc.). Very time consuming and lots of dead ends, Doug is correct and very helpful—but in this case—why bother?

  36. Pablo

    Sold at $12,453.53 I can imagine to leave like new will take another 12k ! for a 63 I don’t know if worth it but it’s a lovely car. It needs much work and patience

  37. Philip

    With as rusty as the frame is (shot) and the condition of the rest of the car, it wouldn’t surprise me in the least if this was a recovered ‘theft’ someone ran around in with a VIN plate installed from a scrapped or totaled car with a clear title. It happens all the time in NY. Get yourself a clear title total or equivalent, then transfer the VIN(s) and you have a title and tags.

    When your done, remove the VIN(s) and sell or scrap/part it out. Let the next schmuck worry about it. I wouldn’t walk, I’d run as fast as my legs would take me away from that car. Looks like a water recovery theft for insurance money, or worse..The holes in the frame kick ups and corners are very telling

  38. Tim W

    If I may ask what might seem a stupid question, what is a “birdcage” on a Vette? Wrenched on a lot of cars over the years,even a few Vettes, but not sure what that is. Anybody? Might have a lead on a 68 427. What should I look for ?

    • Rick

      The birdcage in the metal structure in front of, below and in back of the passenger compartment. It includes the windshield frame and, in the 68 you may be looking at, the support (roll bar) beneath the roof panel behind the passenger compartment.

  39. Tim W

    Ah, makes sense. Thanks Rick. I was having mental images of Sylvester and Tweety

  40. doug parker

    had a split widow coupe stolen in 1970

  41. doug parker

    Josh Mortensen

    I had a split window stolen from Lynchburg, Virginia in1970, this stolen vette in your article has some similar items such as 327/340 hp, oil pressure gauge and front clip issue and possible color. It has been a long time. Please contact me if you can help to locate. I have original title.
    Doug Parker 407-920-3842

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