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Do you have any paperwork showing that you a) bought the car B) actually own the car c) owe no money on the car or d) that the car has not been reported stolen?

A little history / info from you helps US help YOU. See? :-)

Let's assume you bought the car from someone and you have a written bill of sale with both your signature and the previous owner's signature.

If so, try searching through Hemmings Motor News for people that provide this service in states where older vehicles require less red tape to register. My understanding is that in some states you can easily register older cars with little or no paperwork, then the people providing this service get issued a title (in their state) that then gets assigned to you (via a bill of sale or owner reassignment) - in your home state.

If you just want a title for a 2002 that doesn't match your car's VIN, I'm sure that could be sourced here.

Old cars are fun! Government agencies HATE them. Anyone can write a check for a Honda...you have to be tough, smart, and resourceful to own an older vehicle. That's what makes them more valuable and special!

Paul Wegweiser

Wegweiser Classic BMW Services

Nationwide vehicle transport available

NEW WEBSITE! www.zenwrench.com

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I live in MA and have had to deal with this many times.

The law in MA is that every car needs a title; it doesn't matter how old it is. However, in many states, cars don't need titles if they're more than 15 years old, so MA has a provision to deal with that -- if you buy a car from another state where it doesn't need a title, you need to show them a bill of sale from the seller and a registration for that car in that same person's name. This shows that the car was indeed registered, in another state, by the person selling it to you.

If the car is truly a barn-find without clear provenance of ownership, even then there IS a process. I had to go through it once, and it is a total pain in the ass. The steps below are reproduced from, of all things, a scooter-related web site, telling you how to register barn-find scooters. But it is correct; I've done it. Basically, you have to:

--Get the person selling it to you to fill out an affidavit explaining why they are the actual owner of the car even though they can't produce a valid registration, who THEY bought it from, have that explanation have all the info below, and get that explanation notarized.

--Buyer must do the same thing ie notarized affidavit explaining why he is buying it from the seller.

--Get a "visual inspection" form and get a police officer to come to wherever the car is (presumably your house), verify the car's VIN, and sign the form.

--Get the local police station to run the VIN and verify the car hasn't been reported as stolen.

--Send all this paperwork to the Massachusetts DMV and hope and pray they don't deny you, because if they do, you're fooked, laddie.

The steps are listed below.


Procedure for purchasing an undocumented vehicle.

The SELLER must provide a signed and notarized bill of sale stating:





The SELLER and the BUYER must each attach a signed and notarized affidavit that:

Specifies the Year, Make, Model and VIN of the vehicle.

How and when the vehicle was acquired by the SELLER.

From whom the vehicle was acquired (meaning the owner prior to the SELLER).

The circumstances of where, and to what use the vehicle has been during the SELLER's ownership

and an explanation why there is no paperwork.

In addition, either the SELLER or the BUYER will need to have a "Visual Inspection" (TV-7) form completed by a law enforcement agency. They will run a stolen vehicle report. They cannot run one without you presenting the vehicle.

Also a completed RMV-1 form.

All five documents, (RMV-1, TV-7, BOS, SELLER affidavit, BUYER affidavit) are submitted to: RMV Title division ATTN: Title Review Officer PO Box 55885 Boston, MA 02205

I went through this when I bought the Sahara '72tii up in Maine that Howard from Philadelphia now owns. The guy I bought it from had never registered it so there was no registration in his name. Once he had my cash for the car, he became very difficult to deal with, and getting him to fill out an affidavit and get it notarized was like pulling teeth. It got done, but it was among the most stressful two months of my automotive life. For this reason, I now always ask to see the title before I commit to buying something. I'd have to want something awful bad to go through that again.

Other people (not me, of course) have noted that if you have a friend in a state with laxer title laws, you could "sell" the car to them, have them register it in their state, then, with their now having a valid registration, sell it to you, whereupon you can present their registration, making the MA paperwork process easier.

Good luck.

The new book The Best Of The Hack Mechanic available at https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0998950742, inscribed copies of all books available at www.robsiegel.com

1972 tii (Louie), 1973 2002 (Hampton), 1975 ti tribute (Bertha), 1972 Bavaria, 1973 3.0CSi, 1979 Euro 635CSi, 1999 Z3, 1999 M Coupe, 2003 530i sport, 1974 Lotus Europa Twin Cam Special (I know, I know...)

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Now that's great. Thank you for your eloquence and precise information.

It is not reported stolen. The title [according to the MA DMV] actually doesn't exist. There's no bill of sale chain unless I create one. This is a barn find/donation/gift. I'm taking it off a friends hands and it's been garaged for decades.

This is my first time doing this so go easy on me fellas. I saw this car and it's like it was transported here from 1973. Seriously. It's been forgotten. I found it. I went to the DMV and they are useless. I need help sourcing a good titling company that can help me out and I can get this baby on the road.

Thank you.

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I went to the DMV and they are useless.

how's that song go...

I got a letter from the government the other day

Opened it and read it, it said they were suckers

They wanted me for their army or whatever

Picture me givin' a damn, I said, never

Here is a land that never gave a damn

About a brother like myself because I never did

I wasn't with it but just that very minute

It occurred to me, the suckers had authority

Cold sweatin' as I dwell in my cell How long has it been?

They got me sittin' in the state pen I

gotta get out, but that thought was thought before

I contemplated a plan on the cell floor....

I found a very nice Merc G500 the other day that would have

made a great tow rig. Only problem was, guy who left it there

seemed to think it was still his...

But yes, I ran into a similar thing here a few years back-

there are times where getting the paperwork to match

what both the seller and the buyer want to do is not easy.


"I learn best through painful, expensive experience, so I feel like I've gotten my money's worth." MattL

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I also live in MA and bought a 1976 2002 just about exactly two years from the second owner in CA who had owned the car for 18 years. He thought that he no longer had the title; that is, that he had misplaced it. In fact, when I called the CA DMV they listed the (very) old lien holder as a bank in CA from which the original owner, not the PO, had taken a loan: I called them and, believe it or not, 35 years later, they still had the original title! I forwarded this information to the PO from whom I bought the '02: he went to the bank, retrieved the title and sent it to me. With original title in hand (the title was a tiny piece of paper), the DMV gave me a valid MA title.

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Move over the border to NH, problem solved.

If you have an hour or three, let me regale you with a story of trying to register an 86 Alfa Romeo that I purchased in NH and drove home to VA and tried to register w/o a title and only a bill of sale. It went on for three days revolving around the words " I have no title because the state of NH doesn't title cars over 15 years old...". They even looked it up in their own procedures where it was written "the state of NH doesn't title cars over fifteen years old." They had no idea what to do... I could not have been the first person to ever do this!

J B Westerwick

Portsmouth VA

78 Alfa Romeo Veloce Spyder

86 Alfa Romeo Veloce Spyder

71 1602 Sahara

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  • 5 months later...

She's titled and now on the road.  Used a title company to get her one and then transferred the registration to MA.  It took a while and was a little costly but worth it.  

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She's titled and now on the road. Used a title company to get her one and then transferred the registration to MA. It took a while and was a little costly but worth it.

Congratulations! What's a year in 02 time?


EDIT: Actually 6 months, that's pretty darned good!

Edited by Conserv

1976 2002 Polaris, 2742541 (original owner)

1973 2002tii Inka, 2762757 (not-the-original owner)

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Congrats. The time spent now is made up in spades when you go to sell.  And now, since this is an alledged "barn find", it's time to show off your purchase. Or have you elsewhere on the site?


BTW, welcome.

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