Author Topic: California VIN # ?  (Read 1434 times)

Geoff Newcombe #4719

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California VIN # ?
« on: June 10, 2006, 01:20:20 PM »
A question to satisfy my curiosity and doubts.  There is a nice looking 1947 Cadillac sedan on ebay (with a big price), auction i.d. # 4648971276.  The car has a California ASSIGNED VIN number, no factory VIN number.  I wrote the seller about this noting that in my somewhat limited experience that meant that the car had at one time, for one reason or another, been totaled but then repaired and reregistered, losing its original VIN because it had once been declared a total loss so one was assigned by the state.  With this in mind I also asked if he could provide some history of the car.

His reply was that that was the way California did things back in those days, meaning that back then all cars sold new in CA had a state assigned VIN #.  Personally I think that is a crock.  He also noted that there were pictures of the factory body plates or tags, which there are, but these of course so not show the VIN #.  Looking closely at that California VIN tag you can see also that the tag is attached with what appear to me to be some form of pop rivet which would have been non-existant back in those days.

Comments adding light to this and furthering my education would be much appreciated.
Geoff N.

Bill Gauch

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Re: California VIN # ?
« Reply #1 on: June 10, 2006, 01:36:49 PM »
Most likely, the title/registration was lost or the car was restored from nothing at some point. It is likely that CA had a procedure to get a new title by applying for a new VIN. Cars from this era didnt have VIN numbers. They only had frame/engine numbers which were used for registration. Each manufacturer had a different set of numbers and, later, letters. My 38 has a frame number of 7270270. I have a 63 Rambler with G followed by some numbers. I dont know exactly when they started using the 17 letter/number combination. I think it was probably some time in the early 80s. If it is a modern VIN, it had to be assigned more recently than that.

Mike Simmons

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Re: California VIN # ?
« Reply #2 on: June 10, 2006, 02:22:04 PM »
Geoff-  You dont have to imagine the worst when dealing with the CA DMV. Back in the 50s-and into the early 60s, at least, CA was still using the motor number as the VIN, as did Cadillac in the early days (40s). One time I bought a 55 Olds on which the title had been modified by the DMV to reflect the motor number of the replacement engine. It took some time and argument to get them to recognize the chassis number as the correct VIN; Also, I once bought an engine-less 47 Cad, and cleaned the frame rail on the drivers side, but couldnt find a VIN. Hauled it to the CHP office where they pop-riveted a new VIN for me. Of course, later when I cleaned the pass-side rail, there was the darned original VIN. Stupid, but thats how I learn a lot of things.


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