Obtaining title for bike built from parts

NickZ

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I would like to learn if there are any tips or traps involved with getting title for a bike that is built from pieces of multiple bikes.
In my case, the frame (1971), engine (1973) and gearbox (1972) all came from different bikes, as did most of the rest of the parts. I have bills of sale for the parts I bought, but no titles.
 
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I have done this here in NC several times you need a bonded title you must have bike completed and notarized bills of sale for engine and frame then you have to get 2 estimates of finished bike value on letterhead of bike dealer or someone in the business then you have highway patrol inspector come and take pics of serial numbers and the he/she runs numbers through national database (my 72 commando frame number came up stolen about 20 years ago but was recovered so I was good to go) then if that's clean you get title bonding company to give you paper work and you give them money and then you go to DMV and sweat balls off again ...I had all my ducks in a row and a manila envelope full of paperwork and lady gave me title and tag on the spot...…...whew...
 

NPeteN

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I have done this here in NC several times you need a bonded title you must have bike completed and notarized bills of sale for engine and frame then you have to get 2 estimates of finished bike value on letterhead of bike dealer or someone in the business then you have highway patrol inspector come and take pics of serial numbers and the he/she runs numbers through national database (my 72 commando frame number came up stolen about 20 years ago but was recovered so I was good to go) then if that's clean you get title bonding company to give you paper work and you give them money and then you go to DMV and sweat balls off again ...I had all my ducks in a row and a manila envelope full of paperwork and lady gave me title and tag on the spot...…...whew...

Hey Alan,
Good info, you seem to know your stuff. Any info on getting a replacement for lost title? Fella from NC in another thread needs help.
Your expertise might come in handy over there.
https://www.accessnorton.com/NortonCommando/titlerecovery.31612/#post-500078
 
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I would suggest that since you are in the USA, you stick with the frame VIN to ID the bike. I recently got called by the California Highway Patrol for identifying commandos.
The big issue was the frame was not correctly identified for the presented paperwork year .
I worked on a commando with a 650 engine. It's still a commando and not a 650 manxman or 650SS or 650 deluxe.
Year-norton-commando that's all.... do not put "body style" i.e. roadster/fastback/hi rider/interstate/ or 750/850 unless the paperwork demands it... usually insurance but not titleing.

If someone offers a "bill of sale" for an engine then fine and good.
 
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grandpaul

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Each state has their own rules, but I just use the VT online route.

I understand they even waived the physical inspection during Covid...
 
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In Texas the frame VIN is the one that should match the title and is the only one used to identify the bike. Engine number is not used at all. My Trident has non matching engine but the frame number matches the title. Also, in Texas there is a process you go through to get a title to a bike that doesn't have one. You have the bike VIN inspected by a local law enforcement and then submit paperwork including bill of sale and estimate of bikes worth along with the VIN verification to the state. Once they process the paperwork you buy a bond and then you are issued a bonded title. I think last one I did the bond cost about $100. If someone were to claim the bike you would receive the bond money, otherwise at the end of 3 years the bond goes away and you then have clear title to the bike. I've done two bikes this way. it takes some patience but it is completely legal.
 
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So if you make your own frame and fill it with special racing parts, you would be in trouble? In Australia, the kids used to build hot-rod cars. These days your vehicle must comply with the Australian design rules and you need an engineers' certificate to prove it, which costs $2000 minimum. Our whole system is designed to deter innovation.. Many years ago, in Melbourne there was a kid who got a lot of publicity about the safety of hot-rod cars. Then he went and wiped himself off against a stone construction in the middle of a highway. Our laws changed. It only takes one idiot.
 
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Bill of sale is all you need in Alabama if you know someone there. Then transfer the al tittle
 
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I live in Ohio and I called the Highway Patrol about getting a title and he told me I have to start with a title and a receipt for every part you bought for the bike. So I ask him if I had a title for the bike why would I be bothering you, he wasn't a very friendly Bear kinda made me feel like I was up to something dishonest , he said that's what you have to do its not up for discussion. I have a Matchless G15CSR that I would like to get a title for I have a receipt from the guy I bought it off of but its not notarized, Ohio is a tough state to get a title issued on something like this.

Mark
 

Ron L

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I have used them at least a dozen times, ZERO FUSS, totally legal.
Maybe no fuss in Texas, but I don't believe it can work in Ohio unless the address on Vt. registration is also Vt. and not Ohio. And driving with a Vt. license plate is also a problem if you have an Ohio driver's license.
One option is to have it titled as "assembled by owner". This requires a new VIN tag issued by the Ohio DMV and a couple trips to the Ohio State Patrol inspection station. I went through this with a BMW several years ago that had a FL title but an illegible VIN number on the frame.

Another option is to find a friend in neighboring Indiana to get the bike inspected and titled in his name in Indiana and then transferred to you in Ohio. I know several people who went this route successfully.
 
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GP, have you actually obtained a Texas title by submitting a Vermont registration?
 
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Maybe no fuss in Texas, but I don't believe it can work in Ohio unless the address on Vt. registration is also Vt. and not Ohio. And driving with a Vt. license plate is also a problem if you have an Ohio driver's license.
One option is to have it titled as "assembled by owner". This requires a new VIN tag issued by the Ohio DMV and a couple trips to the Ohio State Patrol inspection station. I went through this with a BMW several years ago that had a FL title but an illegible VIN number on the frame.

Another option is to find a friend in neighboring Indiana to get the bike inspected and titled in his name in Indiana and then transferred to you in Ohio. I know several people who went this route successfully.
I have done the Indiana/Ohio routine or helped friends do this several times. One time a friends bike came back through the computer that is was a stolen cargo trailer(lol). but never a problem getting a title. This only works on older bikes like our Nortons. The BMV person inspects the frame number, the "owner" fills out some paper work and in just a few days an Indiana title is issued. Then the bike is "sold" back to the real owner.
Ride On (with papers)
Dave
 

concours

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I live in Ohio and I called the Highway Patrol about getting a title and he told me I have to start with a title and a receipt for every part you bought for the bike. So I ask him if I had a title for the bike why would I be bothering you, he wasn't a very friendly Bear kinda made me feel like I was up to something dishonest , he said that's what you have to do its not up for discussion. I have a Matchless G15CSR that I would like to get a title for I have a receipt from the guy I bought it off of but its not notarized, Ohio is a tough state to get a title issued on something like this.

Mark
Never
Call
The
Cops
On
Yourself.
 
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I live in Ohio and I called the Highway Patrol about getting a title and he told me I have to start with a title and a receipt for every part you bought for the bike. So I ask him if I had a title for the bike why would I be bothering you, he wasn't a very friendly Bear kinda made me feel like I was up to something dishonest , he said that's what you have to do its not up for discussion. I have a Matchless G15CSR that I would like to get a title for I have a receipt from the guy I bought it off of but its not notarized, Ohio is a tough state to get a title issued on something like this.

Mark
 
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Yes the BMV people are a bunch of nazies. If you don’t have a title for your old bike you are SOL. Years ago I used the title service in Alabama and was able to get a title for a vagrant rd400. Now I understand that the Ohio bmv people won’t accept the paper work from these people. I have walked away from many nice vintage bikes because it is not worth the hassle.
 
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In the US all states are different. I have lived in several and some are clearly more difficult than others when it comes to obtaining a title. Where I live now in Virginia, there are several ways it can be done and I think I have used them all. One procedure is called an "Abandoned Vehicle". It worked for me on a Triumph I had no paper work for. Of course you can always run into a bureaucrat who just says, "Hmmm, No". Right or wrong that's it! No title.
 
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Several years ago I bought a 63 Harley FLH in NY state it has paperwork and I had to pay the NY tax on it I wonder what kind of a hassle I have in front of me tax wise when I transfer the title? The bike was sitting in a basement in Arizona for years and the owner filed for bankruptcy so the bike was repoed and some how the bike made it to NY .

Mark
 
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