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Author Topic: VIN Tracking?  (Read 1553 times)
78TAIowa
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« on: February 12, 2012, 12:51:30 AM »

I was looking through some old papers tonight at my grandparent's house and I found an old insurance paper of my dad's.  On it were the VIN numbers of his old '76 Camaro and '77 Trans Am, both long gone.  We were wondering if there is any way to track down a car by the VIN, or at least be able to tell if it is still registered somewhere today.  The last we knew, the car was in the Omaha area but this was probably during the early 80s. Thanks.
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1977 Trans Am T/A 6.6 W72 53,000 miles SOLD
1978 Trans Am W72 4 speed T-top
1989 Firebird Formula  TPI 5.7 L98
Russ C
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« Reply #1 on: February 12, 2012, 10:11:00 AM »

Do you know anyone who works in the police dept or the tag office. They should be able to run the VIN and see if it is registered.
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1977 Y-81 T/A 6.6 Auto
GoldCar
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« Reply #2 on: February 17, 2012, 03:45:07 PM »

go to the liscence bureau and ask for a "used car package", tell them you are going to buy it to get the title and pay the fee (i beleive its 20$) and they will give you a booklet about the car, and its owners. i frget the actual name of the booklet, but theyll know.

when i did my motorcycle (same thing for a car) i payed for a book that said the color of it, engine size, fuel it ran on, all the model #'s, and a bunch of other info, on page 2 it listed its first registry and each registry and thier names up to current day. also all the entrys of color change.
my bike is a 1967, so im pretty sure a car would be even better documented
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GoldCar
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« Reply #3 on: February 17, 2012, 03:45:51 PM »

"used vehicle abstract" was what i was thinking of maybe?  Shocked
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MrAFX
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« Reply #4 on: February 17, 2012, 04:37:10 PM »

no such thing as a nationwide search thats available to the public.

you can only search each state indivudiually and then some that toss out records when a car hits a certain age will have no records if te car changed hands.

all but impossible.
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78TAIowa
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« Reply #5 on: February 17, 2012, 08:37:19 PM »

all but impossible.
That seems to be what we have found out.  Thats what our local courthouse tells us anyways.
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1977 Trans Am T/A 6.6 W72 53,000 miles SOLD
1978 Trans Am W72 4 speed T-top
1989 Firebird Formula  TPI 5.7 L98
10thAnniversarySearch
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« Reply #6 on: February 20, 2012, 07:40:14 PM »

In my own search for my old TATA (#167070) , last year I was able to find a registration from 1999 but nothing after.  You need a source (as mentioned previously) who can do a state by state search of the VIN's.  OR, you need a source who can do a national search through one of the databases such as Lexis Nexis. 

In my own case, I suspect the car was totaled but I've been unable to verify it.  Not to highjack the thread, but for both of our benefit, maybe someone knows, if a car is sold as "salvage" does it get transferred from the last registered owner to the salvage yard (or whoever)?  Or does it just sit untitled?  Likewise, I've always been curious how dealers and collectors can keep a car "untitled" for years so that when they decide to sell it, it is still a "one owner" car.  Anyone have any insight into this?  Still hoping mine is out there somewhere waiting for me to find her.
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fiream773
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« Reply #7 on: February 20, 2012, 08:20:15 PM »

There are websites that claim to be able to access national registration & tag info to help people do exactly what you're trying to do.  Most charge about $30 but the one I used was of no help in locating my grandmothers '74 Grand Prix which was sold in Sellersburg, IN in the summer of 1980.  I do believe the site was legit - just for gigles, I typed in my T/A's VIN and it spit out all of my current info, so I concluded that the only way you're going to be able to find your old cars is if they're still titled and registered.  If not, they are most likely holding up a skyscraper in China these days, but they may also be languishing in a barn somewhere wearing 18 year old plates.

I don't know about your state (judging by your courthouse comment, you've tried), but Indiana will do a title search back to ten years.  If any vehicle has been registered in Indiana in that time, they will provide you with the latest owners' info for $10.  Michigan will do the same for $6.50.  You might ask if they will do a "title search" - that's what IN calls it.

Good luck!
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GoldCar
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« Reply #8 on: February 20, 2012, 10:13:05 PM »

thats what i was talking about, in Ontario, you can get a used vehicle abstract, mine was 30$, gave me original regisration and every owner from 1967-1992, then i re-titled in my name last year.
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78TAIowa
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« Reply #9 on: February 20, 2012, 11:19:50 PM »

That's interesting.  Perhaps Iowa will do a VIN search as well.  Who would be best to talk to? The Iowa DMV?
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1977 Trans Am T/A 6.6 W72 53,000 miles SOLD
1978 Trans Am W72 4 speed T-top
1989 Firebird Formula  TPI 5.7 L98
fiream773
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« Reply #10 on: February 21, 2012, 09:19:44 AM »

I would start with the DMV.  Go to their website and search for "Title Search".  I just Googled it for Indiana and went directly yo this site:

http://www.in.gov/ai/appfiles/bmv-lien/

It's a little confusing (it is government, after all!).  It states that you will only receive basic info unless you're a subsciber at $95 and then at the bottom says title info is available for $5 each.  I don't know if that's on top of the $95 or what.

I was trying to track down a car in Michigan last year and did the same thing.  Here is their site:

http://www.michigan.gov/sos/0,4670,7-127-1585-28744--,00.html

I tried the same search for Iowa, but only came up with this:
http://search.dmv.org/dmv/iowa/title-search

You may need to contact someone in the DMV for help.  My experience with such things is you either get someone who is extremely nice and wants to help you or you get someone who treats you like you're asking them to kill themselves for you, tells you what you need is available online and hangs up on you.  Not much middle ground...

If you find a helpful person (BTW, you should call the DMV HQ and not rely on a local branch), step 2 would be to visit that person and see if he/she will help scour the records looking for the latest record of your VINs.  Bear in mind it may be the only way to do this as the older, shorter VINs are seldom accepted my electronic means.

Good luck...
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TA462
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« Reply #11 on: March 04, 2012, 09:47:55 AM »

thats what i was talking about, in Ontario, you can get a used vehicle abstract, mine was 30$, gave me original regisration and every owner from 1967-1992, then i re-titled in my name last year.
If the car left Ontario or came to Ontario from another Province the owners won't be on the list.   My car came from BC.   The original owner sold it to his brother who brought it to Ontario and sold it to me years later.   The package I got only listed owners from Ontario.
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78TAIowa
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« Reply #12 on: March 06, 2012, 09:32:26 PM »

Thanks for all the advice guys.  To be honest, I have been concentrating more on my current black 77 TA (not all bad) and finishing up college.  Hopefully I will find time soon to investigate this further.
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1977 Trans Am T/A 6.6 W72 53,000 miles SOLD
1978 Trans Am W72 4 speed T-top
1989 Firebird Formula  TPI 5.7 L98
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