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Any ideas on how to title/register this Sprite in PA?

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lewisracing Avatar
lewisracing Michael Scott
Los Angeles, CA, USA   USA
Our family inherited an AH Sprite from our father. I am currently rebuilding it in PA, though I am a CA resident. The car has a FL title from 1970, but has been in PA for over 35 years. We are not sure it was ever registered in PA, but we want to re-tile it in PA, in my mom's name and register it as an antique vehicle.

My mom (PA resident) went to the PA DMV and they said that we would need to bring in the car to have the VIN verified, or hire an authorized person to come out to our house to verify it. I have no problem paying for someone to do that, but we have a few issues:

1. The VIN plate is missing from the car. It looks like my dad had that part of the subframe replaced, and there are 2 holes where the VIN plate would be, but no plate.
2. The engine is missing the serial plate on top of the block. Again, two holes, no plate.
3. I have chassis #AN5/3940 and body #BAE/3924, verified by the British Heritage Museum (see below), both of which are stamped on the car door jambs, as they should be.
4. The original engine was 9CUH3570 but the FL title lists the engine in 1970 as being 9CUH4019. So, presumably, the engine is not original, which does not surprise me.
5. There is no VIN on the FL title from 1970, they used the engine #9CUH4019 (see below).
6. I found a number in my dad's notes that says "AN526440 R8", but no indication if this might be the VIN or even if it is related to the Sprite, or just some random number he wrote down.

So, any detectives, preferably from PA, who want to help me figure this out so we can get the title and registration sorted out?
Do I need to register the vehicle as a new build and will PA issue me a new VIN?
I assume I need to get the engine issue resolved with a new engine serial plate... do I use the original engine serial, or the one on the FL title?
Any serial plate stamping companies in USA that you would recommend, or should I send the info to the ones in the UK?
Anyone recommend or know who would do a PA verification as the DMV suggested?

I am currently researching all of these questions, but if anyone happens to know the answers to any these, you would probably save me time. As you can imagine, the DMV is not going to be very helpful in resolving this issue.



Inherited my father's 1958 AH Sprite, currently restoring from bare metal and rusty parts out of cardboard boxes after 40+ years in storage.



Edited 2 time(s). Last edit at 2018-06-14 01:30 PM by lewisracing.

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lewisracing Avatar
lewisracing Michael Scott
Los Angeles, CA, USA   USA
UPDATE: I found out that this guy (who is 1 hour from our Sprite) can do the VIN and engine plate stamping, with proof. http://www.clarkespares.com/

Just wondering if I have enough to go on.



Inherited my father's 1958 AH Sprite, currently restoring from bare metal and rusty parts out of cardboard boxes after 40+ years in storage.

refisk Avatar
refisk Rick Fisk
Frankenmuth, MI, USA   USA
The original chassis number is the VIN for your car and you have that number. The Heritage Certificate should satisfy the VIN inspector because the body number matches the certificate. Another way to go is to have a replacement chassis number tag made and mount it on the chassis rail just like the factory did - two small screws. I wouldn't show the PA people the old Florida title as all that does is confuse the issue.

There ya go - I couldn't remember the name of the guy that does ID plates, but you found him. They can make a plate that looks just like the original.



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 2018-06-14 02:02 PM by refisk.

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lewisracing Avatar
lewisracing Michael Scott
Los Angeles, CA, USA   USA
In reply to # 202399 by refisk The original chassis number is the VIN for your car and you have that number. The Heritage Certificate should satisfy the VIN inspector because the body number matches the certificate. Another way to go is to have a replacement chassis number tag made and mount it on the chassis rail just like the factory did - two small screws. I wouldn't show the PA people the old Florida title as all that does is confuse the issue.

There ya go - I couldn't remember the name of the guy that does ID plates, but you found him. They can make a plate that looks just like the original.

Thanks, that is very helpful. I think the FL title will confuse them as well, especially since they list the engine # on it. I'll have the engine plate stamped with the 1970 engine serial from the FL title and use the chassis for the VIN plate and hope the inspector passes it. Unless anyone else has any ideas.



Inherited my father's 1958 AH Sprite, currently restoring from bare metal and rusty parts out of cardboard boxes after 40+ years in storage.

pixelsmithusa Avatar
Clarks Spares makes the best reproduction plates. As Rick says, the BMIHT Certificate should be able to be used to verify/corroborate the serial numbers, the right-hand door plate BAE number being the body number of record and thus the most significant after the chassis number. I know for certain that California accepts it as an official document because I have done this a couple times before when the title was missing. Also, as suggested, use the correct screws, not rivets. Rivets were not used until much later on these cars, and would not be correct. The serial number sequence for the engine is correct vintage for this car, but your BMIHT certificate should have the original engine number if you are uncertain. Twist-in rivets were used to affix the engine serial number plate and Clarks Spares can provide a replacement plate. I would say use the number on your BMIHT certificate, but since your Florida title uses the engine number, maybe it would be best for the sake of continuity. However, once you get the matching chassis plate affixed, you could simply explain the title was lost and apply for a replacement title with the BMIHT certificate. Just inquire first if they will accept the BMIHT document as proof; I'd be surprised if they would not.



Gerard

http://gerardsgarage.com/


rusty1c Avatar
rusty1c Peter D
Antioch, CA, USA   USA
1961 Austin-Healey 3000 BT7 "RUBY"
1963 Chevrolet C10 "Rusty"
Michael,
As Gerard an Rick mentioned you must used the small correct screws. I had to have my Healey 3000 VIN verified here in California because it had been off the road for so long that it had been dropped from DMV records. I had to have it validated by the Calif. Highway Patrol even though I had the title and registration from the previous owner and the original license plate. When the officer came to inspect the car he questioned the screws and said the VIN plate was supposed to be riveted. I explained to him that they were always screwed on. Fortunately I had an "Original Austin Healey" book by Anders Clausinger and I showed the officer the pictures of VIN plates in the book and they were all held in place with screws. Also in the Austin Healey shop manual there is an illustration of the VIN plate and it shows it being held in place with the 2 screws. He accepted it and we were able to move on. If you have books get them ready they will help. Most validation folks aren't familiar with old English cars as they are much younger than the cars are and when they see something out of their realm of experience they will question it.
Pete

bjo Avatar
bjo Brian Johanson
Pittsburgh, PA, USA   USA
I bought my Sprite in Ohio, the correct VIN was listed on the Ohio title but PA still required verification. I drove it to the closest PA state inspection station, I showed the guy where the plate was, and he signed the document for me. I assume any state inspector could do the same in your case unless something changed in 10 years.
I did everything through AAA, they are much more pleasant to work with compared to the DMV.



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 2018-06-22 02:54 PM by bjo.

lewisracing Avatar
lewisracing Michael Scott
Los Angeles, CA, USA   USA
I just want to update everyone on this, we finally figured it out on 12/23. Long story short:

1. My mom had to send the old 1970's Florida title in my dad's name (with a host of documentation) to FL for processing.
2. FL DMV rep was very helpful and transferred the title into my mom's name without much trouble, but it was titled in FL and she lives in PA with the car also in PA.
3. Mom then had to insure the car, which was really easy and cheap through Hagerty's.
4. We took the new FL title and insurance to a local tag processor, and they immediately converted it into my mom's name with no issues, and we were handed a tag and registration on the spot on 12/23. What an amazing Christmas present!

The issue with the VIN ended up not being an issue, both FL and PA used the VIN from the original FL title, which happens to be the engine serial. I guess they don't care if you use the chassis # or the engine #. If I ever have to change the engine block, that might be an issue I will have to deal with later, but I think there is a process to have a new VIN issued if we have to, and now that we are PA titled, it should be easy.

So, the car is legal to drive now, even though I am still building it. Once the new PA title arrives, we will then re-register it as an "antique vehicle" so we can be exempt on inspections, etc.

Thanks all for the help!



Inherited my father's 1958 AH Sprite, currently restoring from bare metal and rusty parts out of cardboard boxes after 40+ years in storage.



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 2019-01-01 10:19 AM by lewisracing.

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