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NEVER buy a sandrail from out of state that doesn't have a title

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I need to vent.


I purchased my sandrail from a very pleasant older gentleman in Nevada. Its a mid-engine Mazzone, and he was the original builder. Over the phone I asked him if he had the title, among other things, to which he confirmed. Only after I drove out to Nevada to look the car over and complete the transaction did he mention that Nevada never issued him a title for it (which I later confirmed to be a true statement). Hindsight I should have cut my losses and drove back home at that moment. But with my naivety at the time, I continued on with the transaction thinking I could easily remedy it via the special construction routine. 


So I got back to California and started the request for title paperwork:


First trip to DMV


I get there with my request for title paperwork filled out, a bill of sale and the registration card from the seller. The guy behind the counter is just dumbfounded, I assume because this isn't just some cookie-cutter issue he deals with 100's of times a day. I literally have to walk him through what I'm trying to do based on the bit of internet research I did. He has to pull out books, talk to supervisors and almost just gave up if it hadn't been for my persistence. I try telling him I need to complete this paperwork so I have something to take to the CHP to get a VIN plate assigned. Finally he completes what I need.


Trip to CHP


I load up the sandrail on the trailer and head to my local CHP field office (only after I had to go there once before to make the appointment). I get the VIN offer out and he starts his routine, looking over the rail, checking my paperwork, etc. He heads behind the counter to his office and I wait for what seems like an hour while he checks the federal databases. He comes back out and tells me everything is on the up and up, but he is confused as to what I'm trying to do. Again, I have to explain to him that I'm trying to get it titled in CA and it needs a VIN assigned to move that process along. After a lot of back and fourth and confusion (he was cool though), I finally just say, "you know, the little blue tag". "OH!, yeah I can put one of those on". He rivets it to the frame, gives me my paperwork and I go on my way feeling good that the process is moving along nicely now. 


Second trip to DMV


I come back to the DMV with my now added CHP paperwork showing it has a fresh new VIN assigned. I'm thinking I'll get registration and a title today. I get to the counter and give the lady all my paperwork. Again, I have to explain the situation in detail, what has happened, what I expect to happen, etc. Here we go with the books, and the talking to supervisors dance. I'm presented with the same situation that if it wasn't for my persistence they just flat out wouldn't have helped me. I keep pushing and she does what she needs to do and I pay for the taxes and registration. She gives me the green sticker and registration card. I thinking "sweet, that wasn't so bad after-all!". Until I notice the registration is non-transferable. So I ask her about that, and she states that unless I surrender a title, or provide a verification letter from Nevada DMV that no title exists or I will NOT be receiving a California title. I ask her why nobody mentioned this to me before, I just get the blank stare. She prints on the paperwork clearly stating to surrender a title, or get a verification that one doesn't exist to complete the process.


So I can at least legally drive this thing around now, but man, I'm pretty sure I'll want to sell it someday....


Nevada DMV records department


I email the Nevada DMV and inquiry to what I was just told. To my surprise they get back to me in a timely fashion with the instructions of what I need to do for a title verification letter. The process includes proving I have a legal right to the information (registration, etc.), sign an affidavit and get it notarized, include a check to cover the fee and wait. A couple of weeks later I get my verification letter stating indeed there was NO titled issued for the vehicle. Damn! Finally! I can get this thing titled now!


Third trip to the DMV


Here we are today. The day I'm going to finally get a title! I get to the counter with my paperwork and verification letter. The woman behind the counter doesn't even pull up my information and tells me flat out I will not get a title unless I surrender a previous one. I have to AGAIN explain the entire situation, that is a special construction OHV, NOT a car, it was built in someones garage point to the official DMV paperwork that clearly states one of the qualifying documents is a letter from Nevada DMV stating there was no title, to which I have because I have already gone though this song and dance with you people. Out come of books and the supervisors AGAIN. I have to go sit back down while they talk amongst themselves. I finally get called back up to be told no again, I won't get a title because they can't be sure one wasn't issued in a state other than Nevada.....


I start to get heated for the first time in this entire ordeal and exclaim that was the whole point of the CHP VIN verification, to which I have the paperwork for also! I also state flatly that I'm not leaving until it is resolved and that I need to talk to a superior. I get told to go to another window to wait for a supervisor. I stand there for 30 mins before someone asks me if I need help. I tell her that I'm waiting to speak to a supervisor, which I'm pretty sure was never communicated to anyone. She was the only helpful person at the DMV thus-far and grabbed a supervisor for me. 


The supervisor clearly had no time for me and also didn't want to help me. I had to explain everything AGAIN. She looks everything over and then tells me I need to get an insurance surety bond...WTF is that?!? She explains that I have to get a bond which would remove liability from the DMV in case there was some mystery title somewhere. Once I get the bond, come back and then they will send all the paperwork to Sacramento for review and then if they decide everything is ok then I'll get a title. 




So that's where I'm at. Over a year process, money spent, time wasted. At least is registered to me legally, but I don't plan on keeping this thing forever so I need a title. Now I have to get some bond thing and then hope and pray they don't tell me some new bullshit next time I go in? Learn a lesson from me and never buy a rail without a title, this has been a nightmare. 

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I don't know if this number is still good but over 10 years ago I had a similar situation and I was handed this number. She does everything for you and you get a title and sticker.

Lisa's mobile registration, 619 571-8333. She might have answers if still in business.

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She is local to me, I used her to get a license plate for my golf cart. Very easy to work with and a smooth transaction. She goes to a dealers/vendor DMV office not a public one. This was about 8 years ago. Not sure if she is still around.

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Thanks, I have an email chain going with her now. Hopefully she can help.

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Posted (edited)

I've never had a problem and registered a few sandcars. Maybe a thing with Nevada. In fact I registered my current one and I dont even have a VIN plate.


Edited by Sand buddy

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