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Author Topic: finding original owner  (Read 13875 times)
camz69
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« on: January 09, 2007, 10:21:54 PM »

how do you go about finding original owners. i have owned my 69 z/28 since 1981 . it had everything but original motor. 4 sp power disk brakes correct 12 bolt 4 leaf springs but build date is 11c no x code. before i bought it a friend was looking at it and said he had it checked out and said it was the real deal . any help would be appreciated.
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RamAirDave
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« Reply #1 on: January 10, 2007, 12:05:10 AM »

Youre best bet would be through previous owner history.

Ive been able to find past/original owners on two cars.  One through the stack of paperwork that was with the car, the other by complete blind luck on Team Camaro.
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« Reply #2 on: January 10, 2007, 12:13:50 PM »

Is the title search with BMV route available anymore, or has this fallen victim to the privacy laws?

Jimmy V.
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Jimmy V.
lakeholme
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« Reply #3 on: January 10, 2007, 01:49:19 PM »

Depends on the state... Sometimes that's more of a matter of the kinds of records the state kept and how they converted them over to computer.  Any of them that will are going to want proof of present ownership and probably a fee.  If you have a friend in the car business or law enforcement, you might want to "quietly" pursue that line of search.
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Phillip
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Adz28
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« Reply #4 on: January 10, 2007, 04:05:45 PM »

Looks as if you can get title information for vehicles from some database as CarFax and a bunch of other companies tap in somewhere. I think it is only for vehicles from 1980 and up with a 17 digit VIN (http://www.autocheck.com/). Here is an interesting website from an investigation company:
http://www.docusearch.com/dmvb.html

Lakeholme, do you know if anyone has ever had success with the "quiet" method?
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supv26
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« Reply #5 on: January 10, 2007, 05:23:14 PM »

I have tried the "quiet" search on 2 vehicles. The first was a 1968 Triumph Spitfire. I was able to get information from each state by writing a letter to them and requesting the information. I started with the last known state and worked backwards as each state would respond. On the Spitfire I discovered the car had about 18 owners and when I thought I was almost to the first one, the last state would not respond. They indicated to me that the privacy act would not allow them to send the information.

The second was my '69 Camaro. I got all the info on the MO owners, me and the guy I bought it from. It came from Iowa into Missouri and I was unable to get any info out of Iowa. I did discover through NICB that the Camaro was originally sold from Plains Chevrolet on Amarillo Texas in 1969. I called the dealer ship and to my surprise were still in business but that they had changed owners and had moved a couple of times so all the old records were gone.

NICB may or may not have the info. I was just lucky and got in touch with an agent that would give me the information. There may also be information in NICB if there has aver been an insurance claim with the vehicle and the insurance was a participating agent with them. CARFAX will probably not have any info since their data base deals with vehicles with a 17 digit VIN.
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« Reply #6 on: January 10, 2007, 06:55:55 PM »

Sure... I've seen dealers, etc. have the ability to help the process on a couple of ocassions.  They know the system.

Adz28,
Do you know how Florida DMV responds to inquiries?
« Last Edit: January 10, 2007, 10:23:12 PM by lakeholme » Logged

Phillip
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Adz28
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« Reply #7 on: January 11, 2007, 10:37:26 AM »

I don't know how Florida DMV responds, but I do know that the car was titled in Arkansas before me. I believe Arkansas is pretty tight on the privacy thing so I'm not sure if I will be able to get info from them.

I have to say that supv26's story is pretty inspiring start the process. When writing these letters to the DMV, what should I be asking for to get the most chance for a positive response? Care to post a sample letter?

Thank you both for the tips!
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Camaro Billy
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« Reply #8 on: January 11, 2007, 04:06:54 PM »

I did a search with Virginia and Kentucky DMV's for my car. About all I got from from VA. was that it was titled previously in Ky.
I sent a form to Ky. and a check for $2.50 and 10 days latter I got a letter from Ky. with 20 pages of info on registrations back to 1980.
I was able to talk to the third owner who had it for twelve years bought it from his brother in law who was the second owner.He aslo told me who the orig. selling dealer was.
Also spoke to the guy who did the restoration back in 2001, he was able to give me a lot of info on the car.
I was just lucky it was in Ky. for so long.From what I understand most states will not give you much info.
Billy
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supv26
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« Reply #9 on: January 11, 2007, 06:22:45 PM »

Basically what I would do was get the address for the DMV and then write a letter explaining what I was needing. I would include all my contact information, the VIN for the car and and a little explanation for why I was wanting the info. I got the info for the '68 Spitfire about 10 years ago so there was not so much of this privacy stuff to worry about. The '69 Camaro was done about 4 years ago so getting info was a bit harder.
I don't know how Florida DMV responds, but I do know that the car was titled in Arkansas before me. I believe Arkansas is pretty tight on the privacy thing so I'm not sure if I will be able to get info from them.

I have to say that supv26's story is pretty inspiring start the process. When writing these letters to the DMV, what should I be asking for to get the most chance for a positive response? Care to post a sample letter?

Thank you both for the tips!
I don't know how Florida DMV responds, but I do know that the car was titled in Arkansas before me. I believe Arkansas is pretty tight on the privacy thing so I'm not sure if I will be able to get info from them.

I have to say that supv26's story is pretty inspiring start the process. When writing these letters to the DMV, what should I be asking for to get the most chance for a positive response? Care to post a sample letter?

Thank you both for the tips!
I don't know how Florida DMV responds, but I do know that the car was titled in Arkansas before me. I believe Arkansas is pretty tight on the privacy thing so I'm not sure if I will be able to get info from them.

I have to say that supv26's story is pretty inspiring start the process. When writing these letters to the DMV, what should I be asking for to get the most chance for a positive response? Care to post a sample letter?

Thank you both for the tips!
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JKZ27
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« Reply #10 on: January 11, 2007, 11:29:33 PM »

Maryland keeps all records until car leaves the state. I'm pretty sure they discard them once the car gets titled in another state.
I was able to get copies of all previous titles and even the certificate of origin for my 69, which led me to the original owner. I also have a friend in law enforcement who assisted me.

John
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« Reply #11 on: January 12, 2007, 10:00:49 AM »

I just emailed the Florida DMV. The reply says with the properly filled out form and $15, I can get a 10 year history.  That's because they only keep 10 years of records.  (Back to the problem of what they keep on computer, I mentioned above.)  I spoke of research in my email, because that's one of the reasons they will release info. under their privacy act.  Of course, I don't have the info, yet...
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Phillip
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Adz28
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« Reply #12 on: January 12, 2007, 11:55:53 AM »

Thanks Phil, I will do the same, but if you have the form, can you email it to me (Adz28@wwwebtek.com). It will be interesting if they keep 10 years of records if it was titled outside the state during that time. What part of Florida do you live?
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Rich
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« Reply #13 on: January 12, 2007, 04:14:17 PM »

A couple of suggestions that may or may not work for you in a given state, but worked for me.

1) Microfiche lives forever.  Computer records usually have a limited life, and DMVs will *always* say that they only keep their records for X years.  And I'm not saying that every state has such an office, but every time I hit a dead-end, but was politely persistent and pushed up the chain (you need to be on the phone for this), I was eventually directed to a microfiche storage office that had all back records.  It helps if you specifically refer to microfiche (pronounced micro-fish) records, until you find someone that knows that they are.  In some states this office seemed to consist of only one person n the state, and most of the people you interact with at a given DMV will not even know they exist, so you need to push up the chain of command a couple levels until you find someone that has been around long enough to know where to send you.

2) If you hit a privacy law, you might try to argue your way past a complete dead-end by saying that you really are looking for the earliest reference to a dealer, and don't need to see names or addresses of individuals, and that it would be okay for them to mark through that info with a magic marker (which you can usually see through anyway if you hold it up to the light just right).

Rich
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« Reply #14 on: January 12, 2007, 05:31:10 PM »

Adz28,

I don't live in Florida, the car came out of Florida a couple of years ago.  I live in NC.
Here's the link for the Florida title request form:
http://www3.hsmv.state.fl.us/Intranet/dmv/Forms/BTR/85054.pdf

Rich,
Both of your suggestions are working so far with Florida.  They say they only have 10 years worth of records, but they do have a microfiche option for a few bucks more.  Going to pursue that... Your second suggestion is exactly what I did (earliest reference to a dealer) and they told me to make a request under the research option in their privacy act.  I now know the Florida owners of the car back to 96, so that's a start...
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Phillip
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Adz28
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« Reply #15 on: January 12, 2007, 09:59:58 PM »

To your knowledge, since I live in Florida, will the Florida DMV have information on previous owners that were titled out of Florida? I assume they won't and I will  be the only one on the list. I would also think it should tell me the last state it was registered in.

In the meantime, I filled out a similar DMV form for Arkansas (where the car was titled before me) and had to pay $75. They said they would contact me by email, but I have not heard back from them yet. Can you let me know how Florida presents the results when you receive?

Thanks,
Adam

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lakeholme
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« Reply #16 on: January 13, 2007, 10:40:40 AM »

Adam,

To your knowledge, since I live in Florida, will the Florida DMV have information on previous owners that were titled out of Florida? I assume they won't and I will  be the only one on the list. I would also think it should tell me the last state it was registered in.

From what the email from Ms. Hall at the FDMV says, I probably will not be able to answer your question.  My car was with the previous owner in Florida prior to 96, and the FDMV was crystal clear that all I'm getting for my $15 is 10 years of microfiche records for Florida($75 seems like robbery). 

I know about the previous owner by that "quiet" method --even got a copy of the Florida title through my dealer.

But, hey, it's only 15 dollars, so first chance I get I'll fill out the form and see what happens.  In the meantime, I'm going to follow Rich's #2 suggestion with the previous owner and see if I can find out where he got it from...
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Phillip
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Kramer79
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« Reply #17 on: January 14, 2007, 08:10:41 PM »

I found my original owner, but the address was wrong and my letter got sent back! What information specifically should I be looking for? I was just curious about options and any documentation that was still around, any other good questions I can ask if I do get this guy on the phone?

Jarret
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« Reply #18 on: January 15, 2007, 09:53:10 AM »

At least ask about:
1. Any original documentation (build sheet, POP, sticker, etc.)
2. Any resto. or replacement along the way (and what happened to original)
3. The history of the car working toward original owner and/or dealership of origin.
But ultimately what you need is #1.  If you cannot get that then you have to piece the puzzle together as best you can from other info. in 2 & 3.

Good luck!
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Phillip
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"Charlotte AutoFair -- presented by the Hornets Nest Region, AACA -- is the largest and greatest Collector Vehicle Event in the Southeast." --September 18-21, 2014
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« Reply #19 on: February 01, 2007, 02:56:53 PM »

OK, here's what I got from the Florida DMV for my $15.00:
1 A computer print out of the info. they have on file (remember they only claim to keep 10 years of records), which tells: other vehicle info (I requested through the VIN), title info., previous owner (there was only one listed in that 10 yr. period and I already knew about him from the transfer of the title to here in NC, but read on), plate and registration info., and Lien holders.  That print out only took it back to 98 when a tag was issued.
2. A duplicate copy of the Florida title that takes it back to another owner and address in 95.  (I figure this guy either brought it into Florida in 95 or that is the extent of the Florida records.  In either case, I've got somewhere to go for more info.)

I guess my bigger point is that I followed Rich's advise (looking for original dealership, classic car research, etc.) and they did send me the info. hassle free.  This is in spite of the fact that they publish a strict privacy policy.

So, it's worth a try...

...And yesterday, I got back a $12.00 refund check from the State of Florida, because they determined the info. they sent me was worth just $3.00 --not a bad deal!

« Last Edit: February 21, 2007, 03:00:16 PM by lakeholme » Logged

Phillip
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« Reply #20 on: February 28, 2007, 04:56:58 PM »

(OK, one last post to give anyone still searching some hope...)
I wrote a "hat-in-hand" letter to the gentleman that goes the fartherest back in the info supplied by FDMV.  He turned out to be second owner and knew the first owner (now deceased) and the original dealership!  He also told me where the POP, etc. might be (3rd owner).  At any rate, I now have a full history of my car (even know about the replacement motor and body repair that I suspected) and it cost me $3.00 plus postage!  There is hope!  Keep looking and be polite...
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Phillip
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« Reply #21 on: February 28, 2007, 10:45:20 PM »

i had the original owner, and his whole family over my house last week. it was a little easier for me, as i bought the car from him in 1984. i searched the internet under his name and found out that he had moved to the same town i live in. he was so excited to hear that i still had the car, that he came over to see it even though it is not finished. he brought me a camaro windbreaker that he said the dealer had given him when he picked up the car. he said that he had just seen the original sales receipt from village chevrolet not a few weeks ago, and even remembered what it cost. although he couldn't find it, he feels that his wife may have thrown it out as they are packing up to move to arizona. he came to the house with his wife and two kids, aged 38, and 32 who used to ride in the back seat. they spent about three hours looking over the car and reminiscing. he is going to keep looking for the sales receipt, and his son swears he has seen the owners manual for it. now what is usually with the owners maunal? hopfully a p-o-p.
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« Reply #22 on: March 03, 2007, 02:17:57 PM »

anyone know if texas dmv wil give out inflo , and how far they can go back , lookin for 1th owners of my 69
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« Reply #23 on: March 19, 2007, 04:25:25 PM »

I can't say I am having the same luck as lakeholme. Missouri gave me a hard time, but told me the previous state of registration. Arkansas provided me with some more info, but it was copies of titles with the names/street blacked out. They stated privacy laws and then referred me to the previous state.

On to Colorado...
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Bjv69ss
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« Reply #24 on: April 02, 2007, 07:17:57 PM »

I've been trying to locate the owner/origin of my 69 Coupe too.  It was last titled in Tennessee before I titled it in Massachusetts. I just got an email today from the DMV in TN. They sent me a list of states with phone #'s to the title offices.  It sounds like the DMV in TN is not a government office from what they wrote it their email.  Anyway, I'm going to call tomorrow but thought I'd post the web site tonight.  It's http://www.dmv.org:80/dmv-phone-numbers.php.  It may help...I'l let you guys know how I make out.
Joe
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lakeholme
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« Reply #25 on: April 02, 2007, 08:54:05 PM »

Joe,

DMV.org is not a government agency... Note the fine print under their banner head on the website you listed; "Privately owned..."

Chances are the phone number is going to get you to someone who will tell you to file a request...

I couldn't get a direct link to work (without your having to pay a sunscriber fee), so...

The Tennessee Information request form is found in a page under tennessee.gov. as follows:
http://www.dmv-department-of-motor-vehicles.com/TN_Tennessee_dmv_department_of_motor_vehicles.htm
Then click on Vehicle Title and Registration
Then click on Your Vehicle
Then click on Requesting Information
Then click on Vehicle Information Request

Looks like they are a strict enforcer of their privacy act.  Good Luck!
« Last Edit: April 02, 2007, 09:17:17 PM by lakeholme » Logged

Phillip
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« Reply #26 on: April 04, 2007, 02:39:59 PM »

Well here's what I came up with...I called the # on the listfrom that web site, 888-871-3171.  This # gets you in touch with the Tennessee Department of Revenue, Taxpayer and Vehicle Services Division for the State of TN.   After a quite a long wait I was in touch with a very nice woman.  I told her what I was that I was looking for.  She directed me to www.tennessee.gov/revenue/.  Once there, scroll down to forms and click on Vehicle Information Request.  I printed it out and sent it out this AM with a money order.

That's all I have for an update so far.  I have no idea if anything will come back or when.  Again I'll keep you guys posted.
Joe
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« Reply #27 on: April 04, 2007, 03:13:57 PM »

Here is another tip... Google your VIN number or partial VIN. You never know what will come up. Google indexes so deep into websites that it may find a post on a forum, or in a web ad. I actually found a previous owner this way.
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« Reply #28 on: April 04, 2007, 03:25:30 PM »

And don't limit yourself to just Google.  Try other search engines.  Google will not bring up the original posting of my VIN here on CRG, but Yahoo does.  Try them all...
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Phillip
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« Reply #29 on: April 04, 2007, 06:42:55 PM »

Phillip
Thanks for the pointer.  I had the last owners name and address from 1981 when the Title was issused to him.  I found his present address and his phone #on a google phone book search!  I tried calling but no answer so far.  I hope he has a good memory and remembers who he bought it from!!  I'll try again later.
Joe
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« Reply #30 on: April 15, 2007, 08:45:46 PM »

If the car was ever in North Carolina you can get a lot of DMV information about the car. The form is online (605 is the number) and mail it in with $1.00. I got all owners and titles for my car back to 1976 when it shows the car was purchased by a dealer at Clanton Auto Auction in South Carolina. Next I find what South Carolina will do, they have something on there website about freedom of information act.
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Tim Bailey
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« Reply #31 on: April 25, 2007, 06:40:29 PM »

is it possible to look up a car i owned with out the vin#
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« Reply #32 on: April 26, 2007, 02:23:55 PM »

Some states do offer a way to get information without the VIN.  Why don't you check with the DMV in the state where you owned to car.  I don't think the privacy law would prohibit you if you owned the car...
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Phillip
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« Reply #33 on: April 27, 2007, 07:37:31 AM »

I was lucky to find all kinds of information in the glove box of my 69 when I bought it.  Plus, I got a copy of a title form from 1986 that has the then owner's name, address, DOB, DL#.  From the looks of this sheet, he is the original owner.  Did a quick Google search and found he is still in NM, as well as his son, whose information was stuffed in the glove box, too.  Anyone know how stingy the NM DPS or title office is when it comes to information?  Hopefully I can track them down, and get lucky enough to find the original engine!
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« Reply #34 on: May 25, 2007, 11:28:38 AM »

Again, start with the state where you owned the car...
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Phillip
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« Reply #35 on: January 30, 2010, 09:12:49 PM »

Zegret,I tried N.M. dmv about 6 mo.ago! No real help,records go back 10 yrs. I bought Z10 in march 76. I  knew previous owners name & old address,so I search it on comp. & found a tel no. I called he didnt have any paper work & could not remember original owners name.Im sure it was bought in Albuquerque N.M. Probably at Galles Grosbeck Chevrolet,or Ed Blacks Chevrolet. Only 2 dealers in town at the time! Ed Blacks has been closed for yrs,Galles did not have any records! Cry
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« Reply #36 on: January 30, 2010, 11:10:48 PM »

In tennessee you can run a title search they keep record's for as long as the car stay's in the state. I did mine in 1989 & got all prior owner's plus copy of original dealer sheet @ mso. Now several friend's that did with same result's. Last one done they blacked out previous owner's names but still got copy of dealer sheet @ mso because of privacy laws. Hope this help's. good luck!
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« Reply #37 on: January 31, 2010, 02:09:01 AM »

Anyone have experience with Ohio DMV? Do they keep records past 10 years? I found there records request form - I will give that a shot.  I wrote letters to the address's on the title - one was returned undeliverable and I didn't hear anything from the other.
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Leonard1
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« Reply #38 on: February 13, 2010, 08:22:16 AM »

In tennessee you can run a title search they keep record's for as long as the car stay's in the state. I did mine in 1989 & got all prior owner's plus copy of original dealer sheet @ mso. Now several friend's that did with same result's. Last one done they blacked out previous owner's names but still got copy of dealer sheet @ mso because of privacy laws. Hope this help's. good luck!

Same luck for me from TN.  They even had the invoice, MSO, and lean papers where the guy borrowed money on it.  They did black out all the previous owners names and addresses, though.  I did it about 5 years ago.
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GI JOE
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« Reply #39 on: June 18, 2010, 11:00:00 PM »

Another avenue to search is Tax records.. here in CT we are annually taxed on our vehicles so each town has a automobile tax record with VIN and I was able to search them and use that to find the original owner... I forget how i knew what town to search but you will need to follow each owner backwards to find out.... needless to say I eventually called the first owner who turned out to be very unhelpful.... the Camaro was a sore subject and was sold due to a divorce... so the guy would not help...not even tell me his ex-wife's name.. so what do you do?

BTW the second owner was really helpful, gave me lots of original photos, and was thrilled to talk about the Camaro..
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SFC GI JOE - Airborne Paratrooper
68- L-78, M22, BV
69- L-78, M22, BV, Conv
GI JOE
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« Reply #40 on: June 18, 2010, 11:09:18 PM »

HELP... I am looking for any info on my car...  124378N456763  Camaro L78 car... most likely from Mass.. has a 1986 Mass Motor Vehicle Inspection sticker #5451366  Also has a green decal Moosehead U.   Any suggestions or any help is greatly appreciated....
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SFC GI JOE - Airborne Paratrooper
68- L-78, M22, BV
69- L-78, M22, BV, Conv
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