So, I'm assuming your title from 1983 is an NC title, right? If your NC title shows it came from out of state, go to that state first. They will have some sort of inquiry department. You need a title history. And yes, they will have privacy laws. My NC title led me to Florida. They actually had an inquiry form. (Never found that in NCDMV site. I'd start at the Mebane NCDMV office, if you think there was pre-83 NC titling.) In all my phone calls and letters, I politely stated that it was for a classic car restoration and my real purpose was to find the original dealership to inquire about original documentation. Florida only got me back into the early 90s with their records. That did give me the next Florida owner (2nd owner) and he led me to the family of the original owner (He was deceased.) Naturally, they had nothing. But between the first two owners I did find the original dealership. Again, they don't keep those records. Yet, now I have a book full of letters, a fairly accurate description of the car as bought and pictures, and a complete description of the restoration done in the 90s and pictures (with some really bad cloning). Not a factory documentation, but I do know the complete history of ownership and met some great Camaro owners along the way. The original owner's daughter drove it through high school and college. And oh yes, since my NC title doesn't verify mileage (on a car over 25 years old), in checking the title history, I have Florida verification that shows the first NC owner drove it only 300 miles in the year he owned it. I now have the satisfaction of knowing the odometer is right.
I think the whole process cost me $4 with Florida (fee was $10, but this firm, but very polite lady in their records office sent me a $6 refund when the records didn't go so far back), postage, etc. on four letters, and three cell phone calls. Be polite. Be persistent.
BTW, NC is really cracking down on titling out of state classic cars. There's supposed to be an inspection and the whole bit. Hornet's Nest AACA and others are concerned about the effort involved. But I think in the long run it will cut down on stolen cars and fraudulent sales.
From NCDMV title manual:
"Inquiry/Police Network/External Inquiry displays titling, registration, correspondence,
and fiscal information. Access to portions of the information is restricted to STARS
clerks, specific branches only, or to Headquarters staff. Other government agencies can
obtain title and registration information. General inquiry shows current title and
registration information, addresses, owner and lessee names, prior plate information for
the current owner, and title history. Placards, customer plates, correspondence, plate
history, fee forecast, and all fiscal information is available to STARS clerks only.
Imaging stores and retrieves vehicle title and registration source documents for future