Auto Express

Check VIN Before You Buy a Classic Car to Avoid Getting It Seized

A person in Kansas who purchased a 1959 Corvette has found himself litigating with the state in an try to hold them from destroying the automotive. The Kafkaesque state of affairs causes shivers for different automotive house owners but additionally factors to steps all patrons of traditional automobiles must comply with.

This can be a course of I’m fairly accustomed to. I had a shopper who purchased a traditional automotive from Michigan that was seized by the state police in his dwelling state after they discovered a VIN discrepancy between the first VIN tag and a VIN stamped on the firewall.

Richard Martinez purchased the 1959 Corvette from a supplier in Indiana and sought to have it registered in Kansas. Throughout that course of, the Kansas Freeway Patrol discovered a discrepancy: the VIN tag on the door put up didn’t match a VIN stamped on the body. Numerous information reviews point out the VIN being present in a “secret” location however these places aren’t as secret as they have been earlier than the web got here alongside. Corvettes from 1959 had the VIN stamped into the body no less than as soon as, although it may be exhausting to find the stamping 60 years later.

The KHP instructed Martinez that the automotive was going to be seized beneath Kansas legislation, because of the VIN problem. Kansas legislation 8-116(b) prohibits “knowingly” proudly owning or having custody or possession of a motorcar if the “unique car identification quantity has been destroyed, eliminated, altered or defaced.” The statute orders legislation enforcement officers to “seize and take possession” of such autos and the autos are handled as “contraband.” Typically talking, the legislation says, “Articles of contraband shall be destroyed.”

Martinez employed an lawyer and it’s been reported that he has already spent $30,000 on authorized charges. He additionally notes that the automotive has been broken whereas in storage–if he wins this case and will get the automotive returned to him, he’ll spend nearly one other $30,000 getting it repaired–within the matter of a automotive that value him $50,000 to start with.

What’s making headlines on this case is that the state of Kansas has made no allegation of wrongdoing on the a part of Martinez. He seems to be “harmless” on this matter–it’s the automotive that’s within the incorrect.

Martinez has famous that the statutes of Kansas permit for the state to go one other route on this matter. Assuming that the Corvette incorporates no stolen components and is merely a mix-and-match particular, the Freeway Patrol may assign the automotive a brand new VIN. The statute is obscure on how precisely this occurs. “If the freeway patrol is happy that the car incorporates no stolen components . . . the freeway patrol shall decide the make, mannequin and 12 months of the car, and shall assign” the car a VIN that the state will settle for as authorized.

However how do you “fulfill” the Freeway Patrol that the automotive incorporates no stolen components? Is that the job of the state police to show, or for the proprietor of the automotive to disprove? And what does “happy” really imply? Legally, it’s a fairly bizarre commonplace to be written right into a legislation. Because it stands, the Freeway Patrol is saying they’re NOT happy – however they admit they don’t have any proof that something on the automotive is definitely stolen.

Martinez is in a really robust place. The legislation exists for purpose. If automobiles may simply be offered with dangerous VINs, it could presumably make issues simpler for automotive thieves and different dangerous actors. However what about an harmless purchaser like Martinez? Nobody has but come ahead to assert the automotive, or components of it. Lots of people are lining up on the aspect of Martinez right here, together with the Kansas Justice Institute, who identified {that a} comparable case made it to the Supreme Courtroom of Illinois. There, an harmless purchaser of a automotive with a nasty VIN acquired to maintain the automotive when the courtroom dominated the statute violated the due course of rights of the automotive purchaser.

In fact, Illinois legislation won’t be binding on the courts of Kansas.

I can let you know that within the case I dealt with, the stolen automotive was returned by the state police to its unique proprietor—the one who had reported it stolen a long time in the past. We have been compelled to sue the promoting supplier to get my shopper his a refund, which we managed to do, though litigation all the time takes longer than we might like.

We’ll have to attend to see what the courts in Kansas do with the Martinez Corvette. Within the meantime, if you will purchase a traditional automotive, you’ll want to take some cautionary steps. You may pay to have an professional examine the car for you and ask them to particularly verify all the VIN places to ensure they match. Or, you’ll be able to Google the mannequin 12 months and identify thus: “1959 Corvette VIN places” and watch how badly the web retains these places “secret.”

In any case, Martinez may win this case. However nobody buys a traditional automotive simply to allow them to litigate its possession for just a few years earlier than they’ll legally drive it.

Steve Lehto is a author and attorney from Michigan. He focuses on Lemon Regulation and ceaselessly writes about automobiles and the legislation. His most up-to-date books embody Preston Tucker and His Battle to Build the Car of Tomorrow and Dodge Daytona and Plymouth Superbird: Design, Development, Production and Competition. He also has a YouTube channel where he talks about these things.

This content is created and maintained by a third party, and imported onto this page to help users provide their email addresses. You may be able to find more information about this and similar content at

Source link


News7h: Update the world's latest breaking news online of the day, breaking news, politics, society today, international mainstream news .Updated news 24/7: Entertainment, the World everyday world. Hot news, images, video clips that are updated quickly and reliably

Related Articles

Back to top button