You really need to ask this of someone familiar with Michigan DMV procedures, as they differ widely between states.
In California there is a DMV procedure for this "lost owner" thing. They look up the last owner's information, name and address, from their files. Then you fill out a statement of facts form and send it Registered Mail (with proof) to that address. If there is no response in 90 days, you can then proceed with registering and titling the vehicle. Michigan may have a similar process...?
Some folks may tell you just to write up your own Bill of Sale and start with that.
Before he passed away my friend Craig Holder (who lived in Mich)would title bikes I had around here that needed one.
I would write my own bill of sale....include the vin and he would take it to his DMV and get a title in his name. Then he would sign it over to me and send it back. Unless he was fooling me he said it was as easy as walking in the door.
Here in NC when I applied for a new title in my name (using Craigs title signed over to me)the bike would be checked out by the NCDOT's theft divison and the numbers recorded (meant a visit from two officers w/cameras) it never failed to work.
Things could be different now....Craigs been gone a while now.
In NC we used to be able to use one of the title services....but not any more.
If it was me...I'd write my own bill of sale and include any frame/engine numbers and give it a try...worst case is they say no.
#523907 - 01/20/142:14 pmRe: Title a bike with no old title or bill of sale?
I used Motorecyclemow for my last title. I ride now with a Vermont license plate. You can contact them here. http://www.motorecyclenow.com/ I found the most difficult part was finding someone to fill out the Vin verification form. Finally I found that a state vehicle safety inspector here was good enough. Then I became one... Do a vin search first. Make damn sure you don't have a stolen bike. In some major metropolitan areas, most bikes sold new were stolen at some point. It's staggering actually... A nationwide search is done through NCIS and many local motor vehicle departments will do it also. I've never done a nationwide search simply because of the geography situation since I've lived here. The situation here regarding registering and titling old motorcycles is a nightmare. Worst of all, they will try very hard to get all the back registration fees from you and that could total thousands in some cases. Cheers, Bill
Bikes 1974 Commando 1985 Honda Nighthawk 650 1957 Thunderbird/T110 "Flying Tiger" Antique Fans: Loads of Emersons (Two six wingers) plus gyros and orbiters.
You can register a bike (i think 15 years or older) in the state of vermont without a title. You do NOT need to be a resident of vermont and they will send you a transferable registration. I did this last year. No worries.
One of the only good things about NY is no titles on vehicles 1972 or older. By signing a simple form, showing proof of insurance and a pencil tracing of a serial number, you can get plates and ownership. I have done this several times. This works if the vehicle has been off the records for 7 years and if you appear sober at the DMV.
650 Triumph modified production LSR record holder 133.1 MPH... Twin 650 engine Triumph LSR that goes sorta fast...
I can tell you what not to do. DO NOT USE INTERNATIONAL TITLE SERVICE in Las Vegas. They will take your money and you will never get your title nor will they return your original notarized bill of sale documents. This was once a well run business. However, the original owner either sold it or transferred it to his son. Now it is a complete fraud. I got great service about 7 years ago. Then en attempted to use them again about 4 years ago. Second time they cashed my check and never replied. They have a web site. It looks to be a very legitimate business. But their mailing address is only a box in one of those rented mailing service store fronts. The following from the Las Vegas Better Business Bureau:
BBB has received a volume and pattern of complaints from consumers, concerning payment for vehicle title services that are not rendered.
when i tried to get a title for the A65 from Intercourse Title Service it had so many mistakes on it that the NC Hiway Patrol inspector said it wasn;t worth 'the paper it's written on' so $200 down the drain...had to go with bonded title...if there's a stricter DMV in USA than NC i dont know of it.
Well thanks fellas for all the fantastic input and direction - really very much appreciated.
Where I'm netting out on this is I'm likely to pull a bill of sale together and march into the DMV and apply for a title.
I'm really running into a snag, though, trying to have the VIN run to determine whether the bike was ever reported stolen. The sheriff won't do it, police won't do it, and the DMV won't do anything other than suggesting a file for a title history - and they can't confirm whether that will indicate a stolen bike.
So…I may go down the route of Vermont. And as a last resort, a title company. Keep the thoughts & suggestions coming!
#524238 - 01/22/146:37 pmRe: Title a bike with no old title or bill of sale?
Joined: Feb 2008 Posts: 4,047Tridentman
BritBike Forum member
Even the very difficult states such as New Jersey have to have a procedure for titling a bike that is bought from out of state from a state that did not title old bikes prior to particular dates (such as 1985--varies by state). So if you identify that procedure for your state and have a cooperative relative out of state in a state that did not title old bikes you can between you come up with documentation that will enable you to title in your state. So far this year (2014) I have titled 9 bikes using this procedure--some for me and some for friends in NJ. If you want to know more then please feel free to PM me. Warning--it bends the truth just a little but in my view if the state is an awkward b*****d then you are justified in being a devious bugger. HTH
#524298 - 01/23/148:20 amRe: Title a bike with no old title or bill of sale?
Joined: Jul 2010 Posts: 241wildbill
BritBike Forum member
A few years ago I bought what was advertised on Craigslist as a 1967 Triumph 650 engine and other parts. When I arrived to pick up the stuff, I was surprised to see a frame in the pile of parts. At home I discovered I had matching 1969 T120R frame and motor. With my extra pieces at home I could come up with most of a 1969 T120R. The gentleman who the parts came from gave me a bill of sale and a letter about his acquisition of the bike and why he couldn't get title. Meanwhile I had a county sheriff run the numbers and they were clean.
My first submission to the VA motor vehicles folks got kicked back for more information and that VA could not title without a previous title. After thinking about this for six months I took another run at it with more pictures and copies of serial numbers from books, etc. About a month later I received a call from a vehicle inspector wished to inspect the bike but I would have to pay $125 for the inspection, as he had to drive out from the state office. His first comment was that the bike was not on the stolen number list. I informed him I had already had numbers checked by the county and the process would not have gone this far had it been. He laughed and looked at the frame and engine numbers very closely and for anther $50 processing fee, I received a VA title for a 1969 T120R the next day. He told me much of my issue was getting the application through clerks who did not know if I was building a custom bike from pieces/parts that would require a new title and inspection to current safety requirements, turn signals, etc.
It seems like much of the difficulty is getting to higher level personnel who deal who deal with much more complex titling issues than the folks at the DMV window and recognizing the process may take a bit of time. When we lived in Montana I titled a 1928 Ford that was a shelterbelt relict. That took over a year but it was doable. I recognize each state is different and I had always purchased vehicles with the caveat - no title is parts and a title is a vehicle.
#524500 - 01/24/1412:51 pmRe: Title a bike with no old title or bill of sale?
Joined: Jan 2006 Posts: 6,641GrandPaul
BritBike Forum member
In Texas, you can easily go through a title hearing with a county tax assessor/collector (you need receipts and/or bill of sale for serial numbered items - frame & engine, plus a few informational forums with narrative of your particular situation). You get a NEW, CLEAN title, for just a few dollars more than the title services charge for out-of-state registration which many states no longer accept, ESPECIALLY NC AND PA (two of the WORST).
One other possible helping bit of info: take your model & serial number info to your local major national bank branch office and enquire as to obtaining a loan for the purchase; they can/will do a national DMV stolen vehicle database search and print the results for you. Just learned about that one a week or so ago!
(nice to know)
Last edited by GrandPaul; 01/24/1412:53 pm.
GrandPaul (does not use emoticons) Author of the book "Old Bikes" Too many bikes to list, mostly Triumph & Norton, some BSA & European "The Iron in your blood should be Vintage"