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Barn find registration in California

Discussion in 'The Garage' started by Xumi, Mar 10, 2010.

  1. Xumi

    Xumi XS650 Enthusiast

    Hi Everyone,

    I'm finally at the point of registering my restoration project.. It's been 15 years since it was last registered, and of course the guy who gave me the bike didn't have the title, got it from someone else who didn't have the title, etc etc. When I posed the question to various people and searched online, the answer was usually "Part it out - it's too much hastle" or "It can't be done" or "Yeah there's some company that you sell the bike to and they sell it back to you, and it costs $250 and up"...

    Well, after several calls and now 2 trips to the DMV, I learned there is a procedure for getting the title to a vehicle like this, IF the vehicle has not been registered in the last 5 years (that's the limit of CA DMV's registration records):

    Go to DMV and apply for a new title. Use form # REG 343 - Application for Title or Registration. Fill out the top portion with the VIN and your name/address etc. In the Title holder section, write "NONE", and in section 3 fill out the info for the bike. Don't make the mistake I did and say that I bought the bike more than 10 days prior, or you pay an extra $60 in fees (which is funny because it takes 1 month to get an appointment).

    Also, fill out form # REG 256 - Statement of Facts. Fill out the VIN number and year/make at the top. In section G, explain how you obtained the bike and how it came to be that you don't have a title (I made sure to state that the person I obtained the bike from also did not have the title, and that I could no longer locate him, and that there was no way to contact the current registered owner.) The lady at the DMV also had me add the current value of the vehicle (Make it low blue book to pay less taxes and to have it accepted earlier.. if you show up with a $900 bike, it's easy. If you show up with a $20,000 custom, then I wish you luck), and to state that the bike has no Liens.

    Take the paperwork to the DMV and tell them that you are applying for a New title because the bike has been parked for X years and the title holder can not be contacted. They told me that it was a "CC1" - I have no idea what that means, but they said to tell the person at the counter.

    When the number is called, tell the person at the counter the whole story, the same as you stated on form 256. She then asked for the VIN, and was rather confused because of the short VIN on our old bikes. She accepted my explanation about the short VIN # on motorcycles before 1982.

    She read the statement of facts a few times, asked a few questions, then had me pay the registration (YAY!), and informed me that the bike has to be inspected by CHP (darn) - and gave me the phone number of the best CHP office to go to for the verification. As I understand it, it could be done by the DMV, but that usually they refer situations like this for verification by CHP (to make sure it's not stolen. If you have any doubts, call DMV with the vin before starting this process).

    After paying my fees ($134 - $60 of which was for late registration more than 10 days after possessing the bike.. still not happy about that), I asked if the bike needed to be present during the CHP appointment, she said yes and asked if I wanted a temporary permit (YAY!). I'm guessing you may have to ask for one, unless you want to trailer the bike to CHP. The temp permit is good for 2 months.

    So..... My next step is to go talk to CHP. I'll be making the appointment tomorrow. After that, it's just a matter of mailing all the paperwork and the verification paperwork to Sacramento and wait for a title. I think I might be able to go straight back to DMV with it too, but not sure. Will probably need to, since somehow I have to pick up my plates... will let everyone know once I get that far.

    Anyway, will keep you up to date on the process (at least as it is for me). I learned that it really isn't nearly as bad as everyone says... It helps that my local DMV has some decent people that actually know what they are doing (scary, I know).

    Now this is only in California..From everything I've read (which is quite a bit) on the subject, each state is different, and some are Really tough, while others are seriously easy for older bikes (just have someone write you a bill of sale in some states).. Seems like California, like most, is somewhere in between.

    If you have a situation like mine, call the DMV, explain the situation, and find out what the procedure is when a bike has been out of the system for a long time in your state.

    I'm in the home stretch! Still a few minor things to fix, but the list is getting very small finally! I'm hoping to take my first (legal) ride on it this weekend!

  2. this board needs a "like" button, a la Facebook. good on ya!
  3. Xumi

    Xumi XS650 Enthusiast

    Update -

    I saw CHP a few days ago.. Mostly it was just a waiting game. I made an appointment, which was easy.. Showed up 10 minutes early, the lady at the counter asked what I was there fore.. Told her - she looked at the papers that I got from DMV for about 1.2 seconds, and told me to sit and wait for the officer. I was 10 minutes early.. he was 10 minutes late. He came, asked me if I was there for a VIN inspection - I gave him the papers.. He took a hard look at them, asked me the exact same questions they asked at the DMV (Where did you get the bike, why don't you have a title, don't you even have a bill of sale?) so.. I gave the same answers that I gave to DMV and were written on my statement of facts form... He told me to pull the bike around to the back. I parked it next to a sign that said "Vehicle inspection parking", which was packed at the end of an overcrowded large car-port filled with police bikes (nice shiny BMW's with cops polishing them like they were getting ready for a parade), a wrecked police cruiser, a truck that looks like it was being investigated for taking part of a crime, etc.

    I handed him the key, pointed to teh location of the engine # if he needed it.. he said he did it all day every day, and that i could go wait in the front.

    That was a little nervous, being that if anything came up by the police check, that was probably the last I would see of the bike.. but I wasn't worried - it wasn't stolen.

    Anyway, after waiting another 20 minutes, he came and told me he was done, and everything was clean. Said that the last thing on record was that it was owned by some guy in Washington state 15 years ago. He signed the papers, and handed them back to me.

    He commented "Looks like you have a nice bike to ride" and we started chatting about bikes.. he loosened up a lot - probably since he now knew the bike wasn't stolen - and told me about how he was building a chopper from the ground up... we had a good conversation - he wished me luck with the bike, I waved and wished him same on his custom.. And off I rode.. the bike more legal than not.

    Last stop will be back to the DMV - was going to go today, but our Governator decided that to save money, DMV would be closed on Fridays... Not sure how that works, since it's so busy every other day that they are paying DMV employees overtime to keep up - all the papers are filled out and signed - looks like I'm clear to get plates and registration, then it's just waiting for the title in the mail.
  4. Xumi

    Xumi XS650 Enthusiast

    Went to DMV yesterday, turned in the paperwork that the CHP filled out.

    The guy at DMV looked at the paperwork, reading it carefully... twice, asked me if I was sure the VIN was correct because it was the wrong number of digits (guess he's not used to seeing the short VIN# - same thing happened to the first person too)... called a supervisor over to help with how to fill it out on the computer, who walked him through it... Took him about 10 minutes, then the printer spit out a registration card... Told me to go to another window - waited there for about 2 minutes, and handed that woman the paperwork including the new registration...

    She quickly looked it over, handed me a new plate and tags, told me the title will be in the mail in about a month.

    The bike is legally mine - starting with no title, bill of sale or any other paperwork whatsoever - not even an old registration.

    Anyone who tells you it can't be done... well, unless the bike is stolen or has a lien against it, they are wrong (at least here in Cali).

    For those that are lazy to read the whole post, here is the process:

    Fill out an application for new title and statement of facts form - make sure to write that you have a bike with no title, no bill of sale, no paperwork. That the previous owner didn't have it either, and that you no longer can contact them. Write down that the bike has no lien and that the value is X (use low value to ensure less issues. Expensive items raise red flags).

    Go to DMV -Give papers to DMV. Tell exact same story in statement of facts form.

    They will refer you to the CHP and give you a temporary permit to ride the bike on the road. Get some insurance, Make an appointment with CHP, and ride/tow the bike to DMV, and ask for a VIN inspection... Tell exact same story in statement of facts form again. Let them do their thing to make sure the bike isn't stolen.

    Take the resulting paperwork back to DMV, and trade it in for plates and registration.

    Wait for Title in the mail.

  5. Street Tracker

    Street Tracker Dirt Track Mentality

    Thanks for the thumbs up post! I'm gonna go through this myself, makes it look a lot easier.
  6. RpNSht

    RpNSht XS650 Addict

    where in ca are you?

    im in california too and have figured out the same process although i went to chp first to have the vin searched to see if it was stolen as my bike is not running. (dmv told me that i needed the chp to inspect the bike to make sure its street legal before the dmv could process anything but i was hesitant to go that route with the potential that the bike was stolen-thankfully it wasn't). since then I've started the build and have figured out a different way of getting a title: i think the technical way is described as a mechanical lien but I'm not sure as i am still currently working on the build. will know soon and give an update.

  7. Street Tracker

    Street Tracker Dirt Track Mentality

    Went to DMV today after filling out the forms mentioned above and mine is a little different I have a bill of sale I was going to be completely honest with my situation after talking to DMV and AAA on the phone this sounded like it could be done no problem. So we started in with DMV reviewing the forms and I was asked that is the bike in running order and I stated no. I was told it has to be in running order for CHP to inspect it and I would be paying registration fees the whole time during my build. I told her I do not want registration as I would be having to ay for registration from right now and on, my build is going to take a while and I did not want to invest cash on a unknown if I could even get a title. So I filled out another form for a non-op and told her I just wanted title so I can invest money to get the bike to running order before sinking the cash into a bike I may never be able to have title. She said good point and with the non-op form completed she progressed to finish getting me started. I paid 61 bucks and was able to get another form to get a scheduled CHP visit for a VIN check. So I will schedule that and see what happens. I did have the local PD run the VIN before I purchased to see if it was stolen and it ws not, also I called DMV as I mention to see what they had, it has been so long since it was registered it was out of their system. Once I get the CHP VIN check I am to go back to DMV to complete the title process. My plan from there is to call AAA again and have them get the registration for me hopefully sight unseen by DMV or CHP. We will see how this works AAA said that it should be real easy from that point. More to come stay tune I will report back on my journey.
  8. tonyc

    tonyc XS650 Guru

    I tried AAA no go referred me to DMV who referred me to CHP. I have an appointment at 730 am July 18 at CHP. The officer told me to put it together so it looks like it could run. From CHP back to DMV to finish the process. I will let everyone know the results. This is on my high-pipe scrambler build.
  9. Street Tracker

    Street Tracker Dirt Track Mentality

    Are you trying to just get a title or are you going for full registration?
  10. tonyc

    tonyc XS650 Guru

    I will put it on non-op first while I am building. My 78 was without title and I registered it in Maine through a service. After I received tags I went through AAA and registered it in California without any problems. I decided to go this route for the 76. I think it will work-out fine.
  11. Street Tracker

    Street Tracker Dirt Track Mentality

    so with your 75 you are trying what I am doing also? but you do have all of the parts to make it look like it will run? I don't have all of those parts so this may get interesting!
  12. tonyc

    tonyc XS650 Guru

    Yes I do. It is a 76. It may depend upon the CHP officer. Yours may have you start the bike. I will have to re-mount the engine and pipes in a week or so. My CHP officer said I do not have to remove it from the truck.
  13. Street Tracker

    Street Tracker Dirt Track Mentality

    Thanks tonyc, mine will never start for sure I have basically frame with motor in it handle bars wheels thats it. Hopefully the CHP will understand what I am trying to achieve a title before sinking all of the money required if I can never title the bike. Keep us posted an I will do the same.
  14. tonyc

    tonyc XS650 Guru

    Get a beat-up tank, rigg some turn-signals and fenders. Take pictures of what you have and I will look in my shed. We may be able to piece something together for the inspection. Arroyo Grande is not far from Bakersfield. First ask your local CHP what he is looking for? Let me know if I can help.
  15. Street Tracker

    Street Tracker Dirt Track Mentality

    OK cool I will check with CHP and be in touch thanks again
  16. Street Tracker

    Street Tracker Dirt Track Mentality

    I went to CHP yesterday and the guy was real cool about it but, the bike needed to resemble a motorcycle that could possibly be going down the road. With no tank seat exhaust and many other items I was not going to get the go ahead from CHP. He gave me a couple of options he said go bolt a bunch of stuff on and I let him know I don't have any other parts to do this nor did I want to invest money and time if there could still be issues. So we settled on him running my VIN to see if it was in a good enough condition if there were lo legal issues. He ran it and he said there is no legal history to be concerned about what soever. So I will take the time and money to go ahead and get my build mocked up. Get the chassis all done and just not rebuild the motor yet. I will then take it back and get title and then send my bike off to paint and get the motor built. I feel comfortable with this as he called DMV also for the paper work I got started and it is good for two years and all that would happen is I would lose the 60 bucks I paid to get started if I do not return within two years. He did have some interesting comments on how different CHP offices would want to see more on the bike like it running and all. He said he did not even care if it had turn signals and many other things but the counties north and south of me would required a complete running street legal bike. So this looks like it can all be done but you just have to know what to do for where you are and exactly what you have.

    tonyc I may look to borrow some parts if my time to build is going to be longer that I hope for and I will let you know thanks so much for the offer and if you ever head over to the coast let me know it would be nice to meet you.
  17. tonyc

    tonyc XS650 Guru

    Donny I think that I have what you need to pass. I do not have a seat but I have one for 80 plus I will use on mine July 18. If every thing goes my way we can strip it down and mount everything on yours for the inspection.
  18. Street Tracker

    Street Tracker Dirt Track Mentality

    Ok keep me posted after you get yours done in July and maybe I can borrow that stuff and get it titled and get it back to you. I will then never have to go back to CHP after my street tracker build which would be way cool!!!
  19. Dorzok

    Dorzok XS650 Enthusiast

    been there done that. many times. not hard, just a hassle. next, try one from out of state. untitled and all. OH!! and let it be a truck. trust me; it's fun.
  20. tonyc

    tonyc XS650 Guru

    I just finished the process of titling my spare XS 1976 without a old title. In California it was'nt hard. I first went to DMV for the forms. They in turn sent me to CHP for vin varification. I had to put the non-running bike together, loaded it on a friends trailer and his truck. I had a 730 am appointment and it only took less than 20 minutes. The officer was very friendly and helpful. I spent the next 90 minutes in the DMV partly due to some errors that I made on the forms. My 1976 xs650 is now titled and non-operational. $52.00. My next 277 degree crank high piped scrambler. If you are in CA jump in and do it.

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