View Full Version : Restoring Ham's '48 Willys - Derned Bureaucrats

08-04-2015, 08:07 AM
Sometimes a guy just has to vent!

The ’48 Willys is getting closer to coming out of the shop, so last week I decided to go over to my local Bureau of Motor Vehicles office to see about getting a Historical Vehicle plate for it. I had the customer copy of its’ last registration (1976), so – silly me – I figured other than a comment about how long it had been since it was registered there would be no problem.

Well, the first question from the clerk was about a title. The vehicle title was transferred to Indiana in August of 1969 and the ensuing 46 years, my paper copy has been lost.

“No problem (?), we’ll just call Indianapolis and get a copy”.

Guess what – when the system was computerized in 1980-something, titles for vehicles built before 1950 were dropped from the system. Before I can get a plate, I need a title. I can see some value in this, but I was given the “Don’t be a wisea** look when I asked why I had to go through the bureaucratic process when “you folks” threw away the records.

The second question asked was “Is the vehicle worth more than $5,000”. I replied “Of course”. Wrong answer. Since I have declared the vehicle to be so valuable, I can’t just sign a document of affirmation saying that the truck is mine, I have to go before Small Claims Court and have a Judge issue a finding that I am the legal and uncontested owner of said truck.

Mumble, grumble. In addition to the court appearance, I have about a 10 page document package that needs to be completed, including scheduling a visit from a State Trooper to verify that indeed the truck exists and is identified by the MVIN number assigned by the state.

Then, the last indignity. Since I allowed the registration on the vehicle to lapse, I have to pay a penalty for said omission; two years of registration fees. It is yet to be seen if these fees will be for the first two years I failed to register the vehicle ($16.95/year) or the last two years it wasn’t registered (considerably more than $16.95/year).

Oh well, at least it won’t have to undergo a safety check like it did in 1976. That was the year the inspector told me it needed ball joints replaced. (No ball joints – bushings and kingpins – that was a ripoff on the unsuspecting).