[Mgs] So quiet!

Max Heim mvheim at sonic.net
Tue Apr 23 13:14:55 MDT 2019

I bought this 66 MGB roadster as a rolling shell in 2014, from a friend that works at the auction and was just flipping it. The story was it had been stored indoors along with a complete 1965 roadster since possibly the late 1970s (last registration on the “ran when parked" car was 1978). No paperwork of any kind, and no plates, but it had a VIN in the 137XXX range, which made it a mid-67.

But the car had no reverse lamps, which made me dubious, and after it was trailered to the paint shop, they uncovered the chassis stamp, which was 97XXX, making it a very late 1966, which made more sense (this matched the instrument panel layout, as well). Looking at the VIN plate, the numbers were rather wobbly, like it had been hand stamped (well, they were all hand-stamped, but presumably by persons that were experienced at doing it).

After some contemplation, I decided my easiest way forward was to order a blank plate and stamp it with the correct numbers, so when it did go to DMV they would match. I did this after a web search to confirm that the numbers were not in use. As it turned out, the VIN inspection was carried out by a 20-something that had never worked with a pre-1969 vehicle of any kind, and didn’t even look at the chassis number (he would have had to go underneath with a flashlight and a mirror to see it, anyway).

I have no idea what the PO (presumably deceased) had been thinking of. Maybe he had several disassembled cars and just mixed up the tags. Or he acquired this shell with no VIN plate and just made one up, which seems rather negligent (also, it had a BMC 1967 secondary tag on it, which would have to have been transferred from a real 1967, I would think). Who knows? Doesn’t matter, now. It could hardly have been some kind of deception scheme or fraud, since an unrestored MGB shell, unlike your Maseratis or Ferraris, is not only practically valueless, the particular VIN digits have no significance whatsoever.

The discrepancies in paperwork between the transfer of ownership and application for title, which were filed with the “old” “wrong" number, and the VIN verification of the “new” “correct” number were smoothed out by using an independent registration agent. Her services were invaluable. She not only saved me 3 or 4 trips to DMV purgatory, her credibility probably helped this peculiarity sail on through unquestioned. Basically, I just appended an affidavit saying we were mistaken about the number, and were correcting it. And her fee was ridiculously low.

Max Heim
'66 MGB

> On Apr 23, 2019, at 11:33 AM, Richard Lindsay via Mgs <mgs at autox.team.net> wrote:
> > I...sorted out the PO’s attempted VIN swap.
>    Gulp! Glad that's sorted. I bought my Maserati Biturbo E with a lost California title...and then a dead PO! It took me over a year to get that one straightened out! I ended up with a bond title, but the car is mine now and licensed as such.

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