Classic car owners want to know everything possible about their collectible vehicles, from previous owners to any accidents the cars have been in. While registering vehicles has been around since cars were first put on the road, keeping track of accident damage did not become widespread until more recently. But with a little homework and effort, you can still find information on the history of your classic car that you can use however you want.
Why Trace The History Of My Car?
What would happen to the value of your classic car if you found out that it had once been owned by an iconic Hollywood actor? The value and prestige attached to your vehicle would go way up. As we mentioned, finding out the maintenance and repair history of a classic car is not easy. But determining where the car was made and who owned it in the past can be valuable information for any owner.
Find The Vehicle Identification Number (VIN)
Starting in 1954, cars made in the United States were given vehicle identification numbers (VIN) to help keep track of them through registrations. At first, there was no standard format for VIN numbers, but VIN numbers still act like the fingerprint of your car. With a VIN number you can tell information such as:
- When the car was made
- The car’s original interior and exterior colors
- Where the car was made
The VIN is also the number the department of motor vehicles (DMV) will need to give you all of the information filed for your car. Whenever you buy a classic car, you should insist that the paperwork include the VIN number. In most cases, collectors cannot sell classic cars without having the VIN.
If you found your classic car in a junkyard, then the VIN has to be either engraved, stamped, or possibly written somewhere on the vehicle. Sometimes the VIN is stamped on the engine mounts or near the front of the frame, or it can be found on the inside of the glove compartment. You can search the Internet to determine exactly where the VIN number is located on your car.
Contact the DMV
Once you have your VIN number, you can go to your state’s DMV website and pull a report on your vehicle. If you have an older vehicle with a VIN that does not follow the modern standard structure, then you can go to the DMV office and ask for a report to be created. The DMV report will tell you all of the places where the car was registered, how many miles the car had each time it was registered, and who owned it.
You can use the DMV report to confirm that the odometer is accurate, and to find out if your car has a famous history. You can also use the DMV report as a reference for contacting previous owners of your car.
Contacting Previous Owners
Sometimes your classic car DMV report will have accident information that can be valuable. For example, the DMV report will tell you if the vehicle was ever totaled for any reason and also give you the reason. You can also look up the names and addresses of previous owners on the Internet and try to contact them to get more information on your car. There is nothing illegal about using a DMV report to contact previous owners of your car to get more information.
Was your classic car once the property of Rock Hudson? Was your classic car totaled after being damaged in a flood? When you search the history of your classic car, you will find plenty of information that will be valuable for a variety of reasons.