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Old 08-17-2019, 12:58 PM   #1
Werner
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Default How does a DMV registration number come from?

Hallo, I have a difficult question: My car has in the Germanized registration certificate a five-digit DMV no. from California. As a justification for a DMV number instead of the VIN number I was told that DMV takes over the engine number if the original VIN number is no longer available.

If so, the DMV number would have to match the engine number. Then my roadster would be from Feb. 1928.

But the engine number is seven digits, which would be from May 1929.

The car is 1928 registered.

If it is true that DMV takes over the number of each built-in engine, would that mean that in the DMV registration an engine of 2/28 was installed, and later a motor of 5/29 was changed?

Or does a DMV number have an other origin?


Thank you for all help with my history exploration!
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Ford Model A Roadster, 1928
Citroen 11 CV, 1947
Honda CB 450 K 1, 1968
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Old 08-17-2019, 02:19 PM   #2
Charlie Stephens
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Default Re: How does a DMV registration number come from?

The DMV number is sequntially assigned and does not relate to the original engine number. Here is mine (with the last three numbers blanked out). The original number appears, if readable, on the left frame rail just under the cowl, the body must be lifted to see it. For years these cars were registered by engine number but as far back as 1971(when I registered my RDPU) the DMV began assigning their own number as it was common to replace the engine. I assume you are finding that number on a plate riveted to the door jam but you will probably also find that number on a plate attached to the vehicles frame.

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Old 08-17-2019, 05:25 PM   #3
Chris Haynes
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Default Re: How does a DMV registration number come from?

The DMV assigns a number when the owner is too lazy to expose the number on the frame for verification.
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Old 08-17-2019, 08:45 PM   #4
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Default Re: How does a DMV registration number come from?

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Originally Posted by Chris Haynes View Post
The DMV assigns a number when the owner is too lazy to expose the number on the frame for verification.
Also some frame numbers are not readable due to being faintly stamped or rusted. Canadian frames were not numbered. Also, unless they changed, if you take a vehicle in that is registered by the engine number they will use that information as proof the car on the registration is the car they are looking at, and then they will assign a number.

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Old 08-17-2019, 09:13 PM   #5
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Default Re: How does a DMV registration number come from?

I've been wire wheeling that section of the frame and haven't found a trace of any numbers. There is a lot of pitting there though...
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Old 08-17-2019, 09:38 PM   #6
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Default Re: How does a DMV registration number come from?

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I've been wire wheeling that section of the frame and haven't found a trace of any numbers. There is a lot of pitting there though...
Do some research on acid etching to bring out numbers. Like the guys on CSI do to raise the serial numbers on guns that have been removed.

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Old 08-17-2019, 09:47 PM   #7
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Default Re: How does a DMV registration number come from?

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Do some research on acid etching to bring out numbers. Like the guys on CSI do to raise the serial numbers on guns that have been removed.

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Clean the area on the frame where the number should be to bare metal. Build a silicone dam around that area. Put Mauriac acid in the dam and let it bubble for a while. Remove the acid and let it dry. Looking carefully in good light the numbers should appear darker than the surrounding metal.
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Old 08-18-2019, 05:23 AM   #8
Werner
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Default Re: How does a DMV registration number come from?

Hallo Charlie, thank you for your comments. I understand that the DMV number is unrelated to the assembly time of the car. That's a shame because I can not find any further history now.

But good to know how a DMV number came about.

Thank you!
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Ford Model A Roadster, 1928
Citroen 11 CV, 1947
Honda CB 450 K 1, 1968
Hercules Wankel Rotary Engine, 1976 (Canadian version)
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Old 08-18-2019, 08:38 AM   #9
Charlie Stephens
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Default Re: How does a DMV registration number come from?

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Hallo Charlie, thank you for your comments. I understand that the DMV number is unrelated to the assembly time of the car. That's a shame because I can not find any further history now.

But good to know how a DMV number came about.

Thank you!
Is there a date stamped on your gas tank? Have you considered lifting your body and looking for the number on the frame?


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Old 08-18-2019, 08:39 AM   #10
Cool Hand Lurker
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Default Re: How does a DMV registration number come from?

Werner, the DMV number problem is what the State of California issues. Other states in the USA have different procedures and California's laws are not used in other states. Most of the above posters are from California and they have to follow those rules.

Ford made the engines in a separate plant from the frames. The engines were stamped with a number at the plant. They were sent to the assembly plant and when the engine was installed on the frame, the frame was stamped with the same number. in the Ford Owners Manual it states that the engine number becomes the serial number of the car.

I would say ignore the DMV number and go with the engine number when you register the car in Germany. If you can find the frame number it may not be the same as the engine number due to an engine replacement in the past. If you have documentation from your seller that has the engine number as the number of the car, go by that.
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