Stolen ’55 Chevy

Q.

I had a 1955 Chevrolet Bel Air 2-door that was stolen from in front of my house on October 22nd of 1968. I have the registration with the V.I.N. from the D.M.V. and a receipt from my insurance company. Is there any way I can find out if the car is or was registered since?

A.

While there are resources to identify whether or not a cars V.I.N. has been reported stolen or salvaged (https://www.nicb.org/home). I am not aware of a resource to identify if a cars VIN has been reused. Generally VIN numbers are tracked by the state and every state has a different method of doing so. Making it difficult to do any nation wide searches.

Although, if you were paid off by the insurance company the car belongs to the insurance company and it is possible the car could have been recovered years later without your knowledge. So it may even be possible for the car to be legally registered again.

I encourage anyone buying a used car they have questions about, to ask the seller if it’s okay to contact the police about running the VIN. Most police agencies will do this for you (as time permits), this can give you a little peace of mind in completing the purchase.

Wrench Safe,

– Mark

Discussion
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10 Responses to “Stolen ’55 Chevy”
  1. Charlie
    Charlie

    My uncle had a 57 and in a divorce his wife had a friend pretend to be the owner, forged his name and sold it. He reported it as stolen and still had the title but the new owner told the wife he was going to drag race the car and it would never be registered, that was 40 years ago.

    Reply
  2. Dante'
    Dante'

    I purchase a 1987 Pontiac Grand Prix GT, a dealer customized car. In 1989 it was stolen from in front of my house. I too have always wondered how I could find out if resold or parted out. I too still have the vin number and other info on the car. Look up History of the Pontiac Grand Prix Part 3 and it is listed there!

    Reply
  3. Garry Sylvester
    Garry Sylvester

    In Australia there is a national register of encumbered vehicles and for a small fee you can have the car or bike checked for write off status, theft and even money owing to finance companies.

    Reply
  4. Johnny O
    Johnny O

    In Ontario (Canada), as part of selling a used vehicle you must purchase a vehicle history report from the DMV and include it as part of the sale. It’s a $20 expense but it lists any previous owners who registered the vehicle. It will also indicate if it was in an accident or total loss. It’s interesting to see the history of the vehicle and where it went or was from.

    Reply
  5. Marty
    Marty

    I had a motorcycle that was premarital property. My ex signed my name to the title and gave it to her brother. My lawyer told me there is no judge that will prosecute a spouse for dispensing with property, premarital or not. Moral of story is if you wanna keep something, you gotta hide it these days, especially from you wife.

    Reply
  6. Steve Greenberg
    Steve Greenberg

    I had a ’63 Corvette split window that was stolen in 1965. I never recovered it and the insurance company paid me for it. In 2006, I went onto Carfax, just for curiosity, to see whether the car was registered anywhere. Through some further investigation, I located the car in Texas. (I lived in Pennsylvania when it was stolen.) I contacted the current owner and found out that he had had it for over 20 years and was restoring it. The car was all apart, but I made an offer to buy it. I prepared to fly to Texas and have the car and the crates of parts shipped back to me in Florida, where I now live. Sadly, the owner had a fire in his garage and the car was destroyed before I could complete the sale. I guess it was never meant to be for me to re-acquire it. All I have left are the keys, which I’ve kept to this day!

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    • Don Boyce
      Don Boyce

      A very convenient timing on the fire. Did you ever check the fire to see if it really happened.

      Reply
  7. Don Miller
    Don Miller

    Also, keep in mind that in many states, stolen vehicles are “purged” from the databases in as little as 3-5 years. NICB and CARFAX do not purge their records, but you need a 17 digit VIN for the CARFAX system, which older cars don’t have. One final thought is that many salvage yards do not report VINs. Good luck with your research!

    Reply