- What kind of records and paperwork do I need to register the car?
- What is an MSO (MCO)?
- What if I have an existing title and VIN?
- More helpful tips for you:
- How do I title and register a car built using a Real Deal Steel body?
A bill of sale (invoice issued by selling dealer) is acceptable if the manufacturer didn’t issue an MSO. Completed Application For Certificate Of Title (from your state DMV). Notarized affidavit, stating that the vehicle is able to be operated on public roads. The statement must also list the repairs made to the vehicle. Bills of sale or receipts for all parts and equipment that weren’t part of the body. All documents must include name and address of seller. Components may include front end, rear end, doors, engine, transmission, frame, cowl assembly, or any parts of those elements. Applicable sales tax (or fill out the statement on sales tax on the application form). License plate number for the vehicle (If using an existing plate), or an affidavit of non-use. Applicable title fees.
An MSO or MCO is short for a manufacturer’s statement (or certificate) of origin. At Real Deal Steel, we are not a vehicle manufacturer. We are a body assembly company, thus we do not issue an MSO or MCO. We do, however, issue a body number and invoice (by selling dealer) that will take the place of the MSO when registering your vehicle in your state.
We DO NOT suggest using the VIN plate from an original car transferred onto a Real Deal Steel body. Particularly if you are a shop building the car for a customer. This practice can get you into a heap of trouble. However, if you hold clear title to an original frame to be used under your Real Deal Steel body, have the state inspect the frame and verify the VIN before assembly. For 1955-57 Chevrolet passenger car frames, the VIN is stamped in two places on top of the driver’s side frame rail. In most cases, your state will issue you a readable VIN plate/tag that matches your frame and title that may be displayed on the body.
Just like any dealing with the government, proper record-keeping is the secret to making this process easy! In addition, we recommend:
- Before you do anything on your project, know what kind of documentation that the state is going to require for issuing title. Get fact sheets from your state’s Department of Motor Vehicles. Many times, these are available from the state website. Or if you don’t like downloading stuff, you can probably get them or find out how to order at your local DMV office. Once you get the fact sheets, read them carefully, and keep all of that information in mind as you buy your parts and build your car.
- Always get proper documentation when you purchase a part. Whenever you buy any part, and especially for major parts like engines, frames and probably transmissions, make sure you get adequate proof of purchase documentation. You can never have too much, so keep all bills of sale, invoices (especially mail order parts), and even canceled checks, and credit card receipts or statements. As applicable, make sure each document accurately records the relevant information. For example a bill of sale should have the vendor’s name and address, your name, a description of the part, and the amount and date of purchase. For major components like engines, make sure the bill has the VIN or serial number on it.
- Keep a build diary. From the very first part you buy keep a build diary. Each entry in the diary should be dated. When recording a purchase of a part, all relevant information should be written into the diary, including vendor’s name and address, date of purchase, description of part (including condition), price paid, and any identifying marks. Each major step in the build process should be recorded in the diary. Things like major component disassembly/assembly, sanding/blasting, painting, etc. should be recorded. If you send a part out to a contractor, record a description of the part, purpose for sending out (e.g., painting), date out and back, and costs (in order to get a title, you probably will have to get an appraisal of the finished car, and this kind of information can prove to be indispensable). All major steps in the build process should be documented with photographs before and after. VIN and serial numbers should be documented by photographs or rubbings, or both. Finally, keep the build diary current and up to date. Keep in mind that the diary is your document made to augment things like bills of sale, invoices and etc. Because it is your document the argument could be that you can make it say anything you want it to say. However, there is a long and strong tradition in American law to treat such records as reliable evidence as long as certain criteria are met.
- Simple adherence to the above principals should go a long way to avoiding problems in getting the finished car titled. It’s really not that hard as long as you keep good records and follow the rules your state has set forth.
If you do not have a new or original chassis with a title or MSO, you will need to register the car built with a Real Deal Steel body as a “Newly Assembled” vehicle with your state. While we do not issue an MSO, you will be issued a Bill Of Sale (your purchase invoice) by the dealer you purchased your body from. This invoice will be considered as an MSO by your state DMV (check your local laws and regulations). In most cases, the body number issued by Real Deal Steel for your body will be used as or incorporated into the vehicle identification number (VIN) assigned by your state DMV when you register the car. You can find state specific information by visiting the SEMA Action Network’s page, Click here (opens a new window).