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Title Woes: We Need Your Help
Posted by: Paul
6 July 2012 2,235 views 2 Comments

vespa no title Title Woes: We Need Your Help

While we’re proud of our scooter knowledge here at NYCS Towers, even our healthy egos will begrudgingly admit (on occasion) that we don’t know everything two-wheeled related.

With this in mind, and with the permission of author, I’m printing in full an email I recently received from vintage Vespa owner Patrica who is looking for help resolving the title on a Vespa she purchased from a – now – untraceable previous owner.

If you have advice for Patricia, please go ahead and comment below. We’ll also be reprinting her email on our Facebook page, so alternately feel free to comment there if that’s your thing. A rider without a ride never fails to bring a lump to my throat:

Hi Paul,

I read the story you published on the No Title Vespa and since it
looks like you have some knowledge of these things, I thought I might
ask you for your guidance on a related issue. Thank you in advance for
any info you are able to provide.

I purchased an older Vespa about ten years ago when I was living in
Rockland County NY. The guy I purchased it from was a local store
owner so he had some creds. After I paid him, he provided me with a
receipt and said that he’d get the title to me asap. Soon after, his
store was demolished by a flood and it was impossible for me to locate
him. Not long after, I moved also, and asked a friend to store the
Vespa for me. As I am attempting to raise cash, a few months ago I
picked up the Vespa and brought it to Scooter Bottega where Robbie
tuned it up nicely, provided the VIN number and told me that it was
made in the mid-60s. I have since been attempting to find out how I
can get a title so I can transfer it upon sale. I’ve been given
conflicting information by the DMV so I’m not really sure how to go
about getting the title. I was told by one office that I should send
two registered letter to the owner’s last known address, wait a week
between receiving the first one back then send the next so to verify I
could not locate the owner who sold it to me. I did so and both came
back. Then I spoke to another DMV office who told me that I’d have to
fill out a MV51 form which would suffice for a sale.
On the MV51 form it states:

3. This certification must be accompanied by bills of sale showing
continuity of ownership from all previous owners.

I’m not sure how I’m supposed to get that information as I have no
confirmation that the guy I bought it from actually had a title to
begin with and due to privacy laws, there’s no way I can acquire that

Any ideas as to what I should do? The Vespa is a really sweet scooter
in great original condition, the aqua paint is almost mint. This is
the time to sell it so whatever I can do to expedite this process
would surely be an advantage.

Again, thanks in advance for any information/guidance you can provide
me on this.


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  • Ben Boyle said:

    After 10 years, the thing will be purged from the system. Don’t even worry about the previous owner. Get a bill of sale from whomever saying you bought it and go to my website and download the forms to register it in Vermont. Then transfer to your home state. Done.

  • Emily said:

    I’m having a similar problem with a 1993 Honda scooter (with only 500 miles!) I purchased from a neighbor in Georgia before I moved to NYC. She has original bill-of-sale but not the certificate of origin or the title. And, she never registered the scooter in Georgia because it wasn’t necessary to do so. I’ve been to NYS DMV 2x and received different objections each time about why I can’t register the scooter. This morning, the objection was the lack of c-o-o. I called the dealer who sold my neighbor the scooter and the c-o-o has already been purged from their system AND they said Honda doesn’t re-issue them. I’m tempted to ship the darn scooter back to Georgia. Any ideas welcome.

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