I've asked this question before, but under different circumstances, so I'll
Two years ago I bought a 73B roadster in need of some work. This was
September of 2000, and my goal was to fix it up over the winter and drive it
spring of 2002.
Money didn't work out that fall or winter (I lost a sizeable sum of cash in
the beginning of this nice downward spiral in the stock market. Hey, dotcoms
can only go up, right?)
Spring brought the inevitable dotcom layoff, the inevitable new job at 35%
lower salary, yadda yadda yadda, you get the picture.
So, now I'm sitting here almost exactly 2 years later with a 73B still
sitting in my garage (Hey, it's on the other side of the garage now!), still
not really streetable (though close). And I'm ready to fix it. After reading
about Giles Forrest's amazing 71 refurb on
Ahh, but there's a snag. There's always a snag.
I bought the B from a guy who had purchased it from a guy a week previous,
and then been transfered in his job out of state. He needed to unload it
because he wouldn't be able to take it with him.
It was so new, he had not transferred the title to himself, and instead
still had the previous owner's original title with a notarized signature.
(Before anyone gets concerned, it wasn't stolen, I've been able to determine
So I took his title, gave him $1200 cash and headed off to the county
registrar to get the title transferred to me so I could get plates to drive
it home. They wouldn't title me the car because I couldn't prove Social
Security number, so my wife got temp tags in her name and I returned to
drive the largely unroadworthy beast the 14 miles home.
I laid all my documentation on the kitchen counter. The next day my sister
in law, while watching my kids, "Helped" by cleaning up our kitchen. This is
what they call a plot point.
Two weeks later when my new Social Security Card arrived, I went to go get
my title from the kitchen cabinet where all the important papers were
"cleaned up to". No Title. It was gone. As near as we can figure, she
"cleaned up" my title into the trash.
I've tried everything. Neither the license bureau nor the registrar will
tell me a damn thing. I can't find the previous-previous owner to get him to
pull a new title and sign it over again. I essentially have a 1973 MGB that
I can't put plates on. It's mine, I paid for it, but it might as well be
hauled off for scrap, because I certainly can't drive it. Which,
understandably, makes me hesitant to put any money into it.
So, consider this a desperate plea for help. If anyone has any experience
with the Ohio Registrar, BMV, a source that can turn a VIN into an owner's
name, or any other help, Please, let me know. I'm at wits end.
I located a guy with about ten "Bodyless" mgb's of varying years. As in,
clear title and VIN plates went into his file cabinet, rusting MGB hulk went
to the great crusher in the sky. I've considered this, and I don't have any
moral qualms about it, though I realize it's basically illegal. I personally
don't see it as any different than buying a Heritage Shell for those VIN's.
He has a 72 and a 74 chrome bumber title. Assuming I chose to use this grey
market avenue (OK, dark grey), what should I be aware of? What's
structurally different between 72, 73 and 74 chrome? He has a 67 as well,
but that's obviously different in both, I believe, trans tunnel and
Of course, if I'm going to pay a few hundred for an orphan title, I'd rather
pay a few hundred and find a way to get mine.
So, please, help me save an otherwise decent 73B roadster (Which, if I can
pull this off, I've decided to name Lucky. I've even got a pair of 1973 Ohio
license plates reading 'W 777 G', now if only I could find a sheet metal
shop that could cut out that W and flip it upside down... :)
73 Orphan MGB Roadster
P.S. - For those of you who are fans of irony, the same sister in law
responsible for this debacle now works as a 911 operator. On her desk is a
police computer which, were she to type in my VIN, would give me the last
owner's name, address, phone, etc. Will she help me? No. That wouldn't be
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