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1957 T-Bird Project--Missing VIN/Data Plate

Discussion in '1955 - 1966 Classic Ford Thunderbird' started by IronHorseDriver, Apr 17, 2017.

  1. Hey Folks,

    I recently had a looksee at a 57 project car. The body and frame were separated, frame and undercarriage of body were blasted and repainted. There is still much work to be done to get it running but it has a lot of potential.

    My biggest issue, though, is fact that the VIN/Data Plate is missing. The owner has the title (which I saw), but he thinks the data plate was lost by the person who did the frame and body media blasting/painting several years ago. I'm inclined to believe him because he is an older retiree who had this vehicle for a number of years and evidently lost interest in completing the restoration.

    My questions are, first, can this vehicle be legally purchased and titled if the VIN plate is missing (the motor vehicle department in my state never checks that stuff)? Second, since the VIN is available from the Title, is it possible to obtain the full information (Body, color, trim, date, trans, etc.) from Ford (or an enthusiasts' organization that has records of early Ford vehicles), and obtain a replacement data plate?

    Thanks in advance for your help.
  2. That question depends on the state that you live in. All of the states have different laws on lost titles. Ill , I have gone thru the laws a couple of times. That has been a few years ago, so am not sure of the ILL ways have changed or not. Best is to contact who ever is in charge of titles in your state and go from there. Off coarse not too good of a idea to give too much information while checking things out.
  3. fordrodsteven

    fordrodsteven Well-Known Member Gold Donor

    You can also verify the VIN number with the frame (if it's the original frame) to aid in identification. Look on the passenger side down to the frame in the engine compartment. It should be visible. I think I had to move the rubber shield a little bit to find mine. I'm referring to the rubber shield at the upper control arm shaft.
    I agree with Clydeman. Talk with someone official first beforehand.
    If you are certain of the VIN number. Once you can prove ownership of the vehicle you can get an original invoice from CTCI. You could then make a new tag with the correct information.
  4. fordrodsteven

    fordrodsteven Well-Known Member Gold Donor

    if you need to make a new data plate you can buy the plate and the proper rivets.
    Hill's - Plate #DP557 (for early 57) or DP 57L (for late 57) and rivet kit #K800
    NPD - Plate TD-25 (early 57) or TD-26 (late 57)
    Concour sParts - plate 14A 9early57) or 14B (late 57) and rivets #15
    tbird likes this.
  5. Good news! I went back to look at the car and found the serial number stamped on the frame, which matches the number on the title. I gave an offer, and after a little bit of negotiating, we came to an agreement on price. This past Saturday, we did business, the tow truck came, and I brought my new "toy" to its new home despite gale-force winds and rain of Noahic (Genesis 7) proportions!

    Now the fun begins....

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