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Hey folks, like the title says, how much of the body do I need to use to keep my California title. I’m building a ‘75 cj5. Just want the bare minimum to have a title legally.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Frame section with vin
I read that but don’t understand how it can be. When I was issued a salvage title to my TJ they had to verify vins. They checked the dash vin and the door sticker. Never looked at the frame. So figured it went with the body. Your telling me I can throw in a 1 foot section of frame in my pickup and now it’s a belair? Do you know the law any more specifically?
 

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There’s a grey area. Depends on where you live. My neighbor has a Tj on top of a custom frame and doesn’t get messed with. My jeepster is on a blazer chassis and still registered as a 1950 jeepster. If you can keep some of the original body and or dash it’d be easier to stay off the radar.
 

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Hey folks, like the title says, how much of the body do I need to use to keep my California title. I’m building a ‘75 cj5. Just want the bare minimum to have a title legally.
Yeah, Californians who want to put in a V8 engine will be especially interested to understand this well.
Years ago a good friend had a 1979 Calif Jeep CJ that he registered as an AMC Ambassador after dropping in a V8. Especially important was the name "Ambassador" badge on the side of the vehicle. Back then both were manufactured under the AMC brand, which was key. Anyway, the 1974 Ambassador was the engine donor so that is why he registered the Jeep that way, and used the Ambassador VIN - because 1974 is old enough to skip the CA smog requirements. He got away with it for a long time, until the he finally cleared out the backyard & sold the actual Ambassador carcass..... Which was later found abandoned on some street, towed, junked & crushed. That event got that VIN number onto the DMV list of dead cars so he couldn't use it anymore. Had to move his V8 CJ out of CA after that. Oops.
 

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Just drill out the vin tag on the firewall and exchange bodys. Thats what I did to my Chevy truck when I recabed it. Older jeeps like yours only has a little tag on the firewall.
 

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You need the vin that matches the title and its best to keep most of the tub so johnny law doesn't hassle you.

Also keep in mind California frowns on full tube chassis.
 

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As someone that worked at dealerships for 30 years fixing, buying, and selling cars, that was a Federally certified class 7/8 truck mechanic, I can guarantee if you drill out a VIN plate and attach it to another vehicle, as suggested, you have committed a Federal crime worse then rolling or changing a speedometer and they will love to make an example out of you.

In Georgia and NH, all you need is the body, and this follows Title 49 of the FMVSS. In NH you used to be able to make a custom "hot rod" and apply for a VIN, using an old body (they mention Ford model T) or kit, as long as the vehicle passes safety (needs a windshield wiper, horn, lights) requirements. I actually read the law books themselves for NH to learn that. They will measure bumper height (14-20" ?) and all that. You get up to 28" for a 8600# truck.


Section 511(a) of Title 18 makes it a felony knowingly to remove, obliterate, tamper with, or alter an identification number for a road motor vehicle or a road motor vehicle part. Section 511(b) of Title 18 creates exceptions for certain persons who engage in lawful conduct that may result in removal or alteration of an identification number. The legislative history is abundantly clear that subsection (b) is not intended to create a loophole for the operators of "chop shops." See H.R.Rep. No. 1087 on H.R. 6257, 98th Congress, 2d Sess. 23-25 (1984).

In Georgia you basically need just the firewall if you only have part of the body. Yes, I have chopped up Jeeps before and I made one into a rolling musical display that could be split into four parts to fit into an elevator for music shows. What you need in Califonication is up to you to find out in a concrete way by reading the text of the law yourself. Otherwise you might waste a lot of time and money and maybe even commit a felony.

If you plan on a camo rattle paint job or a bright color, I would suggest you prime it a boring normal white, until after you have it registered. Save headers, bumper stickers, off road lights and everything else that might scream "dangerous" or "republican" until you have what you want.
 

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Just drill out the vin tag on the firewall and exchange bodys. Thats what I did to my Chevy truck when I recabed it. Older jeeps like yours only has a little tag on the firewall.
You have just admitted to comitting a felony crime! I think I would delete this post if I were you!
 

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pretty sure we all have done this a time or two.. come get me.
Uh no I have NEVER drilled out a vin plate and put it on another automobile body! What state are you in so I can report you to the state police with screen shots of this post.
 
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