Gregory Bender

Titles - titling an untitled loop

Moto Guzzi V700, V7 Special, Ambassador, 850 GT, 850 GT California, Eldorado, and 850 California Police models



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It can sometimes be difficult to obtain or transfer a title for our old machines. Many times, the presence of the Manufacturing Date on the VIN tag is different than the date the vehicle was originally titled. Ninety-nine percent of the time, there is absolutely nothing awry with either the vehicle or the title. But, just try explaining that your Ambassador was manufactured in October of 1971 and not titled by the dealer until 1972 to the narrow-minded buffoons down at the DMV who've never even heard of a Moto Guzzi. Suffice to say there are many legitimate reasons for using the following techniques to acquire a title for a loop frame.

Saints Engine & Machine

Thanks to Charlie Mullendore of Antietam Classic Cycle for sending me this information. In Charlie's own words:

Used these nice folks to obtain a title for my 1974 850 T which had none. Took approximately 6 weeks to receive a Tennessee title ready to transfer into my name.

International Title Service

The following is my experience with International Title Service when I used them to obtain a title for my Ambassador.

I had great difficulty in acquiring a Florida title for my Ambassador back in February of 2005. Since the year stamped on the VIN tag did not match the year on the title (manufactured in 1971, originally titled in 1972), the state of Florida refused to title the Ambassador until I corrected the error.

So, trying to be a good little boy, I sent the title back to the state of Minnesota to have them correct the mistake. But, they won't make the correction because they didn't originally title the vehicle. I need to talk with the previous state in which it was titled, Kansas.

Still trying to obey the law, I call Topeka and they refuse to correct the title unless they can physically inspect the motorcycle. Even then, they can't guarantee that they'll be able to correct the title because they may not be the original state that titled the vehicle (and they won't do the research on that issue until after they inspect the motorcycle and start their process).

Finally, I took Skip Kologiski's advice and send off for a bill of sale from International Title Service (ITS). A couple weeks and USD $75.00 later I've got my bill of sale from the great state of Alabama!!

This time when I walk into the Florida DMV office, they inspect, tag, and register the Ambassador and send off for a problem.

I'm now in possession of two titles for a single vehicle. I'm pretty sure that's a hanging offense in some countries, but I'm taking my chances and living on the lamb.

Good grief...this country is turning me into a liar and a cheat just trying to obey the law.

State of Vermont Titles

I extracted this information from Bill Dudley on the old Yahoo! Loopframe_Guzzi news group (which has now moved to In Bill's own words:

Here's how to get titles for old bikes with no time wasting middle man:

  1. Go to Vermont DMV web site.
  2. Download form and print it out.
  3. Fill out the form (just one side, call Montpelier if you need help)
  4. Have local authorities (in NJ, it's the police) fill out a VIN verification form attesting that the VIN is what you say it is.
  5. Write a check for title + sales tax. For our old Guzzi's, they will trust you to tell them the truth on how much you paid. For newer vehicles (1985+ ?) they use the Kelly Blue Book value so you can't get away with claiming you bought a 1990 Ducati for USD $200.00. KBB doesn't go back very far past 1990, so we're safe. Vermont sales tax is 6%.
  6. Mail the completed forms and check to Vermont DMV.

In two weeks or so, you will receive a Vermont Registration and a green License plate in the mail. NO MATTER WHERE YOU LIVE! Basically, they are in it for the money, which is fine with me. Vermont does not title vehicles older than 15 years -- so our old bikes just get a reggie. Then, take your Vermont Reggie to your local DMV and tell them that you just brought the bike from VT and you want to title it in your state. In NJ, you now have a TITLE. (And NJ can be a real pain in the ass about this stuff.) I had to pay the sales tax difference, since NJ is 7%, I had to pay 1% sales tax plus the title charge to get my NJ titles.

I've just done this in NJ for a 79 Yamaha and an 84 Guzzi V65, and it has worked fine. (It helps if you get a DMV clerk who is not a jerk, however.)

If you have questions about the procedure, or how to fill out the form, just call the helpful DMV personnel in Montpelier and they will help you out. (802) 828-2000

This whole process will cost you WAY LESS than its-titles will charge you. Trust me.

This post is my revenge on its-titles for wasting my time and not being the least repentant about it when I called them up to complain. They couldn't give a rat's ass that they had wasted hours of my time filling out obsolete forms and waiting for them to just mail them back to me. Well, screw them!

Mark Johnson sent me this additional information via email. In Mark's own words and photos:

A big thank you to Bill Dudley and his instructions on getting a title for old bikes! I went through the process above and wanted to share my experience since it was a little different. I purchased a '73 Eldorado from private party living in Georgia, and then had it shipped to me in California. When the bike arrived it had NO title, NO plate and NO registration card.

  1. From the Vermont DMV website, downloaded form VD-119 (Vermont Registration Tax & Title Application). Filled out the form according to instructions. The standard filing fee is USD $48.00. Determining the tax is a little more involved - see #2.
  2. To calculate tax due they need to know the value of the vehicle. Regardless of what you actually paid, they rely on the National Dealers Association (NADA) figures to determine the fair market value of the vehicle ( For my bike, NADA provides 4 value tiers - Excellent (USD $14,235.00), Very Good (USD $7,350.00), Good (USD $3,680.00) and Fair (USD $2,810.00). Since I paid less than the Good market value, I entered USD $2,810.00 in Box 6 for the purchase price. (When the form was returned - see below - there was a handwritten O.K. next to the box stating NADA Value which meant they accepted my figure.) Next, I multiplied the NADA value by 6% to come up with a tax rate of USD $168.60. So I make a check out for USD $216.60 and attached it to the application.
  3. The form states that a VIN verification form is also required for motorcycles that are 500cc's or more and have not been previously registered/titled to the applicant, or have not been previously registered in Vermont. I fill out a VIN verification form, which in California is form REG 31. I use a representative from AutoClub to verify the VIN and include a photo of the engine number that I took. (NOTE: I'm not endorsing this, but there is no way Vermont DMV is going to check that you took your bike to an official verification agency to confirm your VIN - just that the form is filled out.)
  4. The following were mailed to the head office in Montpelier: Vermont registration form VD-119, check for USD $216.60, California VIN verification form REG 31, and photo of the engine number.
  5. Three weeks later a letter arrives from Vermont DMV that includes the documents I previously mailed, and a cover letter stating that they require a separate Bill of Sale that shows change of ownership from the last registered owner to the current owner. Somehow I missed this requirement on form VD-119, and checking again I still don't see it. I obtained a Bill-of-Sale from the previous owner originally, so I just copy it and mail along with my original VD-119 form, REG 31 form, check, and photo.
  6. Three weeks after re-mailing the forms I began to wonder why nothing arrives, so I go to the website in the morning and contact them via their communication form. However, later when the mail arrives that same day I spot a distinctive looking envelope - SUCCESS! Inside the envelope is a brand new green Vermont license plate and a copy of my original VD-119 with some added stamps, approval numbers and expiration date. (By the way, the following day an email arrives from Vermont DMV stating that their processing time is 3-4 weeks.) But why no license sticker or registration card? I contact them through their communication form again since no one seems to answer phone calls there.
  7. A few days later I receive an email. Turns out the sticker and card arrive in a separate envelope - and in my case, three weeks later.

Now everything is legal. I can get insurance, California registration and a local plate. It's a process you have to endure (in my case, 7 weeks) but the end result is terrific!

Vermont license plate and registration.
Vermont license plate and registration.

Photo courtesy of Mark Johnson.