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Hagerty
Hagerty Employee

New Kansas law passes, saves restored 1959 Corvette from the crusher

The thought of crushing a freshly restored 1959 Corvette is heartbreaking. Then, add in that the reason for doing so centers on the condition of two very specific rivets. Luckily for Richard Martinez, Kansas lawmakers have finally come through and passed a law that frees his beloved hardtop from the clutches of the impound lot.
https://www.hagerty.com/media/news/new-kansas-law-passes-saves-restored-1959-corvette-from-the-crush...
60 REPLIES 60
knuck39
Intermediate Driver

what a bunch of BS.....I had no idea how removing the rivets and replacing them with the vin tag after a re-paint was a crime...really out there.....
RW68RSConv
Detailer

I live in Kansas and having bought and sold 35+ classics I have seen everything with KS DMV and inspection process. One of the dumbest arguments involved attempting to impound my 1955 Chevrolet 3600 Series II pickup because of suspected VIN tampering. Problem #1, the highway patrolman I got (Hwy Patrol does all inspections in KS) had a bad attitude to begin with and was about 20 years younger than the truck itself. At the time, the truck had 36K original miles and totally unrestored and in very good condition. His first "issue" was the motor stamping didn't match the VIN, therefore it wasn't original. When I explained that didn't start until 1960 with GM and even later with trucks, that lead to Problem #2 - I pointed out he was wrong. Even better, he refused to look at my phone when I googled it. He then went down the path the VIN had been replaced because the VIN plate didn't fit the recess in the door pillar and was spot welded (correct for '55) not rosette rivets, therefore they are impounding the truck. Again I explained the 55 Series 1 cab and Series 2 cab were the same cab and the recess for the VIN was the early tag size, they changed VIN tags sizes in late '55... also, spot weld was correct for that year truck. Problem #3 - I pointed out he was wrong again. As they say, three strikes and you're out. I clearly was trying to sneak in a stolen vehicle, should be arrested, jailed, truck crushed, my children given to more fitting homes, and house burned to the ground. What ensued next was a 30 minute argument, threats of impounding, threats of arrest, and "Post Commander" getting involved. Because of the types of cars I frequently registered, I got to know another Highway Patrolman, Paul, who did VIN inspections, about 10 years my senior, and actually knew his stuff. He was working a different location and I negotiated having Paul review "the case". I am not exaggerating what happened next - Officer Paul looks at the pillar, opens the hood, points out matching VIN stamped in the frame, and 3 minutes later problem solved. That was 8 years ago and since then, I call ahead to find out when and where Officer Paul is working. Absolutely nightmare from a power hungry, "never question authority" patrolman. Sometimes it really is about who you know.
BillE
Pit Crew

1959 Corvette's had the VIN plate attached at the St Louis assembly plant to the Body on the driver side door pillar between the upper and lower hinge with two Phillips head screws. It's a simple task to remove the screws and VIN plate and reinstall.
RodneyRacer
Intermediate Driver

I do vehicle verification and appraisals in California. I have seen many Corvettes with this plate either spot welded or riveted. Because they are on the steering column jacket, they may come loose or who knows what may have happened during decades of ownership! A recent appraisal of an original owner 62 Corvette I saw that the plate had been spot welded to the column and one of the welds had come loose. Since the owner had all the original purchase records, there was no doubt the car was authentic. I advised the owner to have the broken spot weld redone. When I first read about this Kansas car issue, I could not understand why now one bothered to attempt looking at the number stamped on the frame. Yes, very difficult to find it, but it can be done. All this tells me is that non "car guys" have no business verifying a vehicle.
Motorpshcho
New Driver

This very thing happened to me in Ohio. My first restoration complete I took it to the Highway Patrol station to verify the vin. They spotted the replaced rivets right away. Also the vin number didn't match the California title vin. In 1966 California modified vin numbers to match their own system. I was allowed to keep the car, a 1966 Sunbeam Tiger, but could not get it titled. Several calls to California got no results. I ended up suing the Ohio Highway Patrol and the Ohio BMV. With the help of my state representative I was able to title the car with the vin number attached to the car.
The moral of the story, cross check the vin numbers on the car and title before you buy it and get the title transferred before restoration. Also have someone verify that the vin tag and rivets are original. Lesson learned. RedRyder is exactly right.
DougL
Detailer

Back when I was more ignorant, I removed the VIN tag from the Sunbeam Tiger I was restoring. It was not until afterward I heard about what a mistake this was. I eventually sold the ccar and never heard any complaint. I certainly would not do it again. An interesting side note, the VIN on an early Miata is attached to an easily removed, and often damaged, plastic dash panel. If you replace the damaged dash panel, you have to swap the VIN to the new panel.
autorelic
Intermediate Driver

20190703_145801.jpgWhat a nightmare that poor guy had!
I've built a few classics from scratch, starting with very little and it's a long and tiresome process to get them registered. You have to keep immaculate records of all purchases and have them available for the state inspector(s). My current pleasure driver is a '79 F-150 shorty 4X4 that was assembled over 16 years out of wrecking yards and parts houses. I started with a frame (from a rollover) and it has the VIN stamped in various places. Had that inspected and verified first. I was also able to salvage the bottom half of the driver's door with the tag affixed (there is no VIN tag by the windshield on these trucks) and the cab tag under the hood which is held on to the firewall by a single phillips screw from the factory. I went through 3 or 4 different inspectors in that time, but was finally able to get a clean unbranded classic title, no small feat where I live. The "key" was documentation, documentation, and more documentation. Yes, it would have been easier to just buy a clean example and restore it, but where's the fun in that? And this pickup is definitely one of a kind, built just exactly the way I want it, and really fun to drive.

MARK400
Detailer

For once common sense thinking prevailed.
Transformerman
New Driver

Yes I agree the Governor of Kansas is Laura Kelly!
menelson1961
Pit Crew

All I can say is the KHP needs to find somebody who knows about classic 'Vettes before putting any one else through this hell. The VIN tag on 1953-1959 Corvettes was attached to the door jam with Phillips head screws, not rivets. In 1960-1962 the VIN tag was spot-welded onto the steering column. Ignorance yields a very dull sword but it can still cut you very deep.
DirtyD
New Driver

The jackbooted Nazi that sent the car to the crusher line should suffer the fate that this car was saved from. Confiscation and forfeiture laws need to be removed from the law books. I wonder if they will accrue impound fees and screw him out of the car anyway, as impound and fines are just revenue grabbing schemes made by the state to steal peoples hard earned money .