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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
Flashman
Technician

Finally a bureaucracy corrects an oversight. Truly a noteworthy event.
ConfuciusRacing
Detailer

Yet another law, 'protecting us from our selves..." Sheesh. Thank goodness intelligence prevailed over the letter of the law.
bblhed
Instructor

Sounds like someone left out the phrase "with intent to defraud or conceal".
Gary_Bechtold
Specialist

Good to see for once something passed that benefited the people.
RedRyder_SFZ
Detailer

I live in Kansas and have had to do this many times.
The only time you need to get a KHP VIN inspection is when you purchase a vehicle with an out of state title or the title is missing. This guys mistake was getting this car restored before having the VIN inspected and titled. I get my dilapidated vehicles inspected and the KS title before restoration for that very reason. During resto the VIN can be removed for painting purposes and reapplied afterwards…although for extra caution, I typically tell my resto guy in Iola, KS to leave it and paint around it. Doing your homework before buying a car out of state is important.

And Kyle, our governor’s name is “Laura” Kelly…weren’t you a Bulldog?…or am I wrong?
RedRyder_SFZ
Detailer

Don’t tell me you live here and don’t know your own governor’s name….
ASmelko
Pit Crew

I agree with the getting a title in my name before putting a bunch of money into a car.
hyperv6
Racer

If I recall this is only the start.

I thought I read the car was damaged much in impound and I would expect more legal fighting over damages.
PaulinMN
New Driver

I read about this a few months ago and what a headache it's been for the guy.
He bought his dream car restored and brought it to Kansas in good faith, then ran into the VIN tag issue. The KHP was just "thats the law" and wouldn't even talk to the restorer. The car has been sitting outside uncovered almost the entire time, and he has spent a fortune in legal expenses. Hopefully he has some recourse in getting compensation for what the state put him through.
Tinkerah
Engineer

I don't care about what permissions I've gotten. I would never allow a VIN plate to be removed for any reason. Are you trying to make your restoration appear like it's all original? It's just asking for trouble. Go ahead, paint around it, to hell with the appraisers, it looks MORE legitimate that way.
Buzz
Detailer

There are exceptions. Muscle era Mopars have the vin stamped on the trunk gutter rail, the top rail of the core support, and/or the cowl. It’s also on the fender tag. The dash frame that the vin plate is riveted too is completely removable. In other words, you could leave the vin intact and just swap the dash to another car, so the legal point of removing the vin is moot. Restoration of the dash including removal of the vin plate happens with most high end restos. The rosette style rivets are available and if the plate itself remains unrestored (which is the correct way to do it, no cop on earth could tell it’s been removed, nor does its removal discredit the car’s originality. My car is nicely restored (not concourse) and I chose not to remove my vin, but to paint around it.
Tinkerah
Engineer

I was unaware of the Mopar issue you describe which is an interesting situation indeed. Years ago I was threatened/I mean warned that being caught with unused rosette rivets was worth a $10K fine but you're right, now I see they are easily obtainable online. Even so I stand behind my (and your) preference to leave well enough alone.

Orict0015668
Intermediate Driver

I purchased an original 1969 Chevrolet Camaro SS many years ago. It came with all the original paperwork, dealer invoice, protect-a-plate, and previous registration certificates and title. Being that the car was from Southern New England, right on the I-95 corridor, the vehicle had its typical rust issues. Upon disassembly, it was discovered that in addition to the usual rust around the upper windshield area, the dash frame was rusted and partially separated from the cowl area. I was fortunate to locate an NOS dash frame assembly which necessitated the removal of the vin plate. The whole assembly was reinstalled along with the vin plate using factory correct rivets. Upon registration the car was subjected to the usual inspections, including identification inspection of the vin and cowl tags. Presence of the original paperwork and title helped the process along without any unreasonable inquiries.

Today, if the vehicle being registered is an instate purchase, there is NO inspections. Only out of State inspections are required, and initial VIN check verifications can be performed by a licensed repair facility. Probably a good thin considering the talent pool the DMV draws from.
Tinkerah
Engineer

My '69 Camaro has the same issue but here in Massachusetts our VIN's get photographed every year. I don't know that anyone actually looks at the images but I'm sure they're saved somewhere. I'd consider any sudden change in appearance a source of uncomfortable questions.

dbucknh
Pit Crew

Sometimes, removal and replacement of the VIN plate is necessary in order to do a proper restoration. I owned a 1970 Corvette Convertible that had a rotted windshield frame. The VIN plate was removed from the original frame and the replacement welded in. The VIN plate was then riveted correctly onto the replacement frame. This was in the late '80's and I never gave legality a single thought, and I never had a problem.
avideo
Detailer

I agree 100%. I would never allow anyone to remove a VIN plate from any of my cars. The painters can easily tape over and mask that area from overspray and direct painting. In addition, since the rivets that usually hold such plates are somewhat aged - they indicate to a buyer that the vin and car are both original.
Snowman53
Pit Crew

Glad to see the process work, but wow! Too bad Mr. Martinez had to endure that frustration and anxiety. Similar events with my collector car are unthinkable. Nice outcome, and nice car!
1970Custlass
New Driver

What this article did not say is the guy is probably going to have to pay for 5 or 6 years of impound fees at around $30 to $100 per day. So, on the low side, $30 x 365 days x 5 years = $54,750
Congratulations!
markvii1
Detailer

If the police cleared him of wrongdoing I would imagine he could argue for improper impounding and not be responsible for any storage fees. I’m sure he would have gladly picked up the car at any point in time if he was given the option so the fault is 100% on the authority that impounded it and then decided to keep it impounded even after he was cleared of any suspicion. I’m a Georgia native so very unfamiliar with Kansas law but I don’t see how any government or business could justify charging the owner anything here. If anything they are open to potential legal damages for holding his car for so long almost like wrongful imprisonment. My 1971 cutlass was painted in the early 2000s by the previous owner and he painted OVER the vin tag on the bulkhead. Almost can’t read it. Georgia still let me register it and the police officer verified it even though he couldn’t read it either. Some things are definitely easier down here.
BMD4800
Gearhead

I never had to get any of my old stuff inspected in GA. Thankfully, I wasn’t too keen on Jackson County.
TG
Technician

The way the collector market is going, his car probably appreciated by about the same amount
Doug42
Intermediate Driver

I recall reading this Corvette was stored outside for years in the impound lot. Can’t be in great shape. My restoration shop insisted my auto be registered and insured while in shop.
uweschmidt
Instructor

Ir emember sometimes in the sixtys or early seventys a simular stupidity got a beautifil 55 or 6 T bird sent to its doom It had been stolen in the USA and somehow Licensed here in Canada When Discovered it was seized and destroyed because of the Auto Pact that did not allow used Cars impor ted from I country to the Other( I was called at the time to certify the correct Numbers on the Vehicle to prove its origins ) specially Trajic as is was not impoted per se but stolen Some of these Idiots that make those kind of Rules make Me sick
OldFordMan
Advanced Driver

Another example of lawmakers (prev) not knowing what they were talking about as far as restoring/repainting an old vehicle.
BUT, I would paint around it!
rjf54ford
New Driver

I purchased a 1954 Ford in Canada and the V/N plate was held on by 2 slotted screws. The V/N matched the title.
acooper529
Advanced Driver

They are probably too busy now pushing the fraud which is global warming to waste any more time on this existing problem.
coop
Intermediate Driver

You did note this was Kansas, right?
Morristraveller
New Driver

Many British cars have the VIN tag attached to the car with 2 sheet metal screws. What do they do in that case?
PRScott
Instructor

Put it back on when the work is done
cobrafia
Intermediate Driver

Save the screws and reuse them.
KwikDraw
Intermediate Driver

"Fix" one problem, create another. I see this sort of bureaucratic misstep in the building codes all the time. The sad thing is that nobody ever seems to be able to apply some common sense to these situations.
denali94
Intermediate Driver

Since you started the off topic reference I must ask whether you saw these bureaucratic missteps at the state/local level during the adoption process or with the model codes developed by ICBO, BOCA, SBI, ICC, or NFPA. If in the model codes, could you please cite an example?
KwikDraw
Intermediate Driver

Not to long ago, I worked on the design for a craft distillery.  The NC Building Code and NC Fire Code.  Which are amended versions of the 2015 IBC codes.  In the FC it allows for the storage of spirits in wooden barrels with out classifying them as a hazardous (flammable) liquid.  But, the BC did not allow that same exception.  And when classified as a flammable liquid storage, it became a Hazardous occupancy classification H-3.  So even though the exception was in the FC, if it is not also written the same way in the BC it really isn't an exception after all.  There have been others, but that is what comes to mind right now.  

Jr1
Intermediate Driver

I read somewhere that the rivets which hold the VIN plate to the dash, are special rivets which are not available to the general public. So that would make it impossible for Mr. Martinez to re-attach it.
Kyle
Moderator

Rosette rivets were once scarce and not available to the general population, but that has since changed. Likely the use of incorrect rivets was what started this particular situation.
xrotaryguy
Pit Crew

Five years to deal with something that was obviously nonsense? That's absurd! A judge should have had the discression to do something LONG before now! For all we know, the car has been sitting in the sun, rain, and snow for 5 years, rendering the restoration trash.
PRScott
Instructor

The serial number plate is "the car". Everything else is just just parts that are all replaceable!
EventHorizons
Intermediate Driver

With aircraft this is particularly true.
You can buy an airplane that is totally and completely destroyed, nothing but some paperwork. Order a new replacement "Aircraft Data Plate" from the manufacturer, build an entirely new airplane around that data plate and voila! You have restored the airplane!
Nothing illegal, immoral or sketchy about it. Though it's usually cheaper to just buy another plane!
Orict0015668
Intermediate Driver

Interesting article. While I can understand the removal of a vin plate due to certain issues, replacing the plate using correct rivets is a must. Which leads me to this story. While at Fall Carlisle several years ago, I came across a 1970 Chevrolet model, rare in the fact that just north of 3800 of this model type were produced. It appeared to be an impressive restoration, all original, numbers matching, but closer inspection revealed the vin plate was secured by two Phillips head type screws. The following January the same vehicle came up for auction at Mecum Kissimmee, was stated to be an AACA award winner and the hammer price was north of six figures if memory serves me correctly. It must have been an internet buyer! Oh BTW the car was featured by Hemmings in April 2021 concerning this certain  model’s rise in popularity in the Muscle Car market.

 

fstntq
Pit Crew

"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."

"At this time it is unclear exactly when the owner and hardtop might be reunited, but there is finally light at the end of the tunnel."

They were gonna crush his "hardtop"?
BMD4800
Gearhead

Rest assured, there was a well connected person going to take that out of state and get a clean title.

You don’t really think there was a GNX crushed in cash for clunkers, do you?

I know of more than a few times an impounded car was sold at auction and it never crossed the block.
SFSGM
Pit Crew

It's not a hardtop.
MustangJim
Technician

Wow, glad that worked out. Richard Martinez can sleep again.
cf
New Driver

of course you all know a 59 vet vin is attached to the front door jamb using 2 phillips pan head screws, right?
CP66
Intermediate Driver

Wait'll they hit him with the 5 year storage bill!
mkp20000
Pit Crew

Now the owner has to hope he doesn’t receive a bill for 5-years of impound fees.
vwwwv
Pit Crew

Probably every monkey in the impound lot took it for a spin until it wouldn't start. That was the beginning of the degradation.
gtokdx1
Detailer

If a vin plate was riveted on with those "special" factory rivets", there should be no reason at all to have to remove it, and reinstall during a restoration (or for anything). There's no need to repaint underneath it. Someone mentioned it is held on using panhead screws, on this model Vette. Maybe a little different in this case. But if it was originally screwed on by the OEM, you'd think that would be easily disputed as being "altered or defaced"!!!
Pezo1962
New Driver

This story has issues, on a1959 Corvette the vin plate has phillip screws not rivets that hold it in place.