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Location of VIN tag, 1964 Sprite HAN8L43421 (I know it's stamped on the frame. Looking for the tag.)

BJ8Healeys

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Are there any models of Sprite that never had an actual VIN plate attached somewhere? I know about the stamp on the frame, but the car in question is supposedly a 1964 model and I can't locate a VIN plate. If it is supposed to be there, where should I look? VIN is HAN8L43421. I'm responding to an inquiry from the DMV, am a Big Healey member of BCF and not of the Spridgets. Responses are best sent directly to me: sbyers@ec.rr.com

Thanks!
 
You’ll likely find it as a riveted plate with the number stamped on it. On my ‘65 Midget in the UK and on a ‘59 Sprite, the plate was body fitted on a horizontal plane on the Left side of the engine bay underneath the carburettors.

Jonmac
 
Just a thought - if the car was ever re-painted, the tag may have been removed - and not replaced. Sad to say, but often true. Empty rivet holes might be the proof.
Tom M.
 
You’ll likely find it as a riveted plate with the number stamped on it. On my ‘65 Midget in the UK and on a ‘59 Sprite, the plate was body fitted on a horizontal plane on the Left side of the engine bay underneath the carburettors.

Jonmac
Thanks for the response. I do not have access to the car in question. I have a personal relationship with a local DMV inspector who asked me (via email) whether a 1964 model Sprite had a VIN plate, and if so where it was. The owner apparently doesn't know, and if the NC DMV can't find the plate they will require posting of a bond and will assign a North Carolina "NCS" VIN to the car. If there is a VIN plate there someplace, I'm trying to help the owner avoid the NCS replacement VIN. What I really need is a photo of a plate (preferably with HAN8L VIN) showing enough of the surroundings to locate it. I have done research and found a number of Sprites on-line with HAN6 or HAN7 VIN plates, but the photos are too close-up to determine where they are.
 
The other way to hopefully establish the VIN if it can’t be found on the car, is to contact the Archive at the British Motor Museum at Gaydon here in the UK. This is the place that issues Heritage Certificates using the original production records. I worked there myself for some years and they possibly could find the VIN using the cars engine number. I know it’s been done before many times. The only problem is presumably no one knows if the engine in the car now is the original when the car was new. Assuming that it is, Gaydon could tell you the original VIN and the owner could then get a replica Vin plate made. Sorry, but don’t have any other suggestions.

JONMAC
 
The other way to hopefully establish the VIN if it can’t be found on the car, is to contact the Archive at the British Motor Museum at Gaydon here in the UK. This is the place that issues Heritage Certificates using the original production records. I worked there myself for some years and they possibly could find the VIN using the cars engine number. I know it’s been done before many times. The only problem is presumably no one knows if the engine in the car now is the original when the car was new. Assuming that it is, Gaydon could tell you the original VIN and the owner could then get a replica Vin plate made. Sorry, but don’t have any other suggestions.

JONMAC
JONMAC, thanks for the suggestion. I am very familiar with BMIHT, having spent a day there once, researching Healey 3000 Mk IIIs (BJ8). I've also collected BMIHT certificates currently for 1,280 BJ8s in my role as keeper of the BJ8 Register. However, in this case a certificate won't help. In North Carolina, if a car comes into the state from outside it, it must be inspected by the registration authorities to verify its identity. That means inspecting the factory VIN plate. There may be one on the car in question, but I'm trying to determine where it is located. The owner quoted the VIN as HAN8L43421, which appears to be a valid number, but the original VIN plate has to be seen. If it is missing, it will be assigned the "NCS" number. For classic and collector vehicles, that could significantly lower the value of the car.
 
Yikes - the DMV won't accept the number stamped on the frame? Should also be on the previous motor vehicle registration (license plate) paperwork.
 
Yikes - the DMV won't accept the number stamped on the frame? Should also be on the previous motor vehicle registration (license plate) paperwork.
The applicable North Carolina state statute says that "For an out-of-state vehicle that is 1980 model year or older, this inspection shall consist of verifying the public vehicle identification number to ensure that it matches the vehicle and ownership documents." Inspectors have interpreted "public vehicle identification number" to mean the VIN plate, and if that is missing they do not have to try to find another place where the VIN might be. Obviously, for any given old car the alternate location of the VIN could be anywhere and time-consuming to find. Some inspectors I have dealt with are willing to recognize the VIN other than on a factory-issued VIN plate if they are shown where it is, and it is permanently marked. Others simply interpret the statute to mean "if the VIN plate is missing, or if it is obviously not factory original" that's enough to assign a DMV VIN. I have worked with the various state DMVs (and foreign registration authorities) on seven or eight occasions for Austin-Healeys with missing or reproduction VIN plates to have the original VIN officially recognized. Some are easy, others are very difficult.
 
The applicable North Carolina state statute says that "For an out-of-state vehicle that is 1980 model year or older, this inspection shall consist of verifying the public vehicle identification number to ensure that it matches the vehicle and ownership documents." Inspectors have interpreted "public vehicle identification number" to mean the VIN plate, and if that is missing they do not have to try to find another place where the VIN might be. Obviously, for any given old car the alternate location of the VIN could be anywhere and time-consuming to find. Some inspectors I have dealt with are willing to recognize the VIN other than on a factory-issued VIN plate if they are shown where it is, and it is permanently marked. Others simply interpret the statute to mean "if the VIN plate is missing, or if it is obviously not factory original" that's enough to assign a DMV VIN. I have worked with the various state DMVs (and foreign registration authorities) on seven or eight occasions for Austin-Healeys with missing or reproduction VIN plates to have the original VIN officially recognized. Some are easy, others are very difficult.
Yikes - the DMV won't accept the number stamped on the frame? Should also be on the previous motor vehicle registration (license plate) paperwork.

Tom, I very much enjoyed reading your blog of your cross-country Mercedes trip. Well written! I can relate a bit, because I have been fortunate to drive my Austin-Healey 3000 ("TARHEELY") on two round trips from North Carolina to California. Although I didn't document my adventures in a blog, I did do a narrative of each trip, illustrated with photos. The first cross-country inspired me to do similar narratives of all of my longer trips since then. Old cars can be pretty reliable with some good preparation and maintenance.
It's good to see that you are still with us. I hope things are good for you health-wise.
Best regards!
 
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