Ford Authority

Nebraska Won’t Register Man’s Ford Model A

A Nebraska man called Lane Nelson wants to title and register the Ford Model A that has been in his family for generations. The problem is that the state of Nebraska won’t issue him the certificate of title and therefore he can’t register the car. The Ford Model A in question is a family heirloom and has been in his family since 1930.

The odd set of circumstances surrounding the Ford Model A has to do with the car once being titled by the state as “junk” due to bad advice that the family received from a state licensing clerk. Once the car was hit with a junk title, it is barred from the roads in the state of Nebraska.

Nelson didn’t know this when he and his family put the car back together and restored it. The car has lots of originality and Nelson refuses to take it apart and rebuild it again with parts from another vehicle. The state would issue him a certificate of title as a reassembled vehicle.

The car is important to Nelson and his family because his great-grandfather purchased it from Swanson’s Ford in 1930. The car served duty in the family until Peter Nelson died, and then it sat on the family farm for years. When Lane Nelson’s father, Ron, turned 16, the car was gifted to him and put back together to get it on the road in 1963.

This is where things went wrong for the family as they ran into an issue getting a title for the car and to avoid paperwork, a state licensing clerk who knew the family suggested they get a “junk” title for the car. That title initially allowed his father to get the car road legal, but he got into an accident, and the car was parked again for years.

When they tried to register the car again, they were told that a junk title means the car could only be torn down for parts. He has appealed to anyone who could help, including the governor with no success so far. Check out this custom hot rod Ford Model Ad.

Shane is a car guy with a fondness for Mustangs and off-roading.

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  1. Ben Cole

    It would be a bit of trouble but you could solve this by getting a similar car with a good engine and clean title. Swap the engines since that is the only place there is a VIN on these cars. Nobody is going to take the body off to find the number under the cowl since it is likely rusted away. Then you would be able to register your family car with the clean title and if your state does a VIN check, it checks out. Save the current engine and put back in if you want to and part out the other car. If the car isn’t required to run but there is a VIN check by the SOS, you wouldn’t even need a running engine.

    Another option would be to just find another engine with a vin that is not registered anywhere. In some states you can apply for a title on only a bill of sale from other states such as GA and AL that are non title states on old cars. You would need a bill of sale for a car and not just an engine but that should be easy. Some other states require applying for a bonded title on a vin that isn’t registered anywhere. Buying a bond is cheap and the bonded title should fall off in 2-3 years and change to a clear title.

  2. Barry

    Not true s/n is stamped in frame on driver side top net to engine. Probably covered by the fender.

    1. Ben Cole

      S/n is covered by the cowl so the body has to come off. No SOS officer is going to take the body off to look for the number. I’ve seen a few Model A frames and sometimes the number is legible but often times it’s rusted away.

  3. William Wood

    Not sure if this would work, but I understand you can buy a title from 2 or 3 different states and they will issue you a fresh title from that state. Then start fresh I believe you send the service your vin numbers as n they print up a new title. I read a tidbit a dozen years ago in one of the magazines like rod snd custom or hemmings motor news or??? But you find the folks and they do the rest it is supposed to be legal in those states, and then you just have the vehicle checked yo make sure it is safe and such like??? Just an idea to throw out there. Good luck getting that straightened out…

  4. Ben Cole

    If the VIN or serial number is in a national database as a junk title, that may not work. Even if a clear title could be obtained in another state, it is doubtful that it could be transferred to a clear title in Nebraska. Some states have a special construction division for street rod type vehicles. Not sure if there is anything similar in NE or if it would apply in this situation.


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