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I just bought a '65 6cyl mustang as a transportation car for $300. It has an excellent 250ci 6cyl engine, re-built tranny, and perfect suspension. I am either going to part it out, or use it as a daily driver while I re-build my 302... The bad news is that it was rear ended on the left side. It is really not all that bad, but the owner before me salvaged it. The salvage paper from the dmv says the only thing I need to do before I can drive it on the street is fix the tail light. My question is this. Can I fix a salvage title? What is needed to do so? I'm hoping that all I have to do is fix what is on the dmv paper and the title be cleared.. Does anyone have any experience on this? I live in California.

Thanks in advance,
Chris
 

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Chris,
I live in Massachusetts. My girl friend has a SUV with a salvage title. What that means is the car was previously totaled by an insurance co. The car was repaired and re-sold. In doing so the DMV issues a salvage title. What this means to you is don't expect to get top dollar when you try and sell the car. Most people won't buy a car with a salvage title because they know the car was totaled at some time in it's life.
 

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In Indiana, after you repair a salvaged car, you must have the police department inspect it before the BMV will retitle it.
If it already has a salvage title, then it has already been inspected.
 

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My first car was a salvage title, once the the title has been marked as salvaged, I am pretty sure it is that way forever. My car had been built from 2 cars, that were chopped and welded together. Main things, not many people would buy salvaged title cars, and thoes who do, wont pay much for them either.
 

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I'm an adjuster for Farmers Ins, we deal with salvaged titles on a regular basis. What it means is that an insurance co declared the vehicle a total loss as a result of a claim.

It also means that as long as it is titled in Cali, it will have a salvaged title. I've read about salvaged tiles being re-registered in another state w/o the salvaged being put on the new title. Don't remember which states were involved though.

In reality, who cares if the title is salvaged? Not me. As stated, it only means it had enough damage in dollars for the insurance co to not want to repair it. If you crash your car into a tree without collision coverage, is it now a total loss? Nope. Most cars can be repaired without future problems.

How will the salvaged title affect the car? Who really knows. If you never sell the car, who cares? If you sell it, will it lower the value? On a newew car probably 25-50%. On an older car not nearly as much. On a classic like yours, maybe somewhere in between.

If I were to repair a salvaged title car, I would keep photos and repair estimate of the damage in case I wanted to sell it later.
 

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I know a wee bit about this.
There are some states like NEW JERSEY that will grant you a clear title. The way this works if you find a dealer in the state that will buy the car (ON PAPER), title it and then sell it back to you with an out of state title. It takes a bit of doing but the car can be re-titled with a clear title.
 

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So you take your POS/half-ass cobbled together Dodge Colt (that was the front half of a wagon welded to the back half of a coupe) from Ca to NJ or wherever, get a clean title, bring it back to Ca, get a clean title and sell the POS at the auction for way more than its worth. Then a car dealer sells it for top dollar to an unsuspecting buyer. My Ma-in-law ended up with a POS just like that. Buyer beware, cuz the sleazeballs are out there.
 

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We would all like to know the damage history of our cars. Don't know how that could be regulated though. In Calif dealers are required to disclose prior damage to the buyer, no law for general public to do so.

I had a claim where our insured crashed a dealer's car while on a test drive. This resulted in $4k damage to a $20k car. The dealer wanted no part in selling this repaired but prior damaged car which they would be required to disclose.

The dealer sold it at a dealer auction and thus was not required to disclose the prior damage. Nice. Another reason to do a complete inspection prior to purchase. Most frame shops will measure the frame/unibody for around $100.

As long as repairs are done correctly, you should have no problems. Problem is knowing how well car was repaired. I've come across too many shops that buy salvaged cars, "repair" them with ******* labor and mucho bondo.

Trust no one, do it yourself.
 
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