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Thread: Vin looks odd

  1. #1

    Default Vin looks odd

    I am looking at at bike, title says 1939 Indian 4, frame says 438....case number is "DC1480 M" seems odd

    Looking at Jerrygreersenginering.com I would expect 3 letters then a number.....

    Title says "DC1481"

    Bike looks good but I think I am in for trouble with the DMV

    Any thoughts would be appreciated


    Robert Foster
    AMCA 34562
    Omaha, NE 68130
    402-321-9951
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  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jun 2001
    Location
    Near the center of Kalifornia
    Posts
    335

    Default

    The frame should say 4391480 so it appears you have a 1938 frame, or the motor was swapped out. Where the heck did the title of DC1481 come from? That's a '39 on the title but one number off..
    Not sure how Nebraska works but if I brought this to Ca it would never come close to being registered. They might even seize the bike. I just registered a bike from Nevada here in Ca and the CHP didn't like the look of one of the numbers, said the 6 looked odd on motor case. He finally gave me the go on it. Was a '65 Harley.
    #7558 Take me on and you take on the whole trailer park!

  3. #3

    Default

    DCI480 would be correct for 1939 380 th bike bilt that year. It is possible that it is a badly fomed letter I. if your worried about motor number, does frame number seem ok, if frame number is shaky, then I would realy be concerned. I have seen some odd looking stampings that proved out ok. If you pass on bike will you forward the lead thanks Bob.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jan 2008
    Posts
    178

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    I would say that a mistake was made on the title. The first "one" should be an I, indicating that it is a 1939 engine (DCI)

  5. #5

    Default

    Yes, the consensus is the 1 is actually and I, this gets us closer. Monday I will contact the DMV see what history they have.

    Thanks for the help.
    I will keep you all posted.

    Robert Foster

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jan 2008
    Location
    S.E.N.Y. State American side of Hudson River
    Posts
    487

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    My 440 is as legit as they come. My stampings look as suspect as they come. LOLOL. They weren't exactly as concerned as we are today when they taught Louie the left handed lump how to stamp motors.
    D. A. Bagin #3166 AKA Panheadzz 440 48chief W/sidecar 57fl 57flh 58fl 66m-50 68flh 70xlh

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Apr 2003
    Posts
    654

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    When I went to the DMV to register my 39 Chief, I was told they would change the I to a one because they do no recognize the I in any VIN. After a long argument with the grumpy clerk my wife grabbed me and the paperwork and drug me out the door as the State Patrolman approached with his hand on his pistol. Apparently DMV computers cannot differentiate a 1 from an I. Bull hockey!
    Kyle Oanes AMCA # 3046

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Mar 2008
    Location
    New Jersey
    Posts
    81

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    Kyle,
    You must live in New Jersey. I have never had an easy time titling an old motorcycle here. One of my favorites was when I titled my 1972 BMW R75/5. The title must have the mileage as SHOWN on the odometer. I wrote what it said, 22,865 miles. I took it to MVC and the agent told me that it must have 122,865 due to its age. I replied that the odometer reading was exactly what I wrote, as SHOWN on the odometer. Her reply was "Well I am changing it to 122,865 miles." Not wanting to arouse the local constable by arguing with her, I replied "OK". I got my title with no further problem. When I did a top end it was bored 10 over so it probably did have 122,865 miles but what on earth gives these people the right to change the mileage at their discretion?

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Sep 2005
    Location
    Sarasota, Florida
    Posts
    4,182

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Lyle Manheimer View Post
    Kyle,
    You must live in New Jersey. I have never had an easy time titling an old motorcycle here. One of my favorites was when I titled my 1972 BMW R75/5. The title must have the mileage as SHOWN on the odometer. I wrote what it said, 22,865 miles. I took it to MVC and the agent told me that it must have 122,865 due to its age. I replied that the odometer reading was exactly what I wrote, as SHOWN on the odometer. Her reply was "Well I am changing it to 122,865 miles." Not wanting to arouse the local constable by arguing with her, I replied "OK". I got my title with no further problem. When I did a top end it was bored 10 over so it probably did have 122,865 miles but what on earth gives these people the right to change the mileage at their discretion?
    Now that is a funny story. . . I'm getting ready to title an old bike I have, so we'll see if I'm still laughing in a few months.
    Eric Smith
    AMCA #886

  10. #10

    Default

    Hi Robert, That number may have been re-stamped some time in its life. It typically would be in format DCI-481 for a 1939 machine. Indian put a dash in the serial numbers in 1939 and 1951, at least on the V-twins. Indian 4 maybe there is some known variance? The "M" is for magneto ignition, and typically would be on the case and not on the number pad. As mentioned in the thread, there are inconsistencies, but this M for mag, and B for battery has been observed to be very consistent on the case. You might argue it, but hard to do when the rest of the number sequence has issues. Does it have magneto ignition? The font looks right, but so many issues. Maybe yours is like D.A.'s above. Indian messed up the "I" with a "1", they messed up the "dash" with no dash, they put the "M" on the pad. It is said Indian's consistency was their inconsistency. It looks old to me, like it has been that way a long time. The title is usually reflective of the frame number, so probably should have been titled as a 1938. If you are looking to buy the bike, all this may or may not matter. If you can transfer the title, it will just be goofy. If you want to judge in AMCA, it has to at a minimum have same frame year and engine year. Not matching numbers, but of the same year sequence. It also must not be altered or re-stamped. The judges might get stuck on the re-stamp question because of what I have mentioned above. Hope this helps you with your decision. I added 3 of my '39 numbers, a close up of the "M", and Jerry Greers shot showing "B" not on the raised boss, but on case. Hope this will assist you.
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    Last edited by Bill Huth; 09-26-2019 at 12:10 AM.

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