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More - Tracing Your Car's History

More - Tracing Your Car's History

From John Elmgreen:   Re US history:  Try "How to Find Cars & Owners" by
Barbara Spear and Mike Brezden, published 1991, 72 pages, soft cover, ISBN
0-9630588-1-9, printed by James & Sons, 2421 Arch Road, Norristown PA 19401
or write to PO Box 7581, Bloomfield CT 06002, USA for a copy (or try your
local library).  Sets out the individual US State records and a whole range
of other tips.
Re New York, the book says records retained only 5 years, write to New York
State Department of Motor Vehicles, Empire State Plaza, Public Request
Unit, Albany NY 12228, ph 518 474 1059.  Generally, you should certainly
try writing to the past owners and a net search of US phone numbers if you
are serious.  Telephoning is however much better than writing.

From John Elmgreen:  There have been registers produced generally since the
1970s of XKs in various parts of the world, but the USA has been poorly
served in terms of numbers of cars recorded (a thousand or two) vs numbers
of cars imported (maybe 25,000?).  I have copies of many of these registers
and am producing a worldwide register.  The main registers have been
produced by:
(1) The Jaguar Drivers Club (UK)
(2) The Classic Jaguar Association (California)
(3) The Jaguar XK in Australia (pub. 1985), for Australia, New Zealand,
I also have registers from Japan and South Africa.
Overall, I estimate that less than 10% of XKs are on these registers, so
the chances of finding a record of a US car are slim on these.  The minor
RHD markets are much better served with records - there are simply fewer
cars to worry about.

Date: Fri, 20 Feb 1998   From: John Elmgreen 
Dear Joost,  You want to trace the present location of a particular XK150. 
This is just what I would love to be able to help you do, but it will be
(1) You should find out what records your government keeps of the
registration , licensing of motor cars, and see if you can make enquiries
there.  In most parts of the world, records from government sources of
1950s owners are impossible to locate.  Privacy laws are one problem, the
other is simply that the records are destroyed.  But try, and let us know. 

(2)   You should contact every Jaguar club in Europe that you can get an
address for, tell them all you know (names, dates etc, colours) and see if
that reveals anything.  Possible, but still a long shot.  
(3)  You should see whether the original Dutch distributor for Jaguar in
the 1950s can be located.  The company was called Lagerwijs I think.  See
if they have retained any records.  I know for example that the French have
all their sales listed, and local enthusiasts there have the details. (4)
Give me all the details you have, first owner, full name and address, car
colour, specifications that you know of.  If I can get access to all
factory records again later, I may be able to do something there, but again
a "long shot".  It depends on whether he sent the details to the factory
for registration of the guarantee - this did not happen in most cases,
therefore the factory does not usually have records of first owners (and
will not usually tell you if they do).  
(5) The aim of all the foregoing is to find the chassis and engine numbers
of the car.  Once that is done, at least you know what you are looking for!
 Any records of to whom the car was sold?  Try the telephone directories if
you can get a name, and be persistent.  Good luck, you'll need it, but send
me all details you have anyway.  Others on this list in Europe will have
other suggestions.  Regards, John Elmgreen

Sun, 22 Feb 1998  From: Bob Cathey Joost:   Just a
thought.  Did your father ever get a ticket in the 150?  Try and get a copy
of his driving record and note any tickets.  It's possible that if you have
a ticket number you can get the vehicle license number which may be
traceable to a registration which may have the vehicle serial number from
which you may be able to obtain the title from.  Good luck Bob xk140, Mark

Date: Fri, 16 Jan 1998  From: Michael Eck When I first
disassembled my XK120 I found a US Air Force identification tag inside the
door.  25 years later, by virtue of the Internet, I was able to track down
the man who had lost it.  He was the second owner, who bought the car in
Texas where he was stationed while in the Air Force, and sold it in
Massachusetts when he moved back home.  (I later bought it in
Massachusetts.)   I used to locate him.  They list a
Peter Toftnielsen in Palo Alto, Ca., and give his phone number.  Good luck,
and I hope your research is as rewarding as mine was.    Mike Eck '51 XK120

16 Jan 1998   Someone recently brought up an interest in tracing the
history of his early XK120 FHC.  I also have been trying to trace back the
previous owners of my car.  However, I have found that it is nearly
impossible to obtain this information beyond about 10 years.  For example,
when I requested copies of titles for previous owners, I got the last two
but no more -- the Commonwealth of Virginia just informed me that they have
destroyed all records of vehicle titles older than 10 years!  (Can this be
true?  I nearly always keep my cars for more than 10 years.)   JDHT
certificate says that the car first came into the US through Hornburg
Jaguar in LA in 1951.  I wrote to them also, but have gotten no response.  
So I ask if any of you know how to obtain this information.  I am really
surprised that records like this are being destroyed.  I suppose it is an
indication that there are so few of us crazy enough to be interested in
tracing the history of a car!  In New England where I live, there are
hundreds of historical societies with people who trace their homes back
through all the owners, and knives, flags, guns, paintings, furniture,
milking stools etc. owned by historical would think there
would be a similar interest in doing so for classic cars.   Carl Hanson  
1951 XK120 FHC
18 Jan 1998  From: (Carl W Orlob) Could the state have
destroyed records that are ten years old? This may be true, at least in
effect. When I put my car back in registration after more than ten years,
the state (Washington) had to go back into a microfiche dead file to
retrieve their records. I am not sure whether they would have done that, if
my interest had been lineage rather than re-registration and I don't know
how far the microfiche would take them. I bought the car in San Diego in
1969, it was a nearly undriveable wreck owned by a student..  I have long
since despared at the possibility of tracing its' lineage. Carl in Seattle 
XK120FHC 680305

From: (Cleo Bay Jr.) 16 Jan 1998    Try an established company
that generates mailing lists. They may have some old lists that they have
generated in the past for a particular area. You would need to know what
towns or Zip code areas to look. I know from experience that lists are
generated for shops and businesses catering to cars. It may cost some money
to get access to the databases. For that matter, some of the older car
businesses in the area that do flyers may retain some of the lists.  Cleo
Bay Jr.  52 XK120 OTS  56 XK140 OTS

Sun, 18 Jan 1998  From: Skip Smith I have been following
this discussion for the last few days and thought I would add my $0.02. 
When I need a history on a car I use a title runner. This is a person who
processes titles for the car dealerships.  They know the people at the
state offices and can get the history from the archives.  When they run
into a title dead end from another state they contact one of their
associates in that state and start the process there. Remember you are
working backwards so there is always a trail.  I have never not been able
to get the history on a car.  It just take $$$ and time.  Regards, Skip
Smith  XK150DHC

20 Jan 1998 From: Skip Smith;  Stop by one of the new car dealerships in
your area, ask to speak with their title clerk.  Find out if this person
runs the titles for the dealership or if they use a runner.  If the clerk
runs the titles ask what they would charge, if they are not the one who run
the titles find out what the person's name is and the number.  Meet them at
the dealership .  Explain what you want.  If they hit an out of state in
the history find out who there contact is in that state and ask them to
have them run it for you.  It may cost a few $$ but you should be able to
get hard copies of each title and registration.  The most I have ever paid
is $150.   Good luck, Skip

19 Mar 1998    In the UK the vehicle licencing authority will supply the
current owner of a vehicle with the names and addresses of previous owners
from 1974 to present. (1974 was when computerised record started) They have
a nominal fee for this (5).  If you haven't already done so, you could also
try writing to the XK registrars of JDC & JEC. It's just possible that your
150 was on the register sometime in the past.   Please let us all know how
you get on especially if you find a good success route.  Eric C

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