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JDM vehicle titling in Missouri

Discussion in 'General Truck Info' started by MO Acty, Mar 21, 2019.

  1. MO Acty

    MO Acty New Member

    Hello all,

    I'm on my second JDM vehicle now and have learned a LOT when it comes to the state of Missouri.
    BOTH of them had already been titled in other states.
    So no, I am not versed in "newly imported" titling.
    Although I'm 99% certain that what I have done and experienced does apply.

    Not a really big deal.
    What throws Missouri for a loop is the short JDM VIN.
    They're wanting 17 digits and nope......our rides don't have that many.

    My advice is to go:
    Steps 1-5 are standard MO fare with some hints...….after that is what's different.
    1. Make sure the title you received is filled out legibly, correctly and matches your ride to the letter!
    2. If there is no spot on the out of state title for dollar amount? You'll need a notarized Bill of Sale stating the purchase price.
    3. Out of state title will require an ID/OD or a safety inspection. Make sure, to the best of your ability, your ride will pass!
    And, if at all possible, take it to a shop you KNOW or one that is......for a lack of better terms....."car enthusiast friendly". It's not like you can bop down to your local Auto Zone and get the parts they might say failed you!
    4. Take your Personal Property Tax papers, the inspection, proof of insurance to your local license office and treat it like any other vehicle.
    5. They SHOULD okay everything, pay your fees, taxes, collect your plates and paperwork.
    You are now roadworthy in Missouri! Yay!

    You're not getting away that easy......
    This is where it differs from normal vehicles

    The state rejected both of my title apps because of that short VIN.
    Your rejection paperwork will arrive by mail and it tends to take nearly a month.
    They asked me to have a 551 form filled out by the Highway Patrol Inspector on both rides.
    Be proactive and BUY A Missouri 551 form-In both cases, I had to go to my local license office and BUY one about $27 (you're basically paying for the inspection below).
    CALL your local Highway Patrol Inspection/Testing facility immediately- and set up an appointment for a 551 Form/non-standard VIN inspection.
    Why the "rush"? My location can have appointments up to 2 months out! Depending on the time of year.
    So if you wait for the rejection paperwork......AND wait to set up an appointment?
    See where this is going? You're heading into 3 months......and no title in sight.
    And if by some strange luck you get an appt. earlier and done BEFORE your rejection paperwork arrives?
    GREAT! Then call Jefferson City and ask one of the nice ladies where to send it.
    Be one or two steps ahead.

    It took 4 months on my first and 2.5 months on the second (because they had a cancellation at the Highway Patrol and I slid right in) to get titles for mine.

    Hopefully I saved some fellow enthusiasts some headache.
    punimog likes this.
  2. slingwing

    slingwing New Member

    Couple of questions

    Did you pate this as a truck or car? 6K local or beyond local?

    Next the 551 is a verification of the S/N. Why not call a local trooper and have them verify. Have done this in the past on basket Harlys. All they are doing is verifying the S/N if I am correct due to the short VIN. Just a hint for those who have never used the Form 551. You can go direct to the DOR and print the form.

    Could you have all the paperwork in hand before going to the license bureau and get this done in one shot.

    I am purchasing a newer vehicle that would be under the 5 year mark so figuring out the state inspection portion may be a trick. Because this is a non-USA standard vehicle it may require the state inspection for the first round.

    I understand this is an oddball and will throw everybody a loop. There has got to be a better solution to getting this road legal. My situation is somewhat different than yours so hopefully I can add some insights as I progress with my project.
  3. MO Acty

    MO Acty New Member

    Hi Kevin,

    My first MO JDM VIN experience:
    Going on four years ago, I had an ID/OD done by a local sheriff on the JDM Rover Mini I bought (still own). It had been in the US for two years and been US titled the whole time. Intention was for historical plates. Missouri would not accept a non-17 digit VIN for that new of a vehicle. SO they rejected the title app..
    It took me 4 months to get a title due to the length of time it took to get a 551 performed at the Hwy Patrol and the mailing to and fro of paperwork.

    My Acty:
    Thought I'd knock out two birds with one stone.....this time I had an inspection performed and plated it normally (not historical and as a car). Doing it as a truck would have made no difference.
    MO still rejected the short VIN and required a Hwy Patrol 551 to be performed.
    Once again, my Acty already had a US title so it's not like I was starting from scratch with import papers......holy smokes what would THAT entail?!
    I did pick up my 551 at a local license office as you said. $27.50. No sweat.

    Brother, I've bought MANY cars from out of state with my local sheriff doing an ID/OD or having a safety inspection performed (acts as an ID/OD). Wham, bam, title arrives in no time flat.
    It's that short VIN that MO loses their mind on.

    BTW, MO put "NON-USA-STANDARD motor vehicle" on the front of both titles.
    To save another MO resident from going through all this sillyness, I assume? LOL

    If you're a MO JDM owner who knows a loophole or better method? Reply here, message or email me if you prefer.

    Thank you in advance!
    Last edited: Apr 21, 2019
  4. slingwing

    slingwing New Member

    My situation could be somewhat different as I only have an export certificate. It has been conveyed to me that the local Troop gives a huge thumbs down on plating a mini but any trooper or deputized law enforcement officer can complete the 551 as they are only verifying the S/N on that form. Law enforcement really has no say in what you can plate as that is left up to DOR. Remember there are plenty of homebuilts that never meet the safety standards yet they are plated and driven all the time. Should be a piece of cake but there are some hardheads that just want to make life difficult.

    The title is the first hoop in this equation. In my experience it is better to use the Highway Patrol when using the 551. It seems to sail right past the license bureau and DOR. Local Troop may be my stumbling block.

    Your part gives some good insights for previously titled. There should be no different as the key is the VIN verification whether titled or import certificate.

    Hurdles are placed in the way only to be circumnavigated. If there is a will there is a way. My venture starts this week.
    Last edited: Apr 22, 2019
  5. matt167

    matt167 Active Member

    If you only have an export certificate, then you probably have a black market vehicle, and you say it would be under the 5 year mark. Be careful, US DOT does not take black market vehicles lightly and neither does the EPA.. They will lawfully crush the vehicle for you if they catch on to what your doing. Unless it was imported correctly ( as a medium speed vehicle/ ATV ) then it's not even legal for one to be in the USA if it's newer than 4/1994

    Sorry, but it's cut and dry illegal and just what it is.. You can legally import the newer trucks but they go through more regulation and are imported as off road only

  6. slingwing

    slingwing New Member

    Thank you very much for your advice and such an expert opinion Obi-Wan. Your insight into different state laws befuddles me at best. Where would we be without your kind and gentle advice about laws in flyover country? You must be well versed in all 50 states laws and regulations. Point being is you are missing the point when making assumptions. When you assume, well you know the saying.

    Where I am going with this is the laws and regulations in my state. I am attempting to ensure we are in compliance with the state in respect to state laws and not have an ambiguous law entrap you due to the vagueness which this state is notorious for.

    Lets talk about title. Title establishes ownership that is universally acceptable in all states. Some states allow title and license even though not imported as an on road vehicle. Here it is less clear. Title is paramount to all other things in this decision as it gives legal ownership rights. Title has nothing to do with respect to license other than it is the first step in registration. ATV’s for example are titled here but UTV’s are not. Not much difference but they are treated differently with respect to the department of revenue even though the revised statutes are clear and neither can be plated as such. One says you must and the other says not so fast.

    Next issue is the local ordinance or acceptable practice of running on secondary roads. Per the revised statutes any vehicle operating on public roads must be registered and licensed. There is a provision for allowing utility, ATV and other NHV through local ordinance but not directly addressed in the statutes. This would be in direct contradiction to state laws. It forms a circular pattern where you can but you cannot. Now you are at the mercy of the Popo that stopped you because he had a bur in the saddle. It becomes Catch 22. Even counties and cities that have local ordinances allowing NHV’s on secondary roads would not prevent the newly assigned trooper to site you with a state infraction which would overrule any local ordinance. In most cases the state will honor local ordinances if they are known but that is not a guarantee. Had lunch with a 30+ year veteran Trooper I socialize with every week and got tuned up on the aspects. Very insightful luncheon.

    Now we can look at the state inspection requirements in the Code of State Regulations and discover that any vehicle not designed for road use but used on a public road must be state inspected. Now we have three problems if the Popo decides to hassle you regardless of the local ordinance or acceptable practice within any given jurisdiction. State law trumps local.

    It matters not that it was imported as an off road only vehicle. The concern is the legalities within any given state with respect to their laws.
    Last edited: Apr 25, 2019
  7. MO Acty

    MO Acty New Member

    I do apologize for the length of the first post.
    Trying to be thorough. Heck, I condensed it! LOL

    Anyway, the next response I made highlighted points of interest/pertinence.

    Missouri is an adventure with these things, that's it in a nutshell.

    Nothing a person can't handle, though.

    Just realize you won't be getting a title in a couple weeks like a "normal" car in MO.
    Hopefully you'll love your little JDM ride because if not?
    Getting your title in-hand so you CAN sell it on can take months.
    Just sayin......
  8. Botl01

    Botl01 Active Member

    Sorry MO Acty, my comment was directed at the edit of post #6, not yours.
  9. Acting UP

    Acting UP New Member

    I will be picking up my ACTY this weekend from USminitrucks. It will not have a title but all the import paperwork needed. I will be following these steps and follow up on how it goes with just a import certificate. Based on what Ben from USminitrucks he has no problem getting it titled in Texas.His steps are very similar to the Missouri law.
  10. MO Acty

    MO Acty New Member

    Hi Acting Up!

    My '92 Acty has been my full time driver for the past two months.
    ZERO problems, the A/C works outstanding and MAN.....is it a conversation starter!
    The number of people snapping pictures, videos, etc. while I'm on the road is hilarious. :)

    Anyway......just remember, Ben......this will not be a normal vehicle "get it inspected, go to your local license office, present the paperwork, they mail it off and the title arrives in no time" scenario.
    Especially since you don't have a physical title yet.
    All kidding aside, I'd go ahead and schedule your Highway Patrol inspection now. Seriously.
    Sometimes the wait is two months to get one here in the St. Louis metro area.

    Otherwise? As I've experienced twice now.....you go through all the normal channels, send it all off to Jeff City and VOILA!
    They reject it all.
    With the requirement you go to the Highway Patrol anyway!
    And as you can imagine, there are weeks wasted in waiting for it to be rejected by Jeff City.

    I have my fingers and toes crossed you DON'T have to go through that.
    But my experiences as well as a friend's experience with his JDM Mini have been what I've explained.

    Best of luck to you!
    I hope your Acty brings you as many good times as mine has.
    SUCH cool little trucks!
  11. Acting UP

    Acting UP New Member

    So first road Block Highway patrol will not let me schedule an inspection until I have my rejection number. Looks like no way to speed up the process. Going to do my DMV process this week then wait for my rejection number.
  12. MO Acty

    MO Acty New Member

    I apologize for forgetting that all-important rejection number.
    Sorry about that.

    It's a wait, wait, wait process once you submit the paperwork.

    I seriously doubt I'll buy another one of these.
    UNLESS it's from a Missouri resident......none of this sillyness going that route!
    Missouri's ridiculously over-complicated path to a title for anything unique and out-of-state is not something I care to experience EVER again.

    Hopefully you'll get as nice a Highway Patrol inspector as I did.
    That fella made the process a pleasure.
    I was fortunate to get him for the JDM Mini AND the Acty.
  13. Acting UP

    Acting UP New Member

    So got the plates and she is road legal now I wait for the rejection from Jeff city. I will keep updates as it goes.
  14. MO Acty

    MO Acty New Member

    Slap those plates on and drive that little rig!
    They're people magnets, that's for sure.
  15. Acting UP

    Acting UP New Member

    Update: Just received the title from Jeff city. No rejection or anything. I’m good to go. Took a little longer than a normal title but no issues.
  16. MO Acty

    MO Acty New Member

    Maybe MO has come to accept these type of VIN's via a regular inspection's VIN check?
    One can only hope.

    Enjoy your truck.

    Mine has been my daily for months.
    Reliable as the sunrise.
  17. Dagan Fish

    Dagan Fish New Member

    Man I am glad I found this forum thread! I have been wanting an Acty (or Sambar) for a while now but was worried about it not being street legal in Missouri. But this info has put that worry to bed! Here is hoping soon Missouri will have another Acty on the roads!
  18. MO Acty

    MO Acty New Member

    This place is a wealth of information.

    My '92 Acty is my daily driver.

    Best of luck in your search.
    And be VERY careful.
    There are some turds out there, to say the least.

    Hope yours treats you as well as mine has.
  19. Zakath

    Zakath New Member

    I had to do mine abit different mine had no title so I ended up getting some paperwork done at the courthouse just saying that I was the rightful owner and after that a inspection and done. I am also in MO Branson area

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