Despite finding owner, auction for barn-find 1969 Plymouth GTX continues

It looks like finding the owner of a thought-to-be abandoned 1969 Plymouth GTX convertible couldn’t keep the muscle car from being offered at public auction. Not yet anyway.

This is a companion discussion topic for the original entry at https://www.hagerty.com/articles-videos/articles/2019/06/11/barn-find-1969-plymouth-gtx-owner-found-auction-continues

Ok, help me understand this. Some gold digger find a car(any car, not saying just this GTX) in a barn (theirs or not) and just says “hey I’ll just sell it to the highest bidder.”, instead of " hey I have to try my best to find the owner or next of kin. Someone has got to be missing this!". Is that how things work with barn finds? I’m sure if the shoe was on the other foot or maybe, car was in a different barn, they would be “p.o.” about the deal. Right?

Wow talk about getting out of hand. These bids are even crazy…

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The joke is on the person who buys it.They will not be reimbursed if he proves in court he is the rightful owner.

This is the third part of a series on the car. The first part explains how everything came to be.

Colellobill, if the owner doesn’t provide proof by the end of the auction he gives up right of ownership. Actually, the county sent out notifications years ago. The law states that the owner gives up rights if ownership if he doesn’t claim the vehicle within 20 days.
The owner did abandon the vehicle. If he didn’t want it then I doubt he wants to pay the impound fees accumulated over the years.

Maybe the owner has proof but
is just waiting to see how high the bidding goes to decide if it’s worth the hassle and cost to prove it’s his?

grandsamspawpaw, apparently that is true, at least it is if the vehicle was a noteworthy van in bad shape parked on the owner’s private party. Then according to one court you can just take it if you claim “somebody said it was OK.” It is one thing if the vehicle has been sitting on your property or another property owner gives you permission to take an abandoned vehicle from their property. If that’s the case you should notify local law enforcement that you are taking this vehicle with the land owner’s permission on a signed piece of paper. Paper trail is the key. I used to tow abandoned vehicles in Florida and at the time, early 80s, I got a signed tow authorization from the property owner, towed it, notified the sheriff’s dept., contacted the motor vehicle dept. to find the owner and sent a certified return requested letter to the owner. After 45 days without the owner claiming it, I had to put out notice and hold a public auction to satisfy my towing & storage. If nobody bought it, only then I could claim legal ownership and do whatever to the vehicle.
This, of course is a sheriff’s auction and I believe it is being conducted according to the law. It is a shame when the car was first acquired by the sheriff the owner’s friend who found out about it and told them then who the owner was, wasn’t able to contact the owner at the time for him to retrieve the car. Then all was forgotten until now and now the owner needs to step up and prove ownership which must be done any time any vehicle can be released after it is impounded by law enforcement.

Seems to me that first, the owner gave up interest in the car, even though he had tough times, he decided that abandoning the car was the only thing he could do unless he came up with the money for storage. Years went by and he was unavailable. Now that the car is worth a lot of money he’s interested. I don’t really feel sorry for him.

Now, what I can’t understand is that this car was registered somewhere and an easy search of the VIN number by the sheriff’s department would see that he’s the last registered owner of the car. Why would he need to prove ownership? Seems to me whoever had it would have to prove their ownership. This is so unfair. Why have to get an attorney to stop the auction, especially since it’s the sheriff departments auction. Stop it an notify the highest bidder that it’s on hold while they check the last registered owner. If he never registered it, he’s SOL.

My Lotus Elan was stolen in London in 1971 just after I moved over to the US, and it was sold at auction about 150 miles away in the southwest. In England you need a registration logbook as proof of ownership that is unique to the car for its whole life and the auctioneer did not have it because it was with my family. The purchasers applied for a new logbook but, since the car had been reported stolen, it was immediately repossessed by the police and returned to my family. There’s a lot to be said in having such a system. If you own the logbook you own the car.

Once the government gets its claws on your property, good luck.

That’s the case in a state where having the Title to the car in the purported owner’s name is controlling on the issue of ownership. Some states do not issue Titles for cars that are over a certain age. They are sold on a Bill of Sale which isn’t kept as a State Record. If the car isn’t registered and licensed, there can be conflicting Bills of Sale which makes for a real mess.

As for abandoned cars or storage liens, there are legal proceedings that can result in a valid Judicial Order awarding title to a vehicle.

Whenever you buy a car from a police auction you are taking a risk and the auction terms state that the buyer must go through additional legal proceedings to secure title.

The DMV only holds records for less than 10 years. There was a time they kept them a lot longer. With computers u would think they would save them all for 50 years. But they say they dont have room to hold that info more than 10 years. Here in Wisconsin a group of guys from aroyndthe state, got a law so that we can get titles for cars we have had for 50 years and never got or lost titles for. We go to DMV with pictures of car and vin, get a value of the car, get a 3 year insurance bond based on value, like value of 2500.00 needs a 200 buck bond. Then you get a title with bond on it for 3 years and can be sold at any time. After 3 years with out a problem showing up at DMV the title is clear. You can get a title for things like a 27 chey cowl or engine with frame. This way we can sell parts of the cars that a title is important to buyer and seller has prof of ownership… i had 6 cars in the 1930’s that i lost titles for after dad died. We had them for over 50 years. This new law was great for me to sell and get top dollar for the cars and good titles.