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Posts Tagged ‘VIN plate’

That’s a question that most car buyers don’t ask after the fact… unless you just bought a Classic Mini in the United States!  Just about any other classic car, you pretty much know exactly what you got into.  This happens so often, and usually comes as a surprise for a new owner of a classic Mini to find that their pride and joy is not at all what they thought.  I wrote the following explanation to the question posed by a member on the Mini Mania forum:

You really must be careful on a public forum, and if you really did buy the car, not to be too specific…. that’s why some answers seem to beat around the bush.

Hypothetically speaking… Most Minis look the about the same for 42 years of production. At least to the average person. When an oppressive set of government rules exists to keep people from easily having the classic mini they want, there is great incentive to make cars seem OLDER so they can slip under customs import rules.  It is rumored that some people in countries where the cars are plentiful and unloved will replace the VIN plate with one from an older car, so that the “old” car can be taken to and sold in America, where there are lots of willing buyers.  It gets in because the particular customs inspector is NOT a Mini expert, and can’t tell that the car and it’s paperwork did not start out in life together.  It is even rumored that certain unscrupulous AMERICANS and/or CANADIANS have taken part in this practice over the decades, contributing to my opinion that more than half the Classic Minis in the US are such “revins”.

Think about it…. changing the car’s identifying serial numbers is what car thieves might do so that the stolen car is not “found” right away when the “new owner” goes to register it.  Our government then has strong incentive to DISCOURAGE the willy-nilly changing of Vehicle Identification Numbers, to the extent that a suspected stolen or ‘altered’ car can be confiscated and crushed as a way to protect public safety from these evil little cars.  If you don’t want to be the unfortunate owner made an example of in this way, you will not draw undue attention to the possible fact of you car’s identity crisis!!

Our only dog in this fight is to be able to provide you the right parts!  You will NOT be happy if you get all the WRONG parts for your “73”. Furthermore,  you will think that WE are idiots for doing so!   We are supposed to be the experts…. why did we send you all the wrong parts?  In MOST cases, it is because you unknowingly have the wrong CAR!

You can see the whole thread for this topic if you like… the original question and all the comments:

http://www.minimania.com/msgThread/118852/1/1/What_car_did_I_just_buy

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