By Richard Cook
After corresponding with vintage trailer expert Tim Heintz, I knew it was possible to get my non-titled 1969 Shasta Compact titled in Florida if the paperwork was correct, which included a bill of sale signed by the seller and the buyer, the old Georgia registration slip showing the trailer’s serial number listed on the registration as the VIN, and a completed Florida title application. However, when I brought the required paperwork to a local tag agency in Broward County, they told me additional paperwork was required before a Florida title could be issued to my trailer. The additional requirements included getting a certified weight slip from a company that operated a Florida-certified scale, as well as having an active police officer sign a certified document stating he/she checked and matched the SN/VIN on the trailer’s frame and registration slip. (Note: When I told Tim about this, he told me neither of those documents are required by Florida law and that the tag agency was wrong in having me go through the additional steps.)
To get the weight slip, I went to a full-service truck stop that had a Florida-certified scale, towed the Shasta onto the scale, unhitched the trailer from the tow vehicle, and drove the vehicle off the scale. The scale operator weighed the Shasta and printed out a certified weight slip. After hooking up to the trailer, I towed it to a local police station and showed the person at the information desk the document that needed to be signed by an active police officer. A policeman came out and looked at the old Georgia registration slip and told me the VIN doesn’t look like any VIN he’s ever seen. I explained that most vintage trailers don’t have VINs because they weren’t issued back then, but they have serial numbers that are used in place of VINs. Either he didn’t believe me or was just curious, but he took the registration slip and went into an office to log onto Georgia’s DMV website. He came out a few minutes later and said the number is legit. He then followed me outside and matched the number on the Shasta’s frame to the number on the Georgia registration slip, then signed the certified document with his name and badge number.
With the additional documents, I went back to the tag agency and was issued a Florida title, registration, and regular license tag. I tried getting a special antique license tag for the Shasta, which Florida issues for vehicles at least 25 years old, but I was turned down because Florida doesn’t consider a trailer to be a vehicle because it doesn’t have an engine. Yet, they want a VIN...Vehicle Identification Number...so go figure! On the positive side, my wife found a vintage Florida license tag from 1968-69 at an antique shop, so once we’re off the road at rallies we’ll attach it to our 1969 Shasta as part of our display.
This is the process in Florida. Is it different in your state? Let us know your experience. www.vintagecampertrailers.com