Are Duplicate K Model Engine Numbers Possible?

Production K Models

Re: Are Duplicate K Model Engine Numbers Possible?

Postby panic » Tue Nov 08, 2022 12:38 pm

Usually, assuming that both case sets have good stamps, casting numbers, etc. the person with the most and oldest documentation wins.
However: there are 2 (unlikely) things that will give legal title, and very difficult to void or appeal:
1. mechanic's lien and auction title
2. probate
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Re: Are Duplicate K Model Engine Numbers Possible?

Postby hugoct » Tue Nov 08, 2022 2:28 pm

I can't speak for all dealers but the ones I was employed at sold used or damaged cases to people who could not afford a new set. I well remember a friend picking up a set of KR cases at the shop as we were swapping them out for new ones. There was no misrepresentation much less fraud involved. The gentleman who posted the query said his engine had a 1953 motor number as did the one in the Cal DMV system. That would have been possible in that period. The race teams had multiple motors with the same motor numbers which were tracked based on the crankcase numbers.
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Re: Are Duplicate K Model Engine Numbers Possible?

Postby chuckthebeatertruck » Tue Nov 08, 2022 4:29 pm

This type of issue will become more and more known in the coming years.


On January 1, 2022 the National Motor Vehicle Title Information Service went into effect. This covers all 50 states and 4 territories. All the old loop holes for hinky numbers are being closed and more of these duplicate numbers things will come up.


Almost all the stuff we "got away with" for decades is going to start coming home to roost.


As pointed out -- the oldest documentation wins this one. At least one of the numbers is not kosher and it doesn't matter about all this other speculation. To the states and the feds only one number is legit.


I had a very personal and very real experience with this earlier this year. I went to renew the registration on one of my bikes and learned that my VIN was cloned and my bike "sold" in Pennsylvania.


Much like this story -- I had copies of the three previous titles, clear paperwork trail, and the most recent, unsigned title in my possession. I had ten years of registrations and ten years of insurance cards. Even with a police inspection -- it took weeks to clear this up and had I not had access to dealer only telephone numbers I'm not sure it would have been cleared up.


Oh, and the State Police in PA inspected the numbers job and declared it good. It was only because of my paper trail that I "won" this one. Hence why a state inspection isn't the final word.
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Re: Are Duplicate K Model Engine Numbers Possible?

Postby 55panman » Tue Nov 08, 2022 5:12 pm

I've seen quite a few titles for sale on ebay from Pennsylvania over the last year. Do you know what it is in Pennsylvania that makes it easy to get a title there? Thanks, Ron
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Re: Are Duplicate K Model Engine Numbers Possible?

Postby chuckthebeatertruck » Tue Nov 08, 2022 6:27 pm

RE: Pennsylvania -- it is not easier to get a title in PA than any other state. The "easy" states were those that were bill of sale only and that did not require residency. The super easy ones for a very long time were Maine and Vermont; followed very closely by Montana or Alabama (but residency was required -- and we all seemed to have a "friend" in either state years ago.) For cars, Kentucky and Tennessee were hot beds of washed titles until very recently.

The ebay title sales are generally someone running into a box of old titles; whether from a junk/scrap dealer or a dealer. The titles were not disposed of properly and many people like buying them because they believe they have "clean" numbers to stamp into cases. Again, this used to be easier to get away before January 1. The very last hold out to the NMVTIS was Vermont. A lot of these hinky numbers jobs went through Vermont in the last few years. So long as that really is a "dead" title it is unlikely the restamp will be caught unless it was done very poorly because no one is looking for the VIN. BUT, if that VIN shows up on another bike . . . the fun starts.

And, yes, this is a real thing. I watched more than one person buying original paint body work at swap meets -- with a bit of skill and some old parts it is relatively easy to put together an "original paint" machine that will fool the vast majority of casual "collectors" who are more googly eyed than anything else. It's still almost exclusively in the big twin world because of the values there and yes, even belly numbers are being faked. It generally won't fly past a true enthusiast, but many of these machines don't end up in the hands of AMCA judges - they wind up being passed off by a slick talker to a guy who very much wants an old Harley for a bargain.

For ironheads, the big one to watch out for are 1970/71 belly numbers on pre-69 bikes. They came with a blank VIN on the left side. It's very easy to use a left side case from these years and turn it into something else. it's not terribly hard to remove the starter hump and fake that area as well. The belly is the only give away, if that isn't also altered. And, yes, you can alter the belly and reblend so that it is very, very difficult to detect. The real give away is that almost no one bothers to finish the interior of the cases if they removed the starter hump . . .

In other words; the best bikes to invest in are still the bikes with an established provenance stretching a few decades. Bikes that suddenly "reappear" after decades are the ones to look over very carefully.

Please don't believe people can't fake stamps . . .anything can be faked and if there is enough money involved, someone will try.

Personally, I'd be curious if the other '53K in the OPs story is actually a K model. I've seen more than one XLH or XLCH with a well done numbers job that was miraculously a K model. What was really funny was the one I saw that was a K but was obviously and electric start, ohv bike in an electric start frame. The seller tried to claim it was replacement cases "back in the day" without noticing it would have to be "replacement bike" not just cases for everything going on. With that one -- I am 99.9% certain the seller had no idea they had what were very likely hot numbers. They truly believed the story they were told. All the mythology around Harley actually helps thieves and cons.
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Re: Are Duplicate K Model Engine Numbers Possible?

Postby panic » Tue Nov 08, 2022 7:42 pm

Direct replacement for 10 years after issue is certainly what the law required, but it's not enforced when the target is a big corporation.
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Re: Are Duplicate K Model Engine Numbers Possible?

Postby BigDen » Tue Nov 08, 2022 8:59 pm

Thanks for all of the responses.

Regarding accessing HD production ledgers, so far, I have visited my local CHP office and called my local HD dealer, and neither is familiar with the process for requesting production ledger information from the HD factory or HD HQ. The CHP officer I spoke to does VIN verifications, the dealer said they don't even work on anything that old. Perhaps in my area there isn't a lot of vintage HD action. I called the HD Customer Service Line, and was told by the representative who put me on hold to check, that HD does not have such production ledgers, only production numbers by year, and not broken down by model. I suspect that if HD still has the information, the request must come from an appropriate entity, but so far, I haven't found that appropriate entity. If any of you have any further insight on who can and how to request this from HD, I'd appreciate it.

Regarding the suggestion to do an VIN record request, as I read the instructions for the CA INF 70 Request for Records Information, individuals can only request their own records. Attorneys can request records, but so far I have not found an attorney that is willing to help me with my situation. I have tried the online NMVTIS search site, and my K Model VIN does not come up.

I haven't tried my local AAA office, I'll see see if anyone there is familiar with requesting records.

As many of you have noted, it is possible, due to racing regulations at the time, to "legitimately" have more than one K Model case with the same engine member. How these cases ended up on titled and registered motorcycles are probably varied as the state procedures for titling vehicles.

As I am the executor for my brother's estate, it is up to me to resolve this.

Thanks again for your responses,
Dennis
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Re: Are Duplicate K Model Engine Numbers Possible?

Postby panic » Wed Nov 09, 2022 11:47 am

As I understand it, a probate-based title is superior, as it grants the physical object rather than the VIN.
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Re: Are Duplicate K Model Engine Numbers Possible?

Postby dlxl66elxl » Wed Nov 09, 2022 12:06 pm

Given the rarity of these bikes I would most likely guess that the other "duplicate" VIN was erroneously entered at some point manually by a DMV employee. I have seen this happen more than once here in CA. I would, under the freedom of information act, attempt to identify, locate and reach out to the owner of the other bike, see if you could look at the VIN and then figure out how to remedy the situation. This is a bit tricky as the problem is yours, not the other guys.
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Re: Are Duplicate K Model Engine Numbers Possible?

Postby Ferrous_Head » Wed Nov 09, 2022 2:58 pm

I called the HD Customer Service Line, and was told by the representative who put me on hold to check, that HD does not have such production ledgers, only production numbers by year, and not broken down by model. I suspect that if HD still has the information, the request must come from an appropriate entity, but so far, I haven't found that appropriate entity. If any of you have any further insight on who can and how to request this from HD, I'd appreciate it.


Ok. About 10 years ago I went looking for info on my 1962 XLB. I rang HD head office and I was directed to the Research Officer at that time, Kathie Oenski. Initially, after consulting with Tom, the oldest emplyee working at the factory, she told me I had read the engine number wrong and I had an XLR, not an XLB. This she told me was because the company had never produced a model called an XLB. But I was persistent and she eventually told me she would check the build sheets. She later came back and confirmed that I did indeed have a 1962 XLB and the build date was November 11th 1961.
So at least at that time HD still had the original build sheets for bikes. I doubt very much that HD has since destroyed the build sheets for bikes. But these records are held by an archivist within HD. I do not know if the belly numbers are on the build sheets. Unfoortunatly, at that time I did not request a hard copy of it.

But the original build sheet may contain some information to identify your bike.

Without first hand knowledge of your bikes history and the history of the "other" bike it's going to be hard to determine who did what. Bu your first step is probably going to be in locating the other bike's current owner. For that you will need the DMV's co-operation.

I am assuming they won't give out that information to the general public. But they probably will to your local friendly Police Officer. All he would need to do is call in a traffic stop on a vehicle with suspect plates and ask for an owners check on that VIN.

For that matter, they could well be stopping you on your bike. So, legitimate for the friendly officer.
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