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Finding out the past owners of my 1970 Firebird??

I bought a car ( 1970 Pontiac Firebird ) in October of 2011 from a guy here in Michigan, he bought it off of an E-bay auction from a guy in Pennsylvania. We recently found out that my wife's father owned a 1970 Firebird and lived just a mere 25 miles away from where my Firebird was bought from. I'm trying to find out for sure if this car is actually the same car her Dad had back in the mid 80's. ANY help would be appreciated!!! THANKS!!! One last tidbit, he has since passed away (her Dad) so I can't just ask him to look at his old paperwork etc.. There has GOT to be a way, somehow....
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  • Hello, and good luck finding your firebird. I am searching for mine. I sold it about 1984 0r 1985 to a young guy that lived in Maryland. Let me know if you have any luck. I dont have a vin # either, but I was told if you have a former tag # that the dmv may have that information on microfilm.. also, you might be able to find the vin # with the former insurance company. It depends on who you deal with and how far they want to go for you... Good Luck
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright CaliforniaPosts: 45,694
    edited June 2012
    sometimes it's a tough thing to do because of privacy issues. Also many state DMVs don't keep records for too long--they purge them out of the computers.

    You might try scrounging around the car, under seats, etc. Sometimes that turns up some interesting clues!

    You can also contact the national Firebird Club and see what suggestions they might have for you:

    http://www.firebirdtaclub.com/

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  • That's an awesome idea Mr Shiftright, I'd have NEVER EVER thought of thought, thanks VERY much!!
  • uplanderguyuplanderguy Kent, OHPosts: 7,494
    Unless I missed it, I don't think you said that the original owner was from PA. You might try Pontiac Historical Services ("PHS", for most Pontiac buffs), which for a fee will give you original paperwork for your car. They should have online information.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright CaliforniaPosts: 45,694
    won't show the buyer, though. Might show where the car was shipped to, however, after manufacture.

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  • uplanderguyuplanderguy Kent, OHPosts: 7,494
    edited June 2012
    It should show the destination. That would quickly let him know if his theory is correct or not. We are so lucky in the Studebaker hobby that names and addresses of original owners are available at the Studebaker National Museum archives, but only for 1960 and newer models.

    Looking back, I don't see that his father-in-law was necessarily the original owner of the Firebird, though.

    I've heard that people used to successfully do title searches on cars, but the past fifteen or twenty years has changed all that.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright CaliforniaPosts: 45,694
    A lot of it is due to privacy laws. I'm surprised the Studebaker museum gets away with it actually, but probably a lot of those people are dead by now, so no one raises a stink. I certainly don't want someone tracking me down about the '63 Riviera I used to own. I'd much rather post the info on a club registry.

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  • uplanderguyuplanderguy Kent, OHPosts: 7,494
    I'd be pleasantly surprised if someone who owns a car I used to own, contacted me. I can't think of a single negative. After all, we're car guys.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright CaliforniaPosts: 45,694
    yeah I hear ya, but it's kind of creepy to be tracked down. Some people can be very intrusive and real busybodies.

    Really you don't mind some stranger knocking on your door asking you if you still have the left rear hubcap and was it you who welded the frame that just broke? :P

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  • uplanderguyuplanderguy Kent, OHPosts: 7,494
    Not even remotely.

    I know two folks personally, now, who were original owners of '60's Studes. Someone called the one guy, asking about his '64 supercharged black Cruiser sedan from the info in the museum. He's not a Stude hobbyist and was amused by being contacted. The second person was a 20-year old college student when she bought her new Avanti and was delighted that I was able to get her retail sale card copy from the museum.
  • texasestexases Posts: 5,671
    Well, a Stude fan may not mind an odd call from another Stude fan, but as a general rule, no way! Say the third owner has an accident and somehow tracks me down, claiming it was something I did. No thanks.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright CaliforniaPosts: 45,694
    Not a good idea. I think the Studebaker museum should discontinue this practice personally. I'd be totally PO-d if they did that to me and gave out my name without my permission.

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  • uplanderguyuplanderguy Kent, OHPosts: 7,494
    edited June 2012
    Whatever. I don't see it as much different that having old paperwork in the car and going to any public library and looking through their old city directories for addresses and phone numbers. I can say unequivocally that I have not heard one single complaint about it.

    As I posted, the one guy who was contacted by someone I don't know, is from my hometown, and he was amused about it all. And the guy is now 80 years old and was never a Studebaker hobbyist.

    Ancestry.com can give similar information on people from the past and is doing a booming business now.

    Personally, I have written one person based on original ownership information I found at the Studebaker Museum. It was about a Lark with supercharger and factory sunroof...a two-door sedan with the complete "Super" package. I wrote politely and included a S.A.S.E. I did get a reply in shaky handwriting that he was friends with his hometown Stude dealer but did not remember owning that particular car! :)

    As I've mentioned on Edmunds before, the original owner of my former Stude contacted me, although I knew his name beforehand from production paperwork on my car at the Museum (they did not have a retail sale card for my serial number there, but since my car was picked up at the plant it had the owner's name on the build sheet). He looked me up and drove from Detroit to NE OH to meet us and see the car. He is not a hobbyist per se but we had a wonderful visit.

    I think there is nothing that would keep someone from getting a build sheet for their Pontiac from PHS that would have a dealer name on it, along with the town, and spending a few minutes online getting a similar name there now and writing that person.

    Do you feel it would be bad for the Firebird club to give information someone had on the car he's looking for, back to the original owner if someone knew it?
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright CaliforniaPosts: 45,694
    I think you're confusing public records vs. private information. If I go to a car dealer today, and ask them about the car owned by Mr. Uplander, and could I have his name and address to talk to him about the car, they would say no, and I agree with that.

    If I found a slip of paper in the car with a receipt to Mr. Uplander, and I looked his name up in a public directory, I have no problem with research like that.

    when I buy items today I do not expect that transaction to be distributed to the public. "Hey, Mr Shiftright, how do you like that smart phone you bought last week? Costco gave me your name..."

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  • uplanderguyuplanderguy Kent, OHPosts: 7,494
    In our hometown of Greenville, PA, Dart Chevrolet-Cadillac, where my Dad always dealt, actually wrote the last name of the previous owner in the upper right-hand corner of the "OK Used Cars" tag that would hang in the left quarter window, along with the asking price of the car. I can remember two occasions when folks called us asking about the car. Dad obliged and was fine with that.

    But then, we were from a small town and friendly like that. :)
  • blh7068blh7068 Posts: 376
    you are correct Shifty, PHS packets wont show buyer, but a copy of the billing card will show where it was originally delivered to and when the car was built( helpful if the door tag is gone).
  • uplanderguyuplanderguy Kent, OHPosts: 7,494
    There was never any question that PHS didn't provide the owner's name, but I was saying earlier that it wouldn't be hard to, minimally, get the name of the dealership and Google people with the same last name in that town. At least with the destination of the car available, the original poster might be able to ascertain if it was possible that the car was the one he was inquiring about.
  • blh7068blh7068 Posts: 376
    I get what your saying. I was just clarifying what is shown on the billing card.

    IMO, he should get the packet regardless. I have a 71 'bird myself with the the PHS packet. It has a lot of neat info.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright CaliforniaPosts: 45,694
    I think the PHS document might show the DSO and not the dealer---depends---still it would be nice to have the packet for old time's sake.

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  • blh7068blh7068 Posts: 376
    Shifty- It does indicate original selling dealer.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright CaliforniaPosts: 45,694
    It should but don't count on it. Some went to districts as inventory and I've seen some where the copy is so bad the dealer's name is simply not legible.

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