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February 11, 2008

In the wake of ALL the publicity from the piece on "Good Morning America," I've received even more publicity thanks to a story in the Watertown Daily Times (Watertown, NY). Special thanks to reporter Chris Brock, who interviewed me for the story.

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January 24, 2008

WTAM 1100 AM (Cleveland, OH) host Bill Wills, of the Wills and Snyder Morning Show, interviewed me for a piece on the site.

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January 18, 2008

San Francisco, CA radio station KGO (810 AM) did a short interview with me on Jan. 11 during the 10-11 a.m. hour, you can listen or download the broadcast.

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January 17, 2008

The Lost Car Registry has received its first major bit of publicity, from a recent article (Jan. 11, 2008) in The Wall Street Journal about men and the search for their lost cars. I must say that the response to the article has been nothing short of amazing; I have received countless e-mails and phone calls over the last week from people who read the article and were interested in contributing to the site, and have done my fair share of publicity (radio and newspaper interviews) in response to the piece. It's been really wonderful. Special thanks are in order to Jennifer Saranow, who interviewed me and wrote the piece for the Journal.

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August 7, 2006

The Lost Car Registry nets yet another one! Perry C. reports he has successfully located his long, lost 1969 Dodge Superbee, with help from us here at The Lost Car Registry.

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January 30, 2006

Here's a story that's gained plenty of attention here in the U.S.: A man reunited with his stolen car, a 1968 Corvette, after 37 years!

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January 1, 2006

Happy New Year! Jon Mack, of Lewisville, NC, sent in a great story from the Winson-Salem Journal about one man's quest to find his dad's old Pontiac - inspiring and poignant.

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June 2, 2005

The stunning end to a lost and found 1965 Coronet 500 - with a happy ending! One of the best lost and found stories in a long time.

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May 24, 2004

Ok, so I don't update the News section very often - still, I update rest of the site quite frequently, so one of two ain't bad, right? You bet. I'm glad to report that this little neighborhood we call The Lost Car Registry continues to burn along at a healthy pace, more than a year-and-a-half after it was first launched.

Modest press for the site continues to flow unabated; the site will be featured in an editorial mention in the May 27 issue of "Old Cars Weekly." That's all the information that I have at this point. If you happen to locate a copy before I do, let me know what you find in the article. I'm curious to read it.

I have planned a number of upcoming modification to the site; among them, transferring the site to a new host. Tripod has been great and all, but I wasn't unaware of the fact that there's now a sidebar that pops up every time you launch a new page. Very annoying. This must be a recent development since I was not aware of it. Watch this space for information about the new address very soon (perhaps within the week).

I have been spent some time trying to figure out how to take this site to the next level - in other words, how to make it function as I always dreamed it would. My wish all along has been to make this more than just a site where people post information about a car they once held dear, in desperate hopes of someday actually finding it by accident. I want to try and make an effort to make that happen - for real. We've had at least one success story come through these pages; I'd like to make many more come true. How I'm going to make the leap to doing that, I haven't quite fleshed out yet. But I'm working on it. I want to help you find your car as much as you do. Read the story again about my dad's 1969 Mustang and you'll understand why.

Stay tuned to these pages for more information and developments. As always, thanks for everyone's continued support.

Happy motoring,
Keith

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January 7, 2004

The "Daffy Dart" lives - well, sort of. Nigel Hurst has finally discovered what became of his dad's '68 Dart GTS, sold in 1971. Read all about it here.

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June 15, 2003

Work and school - not to mention a two-hour commute each weekday, courtesy of the Michigan DOT and its seemingly never-ending quest to repave every remaining parcel of land in the state - have conspired to make me a very busy bee this year, thus the lack of updates here in the News section for the past few months. Regular visitors to the site have, however, noticed consistently frequent updates in the form of new submissions (I try to add submissions to the site every few days, sometimes more frequently, as mail dictates) and minor additions to the site.

I have finally finished adding links to the remaining state department of motor vehicle sites that I had not added previously. All of the more successful links contain a direct link to the form(s) needed to obtain a vehicle/title or registration search for a particular lost vehicle. Some state DMV sites are a bit more primitive than others; where I encountered lack of information online, I have added at the very least a link to contact information within a particular DMV site. Check the Resources page for more information.

Happy motoring,
Keith

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April 29, 2003

Another Cobra found! Dean Bitner has successfully located his former 1971 Ford Torino Cobra.

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February 28, 2003

Greg Thomas' 1969 Ford Torino Cobra, VIN: 9H46R169843, is "lost" no more.

With much ado, I'm pleased to report that The Lost Car Registry has successfully found its first vehicle - and without too much struggle, I might add. While the story includes both good and bad news, it completes Greg's efforts to find his former musclecar, which he regretfully sold more than 15 years ago, and reaffirms my committed interest to helping people reunite with a former vehicle.

I established contact with Greg last month after he submitted information about this former car to this site, although I initially learned about his car months earlier from a post that he submitted to Torinocobra.com. The story goes something like this: In 1988, Greg sold his '69 Torino Cobra to a Columbus, Ohio buyer named Tom Fox. The 4-speed, bench seat, Fire Mist car didn't stay with Fox all that long, however; Thomas, who happened to stay in contact with him, found out several years later the Cobra changed hands again in 1992, when Fox sold it to a buyer who he thought was from Dayton, Ohio. That was pretty much all I knew about Greg's former Torino when I first made contact with him in January - well, that and how much the car meant to him:

"I would really like to find this car," Greg wrote in his original post to this site. "I have missed it since the day I sold it, and when he (Tom Fox) sold it I did not have the money to get it back. Please help if you can."

After some consideration, I decided to personally help Greg find his car. To be honest, I should explain that my practical experience with actually finding cars hasn't gone much further than the ongoing search for my father's Mustang, and of course, my ongoing efforts with this site. I took a chance on finding Greg's car because of the relative abundance of details associated with his story.

Trying to find a lost car is incredibly, incredibly difficult; trying to find a lost car armed with the slimmest of information about the car is nearly impossible. Anyone truly serious about finding a former car needs to have, at the very least, its original VIN - without it, you don't have much of a fighting chance. I think most of us would agree on that. Greg had that, but he also had more: Relevant physical information about the car - original options, for example - as well as details about at least one person who owned the Cobra since him (namely, Tom Fox).

The way I saw it, if I was able to acquire any sort of current information about the car, I might be able to construct some sort of a paper trail leading me to its owner, if there was one. With Greg's encouragement, I placed a call to the Ohio Department of Motor Vehicles and hoped for the best. What I found out was much more encouraging than I could have ever hoped for - with one major letdown.

Greg's former Torino was still out there - in fact, the car was actively titled, and had been for all of the years since 1988 when Greg last owned it. As for finding out who the current owner was - that was not so easy to find out. In fact, I wasn't able to get that information from the Ohio DMV. The agency is generally prohibited by state law from divulging any personal information - name, phone number, address - to the general public about any motor vehicle registrant, without valid reason (which are both limited and rigid, of course). As I understand it, it's a practice endorsed by most, if not all, states in this country, dating back to 1999, with passage of the federal Driver Privacy Protection Act (DPPA).

On its Web site, the Maryland Motor Vehicle Administration (MVA), explains, that "each of these laws prohibit the disclosure of personal information contained in motor vehicle records to the public and for commercial use without the signed consent of the individual who is the subject of the record. Any individual who wishes to keep his or her motor vehicle record open to the public needs to inform the department of motor vehicles through a signed letter."

I inquired about having the Ohio DMV Contact the current owner - letting him or her know of Greg's simple interest in the Cobra, to which they have the option of responding or not - and was told that was not an agency policy. As a motor vehicle registrant myself, I can empathize with the need for personal security; as someone interested in helping people find their former cars, it's a source of ongoing frustration.

There was still, however, one card left: The dubious online VIN search. I presented Greg with the information I had gathered to this point, and let him make the call. I've mentioned previously that I'm somewhat skeptical of these services; my skepticism is borne of personal experience, since I used one a few years ago while searching for my dad's Mustang, and had mixed results. Besides a myriad of questions about them - among them, how do these agencies get unlimited access to motor vehicle records when I can't, and, how do they do it, as some claim, in less than one hour - their retrievable records are limited. For example, one service, which I referred to Greg, searches all available Ohio DMV records for information on a vehicle - but only if it is currently titled. If your former car is sitting in a barn somewhere and hasn't been registered or titled in 15 years, you are effectively out of luck.

The lost car gods, however, decided to smile down on Greg, and within an hour of contacting the search agency with the VIN and Ohio title number for his former Cobra (for a cost of $40, don't forget), he had contact information for the current owner of the vehicle. What transpired next was both gratifying and somewhat disappointing:

"Hi Keith - I got the information today from that company and was able to make a phone call and I found the car," Greg wrote me not long after. "It is in the Dayton, Ohio-area like was suspected. I talked to the owner's wife and she said that her husband has had it for three years and is going to restore it. It has been painted a different color. She said it was no way ever for sale - that sucks. She kind of acted bothered I called, I guess. Some people do not realize how much something means to certain people, even though she said her husband cares more for that car than the family. I know I loved it also. I do know now it is not in a junk yard anywhere."

While I was glad Greg received some sort of closure as to the status of his car, I was saddened to hear the reaction he received from the current owner's wife. I encouraged him to call back again and speak with the husband, which is exactly what he did:

"I talked to the husband last night," Greg later wrote me. "He said I was welcome to come up and take a look at it when I got time and take a few pics. He said it is not for sale but if he ever got in a spot or could not finish restoration, he would let me have a chance at buying it back."

Closure - for those of us keeping the lost car fires burning, that's about as much as we can hope for.

Happy motoring,
Keith

P.S. I have added a new section to the site: A Resources page. I have included links on that page to state motor vehicle agencies across the country - specifically to that part of their site with info as to how to conduct title/VIN searches, and so on. The list is not complete yet (I'm continuing to add links to the list as I acquire them), so be patient. If you have a resource you'd like me to add that isn't already there, e-mail me and let me know.

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January 8, 2003

Looks like I got the best Christmas gift of the season long after the holidays ended: People have begun submitting their former vehicles to this site, and I couldn't be happier! To all those who've submitted (and you can check out the most recent submissions on the home page), thanks. I've enjoyed the chance to post each and every bit of information and wish you all some measure of success. To the rest of you, keep the stories coming - that's why this site exists. And spread the word about this site to others!

Not to annoy non-Ford-ophiles, but Mustang & Fords had another great lost-car-found story in the new February 2003 issue about a reunited '70 Mach I and its grateful first owner. For some reason, the magazine didn't post this story on its site either (see the last News update below about the found '67 Shelby GT500), so I've reprinted it here.

Happy motoring,
Keith

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December 19, 2002

Think a lost automobile can't be found? Think again. I recently came across two excellent stories that prove you can find and bring a former car home again. Neil Rubin's article in the October 13 issue of the Detroit News tells the story of David Kucyk, a man reunited with his '67 Plymouth Belvedere some 30 years after it was sold.

I was also pleased to about the reunion of Ed Villa and his '67 Shelby Mustang GT500 in the January 2003 issue of Mustang and Fords magazine. Villa, a New Jersey native and former drag racer, sold the car when he came upon hard times in the late '70s. Were it not for his son's sharp eyes and a newspaper classified ad, Villa might not have been reunited with the car he gave up many years ago. The story isn't online, but I've posted it for reading. Check it out.

Happy motoring,
Keith

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December 3, 2002

Welcome to The Lost Car Registry! One year after I first thought about building this site, and a few months after sitting down to actually bring it all together, we're now live. While there isn't much news to report yet, I'm sure that will change. For this first post, I'd like to give an overview of the site and my reasons for starting it. Welcome aboard.

THE SITE

My intention was (and still is) to keep the design of the site as straightforward, as simple and as functional as possible; really, though, I didn't have much choice. I'll be the first to acknowledge that I won't win any awards for this site just yet, but that's OK. My plan was to get the site up and running as soon as possible, and make more advanced changes later on. That being said, if you have any ideas on how to improve the site, be sure to write and let me know about them.

The site was designed to allow you, the user, to search for vehicles (on the "Browse" page) and to post for them (on the "Submit" page). It was my belief when I started designing the site that serious lost car searchers would benefit from a tool allowing them to search for potential VINs, and to that end, I've included a site-wide search engine on the "Browse" page. If, however, you prefer to casually browse vehicle makes, you can do that as well; specific vehicle pages are available from the "Browse" page. Please note that there are a limited number of vehicle make pages currently available; new pages will be added as I receive submissions. Be sure to check back often.

Have a lost car you'd like to submit to the database? The "Submit" page takes care of that. Your post will be most effective with specific information relating to the car - a VIN, body style, options information, the original dealership where it was sold, color, when it was last seen, and so on - but none of the information is required; post as little or as much information as you wish. If you'd like to send photos of your car, e-mail them - in JPEG form - to lostcarregistry@yahoo.com.

Car of the Month: Each month I'll choose one car from all the submissions I receive for the Car of the Month page; this month's car is this site's flagship lost vehicle, my father's '69 Mustang Mach I. Any and all cars submitted have an equal chance of being chosen, so check back to see if your car has been chosen.

The About page includes information about me, your humble author and site designer, which is chock full of riveting information you just can't possibly live without. Right.

Tell your automotive friends who may have a classic vehicle about the site; they very well may be holding onto someone else's former love

WHY ARE WE HERE?

Maybe you're wondering why I started this site. The simplest answer is this: To find my father's beloved car, a '69 Ford Mustang Mach I (9T02R156354), which he sold in a weak moment more than 20 years ago. The more complicated, and perhaps more complete, answer is that finding his car is an exercise in closure that, for some strange reason, I've felt compelled to undertake. I'll try and explain more about all of this a bit later.

Certainly a bulk of the motivation in starting the site came indirectly through my father's ongoing regret over selling the Mach I, which - as I explain in this month's Car of the Month profile - was a decision influenced by many factors and not entirely within his control. From what I've observed, he's got company. Lots of guys my dad's age (50s-ish, early 60s) fortunate to have grown up during the last truly great American automotive epoch (the 1960s), fortunate to have owned one of its legendary slices of automobilia, ultimately let them get away.

They're that unfortunate fraternity you might call the "Big Fish Club" - think of fishermen who make an amazing catch, let it escape, and are left with nothing but a great story. As in, (pointing to any fantastic car of the era), "Oh, man! I had one of those! Yeah...but I sold it." Membership in the club is easy; usually marriage and having kids takes care of your enrollment. Then, that terribly fast, cool sportscar (read: fantastic car of the era you may have owned) gets sold for something terribly practical, like a minivan.

That's not exactly what happened to my dad, but it's close. In his case, a reckless local driver - who managed to almost total this fantastic car - a tense financial situation brought on by responsible attempts at self-improvement (my dad going back to college at the time and needing money for school), and resource-eliminating offspring (your author and one other) conspired to erode the luster of his once-valiant musclecar. So it went away. Permanently and unhonorably.

So, here I am, 23 years later, trying to find it, like a contact lens floating in a large body of water. Or at least find out what happened to it. Listening to my father lament his selling it has been motivating, to say the least; still, that's only a part of it. After all, it's not like I'm responsible for selling it. It's not like I sold it while he was on vacation on drove it into to Passaic River (sorry, unnecessary north Jersey reference.) I suppose I have empathy for my father's deep regret. Don't ghosts suppposedly haunt because they're forever tortured by unresolved issues from their lives? I have the distinct fear that my end up my father's fate - trapped in purgatory, searching for his Mustang, trying to right his decision, but finding only...Pintos.

All this fretting over some silly mass of steel, plastic and glass - it just doesn't make any sense, right? Or does it? Automobiles play a strange role in the American psyche. Our love affair with them is no secret, certainly. We're enamored with them for so many reasons: Their speed, their looks, their role as status symbols. Maybe it's that we love them most for something else they represent: A notion of ourselves that never changes. Think about it: A car is a conduit to a place that doesn't exist anymore. My dad's car is his connection to a time - before kids, mortgages, PTA meetings - when relevance was measured in terms of tire rubber burned and stoplight races won. Simple.

By the way, I don't mean to make all of this so specific to cars of the '60s - that's certainly not the intention of this site. It just happens to be specific to my father's situation. I encourage you to search for that former automobile, any automobile, that continues to mean something to YOU. Maybe you may pine for that Chevrolet Citation you sold because you moved somewhere where it wasn't feasible to keep the car anymore. All you're left with are memories of the car. Share those memories on this site.

The more I thought about finding my father's car, the more I wondered whether there were other people interested in the same thing: Finding a car they wish they hadn't sold, but not sure how to go about finding it. I mean, it's not like finding a person. You can't post a message for a lost car and expect the car to pick up a phone and call you if they read your post. In my six-plus years of surfing the Web, I've seen countless posts from people looking for a former vehicle, but really not having an idea how to make that search reality. Does posting on any random site help? Perhaps. I haven't had much luck with it personally. Now, imagine if there were a site dedicated only to finding lost cars.

There is now - and you've found it.

This site is the first with this specific goal in mind. In my online travels, I managed to find only one other site dedicated to the search for lost possessions, but it's not specific to cars. Admittedly, I don't have much of an emotional interest in finding lost toys or lost washing machines, but to each his own. Lost cars I understand.

IN SEARCH OF...

I've been searching for the Mach I off and on for the better part of 10-15 years, with little success using informal methods. In high school, I had a friend whose dad worked for the local police run the VIN on a national database of some sort, in an attempt to find a current owner, but he turned up nothing. Two years ago, I ran a VIN search with an online firm; the search included more than three dozen states and "access" to their vehicle records, but again, nothing. I remain skeptical about that one, but hey, it only cost me $25.

I ultimately figured an official route - say, via the state Department of Motor Vehicles - might be the way to go. Unfortunately, I've lived much of my natural life in New Jersey, where doing anything or getting anywhere typically takes three times the usual effort. Really, you haven't lived life to its fullest until you've been lucky enough to deal with the kind folks at the NJ DMV. Its employees have the combined warmth of Attila the Hun.

In the interest of fairness, however, they did manage to help me on one occasion, which is what convinced me they'd be of help with the Mach I. In late 1995, my dad purchased a '68 Camaro SS/RS (for a steal, I might add) from a local buyer; previous modifications to the Camaro prompted me to see if I could find one of its previous owners, in the hopes of establishing the car's history. Incredibly, the DMV managed to provide me with a copy of titles and registrations dating back to 1980, with names and addresses. Fantastic.

Fast-forward two years or so, and this same route with the Mach I is now a dead-end. As it turns out, in the two years following the search for the Camaro, the DMV changed its records policy - radically. In the interest of freeing-up space, records older than 10 years were now destroyed. A search for any of the Mach I's owners after my dad - say, during the '80s - was now impossible.

WHAT WE'RE NOT

I should probably take a moment to explain what this site isn't. We're not a detective agency or a search firm (at least not yet, anyway). I don't have nor pretend to have access to DMV records or anything like that. The site exists as an open forum; if you've got a car you'd like to find, post it here. My sincere and heartfelt hope is that someone will see your post and ultimately contact you, but I can't guarantee that.

And please, spread the word; tell all your automotive friends who may have a classic vehicle about this site. They just might be holding onto someone else's former love and may help bring closure to a search. Also, if you're aware of a rotting classic car - say, in a junkyard or some other remote location - perform a "humanitarian" service and let me know its VIN so I might post it on the site.

Happy motoring,
Keith

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Donations
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- The Lost Car Registry welcomes donations to help defray the costs of running this site. Donations are always optional but always greatly appreciated.

Thank you for your generosity.

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Latest Posts
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# 8702 Posted:2017-09-18 16:07:12
Lost:
1965 Blue Plymouth Satellite 2 Door
Last seen: 1965 in Beloit, Wisconsin

# 8701 Posted:2017-09-14 08:57:25
Lost:
1G6AS6981EE803570
1984 Black Cadillac Seville 4 Door
Last seen: 1992 in Cleveland, Oh
Sold to: Central Cadillac

# 8700 Posted:2017-09-08 15:43:29
Lost:
2j4fy19e1lj502493
1990 black Jeep Wrangler 2 Door
Last seen: 2003 in Oklahoma

# 8699 Posted:2017-09-08 13:19:52
Lost:
C1446J134310
1966 teal Chevrolet C10 Stepside Pickup
Last seen: 1996 in Phoenix AZ

# 8697 Posted:2017-08-28 19:58:01
Lost:
1974 #99ff66 Chevrolet Nova 2 Door with SS Hatchback 4 spd 350.
Last seen: 1989 in Oak Forest Illinois

# 8696 Posted:2017-08-21 13:15:45
Lost:
1965 Black with red interior Ford Mustang 2+2 Fastback 2 Door with Plexiglass windows in back not fins.
Last seen: 1974 in Minneapolis, Mn
Sold to: unk dealership

# 8695 Posted:2017-08-21 13:15:27
Lost:
1965 Black with red interior Ford Mustang 2+2 Fastback 2 Door with Plexiglass windows in back not fins.
Last seen: 1974 in Minneapolis, Mn
Sold to: unk dealership

# 8694 Posted:2017-08-20 16:57:19
Lost:
6f07c338578
1966 Red Ford Mustang 2 Door
Last seen: 1997 in Montana

# 8693 Posted:2017-08-20 15:16:33
Lost:
1972 lt green Chevrolet Pickup Pickup
Last seen: 1985 in Nevada

# 8692 Posted:2017-08-16 16:20:40
Lost:
138675B143601
1965 RED Chevrolet Malibu Convertible with 327/ 4 Speed.
Last seen: 1973 in Vermont

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- The Lost Car Registry grew out of a simple search for one vehicle - a 1969 Ford Mustang Mach I - read all about the story behind this car, and its impact on the development of this site. -
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