Car stalkiing
January 17, 2008 12:43 AM   Subscribe

Is my old car still on the road?

I've owned several cars in my life that were dear to me.
Is there any way to find about their location, or simply (and less intrusively) if they are still operating? VIN search, license plate search, etc?...neither of which seem to google.
posted by artdrectr to Grab Bag (7 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
Google does claim to support VIN searching, FWIW.
posted by mumkin at 12:49 AM on January 17, 2008

Response by poster: Thanks mumkin. Indeed, google links to, a pay site. Should have noted I'm looking for free info on these here Internets.
posted by artdrectr at 1:02 AM on January 17, 2008

artdrectr, were these cars which in any way would be collectible today? I run a few sites that do VIN number tracking of classic British cars, for example, and its likely there are registrars for other beloved machinery. If on the other hand, you're hoping to find an old Rambler station wagon or F250 you had from the 70's you're probably going to have to be very fortunate to find out what happened to it.

Many state licensing departments simply trashed their paper records many years ago when they went to computerized records.
posted by maxwelton at 3:02 AM on January 17, 2008

There was just an article in the Wall Street Journal about this. I don't have WSJ archive access but found the article here. It gives you some good ideas of how to begin your search even if it takes many, many years.
posted by JJ86 at 5:51 AM on January 17, 2008

artdrectr, I'm currently in the market for a used car and have an active carfax subscription (unlimited reports for 30 days). I'd be happy to run report(s) for you if you can supply VIN's.

A carfax report will give information on where the car is/has been registered, mileage report at inspection and accidents.
posted by de void at 6:52 AM on January 17, 2008

Best answer: Well, in California you can look up any vehicle's smog check history by VIN or license number, which will tell you if it's still being registered, about where it is, and of course how the emissions system is doing. Obviously not applicable if your vehicle(s) are exempt from emissions testing.
posted by RikiTikiTavi at 9:20 AM on January 17, 2008

Response by poster: Thanks to everyone for all the answers and suggestions.
These were '60's cars (Datsun2000, MG GTV8) and a '94 3rd gen RX7TT.

I found one car, the Mazda, is still on the road (yay!) through RikiTikiTavi's suggestion, so RTT gets the nod. And it's still in the same county, so maybe someday I'll see it on the road.
(What is the hand signal for "Hey, I used to own that car!"?)

maxwelton: all the cars are collectible to some degree. If I can dig up the MG VIN, I'll email.
jj86: thanks for the article. They have me nailed, .
de void: thank you for the carfax offer, I'll email.
posted by artdrectr at 9:30 PM on January 17, 2008

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