’67 Beetle Rear Bumper Over Riders

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Let’s all pause for a moment and give Jay a huge thanks for his dedication and research on this topic. -Eric Shoemaker, 1967beetle.com.

The question has reared its ugly head periodically and always seems to be in the back of everyone’s mind—and especially the minds of those who own 1967 Beetles.

Were there two styles of Rear Bumper Over Riders for 1967 Beetles or Only One?

My pat answer has been to review the decklid (engine compartment lid) information. The decklid changed for 1967, in conjunction with the new rear apron style. The decklid was widened at the latching end.

In order to accommodate this widened lid, the rear bumper over riders also were altered—reducing the height of the two inner “legs” and, at the same time, gently sloping these two shortened “legs”. The change is so slight that if a person did not look carefully, he might not notice the difference.

'67 Beetle Rear Bumper Over Riders

But…the question remains: did all 1967 Beetles sport this new bumper style?

In my various communications, I finally came up against two authorities whose testimony I could not dispute.

James Kraus, who worked at a Dealership in the late 1960s, asserted that he saw ’67 Beetles with both styles of the over riders. Further, he comments that it was late into the production when he saw the new, sloping style for the first time. At first, he comments, he thought that the bumper had been damaged in a collision. Upon closer inspection, he discovered that the over riders intentionally had been formed from the factory.

David Brown was trained by Volkswagen to manage the Parts Division in Dealerships where he worked. Dave managed to save the replacement pages that regularly came to the Parts Managers so that, even today, he retains a complete set of Parts Manuals for Volkswagens–second to none.

Dave notes that “Volkswagen never superceded the early style (of bumper over rider) and both were available as of 1983 but gone completely by my 1997 Price Book. “

This means that a car owner could obtain (at least in theory) either of the over rider styles until, in practicality, Volkswagen ceased selling vintage Beetle parts.

He continues, saying, “There are definitely two rear bumper bow styles for 1967. The tube was reshaped on the inner curve to ‘cut the corner’ and thus give the engine lid more room. The change was made at Chassis Number 117-171-365 The uprights (outer legs) remained the same (as they had been). I see no other bumper changes at that Chassis Number. You can sure see the difference once you compare the two.”

At last…a defining moment emerges. The records demonstrate that at Chassis Number 117-171-365, the new over rider was introduced to accommodate the new decklid.

At first glance, it would appear that the previous 171,364 1967 Beetles produced sported the earlier style of over riders. Problem solved and case closed. Right?

Wrong!

Dave further elaborates by telling us that production figures are complicated by the fact that Type I included Karmann Ghias—which shared the Beetle Chassis. At some point in their manufacture, the Ghia Chassis were routed to the Osnabruck assembly plant to be united with their bodies while Beetle Sedan Chassis went to the Wolfsburg plant. So, we cannot conclude that all previous 171,364 chassis produced went towards the ’67 Beetle production number.

He continues: “You’d have to break out the US cars as well as any other country that used the over riders ( M-Code107 ) as original production. The 171,364 is a tiny number compared to the year’s production…by December’s end (1966) they were at 431,603. So it seems that most ‘67s had the later style as original.”

James Kraus points out to those of us who would use Volkswagen Literature to try to prove our points, that, “…Relying on old brochures and period photos is a good resource, but has limitations. VW and Porsche materials were often quite sketchy in this regard and the annually airbrushed VWoA materials probably the worst of all (except for the Volkswagen Weathervane, the very reliable VWoA in-house newsletter). A good example: look at the ’67 VWoA double-fold brochure; inside is a photo of a red Beetle onto which they airbrushed in the ’67 deck lid, Volkswagen script and reversing lamps, but still visible is the pre-’65 engine lid T-handle latch!”

I believe that these factors bring us to an agreeable conclusion. Yes—both over riders were factory production and both styles certainly were available as replacement bows when needed.

We also must conclude that only a limited number of 1967 Beetles sporting the earlier style of bow ever reached USA Dealerships.

Of this limited number, we must conclude that few would be left by today, given normal attrition rates, including accidents after which the newer style of bumper might have been installed, owners who wanted the newer style and who purchased and installed them, and so on. Many of us may even have changed what were factory early bumpers, mistakenly believing that in our car’s history, someone had installed an earlier bumper or early over riders by necessity.

If your ’67 Beetle has a VIN higher than 117-171-365 and its rear bumper has the earlier over riders, it should have the later style as a matter of record. If it does not…we can conclude only that something disturbed the status quo. Some of us can “be at peace”, understanding that years of maintenance have disturbed many features of our beloved Beetles. Others of us, on the other hand, may continue to search for those elusive sloped over riders. The challenge of the search drives us!

Acknowledgements:

  • James Kraus, of Los Angeles, now in his 60s, first took notice of Volkswagens at age 13. Later, he worked at a Volkswagen Dealership in the Make-Ready Department. James has collected and maintains a museum-load of VW Literature.
  • David Brown, of Pennsylvania, was trained by Volkswagen of America to work in their Parts Department. After working for VW for some years, he established his own VW business and worked at it for the next 30 years. Now in his 70s, Dave continues to distribute information and to sell his mass of accumulated VW parts.
  • James Anderson, of Wylie, TX, has been an aficionado of Volkswagens since his teen years. Now a family man, he still enjoys working with them. James is in the final stages of restoring a 1967 Zenith Blue Beetle. I chose to use his photograph of the rear bumper of his Zenith because it so adequately demonstrates the restyled over rider.

Resources:

  • Early Left Rear Bow is 113 707 385
    Restyled Left Rear Bow is 113 707 385 A
  • Early Right Rear Bow is 113 707 386
    Restyled Right Rear Bow is 113 707 386 A
The Finishing Touches for Your Vintage Volkswagen™
The Finishing Touches for Your Vintage Volkswagen™

Posted by Jay Salser

My wife, Neva, and I have been driving and working on VWs for over 41 years. In fact, we raised our family in these cars. Now, we are retired and enjoy VWs as a hobby. The ’67 Beetle always has been our favorite year. We own a '67 Beetle and a '68 Karmann Ghia.

  1. Rees Klintworth January 3, 2015 at 7:32 pm

    Thank you for this! I have an early production (Vin 117-015-994, built in August 1966) 1967 Beetle, and this was a confusing matter for me. The car has been in my family since almost new, and there was no record or knowledge of any collision or any change of bumper, yet mine does not feature the smaller sloping bars associated with 1967 Bugs. It’s nice to finally have some information to clear this up once and for all. Well written, and well researched.

    Reply

    1. Hello, Rees…Thank you for your reinforcing information. This has been an interesting journey for me. I’m sure that there will be further discussion about this. Keep enjoying your wonderful Family Beetle! jay

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  2. I wonder if there was any mention of this change in Progressive refinements. I know this topic has been discussed at length before on The Samba.

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    1. Hello, Bill…I have the Progressive Refinements CD here somewhere but in the past the only thing gleaned from it was that the over riders had been changed–no further definition, as I recall. I’ll check on that again. Thanks for commenting! jay

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  3. Great article once again, Jay!

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  4. Beginning in August 1964, Model Year 1965 the Ghia Chassis Number began with 14 (145) with the third number denoting the year (with 0 (140) for 1970. 1967 numbers began with 147-type 1 Beetle with 117, so there were two sets of Chassis Numbers to count-they don’t appear to be interchangeable in the count, as a Beetle chassis wasn’t a ghia chassis by part number-sitting side by side would be two different chassis’s and two different chassis numbers.

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    1. Hello, Quinn…Yes…once the chassis were stamped with the VINs, there was that distinction. This is a rather “gray” area about which we know very little, at this time in history. jay

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  5. It is my understanding that the factory used sequential VINs whether Beetle or Ghia following the first 3 digits, meaning that the last 6 digits of the VIN would be the next available whether beetle or Ghia.

    I don’t think that the Beetle and Ghia shared the same chassis. The Ghia floor pan is wider than the Beetle. The Ghia did share the chassis with The Thing.

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    1. Hello, Jim…Right–the completed Ghia chassis was distinct from the T-1 chassis. It’s just a point to say that we really can’t separate the chassis (before pans were introduced). Whether or not this figures to alter the production numbers isn’t essential to the argument in the end. I could have left this factoid out of the article and it would not have altered the conclusion. The important factor is at what point the re-styled over riders were introduced to the bumpers. Thanks for chiming in! jay

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  6. Jay: Sorry to get off subject with the chassis discussion. You just made me aware that evidently the Beetle and Ghia chassis were the same until the floor pans were introduced on the assembly line. Thanks for clearing this up for me! Now it all makes sense.

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    1. Jim…not to worry. There is lots of room for discussion in these gray areas. I’m sure that further discussion will serve to bring out lots more. I have to laugh about this sometimes–then sometimes I grit my teeth. There are so many things which we do not know about these cars and probably never will know. We study and study the ’67 Bugs and wonder about it. But, talk to people who own other years and you’ll find that they, too, often are stumped by unknowns! In talking with my VW mechanic, I have learned about the “much cursed” ’68 Beetles–a transitional year for the Beetle. Wow! It’s like starting all over again. jay

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  7. Frame/Chassis assembly part number for Type 1 from Chassis Number 116 000 001 through 117 999 000 was/is 113 700 021 R for models 113, 117 and 151. Part number for Type 1 Model 14 Ghia Frame/Chassis for 1967 was/is 141 700 021 P for models 141 & 142. The pan part numbers also differ between Ghia and Beetle. When the part numbers are different, there is a difference.

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    1. Good points, Quinn! jay

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  8. I replaced whatever bumpers were on mine when I purchased it used with “euro style” bumpers and guards. However it still has the original brackets.

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    1. Hello, Joseph…Yes…a lot of us out here did alterations to our cars. I always chose to keep my stock bumper appearance since it was so unique and seminal to year-’67. You would be surprised at how many people are presently trying to put these cars back to original condition. Why, some even are taking baja-ed Beetles and welding front and rear clips back onto them. Keep enjoying your Beetle, Joseph! jay

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  9. Thanks, Jay, for another informative article. Veering slightly off point but still staying on the general topic of mid-year changes, does anyone know when, exactly, the seatbacks changed with the addition of the release lever? Is there a VIN cut-off for this change, too? — dlf

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    1. Hello, Donna–I hope that you and Gary are doing well…I know that “Wally2” is snug in his garage–for the winter. I do not have a ready answer for you about the seat back release information. I have put out a feeler which, hopefully, will garner this bit soon. I’ll get back to you as soon as I know. Isn’t all of this 1967 Trivia exciting! LOL jay

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  10. Nice article Jay! For what it’s worth, my ’67 Bug (VIN 117 142 889) went across the production line around the second week of September 1966 as best I can tell. It has the sloping over rider bars. Perhaps mine was one of the last ones to get them before the change.

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    1. Hello, Darryl…Good information. Actually, Darryl, this shows that your car received some of the very first re-styled sloping over riders. The sloping over riders were the replacements for the earlier style which did NOT slope. This goes to show that nothing is absolute when is comes to producing automobiles. jay

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  11. The seat release lever was incorporated into the seat backrest at Chassis Number 117 425 908-generally called mid year by many, actually appears to be during the month of December 1966. For those with earlier Chassis Numbers dating from August 1966 the Seat Back Locking Arm mechanism is Part Number 113 881 581/582 left/right BUT color code 043 Grey Black which makes it one of the lesser recognized 1967 one year/partial year only parts-applicable from August through November 1966. The same part number applies to 1966 BUT is color code 925 Silver Beige/Grey Black

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    1. Thank you, Quinn!

      And in response to Jay’s question … “Yes, I love ’67 VW trivia”. To say I’m being nerdish about this stuff might just be an understatement. Have added this info to my ever expanding ’67 Beetle spreadsheet which now totals over 500 cars. Happy 2015 everyone: Only a little over 2-1/2 years until the 50th birthday of our beloved Wally2!

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      1. “Only a little over 2-1/2 years until the 50th birthday.” We will have to all get together for the 50th! A 1967 Beetle party. Who’s in?

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        1. As of this moment, WE’RE IN!

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        2. Rees Klintworth January 4, 2015 at 12:57 pm

          Let’s do it!

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        3. This would be difficult to turn down–I bet that “Baby” will be ready. The big question is…will Neva and I still be mobile? Ouch! But..we will try! That would be such a great thing–all ’67s! jay and neva

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          1. That sure would be amazing.

  12. Happy New Year everybody. What a wealth of information exists about our unique little car. My question…was there any significant change to the deck lid that precipitated the change in the overriders. And yes, if all goes well, I would drive from NY for a 50th birthday party!

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    1. Good morning, Frank…I think that Eric’s idea of a ’67 Event would be super! Frank–there was quite a change to the rear of the ’67 Beetle. The rear apron was changed. A decklid had to be engineered to fit appropriately. If you recall, earlier decklids were more “pointed” and rounded at the bottom edge. The bottom edge of the ’67 decklid was widened and had a flat edge. There was a new breastplate. A new decklid seal, a new engine compartment seal. As a result of the widened bottom edge of the decklid, VW restyled the two over riders to give more clearance to the opening of the decklid. The old adage: every action has a reaction might apply here–every change required a concomitant change. Taken together… these and the many other changes are what makes the 1967 Beetle so unique and desirable to many of us in the Volkswagen Community. Get your driving glasses on everyone! Eric…here we come in 2-1/2 years! jay

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      1. It could be amazing. Imagine 30 + ’67 Beetle all driving together. Jay, Neva, you guys can’t miss this! I’ll put more thinking into it.

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  13. For what it’s worth, My 67 is number 117 303 470(built October 66 I believe) has the updated “sloping” bumpers and I have no seat release lever on the backrest. I can check for any other details if my chassis number will help solve any mysteries.

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    1. Hello, Ryan…Your information is, indeed, very helpful. Your VIN goes toward showing that the restyled over riders occurred following VIN 117-171-365. And the fact that your car still has the handle at the bottom of the seats follows the information which Quinn has provided. The information which you Readers provide helps to establish fact and move us farther from just guessing. Thanks for your help! jay

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  14. As Jay pointed out in his Excellent article the one year bumper overrider bows started at Chassis Number 117 171 365. The seat release moved high up on the seat backrests at Chassis Number 117 425 908, your Chassis Number at 117 303 470 would incorporate the sloping bumper bows and retain the seat mechanism low down on the front seats. I think of the production run through December 1966 as the early 1967’s-as there was a full 7 months remaining in the 1967 production run. Jay further pointed out the many changes around the engine lid and associated parts. Those many “pesky” one year only parts-pesky because the supply has dwindled greatly (rear aprons for example).

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    1. Absolutely, Quinn! Sometimes we gnash our teeth over the difficulties we have obtaining relevant and necessary parts. But, then, we wouldn’t have it any other way, would we! LOL I love the fact that we have a model which is “exclusive”! I rather proudly demonstrate to admirers that I have the much-sought air breather bracket, for instance. And so forth and so on. Here’s to all ’67 Beetles! jay

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  15. I have a 67 convert.with the same bumperites that are shown in this thread never to sure if OG or not can someone tell me what I have BOB

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    1. Good morning, Bob! Check your VIN. Then look at the stats in the article above. As we posit, the restyled (sloping) over riders should have appeared with VIN 117-171-365. If you have a VIN higher (later) than -171-365, in other words, your Convertible should have the sloping over riders.

      Some people want to know if their bumpers are after-market or original German bumpers. First, let me add that the original over riders can be applied to after-market bumpers. If you have sloping over riders–they have to be original because no one duplicates the restyled over riders. That’s a fact.

      An original German bumper blade should have the VW Logo stamped on the middle of the backside of the blade. Sometimes we see a bumper which has plastic gaskets between the over riders and the blade–this is a sure sign that the bumper is a reproduction. However, http://www.wolfsburgwest.com sells excellent reproduction front and rear bumpers which do NOT have the plastic gasket. Also, polished stainless steel bumpers are available from sources out of the Country–these also do NOT have the plastic gasket.

      I hope that this helps, Bob. I do not envy you the 3 degree F weather which you are reporting today! jay

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  16. That’s really interesting. I never noticed the widening of the engine compartments. So many small details for a bug

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    1. Hello, ML…Thanks for reading the article. Yes…all of these “quirks” make us owners of ’67 Beetles Members of a Special Club! LOL And, I luv it! jay

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  17. thanks for the great info I am learning lots about my ’67 that I just picked up dirt cheap ($1800) in great condition it was built in aug. of 66 with the straight overriders my question is rear seat belts?

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    1. Curt,
      The ’67 Beetle (by default) has pre drilled holes from the factory for rear seat belts. We can get them for you, if you’d like to place an order.

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    2. Hello, Curt…and welcome to the ’67 Beetle Community! I am so happy for you and your great discovery of an intact ’67 Beetle. I hope that you enjoy it as much as the rest of us are enjoying ours. You have affirmed for us the information which we have regarding the rear bumper over riders–thanks for letting us know! Perfect! Eric already has answered your question about rear seat belts. 1967 was the first year for factory front seat belts. VW thought ahead but was not yet required by USA Standards to install those rear belts. Let us continue to hear from you! jay

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  18. thanks Eric I will order some from you when I get to that point for sure… can you get the driver seatbelt I need one asap I am hoping to have my beetle on the road in a few weeks ( it has been in a garage for the last 7 years)

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  19. [* WordPress Simple Firewall plugin marked this comment as “trash”. Reason: Failed GASP Bot Filter Test (checkbox) *]
    Glad to share the photo. More to follow very soon of the complete car.

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  20. I wish I had found this before I sourced out the later style sloping towel bar ’67 bumper for my August of ’66 built ’67 Beetle. Anyone need a later style rear ’67 bumper?

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    1. Good luck finding the right one. :)

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      1. Were the early ’67 rear bumpers not the same as the ’66 rear bumpers?

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        1. Exactly the same, Chris.

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    2. Hello, Chris…Are you kidding? !!! The sloped German over riders are “pure gold” these days. You’ll have no trouble selling them. But wait! Don’t sell the entire bumper–you can fit the ’66 and earlier German over riders onto the existing bumper blade. I must add–do not purchase after-market over riders to install onto the German bumper blade. There is a difference in steel thickness that will leave you less than happy. Search thesamba.com, etc. and you are sure to find a nice set of earlier German over riders. jay

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  21. What would you expect for overriders on a 118 VIN 1967 – Built Sept 1967

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    1. Hello, Brian…a VIN beginning with 118- would be a 1968 Manufacture Beetle. The Manufacturing Year began in August. Thus, in August of 1967, all Beetles would have a VIN of 118-. ’67 Beetles will have a VIN beginning with 117- (the “7” being for 1967). In your case, I would want to know if you are looking at the VIN beneath the back seat bottom. Is this where you discovered the VIN? It is possible that you have a 1968 Chassis with a ’67 Beetle body on it. Check the VIN plate behind the spare tire. Also, check the Title VIN. All three VINs MUST match. For 1968, all Beetles had a completely different one-piece bumper with no over-riders. Let us know what you discover, please. jay salser

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  22. Jay,

    I got the VIN info from the beetle it is in fact a 117. I am waiting on the chassis number, but the owner has it in for an oil change.

    The only other thing I am unsure of is that it has an H5 motor number. The car was sold in Arizona, then moved to Florida where it sat for many years. Current owner does not have anything to suggest a motor was changed.

    I am hoping to go see this vehicle next weekend.

    Thanks

    Reply

    1. Brian—Be sure to get the Chassis VIN. There seems to be something suspicious going on here. All three VIN MUST agree! There is NO September 1967 Beetle. People are altering VINs more and more–they find it quite easy to do. This leaves the buyer with a car which is a mix-n-match vehicle. The H5 engine would have been for ’68-’69 vehicles. No H5 for any ’67 Bug. I’d say off-hand to quit this car and move on to something more original. If you want a ’67 Bug, find one which has not been altered in any significant manner. No matter how sweet the deal–the bitter taste always will remain. jay salser

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  23. Jay – thanks so much. I was very concerned about this as well. The seller is an older couple, so I have asked them to double check the motor number for me before I consider driving 16hrs round trip. I am looking for a stock beetle, I’m happy to do some minor restoration work, but it must be correct! It is starting to sound like this 67 had a motor swap at some point.

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    1. Brian–While I am concerned about the Engine Serial, the VIN information (or lack thereof) is a serious situation! There is more and more altering of VINs these days! If the VIN smells fishy–RUN! You could get stuck with a vehicle which has been stolen or illegally altered. In either case–you are stuck! Eric and I run into this constantly. Avoid a heart-ache now! jay

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    2. Brian–if you have photos of the engine compartment, interior, etc, etc.–send them to jksalservw@gmail.com I can help with a critique of the vehicle. jay

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