"But Roy, " you say, "didn't you pay that thing off a few years ago?"
Yes, yes I did. But Wells Fargo is stupid, and I am lazy, and that makes for a dangerous combination.
You see, when I took out my car loan the previous owner signed the title over to Wells Fargo and they held onto it until my loan was paid off. But, unbeknownst to them (and me), the car was also in the owner's wife's name. So when it came to give me the title, Wells Fargo sent me a nice letter saying "Err... We haven't got one. Thanks for your money."
Well, as I said, I'm lazy. The reason the owner sold his car in the first place was because he was moving back to England, so getting a title out of him was going to be tough. So I did the bare minimum for as long as I could. First, I got listed as an approved registrent, which meant that I could keep the registration up to date.
But then, ermm, my front license plate fell off. And it turns out you can't get a new license plate if you don't own the car. And you can't pass an inspection if you don't have both plates. So here I was, driving a car I didn't technically own, missing a plate, with an expired inspection sticker.
At long last I was stirred to action. Contacted the owner (who still works for IBM, thankfully), and sent him detailed instructions. He had to 1) apply for a replacement title since he didn't have one, 2) wait for it to get to London, 3) Sign the title over to me 4) Fill out another form, 5) mail the stuff to me.
Got the stuff yesterday. I had a mild panic attack when I realized that they'd never signed the front of the title, and I was afraid that would cause me some grief. But I went in this morning, paid some fat taxes, and got the title and new plates.
Now to get it inspected, figure out what's wrong with the A/C and fix that crack in the back for good measure.