How difficult is it to license a vehicle?
Well I learned that if the previous three owners have not registered it and the last legal registration was back before the DMV used computers, it can be pretty difficult. However, if you are persistent and if none of the previous owners have reported the vehicle as stolen, it actually can be done, it just takes about a month and requires 6 trips to the DMV and AAA.
The family I bought the airstream from (we can call them the "gun" family because they ran a firearm dealership out of their garage) had never registered it, and they didn't have the title either. They had a receipt, and they had the fact that the trailer had been sitting in their yard so long that it had become part of the local wildlife ecosystem, but that didn't impress the government representative behind the counter very much. They also had a letter from the previous owner from 15 years ago (we can call him old man 90's because he actually was an old man from the 90's) stating that he did not have the title either, but he agreed that he had sold the Airstream to the current owners and it was not stolen.
One problem, the teller looks at the letter and at the gun family and says none of this matters because old man 90s is not in the system either, whoever he purchased it from (we can call them the mystery family because they truly are a mystery) never registered the airstream either. The last registration was back in the 70s before the DMV was using digital records and there was no way of finding out who they were.
Eventually we were able to do some kind of search to see if the vehicle had been stolen and when that came back clean the DMV granted us a title. I was a little nervous they would want us to pay a fee for all the years it had gone unregistered, but in the end it was only a few hundred dollars.
In the end the saga was an adventure, but now we are the legal owners of "Morning Breeze" and she is safe in our care ready for the long road back to health.