1982 BMW 323i Baur

1982 BMW 323i Baur
Memorial Day 2010 First Drive 1982 323i BMW Baur Lapisblau M20 5 speed #4154 of 4595 made. The car was imported to California by Dietel Enterprises. I have since changed the wheels, installed the clear turn signal lenses, and I am in the process of installing a new cabriolet roof. I have to do something about those bumpers, too. :) I love this car! To see one of the reasons why, check my post "Score One For the Good Guys" on 6/26/2011.

Friday, June 28, 2013

Baurspotting vs. DMV Part II: Curses, Foiled Again!

Thursday, June 20, 2013

3:30pm.  I have just left work, brimming with optimism, headed for the Old Saybrook office of the CT DMV.  I am confident that I have all the necessary paperwork, completed in advance.  My last DMV experience, in October 2012, was a stunning success in that I was able to enter the office, fill out the paperwork, wait for my number to be called, complete the transaction at the DMV window, and get back into the car headed home......... all in the space of 20 minutes!  Incredible, right?  I am hoping for a repeat performance.

Not only that, but the DMV clerk that day actually asked us how our experienc at the DMV had gone!  The DMV doing customer relations??!!!  What planet am I ON?

It was with these thoughts in mind that I headed into the DMV just before 4pm, and I was immediately struck by a sea of faces, wall to wall, waiting their turn.  An auspicious beginning.  Next I found that DMV has again cleverly revised their waiting system.

This DMV office used to be basically divided into two sections,with those seeking driver licenses and renewals on one side, and those seeking car registrations on the other.  It worked fairly well, and when the lines got too long, they would send a staff out from behind the counter to check the paperwork of the folks in the line, to see if there was a way to expedite the process.  I suspect that the old system must have been working too well, and DMV, fearing that their reputation for surliness, arrogance and confounded confusion might be at risk, had to make a change.

With this new system, everyone now must go to the single information window, wait in line, state your business, and, if all your paperwork is completed, they give you a number, coded by category: A for drivers licenses, D for car registrations, and I have no idea what C was for.  If your paperwork has not been filled out yet, you must go to a desk and complete it, then return to the back of the line for the information window.  Only then will you be given a number.

So, here's how it works:  enter DMV, (1) wait in line 10-15 minutes only to find out that you have to go spend (2) 10-15 minutes filling out the paperwork you need, then wait (3) another 10-15 minutes in the information line again to finally get assigned your number.  These three little 15 minute waiting periods are best considered as a warm-up, btw, because now that you actually have an assigned number, you are now in for some serious, Major League waiting.  Trying though this all may be, don't give up.  To paraphrase John Paul Jones, "We have not yet begun to....WAIT!!!"

I am pretty sure I know the system on which the DMV models their operations, and their customer relations training:  the Soviet Central Registry of Vehicles!  You will recall that the Russians finally got so fed up with their system in the early '90s, that they tossed out their whole government!  What you may NOT know, is that the initial spark for that revolution started from a dispute in their Moscow DMV that just spiralled out of control!  Or so I am told, and I, for one, believe it!

So, I am given Number D688, and I immediately check the message board to see that they are currently serving.... D656!  Lordy.  32 car registrations ahead of me.... and that doesnt count the A and the C categories.  It is now 4pm, and the office closes at 5:30.  Will we make it?

One hour goes by.  DMV is now serving D672.  At this rate they will get to me at 6pm.... 1/2 hour after scheduled closing.  Not looking good.

But magically, they call my number at 5:25pm.  I scramble up to the counter, wanting to make this as quick and as painless as possible---for them and for me!  I have two transactions:  register the 1973 2002, and transfer the Early American plate from my old Mercedes diesel to the newly registered '02.  The clerk asks,"OK, what have you got for paperwork?  We want to get you out of here on time."  Rather than fumble through my two folders of paper work, I just place them both on the counter for her, saying basically ... take what you need, it is all here.

Rookie mistake!

Note to self:  Never ever give the DMV any more than the minimum that they specifically ask for.

I had the essential paperwork all clipped together.  When the clerk lifted that out of the folder, she spotted an old RI registration underneath, provided by the seller, in case I needed it.  (RI does not issue titles for cars earlier than 2001, or so.) She picks up the registration, looks it over and says, "this registration is expired. ".  I responded that yes, he sold the car to me last year.    DMV:   "But the registration expired in 2008.  How do I know he was the last person to register or own it?"  I said he had it off the road because he was working on it. She said, "Well, I am sorry."

My heart began to sink.

"You are going to have to obtain a letter from the RI DMV stating that he was the last person to register it."  A letter from their DMV, that could take months, I said.  Well, she said, now that I have seen that old form, there is no way around it.

Seeking her sympathetic side, I said that I was hoping to have it ready for a car event next weekend.  "And you waited until NOW to register it?", she replied.  Uh oh.  Do I detect a note of sarcasm there?  I can see my chances are now dropping like a stone.  I told her that I have been working on it until now to get it ready.

I told her the seller gave me the form to HELP me, not to sabotage me!  No dice, cold as ice.  I knew I was lost, so I went 'all in":  "Could we just start again and I will remove that form from the packet?"

No way, of course.

It is now 5:30pm, and they are closing.  As a parting shot, she offered, "I could have only given you a temp plate anyway.  You have to have a VIN check, and because the car is so old, you have to go to DMV in Hamden or Willimantic for that."

"Can't I have it done at Meineke near my work?  They have done them for me before."  "No," she replied, "they can't do a car that old.  You have to have DMV do it."

This DMV clerk is just not cutting me ANY slack.  Was it something I said?  ;)

At about this point, I recalled the blue sign I had seen posted in the DMV earlier, and I instantly understood why they needed to post it!

I left the premises, quietly simmering, down, but not vanquished.  "He that fights and runs away, lives to fight another day."  1 1/2 hours in DMV plus travel time with nary a license plate nor even a scrap of paper to show for it.

Bummer, dude!

But never under estimate the ability of Old Age and Treachery to overcome Bureaucracy and Red Tape!


Stay tuned for Part III!  

The complete 5 part series:
The whole sordid story is really too long to post completely in here, so here it is broken up into digestible segments.

Baurspotting vs. DMV: A Tragedy In Four Parts. OK Maybe Five.

Baurspotting: Baurspotting vs. DMV: A Tragedy In Four Parts. OK Maybe Five.

Baurspotting vs. DMV Part II: Curses, Foiled Again!

Baurspotting: Baurspotting vs. DMV Part II: Curses, Foiled Again!

Baurspotting vs. DMV III: Old Age and Cunning Triumph Over Bureaucracy and Red Tape!

Baurspotting: Baurspotting vs. DMV III: Old Age and Cunning Triumph Over Bureaucracy and Red Tape!

Baurspotting vs. DMV Part IV: The Empire Strikes Back!

Baurspotting: Baurspotting vs. DMV Part IV: The Empire Strikes Back!

Baurspotting vs. DMV Part V: Yes, Virginia, There IS a Santa Claus

Baurspotting: Baurspotting vs. DMV Part V: Yes, Virginia, There IS a Santa Claus

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