260, I'll share my experiecne. I was told a BS story about the original owner of my car( check "Vet's and their cars" for that one), and I knew the car never left a certain city. I gave the motor vehicles bureau a call and reiterated the same BS story I was fed and, although the taped message indicated that due to the privacy act information on prior owners, blah, blah, blah, this gal was going to help me out. I happened to have the name of the second woner from some old registration/bill of sale documents the last owner gave me. She found his name, but couldn't get her database to find the original. God knows she tried. So there you have it. The car never left the state and the records couldn't be pulled.
At a local Camaro/Chevelle specialty store a guy pulled up in his new Camaro and the owner came out to look. I happened to be leaving so, hey, I'll check out this guys ride too. The fella went on to say the car came out of Texas and he checked it out. The shop owner obviuosly asked him how, and he said he had the state police check it out. The owner said he understood that you couldn't check anything out of state. Well the state police can. The proud owner of the Camaro was a peace officer so unless you're connected... I asked a neighbor who's a dispatcher to check my Chevelle and he said that there was just a policy which forbid this type of checking due to a current/previous owner altercation here at our local town police.
I went on to call a client and friend of mine whose is the areas largest Chevy dealer. He didn't think any of the original transaction records would be kept this long.
So there you have it. Even with access to a database, my state's records were incomplete. If you've got a buddy who's a cop and he's willing to help, it's worth a shot. I've wondered whether the police would've accessed the same state registration database anyway and found the first owners records missing or incomplete.
Net/net, even with access to data it could be a bear. Remember 1K of computer memory probably cost 5 grand in 1967, 68, etc. so archives of such records weren't easily kept.
As a funny aside, the second owner of my car was really excitied to hear about the car. (I called him up after I searched his name on four11.com ) In fact, he's showing up tomorrow to take a look at her. I'm sure he'll give me some insight into the car's history. It'll be cool.