Sales – Transfer of Title – Effect of Motor Vehicle Act

Plaintiffs, wholesale automobile dealers in New Mexico and Colorado, each sold a used car to a Utah dealer. The wholesalers forwarded drafts, with certificates of title attached, for payment by the dealer. The dealer sold the cars from his lot without ever having paid the drafts, and, consequently, without ever having. obtained the foreign title certificates. Plaintiffs brought replevin against the purchasers of the autos and recovered judgments. On appeal, held, reversed. The wholesalers knew that the purchaser was a used car dealer. They had transferred more than mere possession and clothed him with apparent ownership. Therefore, under the provisions of the Uniform Sales Act, the plaintiffs were estopped to assert their title against a buyer in the ordinary course of trade. The purchasers were not put on notice by their vendor’s lack of title because the Utah Motor Vehicle Code did not require cars held for sale by a used car dealer to be registered prior to sale. Heaston v. Martinez, (Utah 1955) 282 P. (2d) 833.