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you need to contact the DMV for a replacement title.
you should contact the State Police to ensure it was not stolen. in 1948, the engine number was the vehicle VIN for Harleys.
let me know if you need more help.
there is no way to know without checking it yourself. the fact it didn't come with a title is a red flag.
just because he should have ensured it was a legal motor, doesn't mean he did.
it may be stolen and he may not even know.
better for you to check it out yourself.
when you apply for a replacement title, they will likely run the number.
you can call the state police and save yourself a wait at the DMV.
it's not likely you would be cited for possession of stole property, but you would lose the motor.