Maine's Y2K Glitch Cranks Up 'Horseless Carriage' Car Titles
Wednesday, October 13, 1999; Page A02
PORTLAND, Maine, Oct. 12-The state government got its first Y2K
surprise months early when owners of 2000 model cars and trucks
received titles identifying their new vehicles as "horseless
Despite millions of dollars spent to ensure state computers are ready
for the year 2000, computers in the secretary of state's office got
confused over the 2000 model year designation.
The case demonstrates the problems that can occur when computers
misread the year 2000 as the year 1900, which is what happened in the
secretary of state's office.
Because the computer read the model year as 1900, the titles were
printed with the "horseless carriage" designation used for vintage
vehicles produced before 1916, said Secretary of State Dan A.
Gwadosky, whose office oversees licensing and registration of
vehicles. About 800 passenger car titles and about 1,200
tractor-trailer titles were issued with the error, Gwadosky said.
Since few people pay cash for cars, most of the titles went directly
to banks and financial institutions. "Most of them chuckled and said
we need a clean title as soon as possible," Gwadosky said.
Gov. Angus S. King Jr. did not know of the problem until reporters
asked him about it today. He said there is no guarantee computers
will work properly but he said the state doesn't envision widespread
problems on Jan. 1.