I don't know what you mean when you say you put the car in your friend's name. If the transaction was not intended as a gift you may be able to void it since you got nothing out of the transaction. However, your friend may defend by asserting that it was a gift. Call a contract lawyer.
So you paid but your friend's name is on the title?
Without a good written agreement to the contrary, unfortunately, I'd say you are out of luck.
Realistically, you can sue her for the value of the car, but how is it worth bothering, since the lawsuit will cost as much to pursue just in filing fees (unless they are waived) as the car cost and she is unlikely to have money to obtain. You can try to sue her in what is called a replevin action to get the car back, but since it's in her name, absent an agreement stating you retain rights to it, it may not be a winner.
Contact a lawyer to review your options.
Stephen L. Hoffman
Law Office of Stephen L. Hoffman LLC
This answer posted on Avvo is for informational and educational purposes only. There is no attorney-client relationship created or formed and you should not rely on this as legal advice. The suggestion is made that if you wish to protect your rights, you consult with an attorney immediately.
If you titled this car in your friend's name, even though you made all the payments, the car is your friend's. Whatever your reason was for not taking title in your own name, you were very foolish and will probably lose the vehicle as well as your friend. If there are unusual circumstances, perhaps speaking directly to an attorney could unravel this mess but there is nothing we can tell you in this forum based upon the few facts you presented.
A title on its own is not proof ownership, but the old saying "possession is 95% of the law" holds particularly true on this occassion. Unless, you have a separate contract or agreement to the contrary, a Judge would almost certainly conclued you meant it as a gift and find against you. I am assuming that you have you asked her for it back and she has refused?