Reply to "What is the real answer on Importing Cars?"

Coz knows all about importing a car better than anyone else on the board (with the possible exception of Kirk) and all the steps.

I have shipped my old '72 Pantera from NY to France, and then from France to California (to PI Motorsports, to be exact). I had the car in Europe for three years, but drove around with my US tags. So I cannot tell you what is involved in actually REGISTERING your car, but I can tell you about the process of actually physically shipping the car across the pond.

I will also say that I had heard plenty of vague "it's really expensive" and "it's really hard" comments, but heard of nobody with first hand experience who had done it. My experience with shipping the car over and back was that it was about the easiest thing I have ever done. Keep in mind that my experience stopped short of registering the car, which is a whole different ball game.

My shipping cost was much less than Coz got. My car was sent on a Ro-Ro, a Roll-on, Roll-off boat, which is basically an ocean-going car ferry. It is the method used by the car manufacturers to ship their cars across the ocean. I assume that Coz had his car containerized, so you can see why the car companies simply put them on a ferry.

I shipped my car in 1998, which admittedly is a few years ago. The actual cost for shipping was $550 in 1998, but the shipping companies won't deal with individuals and you are required to go through a broker. I located my broker via an internet search, but when looking to pass on his information a few years later I found that he had retired. The broker fees, taxes, and so forth were an additional $250. My total cost for shipping a '72 Pantera from NY to Le Havre, France was under $800, which seemed like a heck of a deal. 10 days after leaving the car in NY, I picked up the car in France.

In 2000 or 2001, I shipped the same car from Le Havre, France to Long Beach, CA. Total cost including broker fees, tax, title, and license was $1040. Total travel time was 30 days.

The customs procedure was easy. My broker had prepared the paperwork, so I went with the customs guy to look at the car, basically verify that the VIN matched the paperwork, and in less than 10 minutes I was driving in France. Amazing, considering that the French have perfected beaurocracy to standards that have rarely been seen!

I used Wallenius, which is really the biggest player in the business. I had to search to find a broker, which was relatively easy. He's no longer around, unfortunately.

I only answered part of your question... Hope it helped!
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