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how to?: importing classic car from USA


I've been looking at various classic cars to buy for a long while and finally decided on a 1967 porsche.

Afterlooking around in the UK, I decided to check out the market in other countries and found that I could purchase a top condition Porsche rust free from the USA (california) much much cheaper than I could in the UK (especially with the favourable exchange rate at the moment).

Now obviously I'd have t get he car shipped back to the UK ? I know nothing about this.

How would I go about getting it shipped over?

What legalities do I have to be aware of?

Because its a really old car how will I be taxed?

Any advice, help info greatfully received!


Steve G    on 28 August 2002

I'd suggest talking to a specialist importer -most advertise in Classic car mags.
'Rust Free' is just about impossible on a 35 year old car even in sunny climates.A 'top' condition car will have been restored.One other obvious point is the LHD issue.
Good luck..

Richard Hall    on 28 August 2002

First thing to consider: are you going to view the car before you buy it, or rely on the vendor's description and a few photos? The latter course is very, very dangerous. I was talking a couple of weeks ago to a guy who bought a car from California. Described as 'very straight, in primer, needs painting', looked OK in photos, turned out to be heavily rotted and full of filler. American bodyshops tend to use buckets of filler to repair accident damage, rather than panel-beating and/or new panels, and their 'filler bandits' are in a league of their own. Also, mechanical wear is a major problem on Californian cars. They may be less likely to rust (although parts of Northern California are wetter than you might imagine), but they tend to do big mileages. And the hot sun destroys interiors - dash, seats etc, and shrivels up all the door and boot seals.

If I were you, unless I was looking for a good starting point for a restoration project, I would pay the extra and buy from a reputable specialist in the UK. It's a lot safer, and at least you will be protected to some extent by UK consumer legislation if it all goes pear-shaped. Would you fancy trying to take a Californian car dealer to court in California?

Richard Hall

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