What to Know When Importing a Classic Car

What to Know When Importing a Classic Car

Posted by Anderson Restoration Parts on 12th Sep 2023

There are several classic car trends that have become much more popular in the last couple decades, and one is the importation of classic cars from overseas to American buyers (and vice versa). If you're looking to purchase and import a classic vehicle from outside the country, there are a few important things to be thinking about during this process.

At Andersen Restoration Parts, we're here to offer numerous parts for classic vehicles of any kind, including those imported from overseas. We offer idler arms, front-end rebuild kits, suspension kits and a huge range of additional options. Here are some of the most important concepts and steps to be keeping in mind as you move through the classic car importation process.

Research and Similar Vehicle Test Drive

Before any importation process begins, the process of researching the vehicle you're thinking about importing is essential. You'll need to research the manufacturer and model of the car to find out more information about it, its performance, and any associated repair costs. For international vehicles, the use of online forums and websites can be essential here.

What about a test drive? This would often be a major part of a classic vehicle purchase, but obviously is made more difficult when importing. Consider researching similar vehicles in your area for a test drive, or to find an owner willing to let you take it out on a short-term basis.

Ensure American Legality

Another important part of your research is to ensure the car is legal in America within whichever format you plan to use it. If you plan to drive the vehicle on the roads, it must pass all relevant American safety and emissions tests. This can be done at a local DMV or by hiring an expert to inspect the car for you.

If your plan is to keep the vehicle stored off-road, you'll need to check if there are any laws which could restrict its use in this way. Again, talking to local experts in this area can be essential for getting the correct information. For instance, certain pollution laws may still apply, or you could face a tax penalty.

Insurance Considerations

Another key factor to consider when importing a classic vehicle is the availability of insurance. It's important to talk to your current insurer and find out if they will insure any imported vehicles, as many insurers do not. You should also decide whether you'll need liability coverage and/or full coverage.

It's also useful to understand how any damage or repair costs will be covered, especially if the car is damaged during shipping. While this may not be something you can insure in advance, it's still essential to get a good idea of what the process would look like and who would cover any incurred costs.

Import Rules and Regulations

One of the most important factors to consider when importing a classic car is the rules and regulations around this process. There are several key things to keep in mind here, including:

  • Knowing the country's import regulations and restrictions (if any)
  • Understanding how customs fees work for imported vehicles
  • Working out if the vehicle needs to be inspected or modified before it can be legally driven
  • Keeping in mind any additional taxes or fees that may be applicable

Beware of Size and Terminology Differences

As you're in the process of researching and importing a classic car, it's important to be mindful of the fact that there may be size and terminology differences between American cars and those from overseas. This can span everything from actual vehicle sizes (which vary by country) to what certain parts are called or referred to in different regions.

Doing research into these differences before you begin the importation process can save you a lot of time and effort down the line, as you'll understand exactly what additional steps may be needed.

These are just some of the key factors to consider when importing a classic car from overseas. At Andersen Restoration Parts, we offer parts for all kinds of classic vehicles – imported or otherwise – so if you need help with any part of the importation process, please don't hesitate to contact us. We're here to help make the journey smoother and easier!