corsia logo

How to import a classic car?

How to import a classic car?

Is your life long dream to own and drive a classic car? You may have been scouting around for that perfect vintage ride for a while now.  But what if your search takes you across the border, or even farther – across the ocean? Don’t get discouraged! Get ready for a vintage-car-importing quest.

A gamut of questions must be rushing through your head now:

Is it possible? What do I need to do and what are the best countries to import a classic car from? What are the requirements? How much does it cost?

We can state with confidence: yes, it is possible to import a classic car. You just need to do your homework: research and gather as much information and advice as you can. It is also important to be patient and not make any rash decisions.

In this post, we will share information on how to import a classic car and offer a few helpful tips to make this new journey as easy as possible for you.

What exactly is a ‘classic’ car?

As a big classic car fan, I like to think about vintage vehicles around the world. I imagine a car covered in dust in an unkempt garage waiting to be restored to its former glory. In reality, this is not always the case. Most vintage cars you’ll find are well maintained by their current owners or dealerships.

So, how old should a car be to be considered classic?

It depends, as rules vary from country to country. In the US for example, depending on a state, the car needs to be between 20 and 25 years old, while in other countries such as Sweden, Brazil, or Singapore, a vehicle must be 30-35 years old to be considered a classic.

What are the best countries to shop for classic cars?

There are two factors you want to keep in mind before you target your search toward a particular country.

First, choose a region that is characterized by a dry and warm climate. Countries bordering the Mediterranean are a perfect choice for this matter. If you want to import your classic vehicle from a non-European country, consider New Zealand, Australia, and South Africa.

Second, mind the exchange rate and consider taking advantage of importing a vintage car from countries that are currently going through the economic crisis – explore Southern and Eastern Europe.

If you find a classic car that, in your opinion, is way underpriced, don’t be overly suspicious. In most cases, the deal is totally legit. Just browse through news and read about the economic situation of the region where you have located a classic car.

Hopefully, that will give you peace of mind and help understand why a car that looks underpriced to you is a fair business for a seller. But of course, you have to stay vigilant and pay attention as car buying scams are always a real danger, no matter the country.

What are the requirements for importing a classic car for personal use?

According to the US Customs and Border Protection, if the classic car is at least 21 years old, then you won’t need to follow any Environmental Protection Agency compliance requirements.

The importer needs to file an EPA form with the U.S. Customs and Border Protection upon entry, as well as comply with the Department of Transportation (DOT) pollution and safety requirements.

If the vehicle is less than 21 years old, you might want to read the following rules. According to the US Customs and Border Protection:

  • If the vehicle is not old enough to be exempt from DOT requirements, the importer will have to provide proof that it conforms with DOT safety regulations. Options include a letter from the original manufacturer or sticker on the inside of the driver’s door indicating that the car was manufactured to U.S. standards.
  • If the importer is unable to prove that the car conforms to DOT requirements, it will have to be imported through a Registered Importer (RI). Classic or antique vehicles are subject to a 2.5% duty rate, which is based on its worth at the time of import. Canadian-made vehicles are generally duty-free, provided the importer has a valid proof of its origin.

Keep in mind that you will need to comply not only with the federal laws but also with the rules and regulations of your own state. That is why it may be a good idea to hire a shipping agent – someone who is familiar with the intricacies of importing a vintage vehicle.

How much does it cost to import a classic car?

The costs vary depending on which country you are importing your vintage vehicle from as well as how you choose to bring your car from overseas. You will need to choose between roll-on/roll-off and container shipping.

The roll-on/roll-off method is one of the most inexpensive shipping methods but also the riskiest. The car may suffer damage during loading and unloading and it will be exposed to a harsh marine environment for weeks before it reaches its final destination.

Moreover, in order to be able to pick this way of shipping, you need to make sure the car is in running condition. Otherwise, you have to move on to the next option: container shipping. It is a costlier but definitely more secure option for a non-running vehicle.

Charges to ship a vehicle may range from $3,500 to $5,500 from Europe to the East Coast and from $4,500-6,000 from Japan to the West Coast. There is also a $500 entry fee plus a 2.5% United States duty tax. And since President Trump’s tariff proposal, car collectors should also prepare for a heftier import tax bill.

What about insurance and registration?

You are almost there. You’ve done all the research and gathered all the necessary information. You’ve got all the paperwork in order and made sure the car is ready for shipping. Once your prized possession clears the border, there will be nothing that can stop you. You’ve been waiting so anxiously for this moment!

The shipping company will take your car to a warehouse where you will be able to pick it up yourself or hire an auto transporter to deliver it to your home. Once you receive your car, you will need to comply with the insurance and registration requirements of your state.

You’ve made it! So enjoy your victory, wake up that vintage engine, take your classic for a ride, show it off!

Are you ready to bring a classic from overseas?

Corsia Logistics vehicle relocation experts will be happy to assist you with importing a car from anywhere in the world. We’ll share our insight, so you can make educated choices. Classic cars are the carriers of history. They are treasures that show how our relationship with mobility has evolved over time, and they deserve to be treated as such.

Are you having doubts about whether to invest in a classic car? Check out these ten most desired classic cars. Who knows what one of them may inspire you to do next!

If you have any questions or would like to request a quote, do not hesitate to get in touch with us. Drop us a line via our online chat or call us at (818) 850-5258 and we will be happy to assist you!

Share our experience:
Are you ready to ship a car?
Recent posts
car shipping quote

Truckers Can Fight Sex Trafficking

If You See Something, Say Something! This is the slogan of the nonprofit group Truckers Against Trafficking, the organization’s main goal is to have more

Shipping a Rivian

Shipping a Rivian

Shipping an electric vehicle like Rivian requires several considerations. Here we will share some key aspects to keep in mind when you need to ship

Read more

Corsia Logistics team works hard every day to ensure reliable expedited car shipping service. Our customer reviews prove that.

5-Star Rated Car Shipping Company


they trusted us

and here's what they say

Simon Moore
Great company
Read More
Looking for a logistics company, to ship my car, from California to Illinois,my first search, then Corsia showed up, skeptical. Call and a very friendly secretary: Elena. She guided me through, I scheduled and as she explained, all when smooth as scheduled Very happy I did the right choice. I'll recommend this great Company to anyone that is thinking to relocate a vehicle. Thanks Corsia logistics for your honesty and professionalism!
Elizabeth Woodward
High five's all around!
Read More
Corsia was highly recommended by a friend in the automobile industry. We needed to transport a cargo van from Seattle to Florida. We contacted Corsia who quickly arranged transport within just a few days. Communication was outstanding! Just a few email confirmations and we were all set. Mike was great and arrived right on time and delivered to Florida on schedule. Tip-avoid the hornets nest of auto brokers on line and just contact Corsia for a truly great experience!
Carrol Tiffany
Read More
Corsia has been amazing. Their prices are really competitive but more importantly their customer service has been 5-Star. Elena followed up with me every step of the way, making sure there was no miscommunication between me & the driver. We are using them to ship a 2nd vehicle & would not hesitate to use them again!
Tony Boyd
Definitely recommend
Read More
I have recently used Corsia for long time family car with sentimental value that was moved I have recently used Corsia for shipment of my vehicle from Oregon to Arizona by recommendation from other family member who also used Corsia in the past. I am very pleased on the service and the communication throughout shipment. Ken was my direct contact and kept me informed along the move The car was picked up and delivered as communicated. I did use a enclosed mover and the driver was also clean cut professional and treated car as his own. I would definitely recommend Corsia again with the experience I have had. Thank you. T
Top notch
Read More
Top notch Transport - Porsche 997 Top notch! As easy and efficient as one could possibly imagine. Great customer service.. thank you Luke. Great prices. Check. Timely communications. Check. Clean transport trailer. Check. Supremely careful driver. Check. Timely arrival. Check. Don't mess around elsewhere, just call Corsica and feel confident your transports needs are going to be exceeded. My Porsche 911 rode like a Queen in her enclosed chariot. I've never needed a transport company before, and I surely will use them every time. Do yourself a favor, seriously. Call now.
Geet Mp Haryana
Reliable, efficient
Read More
Corsia rep (Elena) was very proactive. Helped ship a car from CA to GA. She checked in with me via email quote and several phone calls to find me the best possible quote for the fastest available service. After several communications, Corsia was able to schedule a vehicle pickup the next day. The driver communicated well, and the vehicle arrived in final destination faster than we expected in perfect condition. I highly recommend using Corsia's reliable, efficient service.
Cay Liptak
Clean, efficient, wonderful
Read More
Thanks, Corsia! Pickup was so clean, efficient, and wonderful -- my only recommendation is to make sure you schedule it during the day so you can fully review the car in the daylight. Drop off was equally wonderful, and the whole trip went down without a hitch (pun intended!). Seriously, Corsia delivered my Jeep from CT to California with no issues or bumps in the road!
Csaba Kovesdy
Truly positive experience
Read More
Corsia Memphis to LA, mid-size SUV. I looked at 4 different companies amd Corsia was the most responsive of them. While being responsive, they were not unduly aggressive: when I indicated that I need to wait a month before making a decision they stopped contacting me and only came back with a reminder when I really needed it. Once I decided to engage Corsia they found me a transport within two days and the car was delivered (from Memphis to LA) in another two days. I had a truly positive experience.
Kelly Torres
Highly recommend
Read More
Working with Corsia Logistics was a great experience. Working with Corsia Logistics was wonderful. They were able to find a driver right away to transport our car. They were in constant communication as to when the car was getting picked up and dropped off. The driver also communicated with me as to when he would arrive. I would highly recommend Corsia Logistics.
Amy Nelson
Excellent Organization
Read More
Corsia was an excellent company to work with while I transferred my car across the US. A friend of mine suggested I use them as they had been very organized and trustworthy with her own car. I researched a few different place but decided to go with Corsia and I'm so glad I did! Any questions I had throughout the process they answered quickly and clearly. I would definitely use them again in the future and recommend them for others to use.