From Garage to Destination: A Guide to Classic Car Shipping

When you own a classic car, it is more than just a means of getting around. It is a prized possession, a valuable investment. In many cases, it is almost part of the family. You will go through things with a classic that just don’t come up with a regular car. Here’s a great example.  Long-term classic car owners know that there comes a time when you need to transport your classic. Perhaps you are moving house and your classic is not currently roadworthy, or maybe you are traveling hundreds of miles and it would not be practical to drive it all the way under its own power. 400 miles is a classic Mustang is one thing. Undertaking the same journey in a Model T is a different matter.

You might also want to take your classic to a show on the other side of the country or even overseas. Why not? The world is a much smaller place these days and classic car fans are a global community of people. Whatever the reason, the following tips will help ensure that the shipping process goes without a hitch.

Open or closed transportation

Even if your vehicle is taking a trip overseas in a container, the journey will start and finish on a trailer or low loader. The most common is a typical vehicle trailer that attaches to the back of a truck. Your car will be secured with ratchet straps on each wheel, so it won’t fall off. The downside to this sort of transportation is the car is exposed to the elements, and also to jealous eyes.

A better solution, especially for a longer journey or one in extreme weather conditions, is a closed trailer. This looks a little like a horse trailer, but is designed for a car to fit in snugly. Again, it should be secured with ratchet straps to prevent it shifting during transportation.

A closed trailer will be more expensive, but it means your car is protected from rain, sun, dust and whatever else might be thrown at it on the journey. Also, if it is a particularly valuable car, keeping it enclosed prevents undesirables from knowing what you are shipping, following you, and awaiting an opportunity to steal it.

Ultimately, the decision here is a function of weather conditions, overall distance, the value and condition of your vehicle and how much you are prepared to pay.

Get some quotes

Once you are clear about what you want, it’s time for a quick beauty contest. There are plenty of car transport companies out there, so be choosy. Read the reviews, and not just the glowing ones on their own website. Also look at Google reviews and check independent review sites like TrustPilot.

Look carefully at the quotes, and don’t just plump for the cheapest. In particular, check things like insurance, both in terms of cover for loss or damage to your vehicle and also third party liability.

Prepare your vehicle for adventure

There’s something very therapeutic about cleaning a classic car. No high pressure washers here, damaging the paintwork and infiltrating door gaps to soak the carpet. Just a gentle soaping with warm water, a rinse and dry. Apply some polish, too and then take lots and lots of time stamped photos as close as possible to transportation time.

Now is also a good time to deal with any little peculiarities. For example, you might have been living with a non-functioning parking brake for the past five years, but if others are going to be driving it, even just on and off the trailer, it’s a good idea to make sure everything works as it should.

Clear out all your personal belongings from inside the car, remembering to check the trunk or boot too. Finally, leave it with a little fuel in the tank but not too much. A quarter full is more than enough for purposes of maneuvering the car around, any more is just unnecessary excess weight.

Check the regulations 

If you are going to drive your classic on the public roads at the destination, make sure you can do so legally. If a vehicle does not meet local regulations, the police can seize it. For example, in the UK, it is illegal to drive an uninsured vehicle on the public road. Offenders will have their vehicles impounded and have a limited time to get insurance in place, pay the fees and rescue their cars.

Join the club

If you are not already a member, it pays to join the appropriate Owners Club for your vehicle. Club membership often opens the door to special deals and discounts. Also, if several club members are traveling to the same event, you could potentially share the costs by transporting your vehicles together.

Photo Credit:Unsplash

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