Importing a 25+ year old car to the US

  • Thread starter TheHun99
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633
United States
PA
attilag78
TheHun99
Hello everyone,

I'm thinking more and more to get my father buy a car for me in Hungary and have it shipped here - and then turn it to a trackable toy basically. Does anyone has any experience? It seems that I would need to find a shipping company and maybe an importer to handle customs and paperwork, although it seems that the shipping companies may do the import part, too.

Most of the stuff I could find was all about how great it is that you can now import an R34 etc. but I'd like to ask if anyone has any experience with international (as in across continents) car shipping or importing 25+ year old cars in the US.

Thank you!

PS: before getting the inevitable question. I'd love to import a Polski Fiat 126p (the first car I ever drove) and turn it to something like this: http://totalcarmagazine.com/usedcars/2013/10/21/a_polski_fiat_with_a_punch/ (the original Hungarian article with a working gallery: https://totalcar.hu/tesztek/2012/08/11/ugye_neked_is_nagyon_kellene/). My choice of engine would be something like a Boxster or Subaru engine (all hail the flat-4 and flat 6!) - no crazy horsepower needed, around 200 would be more than enough for a 600-700 kg (1300-1500 lbs) little car. I could also imagine a bike engine build - something unusual, a flat-2 BMW engine - but that's a little too much added complexity I'd think.
 

R1600Turbo

Premium
53,054
United States
CG, AZ, USA, Earth
R1600Turbo
Most of the stuff I could find was all about how great it is that you can now import an R34 etc.
R33 currently, R34 not until 2024. ;)

I'm interested in importing a Toyota Starlet Glanza V in a couple years when they are available too. Haven't researched how to do it just yet though.
 
633
United States
PA
attilag78
TheHun99
R33 currently, R34 not until 2024. ;)

Well, you got me :) As much as I like the R34, it's out of my budget anyway, so it doesn't matter whether you can import it now or not :) Right now I'm thinking just to have my dad get the car and we'll figure out the whole shipping and importing part later. it seems that prices are going up even for this little sh.tboxes, I need to make up my mind (and my wife's :)) asap...

I'm interested in importing a Toyota Starlet Glanza V in a couple years when they are available too. Haven't researched how to do it just yet though.

I didn't know whwt it was, had to look it up, looks pretty decent!!! (heard of the Starlet but that was it, never looked into it)
 

R1600Turbo

Premium
53,054
United States
CG, AZ, USA, Earth
R1600Turbo
it seems that prices are going up even for this little sh.tboxes, I need to make up my mind (and my wife's :)) asap...
Yeah I'm hoping the Starlet prices stay lower. Avoiding the popular cars because their prices are crazy.
 
39,032
Mercedes Streeter over on Jalopnik has been doing a fairly detailed write up of how she imported a Beat into the US. Might want to hit her articles up.
 
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633
United States
PA
attilag78
TheHun99
Mercedes Streeter over on Jalopnik has been doing a fairly detailed write up of how she imported a Beat into the US. Might want to hit her articles up.

Awesome, thank you! I found her articles I think, I go through them after some sleeping :)
 

McLaren

Premium
41,275
United States
Texas
Partyboy78
Well, you got me :) As much as I like the R34, it's out of my budget anyway, so it doesn't matter whether you can import it now or not :)
I'd say if you could, snag it anyway and keep it stored overseas. In 3-4 years, our market is going to go buck wild for them & you could probably score a nice flip once you get it state side.
 
633
United States
PA
attilag78
TheHun99
I'd say if you could, snag it anyway and keep it stored overseas. In 3-4 years, our market is going to go buck wild for them & you could probably score a nice flip once you get it state side.

Yeah, the R34 is truly out of my budget, apart from prettying the house our goal is to save for the girls' college tuitions... Anyway, the desired matchbox can be bought around 500-1000 dollars, yet I'm still having a hard time convincing my wife. The amount isn't a concern at all, the shipping would be more for sure :)
 
8,747
United States
Marin County
I'd say if you could, snag it anyway and keep it stored overseas. In 3-4 years, our market is going to go buck wild for them & you could probably score a nice flip once you get it state side.

I've been trying to devise a way to do R34 arbitrage. Like if I could buy one in Japan and pay the seller to keep it for a few years and then sell it to somebody else - never take delivery, never do paperwork :lol:
 
38,076
Australia
The Bronx
Having a talk to one of my Nephews. He had his Efini shipped from Japan after he returned from military leave. He shipped it in January(Edit: it left Japan beginning of February) and got it in April. Doesn't help you that shipping was free. However, he knows some people that paid 1300-2500 to ship one.

He says no minimum of ownership time. Just pick the car, buy it and get it shipped.
Edit: HE also says whoever is accepting the car in the states, if not the original owner, will need a power of attorney to accept it. Or the papers in your name.

Edit: Not a difficult process(as long as the car is 25yo or older). The most difficult was finding a company to get the car to the destination.
He lived close , so had his friend drive him there. He's an engineer and did all the maintenance himself before drop off and knew it would start up right away. Drove it home when it arrived.

Only delay he experienced was getting it truck shipped from Cali to the east coast.
Edit 2: Delay also due to shortage of drivers for non food/medical supplies when Covid started.
 
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