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EAT-30T 10-06-2009 06:04 PM

Importing a Car from the USA! All you need to know!
Article by Terry aka 70mach1

1.Find a car. (US E-Bay is a good place to look believe it or not)-check the dollar conversion rate daily and watch trends before you commit to a car-have 3 or 4 choices on hand.

2 Get ISD if you don't have it and speak directly to the seller(s).Check the time zones of course.Americans are generally fairly informative and happy to spend time with an aussie on the phone.
Try to avoid cars from snow affected states and have all your VIN numbers/codes on hand if you're after something built in lesser numbers so that you can check for colour,transmission changes etc .

2.Have the car inspected.

3.Make sure the car has clear title and ask for an email copy.Your importer will need a copy too.He will have a legal contact in the states who will need to process the original.The car cannot legally travel across international borders without it.

4.Find an importer

Check their credentials thoroughly.Ask if the car is coming direct( West Coast USA to Australian eastern seaboard) or via Asia which takes almost twice as long ie.up to 8 weeks..

Get a commitment up front that you will be regularly informed of transit progress- ie at least twice a week.

Find out which shipping company the importer uses and ask for the container number-you can keep track of the container's progress live on Lloyds Shipping MU.

Find out who the freight forwarder is in Australia and ask if you can be in attendance when the car is taken out of the container-some will let you be present

Buy a car on the West Coast if possible-transit from central or eastern states takes time and money.

5.Contact DOTARS Canberra on line for an import permit well before the car arrives.

Make sure as soon as you buy a car that you have it insured-the importer can help with this.

7.Make sure you have calculated the full cost of the car landed inc GST,cleaning ete etc so you're not caught short.

8.Lastly-unless you're prepared to convert a car to RHD and have it engineered then try to look for a car thats basically stock or has after market parts which can be easily removed.
A car with minitubs etc etc is going to be pretty tough in some states to register as left hand drive.

That's the short hand version- but there are lots of details in the above steps which need to be addressed as the process unfolds.
A good import agent will help with most of this.

People feel free to add your .02c and I will edit this first post as need be!


AUSCAMARO 10-06-2009 10:25 PM

Great idea Kurt!!


Nev68 11-06-2009 08:02 PM


Originally Posted by EAT-30T (Post 15890)
Guys watch this space as we compile a step by step car importation flow chart.


Step 1. Find a car:D

67TT502 12-06-2009 12:42 AM

just what the doctor ordered.

RAW454 12-06-2009 09:12 AM

Don't forget the "Importing Car Parts from the USA! All you need to know!" subsection :)

EAT-30T 12-06-2009 09:51 AM


Originally Posted by Nev68 (Post 15948)
Step 1. Find a car:D

This is the hardest part Nev!! lol

wizardowaz 28-07-2009 01:01 PM

Some usefull details
This may be of some help for the import info

Sin 08-10-2009 01:58 PM

how's this coming along? ;)

toycorvette 11-01-2010 04:02 PM

Hi , i am new to the site.. i am after a 1959 corvette resto mod , i believe this is the correct wording. i have found a few in the USA , but they are asking serious dollars ,they start anywhere from $100k to $200k, with taxes and gst it ends up costing close to $250 to $300k aus..
i love the shape and prefer a car that has a bit of street rod about it..
any advice ...

cluxford 11-01-2010 05:06 PM

Welcome aboard. So you are looking for a completed ready to drive ?

Might be better to get one that is mostly completed or a bit older resto and tidy it up

What sites are you looking on for a good car

I love early vette's would kill for a pro-street 62

cluxford 11-01-2010 05:17 PM

One of my fav sites is, not a day goes by I am not up there dreaming.

I did a quick look there are some super nice 58-61 Vette's up here. I've just pulled out the 59's and 60's for ya.

With the AUD at 93 cents today good time to be buying

This one is real nice at $59,000

I realise this one is the sort of crazy $$$ type you mentioned. $296,000, but very very nice 59

Bit to orange for me and probably still too much on the high side $$ wise $159,000

Don't know how much they want for this one, but you could get it completed to your liking so it really can be whatever you want it to be. Looks pretty tricked up

Example of an older resto for $65,000

Anyway good luck with the search hope these help out....

EAT-30T 02-02-2010 10:36 PM

Sorry guys I meant to do this a long time ago.. by all means if you have anything constructive to add to this fire away...

MadVk308 06-02-2010 12:31 AM

lol damn... Im almost in the market to get something sent over and got all excited when I seen this thread :)

EAT-30T 08-02-2010 12:41 PM

Feel free to ask any questions.. MOST peeps here can answer.. :) I'm just short on time! :(

70mach1 08-02-2010 03:37 PM

I hope I'm not jumping the gun here if a guide to importing is forthcoming.

I've done it but I'm not sure I'd do it again..

If you can find a local car and pay a bit more to avoid the importing and registration head aches-it might be money well spent..but if you're after something that's not available locally then you may have no other choice.

I think the experience could be a lot more pleasant than ours was with better import agent.


It goes something like this... SEE FIRST POST! ^^^

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