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Importing a car from overseas


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Hi all,

Has anyone had any experience with buying a car overseas and bring it home to the USA? (I know ALOT of cars have left our shores for Europe, but has anyone actually brought one in??)

I am considering a complete, operational car and parts from the Australia/New Zealand area and somehow getting it to New England.

I've no experience going this.

Should one hire a broker or importer to handle the whole thing? Any recommendations?

Any idea what it would cost?

Thanks for any advice.


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Part of the issue will be the year of the car. As safety and emissions laws have been put into place, it has become more and more difficult to import cars that were not originally in compliance with these laws. Prior to the 1968 model year, it's much easier.

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Guest VeloMan

Make sure the car is over 25 years old or you must pay to get it modified to suit the EPA & DOT. U.S. Customs will tell you what documents you'll need (see their web site). Both the EPA and DOT have simple documents attesting that the car is 25+ years old and thus not subject to current pollution and safety laws. If the car drives, ship it "RO-RO" (roll on roll off). Wikapedia has an article on that. Also, get a shipping agent who can handle cars. You'll need help, especially in the foreign country. Each country has their own peculiar laws. I've imported several cars from Europe. Some countries are easy to ship out of (like The Netherlands) and some are a pain (France). I had no trouble clearing U.S. Customs myself, but you might prefer to hire a Customs Broker for a couple hundred $. Importing can take a lot of time, but worth it if you really like the car, get it at a good price, and have a lot of patience. Remember: it always costs more than you're told it will!


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If it were me I make arrangements to fill the rest of the container with car parts others wish to import to help off set the cost. Use a broker, they doo this stuff all day long and it isn't that costly. I've sent a lot of stufff out, never brought large items in.

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