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Shipping my 71 Centurion


Smartin
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I doubt that there is a "cheap" way of getting anything from California to St. Louis. Just check out Hemmings or the internet and start getting estimates. Cheap usually means giving plenty of advance notice. I have only used closed carriers. My cars were in nice shape though and I didn't want to subject them to the elements. I had my '38 brought in from Fresno (to Chicago) about a year ago at a cost of about 1200.00. Even at that price it didn't come in the way I thought it would. I was told that it would be a 3 car enclosed carrier. Turned out to be a 53' enclosed semi. I have come to find out that the company I called was just a broker. Cal-Jag. He took his 250.00 off the top (which I had to pay up front) then farmed out the job. It wound up being hauled by Platinum. That was good service by them once it was picked up though. Since then I have had a 66 LeSabre hauled up from Miami (to Chicago) using a company named Autobahn Transportation . This company is the best! Great service on both ends and great equipment. That one cost me 1,000.00 but I was very satisfied. Best part is that the owner of the company is a Buick collector also. He has many nice cars and fully understands the concerns that we have. I know this doesn't answer your question about cheap transport but maybe it will give you some insight into the car transport business. Generally, open transports can be found for about 1/2 as much. Good luck.

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I've had several vehicles shipped using Pilot transport (HQ in Detroit and Phoenix). They are one of only a couple of companies that have contracts with General Motors. They move many of our show cars, as well as test/development vehicles. You've probably seen them--they use beautiful black semi's with silver lettering. Otherwise, similar to Reliable (orange trucks), the other major company GM uses.

I've had nothing but positive experiences with Pilot. In all cases, an enclosed carrier was used. Best way to keep cost down, is to be flexible with scheduling. Prices I've paid over last few years: from Las Vegas to Detroit was about $1000; from Georgia to Detroit about $850; from New Hampshire to Detroit about $850.

Often you can cut costs by picking car up at one of the companies local depots. Similarly, dropping car off at their depot will save $. I know guys that have shipped cars from Phoenix to Detroit for as little as $500 when they've dropped car off at depot and picked up at local depot.

Beware of mom and pop outfits. Many are good, but if they're not, you may be out of luck. By the way, Pilot required NO money up front, and did not charge for jump-starting car (which many carriers do).

Amazingly, when I get quotes, I find the prices are very similar for all companies. Don't scrimp a few bucks, only to be sorry! If there's any doubt who you can trust, just look in the parking lot of a major Concours D'Elegance show--those guys want their cars hauled by a trustworthy outfit!! At the Meadowbrook Concours in Detroit, you'll see mostly Pilot, Reliable, and a few Passport trucks.

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Hi- I have a suggestion. I just utilized a website:www.ShipVehicles.com. Here's how it works: You input the info regarding what you're having shipped and where-then shippers place bids on the job. If you accpet a bid, you pay the service $19.95. I got 8 bids for shipping a '70 Electra from Florida to Michigan, and the best bid I got was $500! That is with an open carrier, which I went with, since they were willing to put the car on the top. I know that doesn't completely keep the car from the elements, but I couldn't beat the price. The particular shipper I went with charged me an extra $50. for using a credit card, but it was still worth it to me. The bids I was getting on my own started at $750. and went up from there. Also, the website gives you ratings regarding the shippers service, care of the vehicles, etc. My car was picked up on the day promised and I'm expecting it Wed. or Thurs. Can't wait! David

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If you pick the right weekend, you could fly to San Diego and drive the southern route to St Louis and not run into any bad weather.

If not, spend the money for an enclosed transport. The last thing you want after spending money on a new car is to cheap out on getting it to you.

Auto Transport is a field of good and bad people, do your homework and pay the money. You will remember a bad experience a far lot longer then you will regret spending an extra couple of hundred dollars.

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Have you asked for references ? Have you checked with the BBB where they are based ?

Face it, just like everything, there are good transport companies and there are the transport companies from hell.

Do your homework, check them out and be willing to pay a fair price. If you shop price alone, be willing to put up with not knowing where your car is, non returned phone calls, and maybe damage to your car.

You spend thousands of dollars to buy a classic car, and you will spend even more to restore it. Be willing to pay to get it to you in one piece and in time.

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To give you a bit more insight about what you get when you hire by the cheapest rate. Another Buick nut that I know (who may be watching and listening so I won't drop names <img src="http://www.aaca.org/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/smirk.gif" alt="" />) and lives on the east coast bought a 50's Riviera from someone in Washington state. He wanted to save a few bucks and went with the cheapest of the bids he got. Turns out that it took over 3 weeks to be picked up. After 10 days supposedly in transit he still hadn't received the car. He called to find out where his car was. It took almost 48 hours for the company to get back to him and let him know that the car had been dropped in a "holding" area somewhere in Nebraska. It was to be picked up by another truck to continue east. It wound up finally getting to him about 6 weeks after he had made the initial contact with the company. This car was shipped about this time of year too. He said that it was incredibly funky by the time he got it. Granted, it wasn't a show car but it was that much more he had to deal with once he finally got it home. One question I would ask Automotive Transport is whether or not they own their own transport equipment. Or are they BROKERS? Brokers do not have the control over the drivers and the scheduling that companies with their own trucks have. There ain't no better feeling than watching your newly purchased Buick rolling down the ramps to it's new home after being cradled in an enclosed carrier! SEE ATTACHMENT

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Teamsternip, that's a great photo!

Here's another situation. One of the members of my local BCA Chapter purchased an unrestored 1957 Buick Century Caballero Estate Wagon from a seller in Oklahoma. He opted to utilize the shipper who was willing to do the job for the cheapest price. Unfortunately, one of the rear doors of the car was left open for the entire trip from Oklahoma to Washington state. The hinges and the door itself were completely ruined by the time the car reached the buyer. The buyer was never successful in obtaining any financial compensation from the transport company.

Hearing this story left a strong impression with all of us who heard it, and it confirms all the wise counsel you've already received.

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Hey John,

I talked to Al and he said he would/try to get the frame fixed for me before I got it. I had originally made room in my budget for a top and window, not the frame. I asked him if he would just replace the whole thing and he sh*t a brick. So, he's doing what he can to make it transportable, maybe even driveable out to St. Louis. All I need is a buddy to tag along. I may have to bribe someone to go. It would definitely be a fun trip, I just don't want to do it by myself.

If you're willing, I might take you up on driving the car out for me <img src="http://www.aaca.org/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/grin.gif" alt="" /> as long as I don't have to shell out $1600. I figure gas will cost me about $350, and hotels for 3 nights maximum are $300. I wouldnt be staying in any 6 star hotels. Food $50. $700 total cost I guess. I guess you have to have a way of getting back too.

Argh...Al said he'd get back with me regarding the top frame tomorrow or thursday, so we'll see what he has to say. That frame would cost me an @ss load to replace. If I can get him to do that, I'd be happy, and it would be driveable.

Adam

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Guest imported_TheColossusofRoads

I bought a '96 Buick on eBay a few months ago, and had it shipped from Ft. Myers, Florida to Cape Cod, Mass. for $550. It arrived three days after it was picked up on a standard 18 wheel auto carrier, no damage, and the driver/owner was a terrific guy. I think the rates are more or less based on the actual route used. This transport company regularly runs the east coast, bringing snowbirds' cars to and from Fla, as well as bringing northern cars to southern dealers and vice versa. Again, I think the route is a determining factor.

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