My Car Quest

June 16, 2021

Just Because A Classic Car Needs a Trailer Doesn’t Make It A Trailer Queen

by Mike Gulett –

The classic car transportation business in the US loves Monterey Car Week. It could be their biggest week of the year. This was brought home for me when I was talking to a friend a few years ago in Monterey and he told me he had just bought a new addition to his classic car collection.

He lives in California and his new acquisition was in Florida and he could not get a transporter to schedule pick up until well after Monterey Car Week was over. Based on my observations of car transporter rigs one year on the Monterey Peninsula most of the car transporter trucks and trailers in the US were either there or on their way to or from Monterey.

Classic car transporters in Pebble Beach

Classic car transporters in Pebble Beach (2012)

Classic car transporters in Pebble Beach

Classic car transporters in Pebble Beach (2012)

This brings up the question; how does an individual decide how to transport a classic car when driving it is not desirable or possible? It’s easy to find auto-transport companies but choosing the right one may not be easy.

How to choose a transporter for your classic car

Experience with collector cars is critical so that they know how to secure the vehicle properly without damaging anything and they do not scrape a low-slung car when going on and off the trailer. They also must have the expertise to follow your written instructions on how to handle the details of your car: how to start it, where the battery cut off switch is, the transmission shifting pattern and any other important features unique to your car that will allow them to safely and properly move your car on and off the trailer.

They also must handle your classic car like it is their own and this includes being clean and neat in the interior and being sure a delicate body is not damaged.

Bizzarrini GT 5300 Strada being loaded onto a trailer

My Bizzarrini GT 5300 Strada being loaded onto a trailer

Bizzarrini GT 5300 Strada being loaded onto a trailer

My Bizzarrini GT 5300 Strada being loaded onto a trailer – a nervous moment

Don’t forget it can take a few days or longer to schedule a pick up because the transporter will be trying to fill up their trucks for maximum efficiency and reduced costs. This schedule wait time is in addition to the actual transport time, which can be two weeks to cross the US. The Cars Arrive company can offer a speedy service and take excellent care of your vehicle. For more information check out https://www.carsrelo.com/.

Be sure your car has insurance coverage before transporting it. The transporter may or may not have adequate insurance to cover your car while in their care. Take care of this yourself before the car is picked up.

While the transport price is important it should not be the sole basis for a decision. I recommend getting classic car shipping quotes from more than one transporter that meet your other criteria. This way you will know that the price you are paying is fair.

Good luck on your next car trip even if your car is trailered.

Iso Grifo arrives

My Iso Grifo arrives

Iso Grifo arrives

My Iso Grifo arrives – note the wheel straps – a better method than using the suspension or frame

Iso Grifo

My Iso Grifo at the San Francisco Airport on its way to Carmel.

A version of this article was originally posted in August 2013.
Summary
Just Because A Classic Car Needs a Trailer Doesn’t Make It A Trailer Queen
Article Name
Just Because A Classic Car Needs a Trailer Doesn’t Make It A Trailer Queen
Description
This brings up the question; how does an individual decide how to transport a classic car when driving it is not desirable or possible?
Author

Comments

  1. Hi, Mike!
    Shouldn’t there be two wheel chucks under the back wheels of your Bizzarrini while they loaded it up into the trailer, one for each wheel? I only see one wheel chuck under the left rear wheel. I think it would be less of a nervous moment for you if they did that, instead of taking a chance with just one. I am having a stroke right now just looking at the picture, so I can’t imagine what you felt! Glenn in the Bronx, NY

  2. Richard Bartholomew says

    This was at a Pasadena California Ferrari show a few years back. I was there early shooting digital and had the car fallen I may have been able to sell the shots to the media. The car was hung there for a few minutes and then lowered at a slightly less precarious angle to the ground safely. The license plates and the crew working on the predicament has been obscured in my photo and only that and the names have been changed to protect the innocent.

  3. Was your Grifo at the airport because it had arrived there by plane on it’s way to Carmel? If so, where was the departure city? Let’s hear the whole story!

  4. Wow, that must have been a special experience, purchasing a Grifo in europe and then having it flown to the US.

    Did you have a PPI, and was it from a dealer? Was the decision to air freight it based on a scheduling issue or just for the sake of keeping it safer?

    • Philip,

      I bought it from a dealer after a friend in Germany sent me the link. I asked another friend in Belgium to inspect it for me in Antwerp. I decided to air ship because of the security and the short transit time.

  5. wallace wyss says

    How about at US customs? DId they look up the then current value and charge according to that or you show them the bill of sale? Did you drive it from SFO? Would you recommend shipping by air if the car has a certain value, say over $150,000? Also did you have a “whenever” (my own phrase) deal where you give them an envelope of time to ship it and they ship it when there’s an opening within that envelope, so you get a cheaper price?

    • Wallace,

      The value for purposes of import duties is the price I actually paid with the purchase documentation as proof. I had it trailered from SFO and I did not see it until it rolled into my driveway in Carmel (the photo at the airport was taken by the driver who delivered the Grifo to me).

      The extra cost of air shipment was about $10,000 if my memory is accurate. This saved 3-4 weeks of transport time plus reduced the chances of damage in transit. So, it is up to each buyer to decide if this extra shipping cost is worth it.

      There is no cheaper price based on pick up time – you wait until they have an opening. This was not a problem for me.

      The ownership documents were in French and I had to translate them to English in order to transfer the title to me.

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