Importing an American Classic Car

So you’re looking to import an American classic.

There are some truly beautiful models over in the US, and many classic car enthusiasts have at least considered importing before.

If you’re serious about it, then it’d be a good idea to first have a look at what to expect.  

First things first

Before anything, you need to make sure the car you want is eligible to be imported.

You might find that some modifications are required in order for it to become eligible.

Methods of shipping

There are two ways of having your chosen car shipped from the US to the UK.

One is having it shipped in a container, and the other simply without (referred to as Ro-Ro, which is short for roll on roll off, which is pretty self-explanatory).

There is a considerate price difference between the two methods, however, you should bear in mind the fact that a container is opportunistic, providing room for you to import things like tyres and other car parts at the same time.


Once you’ve found a car you’re keen on bringing back to the UK, you’ll need to find out how much you’ll be charged for shipping, shipping insurance, and import duty.

These will be the biggest costs involved in importing your classic car.

Unless you’ve owned the car and lived in the US a minimum of 6 months, you’ll need to pay 17.5% tax and 10% customs duty.

A useful form of contact to consider is A-1 Auto Transport. They are known for their reliable shipping service, offered to individuals, dealers, and manufacturers.


The work isn’t over as soon as you get the car into the UK. There are various things you’ll need consider.

One of which is insurance. Will it be affected by the fact it’s imported? Will you need to modify anything for it to qualify?

Unless you’re looking to keep your American classic as a collectable, or simply as original as possible, you might even consider changing it over from left-hand drive. 

Insurance for classic cars that have been imported can be more expensive than normal car insurance.

One reason for this is it’s a lot harder and more expensive to source parts for imported cars.

This means they’ll be more expensive to fix for the insurer if you were to claim on insurance.

Another factor to consider is that an imported classic might not have been constructed to the same standards as a European model.

This includes left-hand drive.

If you’re looking to keep your classic car insurance cost down, try to avoid any modifications, and if you can, go for a less sporty car as these generally cost more to insure.

Type of Imported Car

Another important factor is the type of imported car. According to the AA, there are two types.

The first is grey imports, which are built outside the EU and do not conform to European standards.

This is the category your desired car in the US would fall under. These cars are generally of a higher spec in terms of power, output, weight and suspension.

The other category is parallel imports, which covers cars manufactured inside of Europe.


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