Things to Think About: Shipping a Vehicle|
By Tom Bache
Well, we have been at it for a while, going over
to "Merry Olde
England", buy up lot of mythical, odd or long sought after Land
Rover bits. Mostly buying up stuff you think you want, or someone else
wants. As time went on, we graduated from suitcases full of parts to
40 foot shipping containers “we graduated from suitcases
full of parts to 40 foot shipping containers” full of vehicles as well as assorted treasures.
We (several club members and myself) have just taken delivery of two
40 footers. If we can ship ten, we get a discount. Perhaps that is going
to take a while to work up to.
A container only makes sense if you can fill it, costs can run nearly
$5k each. I know I just paid for two. Amazing all the little charges
no one tells you about, and aren't in the quote. We know better by now
and have it factored in, and if everyone does their job, it can go well.
We have been loading and unloading on each end, so some guarantee in
the process. Can't control weather and other company employees however.
This go around, it was the company in the middle. You book with someone in
the UK, who handles that end, turns it over to a US based company, who in turn
handles the logistics on this end, but only as far as the port is concerned.
Customs clearance, filing paperwork with DOT/EPA all get handled by another
company-the broker. And then you still have to get these giant boxes delivered
or empty it at the port and transport the contents home yourself. If only one
or two vehicles, you and your container sharing friend can take a day off from
work and hope it all works out. We tried that once and decided it was worth
the money to get door to door delivery. Our first time nearly took two days
to get the stuff out of the port.
Anyway, this time someone here didn't tell someone else what the plan was.
Containers were off-loaded at New York, but no one seemed to remember it
was supposed to go to Baltimore. More phone calls, wringing of hands, waiting,
paying of money, and finally they show up. As many precautions as we took,
we loaded ourselves, etc. it can still go wrong. Contents can shift, tie-downs
break, ships sink. This business is not for someone with weak stomach or
level of risk. You can ship the vehicle as a drive on/drive off, often called
RO/RO (Roll on/Roll Off). That should be cheaper, but you can't send anything
extra in the vehicle, and the vehicle is subject to more scrutiny from various
agencies and scrap dealers. Two years ago, an LRO shipped his Defender from
Africa to USA. Was to be a RO/RO. He left a complete, running vehicle at
the port, waiting for a ship. Month later, a rolling chassis arrived in USA.
So, when you are eyeballing the adverts in the back of various magazines or
posted on the internet, if it is in England, add $2k USD to the price. It will
likely cost less, but don't forget, you still haven't got your license plates.
Just took me 6 months to get the title to my Fiat I imported last year. It was only a $500 car, the shipping cost more than the car was worth.It
was only a $500 car, the shipping cost more than the car was worth. Amazing
how the government can be your worst enemy.
Those vehicles on foreign and distant shores can be less than a bargain. I
know many of the ones I have looked at were a load of scrap. An example can
be, 1973 S111 88 for $1300 UKP and only needs "tidying". Sounds cheap
doesn't it? OK, here it goes.
Latest exchange rate we paid (I have the receipt, not some internet rate) was
$1.97 USD to $1UK Pound. So you are now up to just shy of $2600. Add in $600
round trip plane ticket to go look at it (and that’s if you got a deal).
You wouldn't buy a car without a personal inspection would you? Add back the
$2K for the shipping above and you are now up to $5200 USD. Almost assuredly,
it will need complete service and some bodywork to the bulkhead, which was
not mentioned in the advert. Probably brakes at the minimum a paltry $200,
can zoom to $800 if you need drums, wheel cylinders, seals. You get the idea.
Have I hit $6k yet? OK, now it is a right hand drive vehicle, no big deal to
some, big problem to others. Don't buy a car thinking resale, but remember
this will limit the market when the time comes. Personally, I like the "be
British" aspect of RHD. Be different. If you want to switch to left hand
drive, add $2k for this if you have to pay someone, more if S111. Then there
are tires. Tires are expensive in the UK, I’ve bought a few there myself.
So, many Brit cars have various donuts mounted, rarely from the same maker,
lucky if even the same size. I got a pile of various take-offs out back just
now, came with the 109 SW. Don't believe me? Study the pictures in various
L-R magazines. Lots of "restored" vehicle with mismatched tires!
Good A-T tires can be $100+ each, you’ll need 5. To top this off, seat
cushions, wiring, tune-up you get the idea. So when thumbing the adverts in
the back of your favorite magazine, think things through and do the math. What
seems like the deal of the lifetime can end up costing much more.
First, let me say that this issue of The Fairlead has been quite a long
time in the making. Hopefully the lapse in publication won’t be
a continuing trend. There are still some concerns that need to be addressed,
though. At the moment I’m not even sure if we are changing to
an electronic format or if this issue will be sent, as every previous
has, via the U.S. Postal Service. As some of you might remember from
the last AGM, the group seemed somewhat split as to a publishing preference.
Anyway, if you read an electronic version of this issue, your feedback
would certainly be helpful in deciding whether to continue in this
On another note, it’s been suggested that as the new club President,
I write a brief history of what I’ve experienced with R.O.V.E.R.S.
in the past and where I envision the club in the future. Honestly my history
with the club would probably not be the most interesting read, so instead
I’ll try to sum up exactly why I continue my membership.
For me, R.O.V.E.R.S. offers much more than the occasional off-road driving
event. I appreciate the diversity. From regular club events like the
Spring/Fall Trials in Robesonia or the annual Club Picnic at the Bache
unofficial weekend gatherings at museums and air shows, R.O.V.E.R.S.
provides a fantastic way for its members to share interests, ideas, and
If you’re looking for someone to join you for a day at an off-road
park or you need some help in the garage, just ask. Chances are that you’ll
find some folks that are more than willing to take part.
As for the future of R.O.V.E.R.S., I think I’ll just wait and see.
If the club as a whole decides to move in a certain direction then I’ll
probably move with it. It’s really just a matter of participation.
As more people get involved in club activities and bring new ideas to
the table, the club has more to offer.
Also, since I joined several years ago I’ve met, and continue to
meet interesting, helpful, and enthusiastic people. I certainly see no
reason for that to change.
I recently removed my full length roof rack for repair and saw an
immediate increase in fuel economy and driver comfort from the
reduced wind noise. Makes me want to make a pulley system in the
shop to store when it's not needed. Which is most days.