Tips for Buying and Shipping Cars From the US to Australia

Buying a car is something that must be taken seriously. There are many factors that need to be taken in to consideration and even more of them if you’re having a car imported. Make sure to do plenty of research when buying a car from overseas and having it imported or exported.

Do you plan to import a car to Australia from the US? Follow this checklist to avoid spending money on a car you won’t be able to drive!

Checklist for Importing a US Muscle Car to Australia

CarsGuide featured : How to buy a US Muscle car

With the booming American car market comes a word of warning for potential buyers.

The best currency rates in years have American car enthusiasts out hunting for bargains, but inadequate research and hasty decisions could turn driving dreams into nightmares, an independent importer has warned.

Queensland-based Performax International, which has imported Chevrolets, GMCs, Fords and other American brands for more than 20 years, says private importers must thoroughly investigate any proposed purchase and ensure that it can be safely converted to right-hand drive for Australian use.

The company has issued a checklist of questions to help American car owners/buyers make correct decisions, based on its experience of converting around 150 new or near-new vehicles every year.

“This is a great time for the enthusiast who hankers after a Corvette, Camaro, Mustang or other American vehicle, but it’s easy for the inexperienced to make a costly mistake by dealing with unprofessional or even unethical operators,” Performax International General Manager Glenn Soper said.

Performax International performs conversion work to ADR standards and can help owners get their dream car registered.

Checklist for buying a US muscle car

Here is a rudimentary check list compiled by Performax International for American classic car buyers.

  • – Is the conversion company ISO accredited?
  • – Will the company back its own product (not use aftermarket warranties)?
  • – Are you able to inspect and test drive a fully completed vehicle?
  • – Do they use any hand-made parts (fibreglass opposed to plastic injected)?
  • – Is it a well established company with a proven history of steering conversions?
  • – Is the company experienced in your particular vehicle model?
  • – Do they offer a full spare parts service with back-up Australia-wide?
  • – Does the dashboard fit neatly?
  • – Do all the gauges, vents, stereo, AC controls fit properly?
  • – Are the pedals positioned correctly for ADRs?
  • – If power seats are fitted do they work correctly?
  • – Will you be supplied with the owner’s manual?
  • – Does the car have ADR compliant headlights?
  • – Have the fog lights been disconnected as per ADR requirements?
  • – Have the side marker lights been disconnected as per ADR requirements?
  • – Does the car have amber indicators as per ADR requirements?
  • – Does the car have the correct tyres for Australia?
  • – Does the vehicle maintain the correct geometry and feel in the steering?
  • – Has the Australian compliance plate been fitted?
  • – Is the steering full right-hand drive with no crossover components?

There are also shipping regulations that need to be followed to make sure that your car makes it from the US the Australia.

Regulations for Permanently Importing a Car to Australia

There are 4 set schemes that determine eligibility to import a car to Australia permanently. These schemes are set by the Australian Government’s Department of Infrastructure and Transport, and you must qualify for at least 1 of them to gain approval to import your car. After determining eligibility you must then get a vehicle import approval before you can import the car.

  • Pre-1989 – This is for cars that were manufactured before January 1, 1989 and is also the easiest type of vehicle to import to Australia.
  • Registered Automotive Workshop – This is a business that is approved to import up to 100 used vehicles per category each year. The vehicles must be included on the Register of Specialist Enthusiast vehicles. CLICK HERE for a list of vehicles you can import.
  • Personal Import – This is for those who are importing a vehicle for themselves, and allows migrants setting in Australia and expatriate Australian citizens returning to Australia to bring their personal vehicles with them.
  • Letter of Compliance – This letter states that a vehicle is in compliance with the applicable ADR’s at the time of the vehicles original build date. It is extremely difficult to receive a letter of compliance and can only be obtained in exceptional circumstances, as it can only be issued by the Australian representative of the manufacturer or the organization holding the Plate Approval for that particular vehicle model.


Regulations for Temporarily Importing a Car to Australia

  • Carnet – If you are vacationing in Australia you may want to bring your car with you. To do this you need to present a valid Carnet de Passage en Duane to the Australian Customs Service at the Australian port your car arrives in.
  • Race Cars – An application for importing a race car to Australia will only be considered if the vehicle is going to be used in a serious race, typically at the professional level.

Check Out the US Muscle Car in Australia

( Chief Strategy Officer (CSO) at SYCN Auto Logistics-Alchemist, blending the best technology, analytics & service available. )

Senior automotive logistics professional with a passion for the industry and a 10+ year history of accomplishments. Proven track record of exemplary client management working with both RMCs, Van Lines and OEMs. Keen ability to react to an ever-changing marketplace while offering superior technology solutions, programs and services. Architect of award winning auto transport portal technology offering transparency and agility to clients, agents and transferees. Successful team builder and leader easily managing budgets with effective leadership, strategic planning, and problem-solving capabilities.

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