When it comes to shipping an older car, most of our customers opt for enclosed auto transport since it offers the most protection, smoothest transport, and the security of a fully protected auto moving experience.
Shipping a classic car safely and efficiently is not a particularly complicated process, but there are a few things you should know going in. There are probably also a few things you may have questions about, which is why we decided to put together this list of the commonly asked questions when shipping a classic, antique, or vintage vehicle. For the most part, it’s not much different shipping a classic car than it is for any other type of vehicle, but there are some important considerations to keep in mind which we will cover in the paragraphs below.
Since classic cars do require some extra attention to detail when transporting them, there are some recommended best practices in place that most shippers will advocate. As far as our services are concerned, we always advise owners of classic cars to ship using an enclosed carrier, which offers the safest and quickest method of delivery. Additionally, we suggest having classic vehicles shipped using door to door transport, which means the car is shipped directly to your home or a specific address of your choosing.
Frequently Asked Questions
How Much Does It Cost To Ship A Classic Car?
The cost of shipping a classic car is predicated on a few basic things, though the main thing that will affect the cost is the shipping distance. In the chart below, you will find some prices that indicate standard shipping rates to and from different U.S. cities, as well as the mileage and expected costs, plus estimated delivery times. Since most classic cars are shipped using an enclosed carrier, you may find the prices to be slightly higher than vehicles shipped on an open air carrier. The longer the delivery distance, the cheaper the cost is on a per mile basis, as you can see indicated in the chart. Costs for shipping a classic car range from roughly $1 to $3 per mile, with the average landing right around $2 per mile.
Cost & Time To Ship Your Classic Car Examples
|Shipping To/From||Cost||Distance||Estimated Time In Transit|
|New York, NY to Boston, MA||$540||216 mi||2-4 days|
|Dallas, TX to Memphis, TN||$960||463 mi||2-4 days|
|Denver, CO to Dallas, TX||$1280||805 mi||3-5 days|
|Los Angeles, CA to Denver, CO||$1150||1017 mi||4-6 days|
|Denver, CO to Columbus, OH||$1530||1271 mi||4-6 days|
|Phoenix, AZ to Memphis, TN||$1490||1430 mi||4-6 days|
|Detroit, MI to Las Vegas, NV||$1239||1999 mi||5-7 days|
|New York, NY to Phoenix, AZ||$1670||2421 mi||7-9 days|
|Seattle, WA to Memphis, TN||$2000||2303 mi||6-8 days|
|Miami, FL to Seattle, WA||$2030||3320 mi||7-9 days|
*Prices and times are estimated. They can vary depending on the season and what type of vehicle you are shipping.
*Price examples are for enclosed transport from door to door.
What Are the Options For Shipping A Classic, Vintage, or Antique Car?
The primary options for shipping any type of vehicle are an open or enclosed carrier, and either terminal to terminal shipping or door-to-door. Because classic, vintage, and antique cars can be delicate and often have a higher value, most owners prefer to ship using an enclosed carrier, which provides the most safe and secure method for transport. Using an enclosed carrier also makes it easier to facilitate door-to-door transport, which is typically also preferred by those shipping a classic. If you’re shipping a vehicle overseas, the preferred method for classic cars is RORO (roll on, roll off) transport.
Other options that are popular among classic car owners are expedited shipping and single car carrier transport. Expedited shipping provides the fastest and most efficient method of shipping, which is often done using a single car carrier. The advantage of shipping only one car at a time is that it’s not only quicker in terms of delivery time, but it also allows the shipper to provide the most attention and care to the vehicle during the transport process.
What Is the Best Way To Ship A Classic Automobile?
The best way to ship a classic or vintage car is and always has been using an enclosed carrier, coupled with door-to-door shipping. As mentioned above, an enclosed carrier offers the most protection and safety for any type of vehicle being shipped within the United States. Door to door transport just means that the car is shipped directly to a specific address, rather than being dropped off at a shipping terminal. The advantage of door to door shipping is that there are no extra steps involved, such as having to retrieve and transport the vehicle yourself from the delivery terminal to its final destination. Since this final leg of the delivery is eliminated for the customer, door to door transport provides the ultimate in convenience and offers full end to end shipping with no need for you to do any legwork.
If I Don’t Ship Enclosed, Can You Guarantee Top Load Only?
If you prefer to use an open air carrier when shipping a classic or antique vehicle, many companies are able to offer a top load only option, which offers some degree of protection, though not as much as an enclosed carrier would. While not every company may be able to guarantee top load only transport, there are many that are happy to accommodate the request. The advantage of this option is that it eliminates the possibility of damages due to other vehicles leaking fluids and dropping dirt and debris onto your vehicle. If you do intend to ship a classic car using an open carrier, top load only is definitely the way to go.
Can I Ship My Car By Train?
Yes, you can ship a car by train, though it is not a commonly used method of transport. However, if you are set on shipping a vehicle by rail, you do have some options. Amtrak offers car shipping and even has a daily train that runs in parts of the Southeast, not to mention the handful of car shipping companies that offer similar services throughout the U.S. One thing you may come to realize if you do an online search for companies that can ship by train is that it’s not a service everyone will offer. Since it is not a frequently used method of shipping, you will be somewhat limited by your available choices, but it can be an efficient and relatively cost effective way of transporting a vehicle, classic or otherwise.
Can I Ship Overseas?
You absolutely can have a classic car shipped overseas, though the process is slightly more complicated than shipping within the United States. One of the reasons for this difference is that countries tend to have different regulations and import restrictions for vehicles, which makes it extremely important to have a good understanding of the laws that pertain to your specific auto transport request. A company that is well versed in overseas shipping should be able to help you navigate the legal requirements and paperwork involved in the process, but it’s important to remember that it is not cheap, will take more time, and that you’ll likely have more hoops to jump through, especially for countries that don’t have a reciprocal import/export agreement with the United States. It’s also important to remember that some countries have limits on the age of vehicles imported into the country, though many have exceptions for older and classic vehicles. For more information about shipping internationally, please see our resource on the topic and learn about available options and pricing.
How Will My Car Be Protected During Transit?
Car shipping companies have several levels of protection involved throughout the transport process to make sure that your vehicle is safely taken care of every step of the way. Not only are modern carriers extremely safe and secure, but customers almost always have the option of choosing an enclosed carrier, which provides the most protection possible during shipment. Additionally, drivers and companies are held to strict standards of safety and compliance by both the U.S. Department of Transportation and the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration. Both bodies work to ensure that drivers are not working more hours than are legally permitted, as well as to provide safety audits and checks for companies that transport vehicles. Another important aspect of safety that’s part of the legal requirements for shippers is that they must carry insurance that guards against any potential damages, which we’ll go into further detail on in the section below about insurance coverage.
How Do You Prepare Your Car For Shipping?
Before your vehicle can be picked up and loaded for transport, there’s a few minor preparations you’ll need to make. The list below covers the most common requirements from auto transport companies and are generally considered the best practices for preparing a car (classic or otherwise) for shipping. For a more detailed breakdown of steps to take before transport, please see our web page here.
- Remove any nonstandard components such as luggage racks or spoilers
- Clear the vehicle of all personal belongings
- Make sure tires are properly inflated
- Check fluid levels
- Address any mechanical issues if necessary
- Run the gas tank down to no more than a quarter tank
- Disable any alarm systems
- Clean the vehicle, both inside and out
Will My Car Be Insured During Shipping?
Insurance is included in the cost of shipping and any company that hauls cars is required by law to maintain certain insurance coverage minimums. The type of insurance they carry can depend on the company, as does the amount of insurance they carry, which is something to keep in mind when shipping a classic car. It’s also important to keep in mind that the insurance carried by auto transport companies only covers damages that occur while the vehicle is in their care and if they are at fault for damages. It’s a good idea to check with your auto insurance carrier before shipping to see if they offer any coverage in the rare event that an accident or other type of damage occurs during the shipping process. In many cases, the company transporting your vehicle may be able to offer supplemental insurance that is more comprehensive than the standard coverage.
How Long Will It Take To Transport?
Delivery times for auto transport vary based on a number of different factors. The main things that will influence how long it takes to ship a car include the shipping distance, final destination, type of vehicle, and method of shipping. Shipments of 300 miles or less can usually be done in one day, whereas shipping across the U.S. could take five to seven days. International shipments naturally take longer and depend on which country you’re shipping to, but generally fall within a two week time frame. Shipping overseas is somewhat more complicated so could potentially take long in some instances, especially if there are additional requirements to meet or paperwork that needs to be filed. As for overland transport within the continental United States, most transport carriers can cover around 400 miles in one day. Of course, this also depends on the shipping route, traffic, road conditions, and other factors that could come into play.
Can I Place Household Goods In My Car When Shipping?
Depending on who you ask, you might get different answers to this question. The reason is that there are no hard and fast legal restrictions on whether or not you can ship personal items in a vehicle when having it shipped. Even though there are not technically restrictions on what can be shipped inside of a vehicle, most companies will not allow additional items to be shipped in the car. That’s not to say that you won’t be able to find a shipper that will do it, but for the most part, companies prefer not to deal with extra cargo that could shift during transport and potentially cause damage. If you find a company that is willing to ship your personal goods inside of the car, it typically comes with an additional charge.
Can I Track My Vehicle During Shipping?
Yes, you can get updates on the status of your shipment after the vehicle is in transit. Every company will allow you to contact them to check on your shipment while it’s being delivered and some may even provide you with a phone number directly to the driver so you can talk to the person handling the transport. There are some companies (including ours) that also provide GPS tracking for vehicle shipments, which is a streamlined and easy way to get updates, much like you might be familiar with when having a package shipped to your home. If tracking is a concern of yours, which it is for many people shipping a classic car, it’s advisable to seek out a company that offers GPS or satellite tracking so that you can quickly and easily check up on your car.
Do I Need To Be Present For Pick Up And Delivery Of My Car?
Someone must be present for both pick up and delivery for any vehicle, though it doesn’t necessarily have to be the owner or the person who arranged for shipping. You can also assign someone to handle the process on both ends for you, provided you communicate this to the shipper beforehand. The reason someone has to be present is that there is paperwork that needs to be filled out, even if it is just something as simple as signing off on the condition of the vehicle before and after shipping. If you know that you won’t be available for either pick up or delivery, make sure you have made arrangements to have someone else take care of it so that there are no delays in transporting your car.
How Far In Advance Do I Need To Book A Shipper?
In most cases, you can book a shipper 7-10 days out from your expected pick up date, though we do recommend giving yourself more time to coordinate everything. A couple weeks is more than enough time to explore your shipping options with different companies and settle on the one that you think provides the best combination of experience, professionalism, and affordability. There’s certainly no penalty for booking even further in advance if you prefer to have everything taken care so you’re not left scrambling to find a transport company at the last minute.
Can I Ship A Vehicle That Doesn’t Run?
Almost every company that delivers cars is capable of shipping a vehicle that doesn’t run, and this applies to classics as well. Shipping an inoperable vehicle does have a small additional cost, but it’s usually less than $100 since it just needs to cover the extra labor required to load and unload the car from the transport carrier. If you plan to ship a car that is not in running condition, make sure that you mention that when getting an estimate as it does affect the price quote you’ll receive.
Shipping A Classic Car With A-1 Auto Transport
We use only the most modern enclosed auto carriers for transporting classic cars, whether it’s for an auto show, private collectors of vintage autos, or a museum that needs a classic shipped. Our efficient matrix of delivery routes operates across all 50 states with the care, experience and professionalism expected of classic car owners, buyers and sellers. Here’s what you can expect when you hire A-1 Auto Transport to move your antique, vintage, muscle or classic car:
- Fully enclosed transport for older model cars
- A trusted company with 25 years experience
- Shift-resistant transport carriers
- Air-cushioned suspension
- GPS order tracking
- Excellent customer service
- Insurance coverage included in every quote
- Classic car shipping to all 50 states
- Door to door delivery service
- Free quotes and discounts for first time shippers
Nationwide Classic Car Auto Transport Company Directory
Passport Transport: Passport Transport has been in business for more than 40 years, moving antique and vintage automobiles to all 48 states in the contiguous U.S. They use only fully enclosed auto carriers and specialize in door to door delivery of classic cars.
145 Evergreen Pkwy Lebanon, MO 65536 (417) 532-5600
Horseless Carriage Carriers
Located in New Jersey, Horseless Carriage ships classic and collector autos nationwide. They specialize in enclosed transport, which offers the maximum protection for a vehicle during transport. Storage terminals are also available.
61 Iowa Ave. Patterson, NJ 07503 (973) 742-2692
Enclosed Vehicle Transport Inc.
Transporting classic cars and motorcycles, Enclosed Vehicle Transport Inc. has door to door delivery service to the lower 48 states. They offer cargo and liability insurance, and use fully enclosed, non-stacking car shipping trailers.
45 Station Rd. Glen Mills, PA 19342 (888) 827-6799
Resources For Classic Car Shipping
- Restoration Tips - Articles and advice on repairing, restoring and detailing older cars from Hemmings. A great resource for casual hobbyists and collectors alike!
- Classic Car Clubs & Organizations – An extensive listing of classic car clubs and organizations in the U.S. that includes links to affiliated websites as well as contact information.
Related Information & FAQ
- Cheapest way to ship a classic car
- Moving antique and classic cars internationally
- Hot road auto transport
- Shipping a classic motorcycle
Written By:Joe Webster
Joe Webster began his journey in the auto transport field by attending the University of Southern California (USC), where he graduated with a Bachelor of Business Marketing.
After college, he started his career in the auto transport industry from the bottom up and has done virtually every job there is to do at A-1 Auto Transport, including but not limited to: Truck Driver, Dispatch, Sales, PR, Bookkeeping, Transport Planner, Transport Manager, International Transport Manager, Brokering, Customer Service, and Marketing. Working with his mentor Tony Taylor, Joe Webster has learned the ins and outs of this industry which is largely misunderstood.
With over 30 years experience in the industry, we've been helping people ship their vehicles, motorcycles, RV's, heavy equipment, household goods and more across the country or overseas without a hitch. Ask us anything.
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