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How To Ship A Classic Car

How To Ship A Classic Car

Whether it is a good old Lamborghini or a collector’s Bentley, classic cars have their own place in the hearts of automobile enthusiasts. Jaguar, Mustang, Corvette, Rolls-Royce, Lamborghini, and Bentley are some of the most iconic names in this line, but they are miles away from covering the whole picture.

If it’s old and unique enough, it’s a classic!

They come in all shapes, colors, and sizes, from muscle cars to sedans to sports racers, but they are rare. Thus even a single scratch can ruin them for you. This is exactly what a car enthusiast worries about when deciding on shipping their classic vehicle interstate.

In this guide, we’ll show you how you can ship your classic car without worries.

Let’s get started!


Find a licensed interstate automobile transport company

Your endeavors start here. You need to hook up with a reputed and licensed interstate automobile mover for your classic care. Of course, the cost of their services and their work history with clients (with similar demands) will be a huge factor.

Also, be sure to verify the licensure of any auto transport company that you come across. You can simply log onto the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration website, and there, all you have to do is input the DOT (Department of Transportation) number for verification.

When you first start, you’ll probably end up with tons of names. All you have to do is narrow down your choice based on customer reviews, the validity of the interstate moving license, and the cost of services. Once that is done, choosing one should be easier.

At A1 Auto Transport, we have been in this business for years now, licensed and insured, and our clients only have good things to say about us!


Understand the costs beforehand

You’ll have to work out the costs before you sign the deal, while the exact sum varies from case to case. Generally, a four-door vehicle will cost you around $600-$1,000 to ship domestically. However, the cost will be higher, around $800-$1,100, for bigger vehicles.

Of course, this is a generalization. The exact cost for shipping your vehicle will depend on several factors such as:

  • Size & weight of the vehicle
  • The make and model of your vehicle (for a classic, the rates will be slightly higher)
  • Distance to be traveled
  • Transport option opted for (open-air is cheaper than closed air)
  • The time of the year; summers are usually very busy for auto transport companies. Thus their rates are higher at the time

Be sure to get multiple quotes for your case and then compare them before you finalize your decision.


Get insured before you move your car

Does your insurance policy cover your car for any damages that might occur during the transportation process? You can’t be doubtful about this. You need a clear answer. Contact your insurance provider and check if your car is covered for such damages.

Better yet, you can get a representative from the selected auto transport company to approach your insurance provider and do the talking for you.

Some auto transport companies have insurance coverage of their own as well, be sure to seek clarification about the coverage and policies in this regard.


Remove all valuables

This is a pretty straightforward point. When you’re shipping your car long distance, you’d want to make sure that none of your possessions are inside. The transportation company will bear no responsibility for the safety of any items left behind. That’s your duty.


Have enough gas, but no more than that

For transport, you’ll need to ensure that your car has just the right amount of gas in it, but no more than that. A general rule of the thumb is to fill up the car’s gas tank by ¼ or a quarter of its full capacity.

Avoid leaving the tank bone-dry since that will create problems for you.

But the same is also true for fully filling the tank, which will simply raise the total weight of your shipment and thus the shipment cost.


Have your car inspected

Next, you must get an expert on board, unless you’re an expert yourself, and have them thoroughly inspect your vehicle. Tire air pressure, belts, gaskets, vehicle health, and other details must be scrutinized.


Record the state of the car

Record the state of the car

Then you can do a little inspection of your own too, but this will be more superficial, i.e., your job is to find any dents, scratches, and other marks on your vehicle, even the tiniest ones. This way, you’ll be able to record the state of your car (note it down) and be able to compare it when you receive it at your new place in your shipment.

You should also photograph every angle of your ride for more tangible evidence in case your car is damaged somehow during the shipment.


Take off any removable parts

If your ride has some ornate objects that come off, it is best that you do take them off before you ship your vehicle. You should have your vehicle in its base form, stripped of all removable ornamentation before you ship it to avoid any damage to the same.


Choose a mode of transportation based on your budget

Choose a mode of transportation based on your budget

The biggest factor affecting the cost of your car shipment will be the mode of transport for your vehicle. You can choose between open-air carriers and enclosed carriers. Based on the value and sentimental importance of classic cars, we would recommend the latter, but you can assess the merits and limitations of both options yourself:

Open Air Carriers: These on-road carriers can often be seen on the roads. They usually house about ten cars in one go, fastened tightly with the platform underneath. The platform is broken into two sections: upper and lower, and both carry the same number of vehicles. Of the two options, open-air transport is not only cheaper but also more readily available. However, the biggest drawback is that since the vehicles are not covered, they are exposed to the harms of weather and whatnot. Plus, since there are around ten vehicles per carrier, there will be several stops, as many as nine, before it shows up at your place. But considering the smaller price tag, this will be a better option for those running on a limited budget.

Enclosed Carriers: This is the land equivalent of container shipping. The car, in this case, is completely encapsulated. Therefore, your vehicle will be safeguarded against any damage due to weather or anything else in the open which would’ve otherwise caused issues. At the same time, this added protection warrants a bigger price tag. By our estimates, at A1 Auto Transport, the cost may hike by as much as $0.50 per mile! Thus only go for this option if you’re certain that you’ll be able to afford the bill. But of course, for classic cars that have a higher market value and are usually a matter of pride for their owners, enclosed carrier transport is a much more viable option.


Get your car delivered to your doorstep

For interstate/domestic vehicle transport, you will most likely receive your vehicle at your doorstep, so this stage should not be a trouble at all. Of course, in case of unexpected delays, the transport company may deliver your vehicle at a central hub near your delivery point instead (for open-air carriers), so be sure that you ask them specifically for door-to-door transport.

These are the steps that you need to take if you are looking to ship your classic car. 

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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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Mylene Rutllant
It’s my number one pick in auto shipping to this day.

Due to the nature of my work, I must relocate every couple of years to where my company needs me. Because of this, I’ve tested several moving and auto transport companies over the years.

And my choice in terms of auto transport has to be A1 Auto Transport. It’s in the name, but also in the quality with which they do their jobs. I’ve never had a problem with this company.

The only time my shipment was delayed was during winter when a snowstorm closed down all the major roads. And they still found an alternative and got my car delivered before roads got unstuck.

When I moved to West Virginia, they picked up my car the very day I called them. I like to think they take special care of me considering all the business I’ve sent them. I’ll continue to support A1 Auto Transport. It’s my number one pick in auto shipping to this day.

Luis Rodriguez
You have my full support and recommendation!

I considered selling my car when I moved to Washington. It was old and rusty, but I grew attached to it. So, I called a couple companies to transport it to my new home, but they both fell through.

The first one couldn’t decide on a schedule. He would constantly change the pickup date till I got frustrated and canceled. The second was insufferable, very rude on the phone, even worse in person.

They started picking a part my car asking me why I still have it. If that’s their opinion of my vehicle, how can I trust they’ll take care of it? If something happened midway, why wouldn’t they just blame it on the car instead of paying up?

So, I cancelled this company as well and turned to A1 Auto Transport. From the get go, they were very different from my past options. Their website was very professional and up to date, full of useful information. I requested a quote using their online form, and I got an email response within an hour. Surprisingly fast!

If I didn’t know any better, I would’ve thought they were lacking customers, but the email spoke for itself. In just one email, everything I needed to know was there, including a contact number I could use to get more information or confirm the transport.

I called and got things rolling. I was very pleased with the driver. He followed standard procedure and represented his company well. Can’t remember his name, but props to him!

The car arrived in Washington 6 days later in excellent condition. From what I understand, the transport was delayed a bit by a storm, but since the time window was 4-6 days from the beginning, I don’t really care. You have my full support and recommendation!

Testimonial by Cristine Benoit
Cristine Benoit
I can safely say this is a legit company that will get the job done.

There are a lot of options for auto transport these days, which surprisingly makes it harder to find a good company. I received more than 10 offers to ship my car, but I couldn’t decide on any of them.

After doing some research, I got even more worried reading about all the scams and accidents that can happen. But, I have work to do and couldn’t afford to drive my newly purchased Mini Cooper all the way to Virginia.

Fortunately, I made the right choice with A1 Auto Transport. They are very good at their jobs. I spent more than an hour drilling Joe with various questions, and he never once lost his patience. He saw I was interested, so he bore with me until I was satisfied. The driver was also very courteous and my car was intact on arrival. I couldn’t have asked for more.

By the way, the price we first agreed on stayed the same. There were no delays or unexpected “surprises.” I can safely say this is a legit company that will get the job done.

David Osallo
We give A1 Auto Transport a big 10 out of 10!

We give A1 Auto Transport a big 10 out of 10! We chose them to move our car from California to Vermont, since we needed professionals.

We were abroad during the transport, so the transport was a bit tricky. The driver had to pick it up from storage on short notice and get it to its destination within at most 10 days. I was happy to note it arrived sooner. We got it 3 days early, right when we got home to pick it up. It made getting around way easier. Awesome service!

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A-1 Auto Transport is a disclosed agent for the following shipping companies:

Trans Global Auto Logistics, Inc.
3401 E Randol Mill Rd
Arlington, TX 76011
NO. 018191NF
CFR Rinkens
15501 Texaco Avenue
Paramount, CA 90723
NO. 013055NF
ABC Worldwide LLC
2840 NW 2nd Ave #105
Boca Raton, FL 33431
NO. 025472F
CSI Logistics
435 Division Street
Elizabeth, NJ 07201
FMC 22206
Intl Cargo
45 Campus drive
Edison, NJ 08837
NO. 17858N
ShipYourCarNow LLC
1160 South Rogers Circle Suite 1
Boca Raton, FL 33487
NO. 025646
Merco Air & Ocean Cargo, Inc.
6 Fir Way
Cooper City, FL 33026
NO. 021869F
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