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How to Ship an Antique Car

How to Ship an Antique Car

The process of shipping an antique car might not seem all that different compared to shipping mainstream cars. Still, because of their rarity and the shipper’s intention, more preparation goes into every step of the process.

The most significant difference is that antique cars aren’t shipped mainly to be used on the roads. For the most part, most of the antique cars we’ve seen being transported around the country are mainly shipped to be restored and then sold to a collector.

If you need antique car shipping services, you must leave them in the care of companies that recognize the importance of such cars. If this is your first foray into antique car shipping, follow these steps, and everything should go according to plan.

1

Select Your Preferred Shipping Method

Select Your Preferred Shipping Method

The first step is to determine what kind of shipping method you want for your antique car. If you’re going to transport your antique car by land, there are two options to choose from: Open Air Transport and Enclosed Transport.

Open-air transport is the most common car transport method, although this may not be the preferred choice of antique car owners. As the name suggests, the truck is attached to an open trailer that is often two tiers high, which allows the transport of several cars simultaneously. Because the trailer is open and supports multiple cars, it is more affordable compared to enclosed transport.

With Enclosed Transport, the truck is connected to a large shipping container where the cars are stored. This offers more protection because the shipping container acts as a barrier protecting the cars from the elements. Hence, this option is more costly than open-air transport.

Which shipping option should you choose? Although enclosed transport seems like the easy answer for antique cars, it depends on whether your antique car is pre- or post-restoration. If you purchased an antique car that hasn’t been restored yet, it is perfectly acceptable to use open-air transport since you will take the car in for servicing and restoration anyway. If the car has been restored, enclosed transport is the better option because you need to protect it from extreme temperatures and damage.


2

Get a Quote From Several Shipping Companies

Once you’ve decided on what shipping method to use, now it’s time to start looking into companies that offer this type of shipping method. Because you’re dealing with antique cars, you’re dealing with something rare and precious. As such, it’s not acceptable to jump at the first offer you see.

Take your time and shop around for quotes; after all, shipping companies offer estimates for free. You are not obligated to hire them after getting an estimate from them. As a general rule, get 3-4 quotes from different companies so you can compare and see the going market rate for such services.

Of course, several factors will affect your total estimate:

  • The shipping method. As discussed, open-air transport is cheaper than closed-air transport.
  • The total mileage. The farther the destination, the more costly it is.
  • The pickup point. You can choose to pick up your antique car at the terminal or have it delivered door-to-door.
  • The chosen month and day of shipping. Shipping costs can get more expensive during peak season.
  • LTL or FTL transport. LTL or less than truckload transport means you’ll share the same shipping container with other cars and is therefore cheaper. FTL means full truckload, which means your antique car takes up the entire shipping container.
  • Insurance coverage. Because you’re dealing with antique cars, getting insurance coverage is a must. The fee will depend on the coverage offered by the company.

When speaking to the agent regarding your estimate, ask them if the estimate is binding or not. A binding estimate means that the amount written on the estimate is the exact amount you’ll pay for in the end, barring exceptional circumstances. If the estimate is non-binding, the general estimate is just a fair guess, and the amount will likely change on the day of shipping or pickup.


3

Hire an Antique Car Transporter

Hire an Antique Car Transporter

Once you’ve looked over the different quotes, it’s time to choose which transporter to give your business to. Of course, transportation service is more than just about rates and fees. If they gave you a reasonable estimate but want to know more about their policies and processes, you’re more than welcome to ask questions and raise your concerns. A legitimate and reputable shipping company will answer those questions gladly. If it seems like they get defensive and vague when asked questions, this should be treated as a red flag:

In hiring an antique car transporter, here are some questions you should consider and should come up while conversing with their agent:

  • Are they fully registered and licensed?
  • How long have they been in the industry?
  • Do they have experience in shipping antique cars specifically?
  • Does their insurance cover the entire value of your vehicle?
  • Do they have facilities at your intended destination?

Aside from asking them questions, you can also go online and look for reviews about the company. You can go to third-party review sites or go to the Better Business Bureau website. The BBB website has valuable information about shipping companies. Aside from reviews, you can also check if there are complaints lodged against them. You can also check if they’re registered with the FMCSA. If they are, the agency can give you a safety report, which will tell you how many road accidents they’ve been involved with in the past.

Lastly, it’s essential to check if you’re dealing with the antique car transporter directly or if the company you’re speaking to is a car transportation broker. There’s nothing wrong with brokers - in reality, there are exceptional brokers with connections throughout the country. Experienced brokers will match you with a transport company that can ideally attend to your needs.


4

Book Your Shipping Date

After picking your preferred shipping company, it’s time to book your shipping date. Remember that you’ll get a higher shipping cost if you book your shipping date during peak season. Keep in mind that March to September are the busiest months for shipping companies. Also, weekends are usually more expensive than weekdays.


5

Prepare Your Antique Car For Transport

Prepare Your Antique Car For Transport

While waiting for shipping day, it’s important to ready your car for transport. If your antique car is not prepared correctly, you risk losing a few car parts or personal items during transport.

  • Ready your antique car’s documents
  • While some shipping companies require you to empty your gas tank, some companies will tell you it’s better to leave just enough gas for loading, unloading, and pickup. Call your shipping company and ask them about their policies on this one.
  • Remove any valuables or personal belongings inside the car.
  • Take pictures of your antique car’s condition pre-shipping so you can compare it later once you pick it up.

6

Oversee Your Antique Car Loading

Because most pre-restoration antique cars are not fit for driving, the crew will load the car into the trailer manually or with machinery instead of driving it into its designated spot. While this is optional because antique cars are rare and more valuable, we recommend overseeing the loading portion of your car shipping. In most cases, the company will allow you to watch the car while it is loaded into the trailer and take pictures.


7

Receive Your Antique Car at the Pickup Point

Receive Your Antique Car at the Pickup Point

The final step is to receive the car at the pickup point on the scheduled day. In most cases, the company will provide you with an estimated day of arrival before shipping the car. However, antique car transport is filled with unknowns, so keep in mind that the estimated day or arrival might be off by a day or two. 

In general, if the total mileage is less than 1,000 miles, you can expect your car to arrive within 2-3 days. For longer distances (more than 2,000 miles), you can expect your car to arrive in 10-14 days.

If your antique car is post-restoration and is fit enough to drive, you can pick it up from the terminal yourself and drive it the rest of the way. However, if you want the added convenience, or if your antique car is not road-worthy, most shipping companies offer door-to-door delivery for an additional fee.

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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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Testimonial
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.

Testimonial
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.

Testimonial
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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