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  • Writer's pictureClint Stussi

Your Guide to Shipping a Classic

A classic car is a prized possession to most people that own them. These cars, whether they are vintage muscle cars, classic sedans or other models are usually much more difficult to repair than modern vehicles are and owners need to make sure they are handled with care whether they drive them, garage them or pull them out to take to car shows. It’s important to classic car owners to maintain value with their cars and when it comes to getting one to a new location, a great deal of planning needs to be done in order to ensure that the car will remain safe as it travels from one area to another. The bottom line is, to ensure a safe relocation, a classic car owner should speak to a company that specializes in moving classic cars.

Hiring a professional auto transport company is something that can really make a person feel nervous. This is highly understandable as for a classic car owner, the car is your baby and having it away from you can be very daunting. Something you may want to know is that when you ship with a reliable classic car shipping company, you can rest assured that your car will be delivered to you safely whether it takes a few days or even a few weeks. Before the car is even shipped there are a few things you will want to do on your own to guarantee that the transport goers smoothly and that your prized possession will be taken care of just like you take care of it yourself.

Insist On Having the Best. When it comes to a classic or vintage car, an owner should never settle for second best when it comes to choosing the right transporter. When you begin a search for a company that you can trust and rely on to provide secure shipping services for your car, you are going to quickly realize that there are thousands of auto transport companies listed online. Your job now is going to be to weed through them as carefully as possible to find the ones that cater to classic car owners. You can do this either by contacting one company after the other or by calling an auto transport broker and having them handle the legwork for you. Choosing a company is something that will take time because you really need to speak to a few before you hire anyone so you can get a good feel for what each company offers. While regular auto transport is safe, classic car owners need to hire someone that really has the experience needed to handle that classic beauty and keep it looking great throughout the shipping process. A company that is qualified to transport a classic, vintage or antique car is one that will offer high quality services as well as competitive rates to customers.

The Price. It’s a good idea to shop around and check out at least three or four companies before you settle on one. Get quotes but make sure the quotes are all-inclusive and that companies are not trying to lowball you on the fee they offer. Some companies are a little less than scrupulous and will offer a price that sounds too great to turn down. You need to be aware that there are some companies that do this to lure a customer in and then they will increase the price after the customer agrees to use their services. As a car owner, you need to ask the customer service agent if the price quoted is all-inclusive or not. You definitely want a price that includes everything so there will be no surprises later.

Get The Car Ready

You may look at your beautiful car and assume that it will simply need loaded onto a trailer to be on its way to the destination. With auto transport, especially when you ship a vintage car, you really have to take a few important steps to get the car ready for shipment. These steps can go a long way to helping you keep the car safe during shipment.

Remove Personal Items

By law, all companies that transport motor vehicles must ensure that the cars they ship are emptied and contain no personal property belonging to the customer during shipment. You will want to remove items such as loose CDs, DVDs, detachable face plates on a stereo and other items that may be loose inside of the car. Also, if the car has anything hazardous inside, you will want to remove these items as well. Hazardous items can be anything from a can of gas in the trunk to lighter fluid, oil and other flammable material. Items left inside of a car are not going to be covered by insurance and you will run the risk of losing them to theft or damage if they are not removed. While we are talking about removing loose items, you should also remove exterior items that may get in the way when the transport driver is loading or unloading the car during transport. Accessories like custom spoilers or aprons, ground effects and other add-ons can be damaged or destroyed if they are not removed from the car before it is shipped. You also need to fold in side mirrors and fold down the antenna or remove it and place it in the glove box or trunk while the car is being shipped.


Most of the time, car owners want to make sure the gas tank is full but when you are having a car shipped by a professional, you need to drive the fuel down to less than a half tank. Drivers must adhere to stringent guidelines when hauling motor vehicles and one of the rules pertains to weight. The DOT limits the weight of each load on a truck to only 80,000 pounds and the driver must ensure that when he has a full load on the truck that everything remains within the limit he must adhere to. If the truckload is overweight the driver could be fined or even lose his license to transport vehicles. The only gas that will be needed in the tank of the car will be just enough to load and unload it during transport.

Mechanical Issues

Your car needs to be in good running condition. Many classic cars are not in operational condition and companies know this, so if your car does not run you need to be sure to tell the company ahead of time so they can schedule the right truck to move it. In most cases the driver will drive the car onto a trailer but with an inoperable vehicle, they will need to use a specialized truck with a lift to load or unload the car. For cars that are operational, the tires should be inflated properly and the brakes should be in good working order. The battery should also be fully charged so it will start up when the driver needs to unload it to shift other vehicles around as he loads or unloads along the way.

Detail the Quirks

Most cars have quirks, even if they are minor ones. Classic cars have been known to have many quirks ranging from tricky ways to turn the key in the ignition to hidden throttle switches that can be used to turn the car on or off or put the top up or down. If your car has any quirks be sure to let the driver know so that he will be able to easily turn the car off and on and load and unload it.


Car alarms are great when you are parked in the garage or the driveway, but they need to be disabled when the car is being shipped. An alarm can set off during shipment and distract the driver but more importantly, it can cause a car battery to run down if it goes off while the truck is in motion and the driver is not able to shut it off.


Anytime a car is handled by a professional shipper, the driver is required by law to have a key to access all doors, the trunk and the ignition. This is a DOT regulation and you will need to have a spare set of keys made to give to the driver.

A Picture is Worth a Thousand Words

In today’s world, snapping a picture and posting it online is something that seems natural to most people. When it comes to having a car, especially a classic car or other collectible vehicle shipped, taking pictures is very important. When the driver arrives to get the car he will give you a Bill of Lading and will complete an inspection. The inspection is going to note any signs of damage and you need to sign the driver’s paperwork before he leaves with the car. Although the driver will perform an inspection, you should also perform your own and take time and date stamped pictures of all surface areas before the truck leaves. These pictures will hopefully never be necessary but you never know when you may need them at a later date to compare the appearance of the car.

By taking the time to plan ahead of time you can help ensure that not only will your classic car be handled with care during transport, but you can also have a little peace of mind in knowing that you took the time to really find out about the company while you had everything scheduled. When you need to ship your car, be sure that the company you hire is a reliable classic car transport company so you will know they can handle the car safely and will really take care of it during shipment.

One last thing that is very important when it comes to shipping a classic car is the type of transport carrier the car will be shipped on. Most cars are shipped on open air carriers when they are transported via the interstate and this is perfectly fine for a standard motor vehicle such as one that you drive frequently. For classic cars however, most people will suggest that you ship with enclosed transport only as this will prevent the elements from coming into contact with the car. Foul weather including rain or hail and high winds can cause exterior damage and a classic car is not quite as simple to repair as a modern vehicle. Be sure to speak to the transport company representative to get a better idea of the best options that they may have to be able to transport your car in the safest, as well as the quickest and most affordable way possible.

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