Getting your collector car ready for transport brings along its own unique set of worries. Some people equate it with sending a child off to college, while others liken it to bringing home a new baby.
By any standards, it can certainly be a stressful project, especially if you are shipping your classic auto long distance.
Finding a Transport Carrier
First, get some recommendations. Talk to other collectors, either people that you know in your area or even other enthusiasts on various classic car forums. Many of these people have shipped cars either across town or across the country.
Another avenue to explore is the recommendations given by museums or even auction houses. Both are excellent sources of information, and they can probably give you some useful tips on how well various carriers operate.
Word-of-mouth recommendations are great, but they are useless if the carrier has a dicey safety record – it is always good to double-check the potential carrier’s safety record (and their insurance status!) on the FMCSA website before deciding to call them for a quote.
This site is for the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, operated by the U.S. Department of Transportation. The database is easily searchable by DOT number, motor carrier number, or company name and is free of charge.
Should I Use an Open or Enclosed Trailer?
Unless you’re planning to ship a car for restoration, it will be better to send the car in an enclosed trailer to prevent damage from the weather and from hazards such as small rocks which can cause damage to the vehicle.
Using an enclosed trailer will be more expensive, but you can bet that that cost will be less than the price to repair your collector car.
What if My Car Doesn’t Run?
If your car is in non-running condition, you will have to disclose that to the carrier up front. This information will allow the company to discuss the options that you have for loading and unloading the vehicle, as well as any fees involved.
Remember, a carrier’s insurance generally only covers its negligence, so make sure that you have insurance coverage for the value of the vehicle before you think about transporting it anywhere. Companies like Classic Auto Insurance and Chubb Collector Car Insurance are well-known for being leading classic car insurance companies who are well-acquainted with the needs of their customers.
And if My Car is Running?
If your car is operable, it is a great idea to give the auto transport company written instructions for the operation of your vehicle, especially if it has an alarm, a cut-off switch for the fuel, or some other procedure that is not readily apparent.
It is undoubtedly a good idea to have the battery fully charged and only around a quarter of a tank of gas for loading, unloading and driving to its parking spot.
What Else Do I Need Before Shipping?
Thoroughly clean the car inside and out before transport. And remove any items from the interior, glove box and trunk which could move around and cause damage during transport.
This clean out will make it much easier to photograph and document any existing damage that your car has so it will be considerably easier to deal with any damage claims if needed after the vehicle is picked up.
And according to the freight specialist uShip.com, the use of a non-stacking trailer will help keep fluids from other vehicles dripping onto yours, as well as the use of soft tie-downs to avoid paint scratches and other damage.
As with anything else, the price should not be your only consideration when shipping your collector car. The right carrier will make sure that your classic gets to its destination in as great a shape as it was when it you dropped it with the carrier.