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 Post subject: Importing from Europe
PostPosted: February 1, 2016, 9:08 am 
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Joined: January 14, 2016, 4:16 am
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Location: Wiesbaden, Germany
As I continue my homework of gathering information to build one of these things I've come across several posts where people mention that a particular car was brought over from the UK, etc.

My local US Customs office here in Germany is only marginally helpful. They have tri-fold brochures in the waiting area... :lol:

I've been fearful of the whole "Caught in Customs" nightmare you often hear about, so I thought I'd post here and see if anyone has any personal experience with importing a Locost type vehicle into the US.

I would really like to start my build (or buy an unfinished project) while I'm here and not wait another couple years...

I was thinking that since I initially plan for this to be a "track only" car I might be able to take it back as an unregistered race car or similar...

Any sage advice would be greatly appreciated. Thanks!

Rob


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PostPosted: February 1, 2016, 9:24 am 
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IIRC, you're in some branch of the military correct? Don't certain branches of the armed forces allow you to import a vehicle back to the united states for those personnel that are stationed in a particular country for a certain period of time?

If so, It may be worth asking someone who handles that kind of stuff in your branch.

I personally have two friends, one of which who was in Romania, and the other in Germany, for 4+ years a piece. one brought back a diesel jeep, the other a diesel 5 series bmw. I have little knowledge of the circumstances, other than "it was pretty easy" "just had to pay for transport"

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PostPosted: February 1, 2016, 11:09 am 
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Location: Wiesbaden, Germany
More than likely those two vehicles were US specification.

The military clause through customs is just for one year. You have to return the vehicle at the end of the year.

There is a statement on the NHTSA form (#8): "The vehicle was not manufactured primarily for use on the public roads and thus is not a motor vehicle subject to the Federal Motor Vehicle Safety, Bumper, and Theft Prevention Standards..."

That MIGHT work if I were to build one over here for track only...

(I can't use #7 saying that it is "solely for the purpose of competitive racing events" because that requires me to export or destroy it within 30 days! :shock: )


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PostPosted: February 1, 2016, 11:35 am 
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dudeflage, check your military guys and ask about requirements for used vehicles over 25 yrs old. General public requirements, Fed NHTSA and Emissions don't apply on older vehicles. However, some states require emissions. So check the stated where you plan on living when you return. You can get some nice clubmans in that age group. Just make sure they were built with parts you can source replacements here in the USA.

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PostPosted: February 1, 2016, 1:23 pm 
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How about breaking it up into 2 or 3 shipments and declare them as "Automobile Parts"! :twisted:

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PostPosted: February 1, 2016, 2:56 pm 
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there was a story a few years ago about a guy who did that with a Ferrari.. didn't want to pay import tax on it or something, so he broke it down into three shipping containers, sent it over and left the frame unclaimed in customs. when the shipping container went up for auction he showed up and paid 4k for it or something.

and that may have made sense with the jeep, but they never made an early 2000's diesel bmw in the states that I know of..

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PostPosted: February 2, 2016, 5:25 am 
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Location: Wiesbaden, Germany
Perhaps if I were to find a titled project or complete vehicle over here that I could claim the 25 year rule on it would work.

I have a '92 BMW E30 320i convertible that will just be barely old enough to bring back when I reach my DEROS (Date Eligible for Return from Overseas) in July 2017.

I doubt I will bring it back though. Not worth the $2,500 to ship it. For a more sentimental and unique vehicle it might be a different story...

Maybe I'll see if anyone over here wants to trade the BMW for a running Locost with an older registration... :D


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PostPosted: February 3, 2016, 9:15 am 
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For those interested:

http://www.nhtsa.gov/cars/rules/import/

As far as personal property allowance to ship back home at the end of your tour, if it isn't assembled and hasn't been issued and identification, it is just your personal stuff, like pots, pans, curling iron, and nintendo.

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PostPosted: February 4, 2016, 6:15 am 
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Thanks yet again M8! :D

That link is certainly more helpful than just downloading the form.

You're right about the "vehicle" just being household goods (HHG), but at some point in the build it becomes an issue for the moving company. Maybe if it was just the bare frame (a bunkbed?) and a bunch of loose parts I could pass it off.

There is also the weight issue. The Army has a weight allowance for HHG. Anything over that you pay yourself and it is NOT a friendly amount! They don't just calculate it as "additional weight", but basically factor it as its own shipment. Cost wise (if I go over my allowance) it would almost certainly be cheaper to just ship it as a car. The last I checked it was running about $2,500 to ship a vehicle.

I will read the NHTSA information a little more closely and also find a certified company that deals in this all the time for some more guidance. More to follow.


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PostPosted: February 4, 2016, 6:49 am 
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When I was in the Navy, a shipmate tried to sneak a car home in a crate on the carrier. They used the cat to launch it into the ocean.

I bought a 1987 chevy astrovan from a soldier that shipped it back from Germany when he retired. It had a 2.80 traction loc axle and a T5. Must have been the autobahn package.

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PostPosted: February 4, 2016, 12:16 pm 
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Dudefladge wrote:
Thanks yet again M8! :D

That link is certainly more helpful than just downloading the form.

You're right about the "vehicle" just being household goods (HHG), but at some point in the build it becomes an issue for the moving company. Maybe if it was just the bare frame (a bunkbed?) and a bunch of loose parts I could pass it off.

There is also the weight issue. The Army has a weight allowance for HHG. Anything over that you pay yourself and it is NOT a friendly amount! They don't just calculate it as "additional weight", but basically factor it as its own shipment. Cost wise (if I go over my allowance) it would almost certainly be cheaper to just ship it as a car. The last I checked it was running about $2,500 to ship a vehicle.

I will read the NHTSA information a little more closely and also find a certified company that deals in this all the time for some more guidance. More to follow.


If its that outrageous.. I would look at purchasing a shipping container and paying the freight yourself. If you get on a large enough vessel, shipping a container overseas is fairly simple, and shipping containers of a decent size have good resell value, and are easily sellable on this side of the pond. I looked into purchasing one as additional storage not too long ago (within 3 months) and an 8x20 unit in "poor" condition was still selling for $2300! good condition 40 footers going for nearly 5k.

you'd of course have to organize a customs agent to handle the paper work, but last I got quoted (2012) a 20' high cube from Poland to new York, 3klbs cargo, was $1400, plus customs fees. It would have been approx. $2k all in.

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PostPosted: February 4, 2016, 12:29 pm 
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I have done shippers own container from the UK to the USA a few times and its a bit of a nightmare, its only worth it if you are going backwards and forwards with gear The container you elect to buy needs to be inspected and certified before the freight handlers will load it, its far easier to go straight to a freight consolidator and rent a container if its a one off. The down side of rented is you need to get to the docks at an allocated time and empty it. The upside of your own container is you can jam it to the neck with other items that will give you a return or even a profit, usually enough to cover all the costs including door to door delivery. Old European furniture sells like crazy stateside for some strange reason.

Bob

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PostPosted: February 4, 2016, 2:01 pm 
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racing teams ship stuff all over the world including the u.s.a.
get a freight company to put it in a container and send it with no registration just the bill of laden as proof of ownership.
once its here then you can "destroy" it, wink wink.(collect some scrap, take it to a metal recyclers and get a receipt, the more car like the better). most recyclers won't take a car unless its titled, but will take parts of cars, like cut in half but you don't have to be very accurate about where the middle is an inch or two either way will do, cough cough,

bring it to arizona and register it here as a home built with no emmissions or crash testing required, they will give you a chassis number(vin) then you can title it, once titled, you can retitle it in any state provided that you comply with emmissions if required in that state.
alternatively whilst in arizona having your title done get an arizona license and just keep it on the az plates.( i lived in florida for 3 years at my "vacation home" but kept an arizona p.o. box as my home address, progressive sent me my arizona insurance vallid in all states, and arizona dmv sent me my plates and tags all to florida.)

alternatively, if you just want to race it, just carry on, when you scrap it, buy back the scrap, just like 99.99% of all locost built, made from parts from a scrap yard.

i am not a criminal and this is all ficticous, just a copy of something i read in a magazine.

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