US WAKES UP TO BRIT CARS
Weak Sterling adds to attractions for Americans buying from Britain
American collectors are set to buy more classics from Britain as the falling value of Sterling pushes them to broaden their scope when searching for cars.
The pound hit a 31- year low against the US dollar post Brexit, and despite increasing since, was worth just $1.33 as this issue of CCW went to press.
Although US Federal importation laws on newer vehicles are exceptionally strict and nigh on impossible to circumvent, classics have a much easier time going to the USA. Once a vehicle reaches 25 years old from the date of manufacture, it can be imported into the USA (except for California and Hawaii) without having to comply with Federal safety and emissions regulations.
Michelle Ellis, an import account supervisor at Pride International in Baltimore, Maryland, says: ‘Private imports of 25-year old cars from the UK have been rising quickly for the past two years, and are set to increase more because of the recent Brexit.’
Industry editor of Detroit-based Automotive News and collector of British classics Richard Truett, insists American buyers are cottoning on to the low value of the pound.
He says: ‘It’s not just the cars that are cheaper from Britain, but the shipping is, too, compared with many other sources. And it’s fairly simple, as long as documents like V5s and VIN numbers are scanned and emailed or faxed before the vehicle arrives at the docks. However, any vehicle coming to the USA must have it original manufacturer’s tag in place and be unaltered.’
US law allows 25-year-old-plus cars in to the USA based on the date the car was manufactured, not the date of first registration. If the car was first registered in 1990 or before than the car is obviously 25-years old. But if the vehicle was first registered in 1991, it must be 25 years old to the day before it can enter the USA.
Richard adds: ‘I recently bought a 1991 Rover 214 GSi and brought it over to the US. Before I booked the shipping, I got a letter from MG Rover’s administrators stating the date the car was built, 10 January 1991.’
Markets editor Richard Barnett says: ‘There won’t be a sudden rush of Americans buying up our MGs, Morgans, and Jaguar E-types. They have enough of them over there already! It’s the same with top end classics as well. What I’m hearing is that switched-on Americans who want things like Lotus Carltons might finally start doing it.’
There is one arcane rule US customs officials enforce that British sellers need to be aware of; there can be nothing in the car of value. No spares of any kind. Anything loose in the car that doesn’t belong will be removed and destroyed.