US WAKES UP TO BRIT CARS

Weak Ster­ling adds to at­trac­tions for Amer­i­cans buy­ing from Bri­tain

Classic Car Weekly (UK) - - News -

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.

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