Buying Classics Abroad
These pretty classics are bouncing up in value, but are they precious enough to justify shipping one in from overseas? CCW investigates
Alfa Romeo Giulia
Our exchange rate isn’t doing any favours for UK buyers scouting for cars overseas at the moment. But the 105 series Alfas can still be viable to import, as some enthusiasts and specialists are finding out.
Sussex-based specialist Ian Ellis (ianellisalfas.co.uk) knows of a few recent international trades. ‘Those I’ve seen imported from Australia seem to be in very good condition, but if I were buying I’d start by looking in Italy – for the convenience and the ready supply,’ says Ian.
It won’t come as any surprise that Italy holds the greatest number, but what may raise eyebrows is just how many there are compared to here in the UK. While sub-£10k 105s are a rarity in Blighty, those in the £5000-£10,000 bracket are plentiful in Italy. Germany and the Netherlands also have far more on offer than we have in Britain.
Conversion to right-hand drive is doable for about £3000 with Ian Ellis. It’s a fairly straightforward job as the chassis already has the required holes, but sourcing a good right-hand drive dash can be a pain.
Some UK specialists are actively seeking Giulias in Italy. London-based Paul Pettenati (italiansportsandclassics.com) has a couple of Italian models in stock.
A few cars have entered the UK from South Africa which, like Australia, brings the benefit of righthand drive. Some are decent, but Ian is sceptical. ‘It’s a myth South African cars are always rust free,’ he warns. ‘They can sometimes be in a bad way, structurally and mechanically.’
Asian countries are also worth a look, particularly Japan. You won’t find many examples and importing will be expensive, but the condition of Japanese vehicles can be exceptional. Such examples command lofty values in the UK.