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

Classic Car Weekly (UK) - - This Week - Theo Ford- Sagers

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.

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