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Old 01-12-2004, 11:19 PM
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Buying a car from Canada?

My main candidate for the future is a 72 A-body in Canada. It's just over the border in Winnipeg.

I wanted to hear about what any of your experiences have been with getting a classic from our northern sister.

Honestly, we were planning to just meet in Minnesota and exchange cash and bill of sale. Will this fly with the local DMV?

Is there any special extra fees, etc? Will this be a humongous hassle?

-Erik

P.S. Yes, I'm just full of questions today.

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Old 01-12-2004, 11:57 PM
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I've never purchased a car from Canada, but I know buying from EBay from Canada gets expensive. I'd check with your local DMV about the Canadian title before you commit.
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Old 01-13-2004, 01:16 AM
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I'm not sure if its the same going Canada to the US. But bringing anything across from the US, into Canada is easy, and free, providing the car is 25 years old (I believe, its 25, could be more...less). There is no duty charged, hopefully it goes the same the other way.


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Old 01-13-2004, 09:00 AM
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I don't think that 25 years old applys any more with free trade.If yuoare buying from Winnipeg, you would clear customs at Emerson on I 29 .There are on site brokers there that you should contact ahead of time to get some insight. I've inquired about selling race engines, etc. with a high value to somone in the U.S. and it was suggested that it would be easier if both parties were at the border to simplify the importation.Buying the item is not the issue,in most cases, the govt. isworried that it is going to get all of its share.I think the brokers are Woods Bros. or something like that. There will probably be some compatability concerns like the speedo in mph instead of kph and smog issuies for example An older car shouldn't be a problem.
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Old 01-13-2004, 09:24 AM
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Last year we bought a car from the Dream Car Garage folks in Canada. The local DMV took the title from Canada without any questions and register the car (which was a real 1934 Chevy). About a month later the registration was pulled till I could show import papers from where it was imported for Canada into the US. After calling the Port Authorities they called it smuggling and in the post 911 world the fines are really huge. The Dream Car Garage folks took care of it and was shocked that the driver didn't give me them when the car was dropped off.
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Old 01-14-2004, 12:53 AM
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Modified vehicles a no go?!?!?!?!

I'll just give you the jist of what I wrote to a guy whose car I was planning to buy. In fact, I'll copy and paste it because I'm tired and discouraged. If anyone can help me untangle this mess, I would appreciate it.

"Customs apparently could be more tricky than I initially thought. I could have problems just bringing it in because it's not the original engine, etc. (Maybe, not sure yet)

The document attached basically says that most cars have to pay a 2.5% duty. Fine, whatever, 2.5% like that matter when we're talking about a lot more money.

This line is um scary, "Vehicles entering the United States that do not conform with U.S. safety standards must be brought into compliance, exported, or destroyed."

http://www.customs.ustreas.gov/xp/cg...etermining.xml

My big worry isn't that I will have to pay a 2.5% duty. Of course I don't want to. But I will. My big worry is that because the car has been "slightly" modified, I won't be able to bring it into the US.

From: http://www.epa.gov/otaq/imports/quiktext.htm#usversion

"C. (1) Modified Or Altered Vehicle

A vehicle originally manufactured as a U.S. version vehicle, but that has since been modified or altered, will not meet U.S. emission requirements. For example, if the engine has been altered or replaced with another type of engine, the vehicle is no longer considered a U.S. version.

A modified or altered vehicle may be refused importation into the U.S. The vehicle owner may contract with an EPA-certified Independent Commercial Importer to import the vehicle as a non-U.S. version vehicle and to convert it to meet the EPA requirements. "

Basically, it sounds like unless before 1967ish or for drag racing (can never get permit for driving on US highways), that I would have to bring it back into conformance with EPA emissions requirements.

I'm going to call a couple of the transporters/customs brokers listed on this site and ask about everything tomorrow if I have time:

http://www.movecars.com/toc/find/#canada-us

So nothing conclusive about customs yet. I'm still trying to figure out this mess. If you can decipher any of this gibberish, I'd appreciate the help.

Right now, after finally making a decision that "yeah, Rob's been real upfront about everything and his car really is the one I want, not just one kind of like what I want"... I feel... well, _____.

-Erik

Here's sites with more info. I haven't even got through them all yet. I'm discouraged and going to bed.

http://www.epa.gov/otaq/imports/imptop.htm
http://www.hansenglobal.com/images/epa_form.pdf -from here I got that because it's older than 21 years old, it could qualify for an emissions exemption if it is the original equipment/engine and as much as I'd like to stick it to them and say it is, I think the risk/reward of them confiscating it wouldn't be worth it
http://www.epa.gov/otaq/imports/factmtop.htm
http://www.epa.gov/otaq/imports/quikover.htm"

The guy I'm dealing with (a really nice fella) responded by saying:

The car should be exempt factory motor or not as BOTH are over 21 years old. The car is a 72 and the motor is a 74. As for "modified/altered" besides the engine, everything else is pretty much factory. Factory seatbelts, brakes, suspension, frame, frontend, even the speedo is in MPH. I really can't see a
problem in that regard. Even emissions, the car should be exempt. I could see if it had a new fuel injected LS1 in their, but the motor itself is 30 years old. Your best bet is to call someone in person, if you can find a number.
-----------------------------------------------------------------------------
Sound advice and I'll try calling (could take a few months on hold but I'll do it), but if anyone else can add anything/help, once again, I'd appreciate it. I don't expect you to become experts on US Customs Regulations for me, but if you have time, enjoy investigating (I do sometimes) and see something I've missed/overlooked, then thank the stars for you, my friend.

-Erik
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Old 01-14-2004, 01:42 AM
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I've heard this is a gigantic hassle selling south, if I were you I would say the car is for parts and does not run. The legal diffences for parts as opposed to a licensable vehicle are considerable, have the car safetied later in your state.

If you want to make it look like a parts car just take the hood off and have him tie it to the trailer, a lot has to do with the pinhead...excuse me...customs agent at the border. Funny how having the hood off the car completely changes peoples perception of the vehicle. I would phone and explain the car is a non runner and will be used for parts only, arrange to meet with a customs agent at a prescribed time with the seller, you can worry about the rest later.

Make sure to have him "lose the keys" and pull the rotor out of the cap, it don't run...it's parts. Putting one set of tires in the trunk so it sits on rims is a nice touch also. Fully expect the car to be torn apart for "drug inspection", if it's from Winnipeg you better hope there isn't an old roach under the seat or in the ashtray somewhere...if there is you will wish you never seen or heard of the car.

Seriously! You are an accomplice in that situation and will be arrested. They will even inspect the rocks on the carpet looking for seeds...I'm not kidding. You may want to consider having the guy strip the carpet out just in case. A friend once bought a brand new Honda Prelude and decided to drive to Fargo as a break-in trip, he picked it up at the dealer and drove straight to the border. He had long hair and of course they completely stripped the interior of the car and went through the carpet of the car looking for seeds...anything. He told me he almost cried and not being a handyman kind of guy ended up driving back to Winnipeg to have the Honda dealer put the car back together for him.

Not only does he not smoke dope but has never had a drink in his life...he's a Christian rock singer...hence the long hair.
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Old 01-14-2004, 10:09 AM
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I like your parts idea, 4JawChuck. I think it could be a possible exception. But, the only problem might be how good of condition the car is in. Yes, it would depend on the customs agent, but honestly, it's too far 15 hours or big $ if I have a carrier do it and too big of a risk for me to have it come down to the "pinhead" at the border.

So I think I'll need to keep looking for another possible solution.

"Fully expect the car to be torn apart for "drug inspection", if it's from Winnipeg you better hope there isn't an old roach under the seat or in the ashtray somewhere...if there is you will wish you never seen or heard of the car. Seriously! You are an accomplice in that situation and will be arrested. They will even inspect the rocks on the carpet looking for seeds...I'm not kidding. You may want to consider having the guy strip the carpet out just in case."

Wow, I will have to talk with him about that if we can get everything else figured out. No judgment here, but I really would rather not be arrested this year

"A friend once bought a brand new Honda Prelude and decided to drive to Fargo as a break-in trip, he picked it up at the dealer and drove straight to the border. He had long hair and of course they completely stripped the interior of the car and went through the carpet of the car looking for seeds...anything. He told me he almost cried and not being a handyman kind of guy ended up driving back to Winnipeg to have the Honda dealer put the car back together for him.Not only does he not smoke dope but has never had a drink in his life...he's a Christian rock singer...hence the long hair."

That's a sad but funny story. Unfortunately my guy has long hair and I don't think he's a Christian rock singer so I'll have to seriously think this over.

I can't believe it. I find the perfect car and it's in Canada and might cost me thousands more than I expected along with some time at Club Fed

Sigh...

-Erik
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Old 01-14-2004, 11:38 AM
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Nice car E, worth the hassle I think. If you need any help I live in Winnipeg and can assist if needed.

Send me a PM.
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Old 01-14-2004, 12:14 PM
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I'd say you need to dirty that car up a bit . If you buy it have the vendor get a satin black aerosol and go over the wheels , it'll come off easy with some stripper when you get it home . Go to a hobby store and get some water based acrylic aerosol primer and put some 'repair areas' around the wheel openings, bottom of fenders , corners of windshield etc , it'll clean off easy with rubbing compound. Wax the car and leave it to dry on , take some of the shine off . In short , anything to make it look cheaper.
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Old 01-16-2004, 01:19 AM
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I brought in my '68 Plymouth Sports Fury from Canada when I moved here and they gave me a song and dance at the border (even though the car was in our family since brand new). I found out by talking to another agent on the phone that all I had to do was claim it as settler's effects and they couldn't stop me.
Motor was a 383 Golden Commander with crossover dual quads they claimed weren't stock (it was my uncle's car). Only had 70,000 miles on it when some pukebrains stole it (rammed my shop open with a stolen pickup) and my '66 Fairlane GTA. Unfortunately I didn't have enough insurance on either and the one punks parents tried to sue me when he smashed the car into a brick wall at 120 mph with SPD in pursuit! (killed himself and his "friends" along with my Fairlane)
Looked like this only red www.nationaldiecasters.com/ gmpfairlane.htm (I had a 289 powered 2 dr HT too that I sold cheap out of disgust after getting it 60% restored)
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Old 01-16-2004, 02:43 AM
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Take the engine out and bring it over seperately.
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Old 01-16-2004, 01:30 PM
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The U.S. port of entry south of Winnipeg is called Pembina North Dakota.Go thru the telephone operator,get the phone # of the customs office, and talk to them.Tell them straight up what yuo are wanting to do,and you are needing advise.The motor is just repaired with factory replacement parts if questioned.Don't make it sound like it has a blown hemi in it.Making it a none runner ispossibly helpfull but DON'T overdo it. These guys are trained to catch people trying to outwit them.
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Old 01-19-2004, 11:07 AM
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"Nice car E, worth the hassle I think."

I agree 4JawChuck. BUT a lot is now riding on how expensive the Customs Broker fees are going to be. I think about $250-$350 is the max hit I can handle and still have this whole plan be worth it. And I think it could easily be much higher than that

That stinks about the plymouth fury, carnuck.

Thanks for the help jcarter. I'm very curious to hear what someone at customs will actually say. I'll be calling them tomorrow. I tried to late Friday and today again but I think they're closed.

-Erik

Things are looking up. I talked with a nice customs broker at Norman Jensen. When I told him 72 Oldsmobile with a 74 Chevy engine, he said it would be no problem at all. Straight from the horses mouth. I don't quite understand how it flies under the radar of the things I read, but I'll just let the collectively ignorant bureacracy misinterpret it's own bylaws if that's what it wants to do

Customs broker fees are the only thing I'm left with... hoping they will not sink the ship. Fingers crossed. I've been doing a lot of that lately.

Does anyone have any idea what customs broker fees will be? Or remember what they were for a car you brought into the US?

-Erik

Last edited by elukas; 01-19-2004 at 11:07 AM.
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Old 01-19-2004, 05:44 PM
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I bought my 68 Beaumont SD396from Canada. I had it shipped from Kelona, BC to South Carolina, 2800 miles according to Map Quest. Shipping was $1300. The only other fees I had to pay was a $200 Customs fee. I had the Canadian registration and a bill of sale. DMV didn't have a problem registering the car here.
The car does not have the original engine. I can't see where it would matter if the engine had been changed or not. I would not hesitate to buy another car from Canada.
James
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