Classic Car Shipping: Your Complete Guide to Transporting Timeless Beauties

Classic Car Shipping: Your Complete Guide to Transporting Timeless Beauties

In a constantly evolving automotive world with self-driving and robot-driven cars, classic cars remain a symbol of timeless beauty and craftsmanship from the past. While modern cars may surpass classic cars in engine performance, safety, and fuel efficiency, they often lack the unique charm and character that classic cars possess.

But what happens when your beloved time capsule has to be transported, be it for a car exhibition, relocation, auction, vintage car show, or a gathering of classic car lovers? 

Shipping a classic car can be a nerve-wracking experience for the owner, whether it’s a timeless Chevrolet Corvette, an iconic Ford Mustang, or a vintage Porsche 911. The sentimental value of these cherished vehicles makes trusting someone with their transportation a daunting task.

Therefore, this blog is dedicated to providing everything you need to know about classic car shipping. From understanding the costs involved and essential considerations to ensuring the right type and mode of shipping, we’ve left no detail unexplored. 

Let’s delve in and make shipping your classic car easier and hassle-free.

What is Classic Car Shipping?

The definition of a classic car is not merely an old car; Some believe that cars aged 20-50 years are classic, and some believe any car over 25 years old is considered a classic. 

However, the classic car shipping process is no different from shipping your Toyota. The choice is entirely yours – whether to tow your classic car with a moving truck or give it the royal treatment it deserves with a protected mode of shipping.

Whether you have a Chevrolet, Civic, or a classic Chevrolet Corvette, the bottom line is that it will take the same 7-10 days for either of the cars to reach Texas from California.

Which Cars are Considered Classic Cars for Shipping?

Classic Car Shipping

Cars that are more than 25 years old are classified as classic cars. Various types of classic cars are transported worldwide for purposes like relocating, shows, and exhibitions.

Muscle Cars

They are famous for their high-performance engines and sporty designs, which gained popularity in the 1960s and 1970s. Classic examples include the Ford Mustang, Chevrolet Camaro, Dodge Charger, and Pontiac GTO.

Vintage Cars

On the other hand, these cars represent older automobiles cherished as valuable artifacts of automotive history. They span various eras, with classics like the Ford Model T, Chevrolet Bel Air, and Volkswagen Beetle.

If you’re considering purchasing classic cars from exhibitions or shows, navigating through the varying definitions of classic cars set by different agencies is crucial. Checking the necessary documents, and vehicle license plate requirements, and following the guidelines issued by the Department of Motor Vehicles becomes handy for an informed buying process.

What is the Cost of Shipping a Classic Car?

The cost of shipping a classic car cannot be summarized in a simple answer. Even when two clients have the same  Ford Mustang and want them shipped to the same distance, their costs may vary. 

Let’s explore the other factors besides the distance influencing the classic car shipping cost. 

With RCG Logistics, you can easily fill out the form here, and we will promptly send you an email with the cost breakdown.

Weight of the car

It’s important to note that while some luxury cars, due to the absence of new engines and fast technologies, weigh less than today’s SUVs, this is only the case with some cars. For example, the Rolls-Royce Silver Cloud weighs 4,647 lbs, while a Honda weighs 2,877 lbs. Hence the more the weight, the more the charges for shipping.

Insurance on your car

The insurance coverage for your car depends on the type of vehicle you own. Daily-use cars like Honda or Hyundai typically cost less to insure than classic cars like the Pontiac GTO. The value and rarity of classic cars often result in higher insurance coverage to protect their unique and classic status adequately.

Terminal or Door-to-Door Shipping

It’s a thumb rule that terminal shipping costs way less than door-to-door shipping. If there is a substantial distance between your delivery and terminal locations, you pay an even higher price.

Private or Sharing Transport

Imagine that you are buying a Chevrolet Camaro from an international car auction while another person buys a Dodge Charger, both needing to be shipped to a similar destination. If you choose a shared carrier, the cost will be reduced drastically.

Unloading Running or Non-Running Classic Cars

When transporting classic cars to auctions, you wouldn’t want to use the old engines of 1920s classics like the Rolls-Royce Silver Ghost. Instead, the objective is to ensure they are delivered in pristine condition for the show. It’s also important to remember that many cars in these auctions are non-running, making this factor an important consideration in the cost of classic car shipping.

Flexibility With Dates

The cost of shipping your classic car will ultimately depend on how quickly you need it to be delivered. If you need shipment immediately, you may have to request the broker to switch to a faster shipping mode. Where they involve more drivers and take fewer breaks to ensure uninterrupted shipping. Depending on the distance, the normal timeframes may range from 7 to 15 days.

Why Classic Car Owners Prefer Enclosed for Classic Car Shipping?

Classic Car Shipping

When you move frequently and want to save on car shipping, the open trailer should be your go-to transport mode for three reasons. 

  •  It offers cost-effectiveness. 
  • It is readily available even during peak times. 
  • It saves time, making it perfect for moving your family van or a small hatchback.

However, open trailer shipping may not be the ideal choice when it comes to shipping timeless classic cars. These precious vehicles require protection from outside elements, debris, rain, and even minor wear and tear, as any damage could result in major financial losses. 

While open shipping is popular and budget-friendly for regular vehicles, it is not recommended for classic car shipping. Enclosed or covered transport guarantees the highest level of care and protection for your beloved classic car.

So, coming to the original question, why do classic car owners prefer enclosed shipping?

Well, the most convincing reason is how expensive, precious, and rare these cars are. Therefore, they clearly require special care and should not be shipped with five or six other SUVs.

In enclosed car shipping, these trailers have walls and a roof, so the worry of outside rust and rain tarnishing the body paint of your antique car goes out of the window. Thus enclosed shipping guarantees all-round protection; in some cases, bubble wrap is used for added safety.

Whether you are buying a Cadillac Fleetwood Series 75 at a car exhibition or putting your Ford Model T up for auction, the enclosed shipping method guarantees that your car will arrive in the same condition as it left.

In return for the extra five hundred or thousand dollars in charges, you save your vintage car from possible damage and avoid paying even more for repairs, which could cost thousands.

With enclosed shipping, you can opt for door-to-door shipping for extra protection. Let’s compare enclosed shipping with door-to-door or terminal options.

Comparing Option to Ship Your Car: Door-to-Door and Terminal Shipping

Major transportation brokers offer two modes for classic car shipping: terminal shipping and door-to-door shipping. Let’s understand their differences and which option is more beneficial for your classic car.

Terminal Shipping

In this mode, the transport broker will ask you to drop off your car at their carrier’s station, where all the cars are loaded onto a trailer. The trailer then transports the cars to a location closer to your pick-up point. Once the car reaches the destination terminal, the broker will notify you, and you will need to pick up your car from there. 

Terminal shipping is ideal for open transport, as several cars can be accommodated in an open carrier, and all the cars are shipped to the same station, allowing the respective owners to pick up their vehicles, thus saving costs and providing convenience.

However, since you own a vintage car, you wouldn’t risk using open shipping and prefer the enclosed option. That’s where door-to-door service comes into the picture.

Door-to-Door Shipping

Classic car owners often prefer this option over terminal shipping for two reasons:

  1. Their car may not be operable or purely for show, with no intention of driving it.
  2. They may not want to drive the car to the car show or their home because they want to give it royal treatment and protect it from road hazards.
  3. Driving hundreds or more miles in a vintage car can be extremely inconvenient when the final destination is far from the terminal.

If you’re presenting your car for a show, you wouldn’t want it to be on the road even for just a few miles. That’s why transport brokers charge you for this convenience of door-to-door service.

7 Tips for Preparing Your Classic Car for Shipping

Classic Car Shipping

Your job doesn’t end with choosing the mode of transport. You have to make sure your classic car is well-prepared for transportation, which includes ticking off the following checklist:

Choose A Reliable Transporter

Choosing a reliable transporter with vast experience in classic car shipping is a green flag. Also, look for reviews regarding vintage car shipping from their website or other rating portals; this will give you confidence. Additionally, ask your queries to the transporter, as clarity is even better.

Check For Insurance Coverage

This is one of the crucial aspects of classic car shipping, as it is based on the value of the car and determines the coverage. Make sure you are getting enough coverage, as wear and tear costs in these vintage cars can be significantly higher than in any other type of car.

See If The Car is in Running Condition

If the car show or exhibition requires the car to be driven, it is necessary to ensure it is running. However, if it is a stationary exhibition and the car is not operable, you must inform the shippers beforehand. Besides the charges, it would be convenient to bring along any extra equipment required for door-to-door shipping.

Check and Clean Your Classic Car 

Before shipping your classic car, make sure to check and clean it thoroughly. Remove any personal items from the car, check all essential components, and conduct a thorough cleanout. This will help ensure a smoother transportation process for your precious vehicle.

Check For Existing Damage and Document It

Before shipping your classic car, carefully examine it for any pre-existing damage. Documenting any existing damage is crucial to facilitate proper handling and avoid disputes or claims during transportation.

Perform Maintenance If Necessary: 

If it’s been a while since the last repair, perform maintenance on your classic car before shipping. Take it to a trusted mechanic for inspection and address any maintenance needs. This may include checking tire tread and pressure, changing the oil and filter, inspecting hoses and belts for cracks, replacing windshield wipers, checking the battery, and assessing the air conditioning. Ensuring your car is in good condition will help ensure a smooth transportation process.

By following these steps, you can ensure your classic car is well-prepared and cared for during its shipping journey.

Why Choose Shipping a Classic Car with RCG Logistics?

When choosing a shipping partner for your classic car, it’s crucial to know the level of expertise and years of experience the broker has in classic car shipping. Additionally, it’s essential not to treat it as a race to find the cheapest option. We are dealing with transporting cars that are 50 years or even a century old, making the value and care the broker provides the top priority.

RCG Logistics has two decades of experience and numerous satisfied customers. We strongly believe in preserving your valuable asset and ensuring it reaches your doorstep in the same pristine condition. Our value-driven classic car shipping service has garnered plenty of positive reviews, solidifying our position as a trusted choice for transporting timeless classics.

About the Author: Brad Marinov

Brad serves as the Consumer Logistics Operations Director at RCG Logistics, boasting a rich tenure of over a decade in the field. His profound knowledge extends across all facets of car transportation, underscoring his expertise in the domain. With an unwavering commitment to excellence, Brad prioritizes the delivery of exceptional customer service. This commitment is underscored by his adeptness in offering valuable industry insights, coordinating operations, and employing efficient management practices. As a result, he consistently delivers a seamless car transportation experience for each valued client.


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Brad Marinov
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