Owning a sports car or vintage vehicle is pretty much awesome, let’s be honest. Simple logic tells us that if someone is willing to spend thousands, sometimes tens of thousands of dollars on something, they must REAAAALY love it. Indeed classic cars are nice, but unless you plan on using it as your primary means of transportation, you’ve got storage costs, upkeep and insurance to contend with. Moreover, if you plan on moving long distances or overseas, you may want to consider transporting your prized car to avoid incurring resell-killing miles on the speedometer.
Today, we’re going to delve into the various options vintage and sports car owners have in transporting their vehicles safely and economically.
Option 1 – Do it Yourself
Are you a capable do-it-yourselfer and have the time for a road trip? You may consider renting an auto trailer from a company like U-Haul. Costs typically run around $15.00 to $18.00 per day (c.2016 USD) and are rated hold between 4,500 and 5,500 pounds depending on the model trailer. Most rentals come equipped with loading ramps, security chains, and tire straps to make carrying your car or cars safe and easy.
A word of caution before you go all-in on this option: know ahead of time what you’re getting into, and plan accordingly. An overnight trip to the beach is with your ‘56 Chevy is one thing, but traveling cross country over mountain, desert, field and stream is an entirely different scenario.
Make sure that the towing vehicle is rated to safely haul the weight of not only the car itself, but that of the trailer. Additionally, since your towing vehicle is going to be doing extra duty, confirm that the towing vehicle is up to date on its maintenance checkup and fluids and make double-sure that the brakes are aligned and not worn – nothing puts the fear of death like brake failure down a steep mountain pass!
Option 2 – Hire a Towing Service
Most tow companies are happy to oblige towing a sports car long distance and most offer a reasonable rate. Providing they have the right equipment to do the job, a reputable company will give you a reliable approximation of when they can pick up your car and when it will be delivered.
And since this is your pride-and-joy we’re talking about here, you’ll want to insist on a flatbed configuration, which is a hydraulically controlled platform mounted directly to the back of a truck. A flatbed will allow the tower to hydraulically tilt the platform to allow your vehicle to be gently load on and of the tow truck.
NOTE: Avoid any outfit that tries to sell you a hook and chain tow, where a chain is wrapped around the front axle of the vehicle to hoist the front of the car in the air. The rear wheel are then used to tow the vehicle behind the towing truck. Besides wearing the rear wheel and axles, hook and chain tows can easily damage front bumpers.
Option 3 – Commercial Car Shipper
For those looking for more of a full service approach or require your car to be kept out of the elements altogether, you’ll want to consider an Auto Transport company with an enclosed trailer. Most Auto Transporters cater to the higher end clientele offering customized solutions to meet an individual’s needs and the tailored attention does not come cheap. Be aware that enclosed truck transport is at least 60 percent higher than open-air trailer transport.
- Look for the Best Quote but Don’t Go with the Cheapest: As with all things in life, you often get what you pay for. If you’re interested in shipping your sports car or cars, you don’t want to go with a company that is not reputable, no matter how low the cost is. Look for a reasonable quote, but verify the company offering the service is reputable and recommended. A poor auto shipper could be deficient in its insurance guarantees, present hidden charges, be late with pickups, provide inadequate transport equipment, or worse.
- Avoid Door-to-Door to Save Money: Door-to-Door delivery will cost more than terminal-to-terminal delivery. Assuming that the Transport Company or Tower has a hub in your area, you may be able to save some money by requesting terminal-to-terminal delivery rather than door-to-door.
Most large auto carriers will have hubs in larger cities, but you may be out of luck for delivery to or from smaller towns
- Save Money by Using Your Own Auto Insurance: Your auto insurance coverage may be more economical than the insurance offered by the towing company or auto carrier service. Speak to your insurance carrier about having your car covered during shipment.
- There is a Season: Auto delivery tends to wane during the winter months. You’ll be in a better position to negotiate prices if you can ship during these months.
- Inspecting Your Vehicle: Most good shippers have a good policy in place with respect to a pre-inspection protocol or agreement. If they don’t – run – don’t walk to the next company. Most involve a walk-around with the driver to take note of any prior damage. You’ll need to sign off on the report to indicate your agree. Upon receipt of the vehicle you should repeat the process to take sure no additional damage was incurred. Take care to get the receipt of anything signed by you.
For extra precaution, take pictures of all sides of your vehicle prior-to and after in case you need to back up a claim for damage.
Moving your prized vintage or sports car can be a traumatic experience, but an ounce of research can save you a mountain in headaches and potential costs. Take our advice above and keep on rolling with your baby down easy street where you belong.