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Importing from the UK to USA

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Daveyboy1956 Avatar
Daveyboy1956 Dave Larsen
Valencia, Calif, USA   USA
Looking for any and all info on importing a car UK to Calif USA.
Cost fees taxes things like that

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John in Eugene Avatar
John in Eugene Platinum Member John Quilter
Eugene, OR, USA   USA
Minors would probably not be an issue but if you are thinking of a later vehicle do your homework very, very carefully with the CARB an the DMV if you plan to register it in California. California is the MOST restrictive state on registering non USA spec vehicles and has rules far more onerous than federal regulations on vehicle importation of non complying vehicles. The last I checked, which was a number of years ago, CA had a problem with anything post 1968 when emission laws came into play in CA. Others may have later/or more information.

John F. Quilter
Eugene, Oregon, USA
a California escapee

In reply to # 28779 by Daveyboy1956 Looking for any and all info on importing a car UK to Calif USA.
Cost fees taxes things like that

KRCaddis Avatar
KRCaddis Gene Johnson
Santa Margarita, CA, USA   USA
1961 Morris Minor Pickup "Morris, Of Course"
I imported a '69 Traveler on an eBay purchase The UK art went smoothly I bought the car from a dealer representing an estate. There were photos and a description and it had a fresh MOT that identified a leaking rear shock as a problem not requiring immediate action. The car shipped as easily as any eBay purchase. I thought all was good.

There were surprise fees after it arrived and I ended up hire a "broker" to handle a bond that I didn't know I needed. I was in the Bay Area at the time and the car was shipped to Port Hueneme, which I found to be part of the Port of Los Angeles; I couldn't ship it to Oakland, which would have been convenient. What wasn't identified was some dry rot, rust spots through the floor under front seats, a mediocre front bumper mount repair, more serious rust at the bottom rear fender/body junction. The battery was new, but the generator DOA.

My biggest problem was the Calif. DMV. I was going through cancer treatment, which dampened my enthusiasm and prolonged my efforts, so it took almost two years to get plates. I worked with 5 different DMV offices over 10 visits, trying to get my paperwork approved,each fumbling around and declaring I needed some other bit of paperwork. UK doesn't issue Pink Slips, for example. After my own repeated reviews of what I DID have, I found I'd everything required all along. I wrote directly to the Director of the DMV, copied State Senators and my Representatives as well as Governor Brown,and explained my plight in less than one page. (I included copies of the papers one more time to the DMV Director). My plates arrived about three weeks later, without explanation.

The VIN verification, usually difficult,turned out to be easy for me as my work (a transit company) had just arranged to have someone state Certified to do that.

Next time I'll take a vacation to England and shop around for a car in better condition.

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Daveyboy1956 Avatar
Daveyboy1956 Dave Larsen
Valencia, Calif, USA   USA
I’m sorry you got a rusty car.
I just had mine inspected. By a inspection company in the UK
They say no rot at all
I purchased West ridding classic in the UK they put it on the lift so the inspector could ck it all out.
So here’s to hopping lol

0123 Mike D
Biddulph, Staffs, UK   GBR
In reply to # 28791 by KRCaddis I imported a '69 Traveler on an eBay purchase The UK art went smoothly I bought the car from a dealer representing an estate. There were photos and a description and it had a fresh MOT
Our MOT is not reliable way to judge a car
It only looks for structural rust
This page gives you an idea of the car's MOT history
https://www.gov.uk/check-mot-history
that identified a leaking rear shock as a problem not requiring immediate action. The car shipped as easily as any eBay purchase. I thought all was good.

Uz calls it corrosion
I'd be a bit leery of someone
who used the word "Rot"

I recall looking at motor with a chum
I pointed out some rust to him

The seller said "That's iron oxide"
As though it wasn't rust at all.

You don't need to tell lies in Eng Eng
it's a very flexible language

http://www.ukmot.com/MOT%20test/Bodywork.asp


There were surprise fees after it arrived and I ended up hire a "broker" to handle a bond that I didn't know I needed. I was in the Bay Area at the time and the car was shipped to Port Hueneme, which I found to be part of the Port of Los Angeles; I couldn't ship it to Oakland, which would have been convenient. What wasn't identified was some dry rot, rust spots through the floor under front seats, a mediocre front bumper mount repair, more serious rust at the bottom rear fender/body junction. The battery was new, but the generator DOA.
An engineer's inspection is by far the best when you buy in the UK
Unless you wanna travel round the country
looking at rust buckets


My biggest problem was the Calif. DMV. I was going through cancer treatment, which dampened my enthusiasm and prolonged my efforts, so it took almost two years to get plates. I worked with 5 different DMV offices over 10 visits, trying to get my paperwork approved,each fumbling around and declaring I needed some other bit of paperwork. UK doesn't issue Pink Slips, for example.
You get a receipt when you buy
That receipt is proof you own it

After my own repeated reviews of what I DID have, I found I'd everything required all along. I wrote directly to the Director of the DMV, copied State Senators and my Representatives as well as Governor Brown,and explained my plight in less than one page. (I included copies of the papers one more time to the DMV Director). My plates arrived about three weeks later, without explanation.

The VIN verification, usually difficult,turned out to be easy for me as my work (a transit company) had just arranged to have someone state Certified to do that.

Next time I'll take a vacation to England and shop around for a car in better condition.



Edited 2 time(s). Last edit at 2018-03-06 03:48 PM by 0123.

drooartz Avatar
drooartz Drew Frink
Mountains, UT, USA   USA
I brought my MGB in from Canada a few years ago (to Utah). The transport company I used handled the necessary paperwork (for a fee). That was money well worth spending, as they told me what I needed, and what I needed from the seller. Were I to do it again I'd happily pay a service to handle that part of things. You can certainly do it yourself, but there are a lot of moving pieces. A broker who knows the rules will be your ally.

The basic rule is 25 years old (from month of manufacture) and it's okay to bring into the USA. Doesn't mean you can register it in your state, but for the feds you're good to go. Emissions is the complicating factor as John pointed out, so well worth verifying that for California given their strictness. Call or visit your DMV and CARB, that's the only way to be sure. OR buy something from '67 or earlier, before the smog regulations went into effect. I was able to do my '70 MGB here in Utah only because my county doesn't do smog checks, but in some places around here I wouldn't be able to have it.

Also the car is supposed to be in original condition, specifically with it's original engine. So an engine swapped car can be a problem if it gets noticed. Can't remember where I read that, but I did come across it somewhere in my travels.

Good luck. What are you trying to bring in? RHD? (I'm a huge RHD fan, have three at the moment...)

pixelsmithusa Avatar
I don't wish to put a damper on your enthusiasm, but be prepared for some surprises even on an "inspected" car. Listen to what's been suggested in the previous posts. I've seen many cars, and in particular Travellers imported from the UK, including a fully restored one. In my experience, they never turn out to be what has been represented, and you will have little to no recourse if it's not voluntarily made right. Your experience with businesses in the UK will not usually live up to your expectation of how things are done in this country. (sorry Mike D. sad smiley ), That sometimes includes parts vendors. And BTW, "No Rot" usually means many, many patch panels, because that's what's acceptable to pass MOT. YMMV

In reply to # 28779 by Daveyboy1956 Looking for any and all info on importing a car UK to Calif USA.
Cost fees taxes things like that



Gerard

http://gerardsgarage.com/

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0123 Mike D
Biddulph, Staffs, UK   GBR
Before you buy a car in the UK
you need to HPI it

HPI is a British vehicle history checking company founded in 1938.
The company was set up to prevent the wrongful sale of hire-purchase cars
and were the first organisation of its kind. Wikipedia

As HPI were the first, the term "HPI" covers
a range of Johnny-Come-Lately companies.

The HPI certificate is proof the car is not stolen

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geezer Avatar
geezer Silver Member charles durning
Magee, MS, USA   USA
1958 MG Magnette ZB "Chick Magnette (sold)"
1967 Morris Minor 1000 Saloon (2-door) "Marvin"
1974 MG MGB GT
I don't have any direct experience in importing a car to the US. I did export one to Canada. What a nightmare for me. On top of endless requests for pictures and paperwork, Canadian customs wanted the entire underside of the car steam cleaned and no oil leaks (yeah right). No bugs, cobwebs, and no dirt anywhere on the chassis. It was much worse for the buyer. By the time he got the $4500 car into his possession it cost him $10,000. I'll never do that again.

I've heard nightmares about US Customs tearing a car apart looking for certain types of wood in the car and looking for asbestos in the clutch, brake shoes, insulation, and gaskets. I would get with customs to see what that want to see.



If it was good 60 years ago, does that mean it can't be improved?

Though the task may seem to be too daunting or difficult at first, the result will be worth the effort in the end.

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0123 Mike D
Biddulph, Staffs, UK   GBR
In reply to # 28795 by pixelsmithusa I don't wish to put a damper on your enthusiasm, but be prepared for some surprises even on an "inspected" car. Listen to what's been suggested in the previous posts. I've seen many cars, and in particular Travellers imported from the UK, including a fully restored one. In my experience, they never turn out to be what has been represented, and you will have little to no recourse if it's not voluntarily made right. Your experience with businesses in the UK will not usually live up to your expectation of how things are done in this country. (sorry Mike D. sad smiley )

As long as you don't step on my blue suede shoes
you can slander my name all over the place Gerard



, That sometimes includes parts vendors. And BTW, "No Rot" usually means many, many patch panels, because that's what's acceptable to pass MOT

As long as they are seam welded
in structural areas
.

YMMV

In reply to # 28779 by Daveyboy1956 Looking for any and all info on importing a car UK to Calif USA.
Cost fees taxes things like that

pixelsmithusa Avatar
Well, you will know much better than I as to what's done, Mike, but I have seen some really gawd awful repairs, and repairs on top of repairs.

In reply to # 28799 by 0123

As long as they are seam welded
in structural areas
.




Gerard

http://gerardsgarage.com/

KRCaddis Avatar
KRCaddis Gene Johnson
Santa Margarita, CA, USA   USA
1961 Morris Minor Pickup "Morris, Of Course"
Back to my post, "dry rot" is a wood term. like you would see on a home inspectors report or termite inspection. In the case of my Traveler, the rear most upright (attached to the rear door) on the LH side had "dry rot", meaning you could push a screwdriver into the wood about an inch. The affected area was about a foot long. I was replacing all the wood anyway, The rust-through spots were all small, each perhaps as big as a US quarter (or 1 GBP), so quite repairable, below the contact points of the front seats to the floor. At the rear fenders, it was loose scale at the bottom corner where the fender (wing),pan,and body meet. Screwdriver soft again. All in all, I was happy with the car, but I'd over paid. The mechanicals worked like a sewing machine and I was impressed by the power of the 1098 and Morris 4 speed as compared to my 1275 and close-ratio box Midget box in my pickup. I'd had a '67 with a 1098 many years ago and I'd forgotten how smoothly it pulled through the gears; very streetable. No wonder they were so popular. In my pickup, I'm through 3 gears before I get across an intersection. (I'm gathering parts to install a T-50 5 speed to get more suitable ratios)

I'd buy from the UK again, but I'd travel to see the car(s). Maybe two, a Van and 2 door Sedan. I'd try Charles Ware and known specialty dealers for restored cars. We can't get decent paint jobs for well into 5 figures here unless you can do it yourself). There are lots of suppliers, used and un-imported parts, and more competitive prices.

BTW, California doesn't consider a Bill of Sale as acceptable proof of ownership, they want a governmental transfer of title with the VIN number, lien holder, etc



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 2018-03-06 10:46 PM by KRCaddis.

0123 Mike D
Biddulph, Staffs, UK   GBR
In reply to # 28801 by pixelsmithusa Well, you will know much better than I as to what's done, Mike,

Y'am right there our Gerard
but I have seen some really gawd awful repairs
Yup
,
and repairs on top of repairs.
Yup
,

In reply to # 28799 by 0123

As long as they are seam welded
in structural areas
.


bufferzone Avatar
bufferzone Gord Smith-Ritchie
Surfside Colony, CA, USA   USA
KRCaddis, I am curious as to how you got your 1969 Morris registered as a lot of people say it can’t be done in California because of the requirement for smog control devices on 1968 to 1974 cars.

Daveyboy1956 Avatar
Daveyboy1956 Dave Larsen
Valencia, Calif, USA   USA
I hear it’s 1976 is where that all starts but we will see.
My car does not come till late June or July

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