If you’re a classic car enthusiast, you understand the importance of keeping your car safe. No matter whether you’re traveling to a car show or getting specialized maintenance, you have to be a little more meticulous. What about when you need to ship a classic car?

We’ll guide you through the kinds of classic car transport options available to you, and the process for preparing your vintage vehicle for shipment.

In This Review:

    Overview of Classic Car Transport

    If you have a classic or rare car, odds are that you’ve invested a lot of time and money into your vehicle. There are many reasons why owners of classic vehicles need classic car transport services:

    • Buying a new car for your collection
    • Selling a classic car to a different collector
    • Transporting your vehicle to a show or convention
    • Transporting your classic car to a specialist for maintenance

    While much of the shipping process for classic cars is similar to that of standard vehicles, there are extra considerations to take. You’ll want to make sure you’re shipping your vehicle in the safest way possible, so you’ll need to be more careful about the type of transport you select and what kind of cargo insurance a car hauler holds.

    Types of Classic Car Transport

    When choosing which transport type to use for shipping your classic car, it’s important to understand the pros and cons of each. It’s important to note that Sherpa Auto Transport only offers domestic classic auto transport.

    Domestic Classic Car Transport

    Enclosed Transport

    Enclosed auto transport is the more expensive shipping option, but it offers the highest amount of protection for both your peace of mind and your antique vehicle. Rather than an open carrier truck, your vehicle is driven into an enclosed trailer with hard- or soft-sided walls. Enclosed carrier shipping ensures that your vehicle stays safe from any potential damage from adverse weather or road conditions.

    International Classic Car Transport

    RORO
    Roll on/roll off shipping, or RORO, is the international equivalent of open carrier transport. Your classic car is driven onto the deck of a transport ship and parked for the duration of the transport. Much like open carrier truck shipping, RORO transport leaves your classic car exposed to the elements, but is the cheapest option for international classic car shipping.

    Container Shipping
    To ensure your classic car doesn’t get damaged during an international shipment, you may want to opt for container shipping. With this option, your car will be enclosed within a steel shipping container, sealing it off from any potential damage from weather or birds.

    Air Freight
    Air Freight is the safest and quickest way to transport your classic car internationally. However, it is the most expensive option, and generally only used by collectors or high-end car dealers with rare vehicles.

    Classic Car Transport Cost

    Vehicle transport companies do not offer a standard, across-the-board auto shipping rates. However, based on the mileage of your car shipment, you can get a pretty good estimate of what you’re likely to pay.

    Sherpa Auto Transport offers a cost-per-mile breakdown based on open carrier shipping of a standard vehicle that’s operable. Keep in mind that these ranges change depending on shipment details and market conditions.

    Shipping DistancePrice Per Mile Range
    0-500 miles$1.32 to $2.75
    501-1,000 miles$0.88 to $1.55
    1,001-1,500 miles$0.70 to $1.23
    1,501-2,000 miles$0.60 to $1.00
    2,001-2,500 miles$0.53 to $0.84
    2,500+ miles$0.48 to $0.74

    When shipping a classic car, whether open or enclosed, your prices will likely look different from these ranges because of your specific vehicle, transport needs, and added insurance options.

    Factors That Affect Car Shipping Costs

    There are many key factors that affect how much it costs to ship a car. They include:

    • Time of year: Demand for car shipping rises in the summer months and in January, so shipping during those times of year will be more expensive.
    • Gas prices: As fuel costs rise, the cost of car shipping rises.
    • Vehicle size. Bigger and heavier cars, like trucks and SUVs, cost more to ship.
    • Vehicle operability: Inoperable cars take more time and labor to load, which increases the cost to transport them.
    • Transport type: Enclosed auto transport is more expensive than open auto transport.
    • Shipping distance: Long-distance shipments cost less per mile, but more overall.
    • Pickup and drop off locations: Rural pick up and delivery locations will raise the price of auto transport services.

    How to Prepare Your Classic Car for Shipment

    As the pick up date for your classic car approaches, you’ll need to prepare your vehicle for transport. Here’s a list of steps to take to get your car ready to be shipped:

    1. Wash your car: Clean your car to make inspection for existing damage easier. If shipping internationally, most countries require you to wash your car to ensure no plant material or insects cross borders.
    2. Check for existing damage: Give your classic car a full inspection to see if there are any existing scratches, dings, or dents. Keep photos for your records to present to the car shipping company if there’s any damage during the transport process.
    3. Clear out personal items and valuables: Remove anything that isn’t essential for shipping, including all personal items. Any extra weight in your vehicle will increase the shipping rate. Though the risk of theft is low, neither Sherpa nor the car carrier can be held responsible for any personal items that go missing from your car during shipment.
    4. Remove or secure any loose parts: Be sure to put any removable parts, like hood ornaments or spoilers, in the trunk to avoid damage. If your classic car is a convertible, make sure the top is up and secured in place.
    5. Take care of any routine maintenance: Top off all fluids, check the engine belts, fully inflate your tires, record your current mileage, and make sure your car’s battery has charge. If you know of any leaks or mechanical issues, be sure to disclose them to the car shipper.
    6. Empty your gas tank: To reduce the weight of your car, make sure your gas tank is only a quarter of the way full. Your car only needs to be driven on and off the carrier.
    7. Have an extra set of keys: The transport trucker will need to take a set of keys to drive your car on and off the transport carrier truck, so make sure to have an extra set just in case.

    How to Protect Your Classic Car

    Be sure to check with the auto transport company to learn what kinds of insurance policies it requires of its carriers. In some cases, you may want to purchase additional insurance coverage that provides specific protection for classic cars. Always make sure a car shipping company works with reliable carriers that are licensed with the Department of Transportation (DOT) and registered with the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA).

    Why You Should Choose Sherpa Auto Transport

    Sherpa Auto Transport has an excellent reputation within the car shipping industry. Accredited by the Better Business Bureau (BBB), we also hold an A+ rating from the organization. Customers also find us highly reputable, giving the company an average star rating of 4.9 out of 5 on the BBB’s website. We offer open and enclosed auto transport as well as convenient door-to-door delivery to the lower 48 states.

    Price Lock Promise

    Shipping a classic car can be costlier than a standard car, so you’ll want to cut down on the expense as best you can. Sherpa’s Price Lock Promise can help with that. By offering locked in pricing, Sherpa ensures that you’ll avoid any hidden fees or price hikes by paying the same price you were quoted. If, for some reason, the quoted price isn’t accurate, we’ll pay up to $300 of the difference.

    Clean Car Guarantee

    A lot of the allure of classic cars comes from presentation, so Sherpa wants to help you maintain your vintage car’s sheen. If your vehicle is dirty upon delivery, Sherpa will reimburse you up to $20 for a car wash. Send us a copy of your car wash receipt and the bill of lading from your service to receive a refund.

    FAQ: Classic Car Transport