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Questions To Ask Before Importing Older Classic Cars

By in Classic Cars, Interesting News and Tips, Notice

At present, the process for importing cars into Australia is complex. Reforms to car import laws set to roll out next year will make importing classic cars easier, however, and will involve less red tape. But car enthusiasts should plan ahead before starting down this route.

Here are some questions to ask before you think about importing an older classic car.

Why should I wait to import in 2018?

For anyone who wants to import an older classic car from overseas, you might want to delay your purchase until 2018. This is due to an upcoming overhaul of the Motor Vehicle Standards Act 1989.

Next year you’ll be able to import a wider variety of rare, classic, and luxury cars. It will be much easier to register specialist vehicles that do not meet typical standards.

What are the costs of importing a classic car?

Currently, before you import any type of vehicle into Australia, you need a valid Vehicle Import Approval (VIA). VIAs are applied for through the Department of Infrastructure and Regional Development.

If you don’t have a VIA, then the car is liable to be exported or destroyed at your own expense. If you do have a VIA but it’s not processed before the car is shipped or arrives, you could end up paying for storage until it’s cleared by customs.

When you import a classic car from overseas, the charges associated with the process must be paid before the vehicle is cleared. These charges include fees for shipping, tax, compliance, registration, insurance and more. We’ve laid some of these out in more detail below:

Shipping and customs

You currently pay shipping and customs charges for the country you’re importing from and for importing to Australia. These include cleaning, quarantine inspection fees, international freight and port service charges.

Taxes, duties & GST

Importing a vehicle into Australia incurs taxes, duties and GST, depending on the type and age of the vehicle. For instance, if you’re importing a luxury car worth over $60,316 ($75,375 for fuel-efficient vehicles) you’ll incur a tax of 33%. Older cars (more than 30 years old) don’t incur duty, but you will have to pay GST of 10%.


You’ll need to pay for the steam cleaning of the car and removal of any air-conditioning gas before it leaves its home port. If you’re planning on driving your classic car, then it will need modifications to make it legally roadworthy. Modifications can include:

  • Replacing seat belts.
  • Replacing brake fluid.
  • Replacing brakes.
  • Replacing gas headlights.
  • Re-gassing the air conditioner, and more.

Registration & insurance

Of the eight steps to import a vehicle, this is the last step once the car is compliant and ready to drive. You need to pay to register the vehicle in the relevant State or Territory (in Brisbane this is the Department of Transport and Main Roads). The vehicle will also need to be insured.

Will my classic car be approved for import?

While changes for importing cars will make it easier for buyers in 2018, you could run into some problems with importing an older classic car. This is because it could have rust, need a lot of repairs or be classed as a biosecurity concern if it has asbestos in the brake pads, clutch lining, gasket or seals.

It’s a good idea to get an independent inspection for an honest report about the condition of the vehicle before you start the process of importing. Otherwise, you could face lengthy delays and heavy fines to get the vehicle released.

Consider Local

We do have a wide range of classic cars available in Australia, so to avoid the hassle of importing a classic car from overseas, you may want to consider the option of buying interstate. Don’t forget that you can use Door to Door Car Carrying services to get your car from anywhere in Australia, to your doorstep. To make the process even easier, consider enlisting a local professional restorer to give your classic car a facelift.