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Most desirable American muscle cars to import to the UK

Date: 18/01/2017 15:34:35
Category: Classic Cars
Author: Tom Light

Classic Cars It’s easy to see why the classic American muscle car is so desirable. Built for speed and power, these beautiful vehicles captured the attention of many drivers, not just drag racers. Their heyday may have spanned between 1965 and 1970, but the classic models’ iconic status means they are still highly sought after.

If you’ve ever dreamed of owning a classic American muscle car and want to know more about importing it to the UK from the US, read on.

You may already have a muscle car in mind, but if not, here’s three of the most desirable and impressive models to come out of the US.

1968 Plymouth Road Runner Hemi

Fitted with a 426 cubic-inch, 425 horsepower Hemi V8 engine, the Road Runner certainly deserved its name. And yes, it is named after the Warner Brothers character. In fact, Plymouth paid $50,000 for the Road Runner name and likeness. It even developed a horn that mimicked the ‘beep beep’ sound the cartoon bird used to make.

When it was first released, the car was much more popular than Plymouth expected it to be. It had predicted to sell 20,000 vehicles, but the final sales figures were nearer 45,000.

1969 Chevrolet Camaro ZL1

The Camaro ZL1 is Chevrolet’s rarest production car, as just 69 were made. Many more Camaros were made with a wide range of engines, but the ZL1 was the most powerful. The engine block was made from aluminium rather than iron, making the vehicle ideal for drag racing. Each engine had to be assembled by hand and cost more than $4,000.

The ZL-1 may have been rated at 430 horsepower, but with some tuning it can achieve more than 500 horsepower. These beautiful, and powerful, cars are a wonderful and rare find.

1964 Ford Fairlane Thunderbolt

Built for drag racing, the Fairlane Thunderbolt was manufactured to be as lightweight as possible. Across most of the car is fibreglass body panels, as well as plexiglass windows. Additionally, non-essentials (for drag racers, anyway) such as a radio, sun visors and temperature control were not included in the build.

However, all the effort to make it so light was worth it, as it was able to cross the quarter mile in under 12 seconds.

How to find and import an American muscle car

Once you know which specific model you’re after, it’s time to find one, purchase it and import it over to the UK – a process which isn’t as difficult as you may think.

Finding and purchasing your muscle car

There are lots of handy websites out there that make it easy to find your dream vehicle. Classiccars.com, for example, has a range of classic American vehicles, including muscle cars, for sale. You can also use it to find out when the next auction is and what to do if you’re shipping your purchased vehicle abroad. Alternatively, Hemmings.com is the world’s largest marketplace for car collectors and is well worth browsing.

Many collectors, however, choose to work with a specialist importer, as they typically have great connections in the US and can take a lot of hard work out of the process. You’ll save time, stress, and potentially some cash!

Just as you would with any used car purchase, you should check the vehicle’s history – the last thing you want to do is accidentally try to import a stolen car. Running a vehicle history report can be tricky, though, since the Vehicle Identification Number (VIN) system was not standardised in the US until 1981. Locating a vehicle’s manufacturing ID number is no easy task either.

If you do manage to find the correct ID, a vehicle history report will provide you with some useful information, including how many previous owners the car has had and whether there’s been any insurance claims made against it (and what repairs were carried out as a result).

It will not inform you of any repairs, modification or restoration work performed by the previous owners, which is why you should have the car appraised before you purchase it.

Shipping your muscle car to the UK

As you’d expect, there are a number of documents you must provide for customs purposes. These are listed below:

  • Passport
  • Shipper’s Export Declaration
  • Declaration of Dangerous Goods
  • Bill of sale
  • Original Title Certificate
  • Direct Representation Form (Only required if you’re working through an importer)

You’ll also need to pay import tax and duties, but fortunately genuine classic cars are typically exempt from the former and receive a discount on the latter. For your muscle car to be classed as a genuine classic car it must meet the following requirements:

  • Be at least 30 years’ old
  • Be in its original state (no new engine, chassis, steering, etc.)
  • Be a model/type which is no longer in production

How to protect your purchase

Whether you’re planning to drive your American muscle car or simply keep it at home with your other classic cars, there’s always a risk it could be stolen. Cars like this are a big target for thieves, as they are so rare and valuable, and you can’t keep your eyes on it 24/7.

A car tracker won’t stop your vehicle from being stolen, but it will increase the chances of successful recovery. TRACKER is proud to say 95 per cent of stolen vehicles fitted with one of its devices are returned to their owner, with 86 per cent being recovered within 24 hours.

Find out more about our tracking devices here.

We wish you the best of luck importing your favourite American muscle car! Please feel free to contact us if you require any advice on how to protect your vehicle once it’s in the UK. 

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