Who has imported cars from Europe?

Hey everyone. I’m curious as to what kind of experiences you’ve had with importing cars from say Germany or England.

I’ve been wanting a 1972/73 Audi 100 Coupe S for a while, and they’re super hard to find in the US, so I’d probably be importing.

Have you had problems bringing a vintage car to the US?

Recommend you search for an importer on one of the coasts that specializes on importing cars. There should be plenty.

The process is pretty straight forward to buy a car that’s older and ship it. There’s a specific form you need to have US customs clear the car for entry if it’s 25 years or older.

I’m currently importing a US spec Porsche to Germany.


Let me know how that goes.

I’ve only bought cars in the US so this is all new. I’d assume the importers would be able to provide me with that form as well, right?


Basically any car that’s 25 years old (or more) is importable into the US so you’re fine there.

The issues specific to the car that immediately come to mind (and maybe you’ve already thought of ways to address them):

  1. Rust.

  2. Parts NLA (no longer available) for older Audis

  3. Finding someone who knows these cars well enough to PPI

This was impossible for me when I was looking for someone to do a PPI on a modern Porsche. Zero recommendations from the online community and most individuals were unwilling to do anything due to covid. Doesn’t help that I don’t speak German.


Importer should have everything you need. They can be pricey, but it’s not much more than just hiring a shipping company and doing it all yourself.

I recommend using Transglobal shippers. That’s the company I’m using and they’re one of the primary contractors used by Us government for shipping US military private vehicles overseas. They have lots of experience with these processes and can tell you what documentation you’ll need.

Buying the car would be your problem, they won’t help you with that. This is the advantage of using an importer.

I should also say boats leave about once every 5 to 6 weeks. I booked my car for shipment four days ago and next ship leaves port on 2 April. Give yourself 3 to 5 months from time you find a car to time you actually receive it at customs.


Sorry to branch, any experience with IDPs or exporting from the US? How was that process to Germany?


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Time won’t be an issue for me personally, I’m in no rush. I’ll look into Transglobal Shippers, let me know how your experience is with them once your car leaves!

This was something else I was worried about. I haven’t been able to find a ton of information on how COVID has affected something like importing/exporting cars.

The entire process im following is exporting to Germany from the US. What is IDP?

It’s pretty straight forward. I needed six copies of five documents and that was about it. I am registering the car under US Military plates in Germany so I do not pay tariffs, taxes, and only the import fees. It wasn’t bad, all in I’m at 2200 for the import fees, inland shipping to and from the ports and the roll on/roll off shipping.

Intl. Driver permit. Good to know thanks!!


It hasn’t affected much of the logistics part because cargo can be secured and contained from covid and there isn’t a lot of people involved in the process.

I’m only referring to getting people to check out cars for you and doing inspections. You’ll either need someone who speaks German or an importer to help you out.

Expect Germans to work very slowly and be semi-responsive. They’re very by the book and get uncomfortable when asked to deviate from how they usually do things. They also tend to have prejudices against non-German speakers.

With that being said, I’ve found Germans to have the best used cars in the European used car market. Italy/Romania was the worst.

This is easy to get. Just go to AAA near you and pay the 25 dollars to get a IDP.

Too easy.


Never done it before so good to know! Been researching it and saw that, now just gotta find time to do it. Appreciate it!


That’s a great price.

I see. I know a couple people that speak fluently, but they’re all in the US. Maybe I’ll have to convince them to come overseas with me.

I’ve also heard that Germany has great used cars. That’s part of the reason I was thinking about importing from there. I found a couple of listings in Germany for the specific car I’m looking for, and they are all in immaculate condition (from what I can tell).

I appreciate all the info, mate!

There’s no reason why you can’t buy a car remotely. That’s what I did.

No reason you should ever have to put pants on, especially to travel in a pandemic. I would not travel to Germany right now. They are struggling to identify the best way to lift restrictions. Right now, it’s a massive PITA.

Just stay home, brother.

Find a car: www.mobile.de

Generally, used German cars in Germany are far better kept than elsewhere. However, I promise you they are better represented in pictures than in person… ask me how I know.

Don’t be afraid to use Facebook marketplace either.

I personally would like to see the car before I buy, especially if it’s older.

We’ll now I’m curious…

By the way, this is one of the listing’s I’ve had my eyes on: Used Audi 100 coupe in Strasbourg from € 34,766.-

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The good news is that posted prices at dealerships tend to be “Brutto” which is out the door, effectively and inclusive of the 16.5% (temporarily until return to 19%) so the price you see is the price you pay and I haven’t seen too many hidden fees or dealer games with pricing.

If you’re buying a collector’s quality car like that then I think a simple inspection would suffice. I understand wanting to go see it, but right now Germany is only really allowing business people to enter and stay in hotels.

Since you’re in no rush, I would just wait until covid restrictions lift later in the summer to simplify the travels.

Also, the euro and dollar conversion is pretty terrible. I’ve been getting bent over on it for a few months now. If you don’t have to buy anytime soon, just keep an eye on the conversion so you’re not unnecessarily losing money.

This is so nice. I’ve been back and forth between buying one that’s collector’s quality and one that I can work on, but as max_g said, there’s such a small amount of parts available for older Audis like this.

I trade in the foreign exchange markets on the side, so I’ve been watching the exchange rates religiously. Once I see a good opportunity, I planned on transferring my money to Euro so it’s ready when I end up buying. The exchange rate has been awful for a while now unfortunately.

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Pretty sure that’s just Europe in general…

12 months in Italy and the only lesson I learned is why my family left lol.