With sterling at an eight-year high against the Euro, now’s the time to import a classic Dub from the Continent. But you need to know what you are doing before traversing the channel…
Our ears pricked up when reading a report recently in Classic Car Weekly, that Jim Henshaw from Brightwells Auctions reckoned that precious German metal is looking particularly tempting at the moment. “Porsche 911s and early VW Beetles have yet to show promise,” said the classic car consultant.
However, while brilliant exchange rates makes it all too easy to get carried away and start scanning foreign classified websites for bargains, Jim offers the following warning: “It’s important to stick to your normal rules of buying, buy what you know, do your checks and bone up on local knowledge.”
Of course, it’s also crucial to be aware of the various bits of documentation necessary to make the whole thing legal. One thing that’s likely to catch out the unwary, is that you need to declare an imported vehicle within 14 days of its arrival in the UK. You do this by making a Notification of Vehicle Arrivals (NOVA) declaration online at the Gov.uk website here. It’s a bit of a palaver, but lots doesn’t apply to older cars and there should be no VAT to pay if you’re bringing in a car from Europe.
Then, of course, there’s the potentially thorny issue of driving your new European purchase back to Blighty – assuming, of course, it’s in a state to be driven. In theory a UK insurer should be able to offer cover based on a VIN or chassis number, although because the car will still be registered with its continental owner at that point, it’s something of a grey area. A chat with a friendly classic car insurer will offer clarification of where you stand. A better option all round, and one that might not be as dear as you expected, is to employ the services of a specialist vehicle transport operation.
Finally, try to get as much documentation as you can – other European countries have an equivalent of our V5, so make sure you get your hands on something that looks equally official when hand over your cash. Also, get a signed and dated receipt from the seller in case you need to prove you’re the new owner on the journey home.
When you get the car safely in your lock-up you can apply for UK registration – you can find everything you’ll need to know about doing this by visiting the government website here. You’ll need a valid MoT certificate and once you’ve completed the import pack, supplied the supporting documents and paid £55 you’ll be issued with a UK registration allowing you to take it along to the next VW show!
The opinions expressed here are the personal opinions of the author and do not necessarily represent the views and opinions of VW Heritage