How to Buy a "New Classic" EFI GM: Part 4 - Shipping

In our fourth installment, we discuss how to select a proper shipping company

Rick Jensen Apr 9, 2014 0 Comment(s)
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Closing In On An Enclosed Carrier? Here Are Some Tips

In between loading up newly sold classics at Barrett-Jackson Scottsdale, Jim Bergeron, theCustomer Service Coordinator for Intercity Lines, Inc., filled us in on shipping with enclosed carriers.

What are the biggest benefits a classic car owner gets by shipping in an enclosed carrier?

The biggest benefits with enclosed transport are: the vehicle is inside away from the elements, there’s greater security, a soft tie down system gives more peace of mind as there is no hardware near the car itself, and the carrier is very competent.

Intercity Lines Car Transport Enclosed 2/5

Enclosed carriers are known to have higher costs than open carriers—but what would you tell a classic car owner about the added value they get with enclosed?

There is greater security, no exposure to the elements, higher insurance liabilities, more competent drivers, better equipment, and the ability to ship additional parts.

How should classic car owners research reputable shipping companies?

We recommend independent websites like or; these websites allow people to report and review carriers of all sorts with experiences good and bad.

What vehicle info does the shipping company need to know beforehand?

We need to know the year, make, and model of the vehicle, and the pickup and delivery locations. We also need to know if the car is running or not, if it is stock or modified, and if it will ship with any additional parts. 

What specific hauler features should owners look for to help avoid damage during loading/hauling/unloading?

Customers should look for lift gate loading, drip barriers in between decks (if it is a stacking trailer), nylon wheel saddles for tie down, plastic covers for the seat and floor mats, and a car cover once the vehicle is loaded.

What specific hauler practices should owners look for?

Owners should make sure the carrier does a detailed visual inspection of the vehicle before it is loaded, noting its mileage and VIN. 

What are drivers/loaders trained to do to ensure the vehicle isn’t damaged?

Drivers are trained to carefully look over a car before it is loaded to note any scratch, ding, dent…anything and everything to acknowledge the condition of the car before it is loaded. The drivers are trained in proper tie down techniques, and know where to position cars to make the safest ride across the country. 

Is dealing directly with a specialty hauler with its own drivers more preferable than working with a company that is a broker, who may farm out shipping to other trucks?

Dealing directly with the carrier allows customers to get direct answers regarding vehicle handling, timing, and most importantly, driver contact. Most reputable carriers do not require a deposit, whereas brokers normally charge a deposit. When you deal directly with the carrier they do not broker it out, so the customer knows exactly who is hauling the vehicle, and with what type of equipment. Intercity does not contract or broker any orders, we haul all cars we book with our drivers and our trucks.

When that 11-mile GNX sells at Scottsdale, will you put it in one of your trucks, and deliver it to our office?

[No answer] 

Open Car Transport Trailer 3/5

Open to open carriers? Here are some tips

Over the years I’ve shipped vehicles from Minnesota to Jersey, New York to Florida, Florida to New York, Florida to Nebraska, and New York to Nebraska. All of those involved open carriers because one, I’m a cheap ass, and two, aside from my 10-second Turbo Buick, not one of those cars was worth more than ten grand. So if you’re leaning that way, here’s what I’ve learned shipping open:

If it’s neither perfect nor rare, open carriers save a ton of money. I always wanted to ship the Buick enclosed, to keep it unsullied from the elements and to avoid prying eyes. But enclosed was always too expensive for this writer’s budget. Thankfully, a combination of top-level placement on trucks, and good luck with responsible open carrier drivers, kept her safe. I had once paid around $600 for a 1,200-mile New York to Florida transport—around $600 less than an enclosed would have been.

If your vehicle’s chassis is weak, you might break something. I said kept her safe, not undamaged. As my Buick’s chassis has dealt with 600+ lb-ft of torque and sticky tires for years, it’s…a little tweaked. And those angled loading ramps have done a number on the front and rear bumper fillers, cracking original and replacement ones alike. That’s due to my car’s structural problems—not a carrier that uses ramps—but you should still keep it in mind.

You might break (or dent) something anyway. Vehicles on most open carriers aren’t secured as well, or as insulated from damage. My daily driver arrived once with a basketball-sized dent in the rear that was as deep as it was impressive. Dent fairies? We’ll never know. But in all of my other shipments, I got off with only very minor nicks and scratches – so there’s that.

Hold your carrier to top-level placement for the entire trip, even if it costs a bit more. I once negotiated a top-level placement, only to have the driver call me 200 miles out to ask if he could put the Buick on the lower level to speed things up with his other drop-offs. I agreed, only to be greeted by an oil- and trans fluid-covered G-body. Staying on the top level is key.

$#!+ happens, and pickup/delivery times and locations can change. This isn’t scientific fact, but this happens more when you’re dealing with a brokered open carrier (less $) than it does with a direct enclosed outfit (more $). I’ve had to take my cars to terminals for pickup on occasion, and I recently had to drive four hours east and wait an extra couple days for my daily driver to get to Nebraska. The carrier blew a trailer hydraulic hose, which slowed him down. But I was cool with that, as I had a couple rooms’ worth of stuff loaded into the back seat/trunk. Which brings us to another jewel of wisdom…

Don’t keep a couple rooms’ worth of stuff in the vehicle. Vlad from Jersey couldn’t have been cooler if he’d owned an Impala, but he still had to charge me $250 extra as I was moving and didn’t want to rent a truck. He could have charged nearly a grand more, easily doubling my cost. So clean out your vehicle before pickup!

Tip your driver. Think your commute sucks? Think drivers in your state are terrifying? Try driving thousands of miles in all types of weather, dodging idiot drivers in your semi which, by the way, has an extra 15-20 thousand pounds on its back. These guys and gals have a tough job and spend lots of time away from home—be sure to reward them for it.


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