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The best classic car transport services

Enclosed auto transport is the best option for shipping a classic car

by Tom Rains ConsumerAffairs Research Team
classic car

Enclosed carriers are the best transport method for shipping classic and exotic cars because of the increased protection they provide against extreme weather and climate conditions, as well as falling rocks, mud and other debris.

You don’t want to gamble with the condition of your classic car. Heat-sensitive materials, finishes or adhesives on classic cars can be damaged by extremely hot or cold weather. For that reason, we recommend you choose a climate-controlled enclosed vehicle transport instead of open vehicle transport when moving your classic car.

Best classic car transport companies

If you have a strong sentimental attachment to your classic car, not just any auto transport company will do. Our top picks feature companies that offer enclosed transport and are fully licensed and bonded with the USDOT:

LabelCompany nameLogoContactSummary
Best door-to-door transport Visit website
LabelCompany nameLogoContactSummary
Best protection plan Visit website

What to look for in a classic car transport service

When looking for a car transport service, you will want to find a company that has experience with classic car transport and exotic car transport. Make sure to validate their safety record and insurance status by looking them up on the Department of Transportation’s website. Here is what to look for:

  • A history of transporting classic cars: The best enclosed car transport companies will have a long history of transporting classic cars. The last thing you want is a carrier trying to cram as many cars as possible onto one truck. A company with a track record of transporting classic cars will give you more peace of mind than a new company that has only done open air hauling.
  • Proof of insurance: A company should be able to provide proof of insurance when you ask for it. Find out what damage they will cover and what parts you will have to cover.
  • Options for door-to-door delivery service: This convenient option will save you the hassle of driving to a terminal to pick up your classic car.
  • Expedited delivery options: Sometimes important dates sneak up on you, and that means you have to get your car somewhere fast. Many auto transport companies offer expedited shipping for an additional fee.
  • Ability for you to communicate with the carrier: You should be able to communicate easily with the carrier. Even more convenient is GPS tracking so that you can check the location of your classic car yourself, or at least call an agent to receive real-time updates.
  • A reasonable enclosed auto transport quote: Expect a quote roughly similar to other quotes you have received. The quote shouldn’t be too low, or it’s probably too good to be true.
  • A clear claims process: In the unlikely event that your vehicle is somehow damaged in the shipping process, you want to be able to file a claim, and fast. Your auto transport broker will be able to help you with this.
  • GPS order tracking: Another great feature to look for is GPS order tracking so that you can check the location yourself of your classic car or so that you can call an agent and receive updates.

Best door-to-door transport
Sherpa

Sherpa offers both open and enclosed shipping. We recommend their enclosed shipping option for when you transport your classic car. You can also opt to ship your classic car door-to-door, which makes dropoff and pickup easy for you. Sherpa has a wide range of pickup and delivery locations, making them a good pick even if you live in a rural or otherwise remote location.

Sherpa’s Clean Car Guarantee means you can give your classic car a car wash within 7 days of delivery for free. You’ll just need to provide your Bill of Lading and car wash receipt to Sherpa.

Sherpa uses a scheduling algorithm to make sure classic cars are matched to available carriers efficiently and delivered in a timely manner. Overall, Sherpa has received highly positive reviews from consumers. You can trust them to deliver your classic car safely.

FEATURES
  • Clean Car Guarantee
  • “No-surprise” quote policy

Best protection plan
eShip

eShip offers both open and enclosed transport, but we recommend you always choose enclosed transport when shipping your classic car. Expedited shipping for classic cars is also available for an additional fee.

Online tracking from eShip holds drivers accountable and lets you know where your classic car is every step of the journey. This tracking feature is available Monday through Saturday from 8AM to 8PM CST via their website. Consumers can also get in touch with customer service 7 days a week until 9PM CST.

eShip’s Platinum Protection Plan is another good choice for your classic car. It provides $300 of gap insurance in case of damage. Alternatively, you can receive $300 in rental reimbursement if your classic car arrives more than 48 hours after the predicted time of arrival. eShip is also able to ship classic cars internationally.

FEATURES
  • Live online tracking
  • Platinum Protection Plan

Exotic and classic car transport cost

The distance your classic car needs to be shipped, along with the make, model, size and weight of your vehicle, determine how much it costs to ship a car. The farther you are shipping your classic car, the less it will cost to ship it per mile. The average cost to ship an exotic or classic car using an enclosed carrier starts at $3.40 per mile for shorter distances under 100 miles, and $1.15 per mile for distances under 1,000 miles.

Enclosed carriers are
the best choice for
classic car transport

Many auto transport companies offer a cost calculator to help you determine a rough cost to ship a classic car.

Keep in mind that although enclosed auto transport typically costs 50 percent more than open-air shipping, it is well worth the cost to ensure your classic car remains in pristine condition.

How to ship a classic car

Our classic car shipping checklist below will make sure you don’t forget anything important.

  1. Make sure your insurance is up-to-date: Carriers are only liable for damage that is their responsibility, not unforeseen events over which they have no control. For this reason, you should make sure your insurance is up-to-date and will cover any damage your valuable car might take.
  2. Gather the necessary information: Make sure you have all the information you need, including time and location for pickup, the make, model and year of the car and photos of the car. Photos are useful to have so you can have evidence of prior condition in case damages incurred while transporting.
  3. Request enclosed car shipping quotes from several companies: It’s important to ask several companies for quotes to help you determine the best price for shipping your classic car. Make sure you are asking about enclosed car shipping. Shipping a classic car will never be dirt cheap. For that reason, you should be wary of anyone who gives you a quote that seems too good to be true. It’s better to pay a bit extra to ensure your car arrives safely and on time.
  4. Choose a company and select a shipping date: Keep in mind that auto transporters do not have regularly scheduled dates of departure like airplanes or trains. They typically leave once their carrier has been fully reserved and filled with cars.
  5. Prepare your classic car to be shipped: This includes washing the car and checking with an experienced mechanic to make sure the car is travel-ready. Also, make sure to remove your valuables from the car and ensure that the car is at a ¼ tank of gas or less. Check to make sure your antifreeze levels are adequate for the route your car will be traveling. Last of all, document the vehicle’s condition. That way, if your classic car is damaged, you will have evidence of what it looked like before the shipment.
  6. Perform a vehicle inspection at the time of pick-up with the driver: You will have to fill out a Bill of Lading. This is the time to thoroughly inspect your car and take note of any damages. If there are any, it will be easier to file a claim if you have taken pictures of your car earlier. Do not sign off on the Bill of Lading unless the car is in the same shape it was when you shipped it.

Classic car transporter FAQ

How long will it take to ship my classic car?
You can expect around one week to about a month, from the time of pickup, for your classic car to be delivered to its destination. Classic cars often take 1–9 days to ship. International car shipping might take longer. Especially with classic car transport, the real wait comes with waiting for the classic car hauler to fill its truck with cars, at which point it will begin its route. This can take up to two or three weeks.

What if my classic car is inoperable?
If you’re transporting a non-running vehicle, look for an auto transporter for your car that has specialty carriers, equipment, tools and expertise to load and unload your vehicle safely. For a non-running vehicle that can still roll, a winch may be needed for loading and unloading. If the vehicle is extremely damaged and incapable of rolling, a forklift may be necessary to load and unload it. In either case, expect to be charged additional fees for the special equipment and extra time handling your car.

Some companies have no provision for handling inoperable vehicles. If that is the case, you will be responsible for hauling or transporting your inoperable car from its place of origin to the carrier’s designated terminal. You will also need to make your vehicle completely ready for transport by cleaning it and having the tires aired up to stand the rigors of shipping.

What if I want to transport multiple classic cars?
Some classic car transport services specialize in moving fleets. Their enclosed carriers feature an air ride suspension system for a smoother journey for fleets of classic and other prized vehicles. They also offer real-time vehicle tracking services to ensure that their carriers are on schedule for a prompt delivery. If you’re a collector of classic cars and want to transport your cars for a car show in another state, you may also want to look for an enclosed auto transport company that offers volume pricing and rebate plans.

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by Tom Rains ConsumerAffairs Research Team

Tom Rains graduated from the University of Oklahoma in 2014 with a master’s degree in Professional Writing. Tom’s passion for delivering quality content fuels him to provide consumers with accurate, well-researched information on major life purchases.