Buying/shipping overseas

Capt. Mike

Transferred from old Archives.

Brainstorming the logistics/cost involved in shipping my '87 Westy from San Fransisco, CA to Buenos Aires, Argentina. Has Anyone attempted this or have an idea what's involved. I've kept track of shipping, but would appreciate any further info.

Capt. Mike: Call a freight broker or forwarder. Fritz Companies is probably the largest in the world. The best & safest way is to containerize the car -- it then stays in a sealed container from loading away from the port until released to you where you designate. Anything less is subject to extremely high risk of damage &/or theft of contents.

Check a Hemmings Motor News, available most major newstands. In the services section there are usually a number of companies that specialize in shipping automobiles, domestic & foreign.

David Tobin: I can ship your westy for you . . . no problem. I work for an international transportation company (C.H. Robinson International, Inc.) here in Chicago. Check out our website . I have shipped a '65 Mustang to Sweden, a Plymouth Voyager to Brazil, and various utility vehicles to Middle Eastern oil companies, fire engines to Central America, even a few road stripers (to paint lines on highways). My company recently shipped "BIGFOOT" yep, the monster truck, to France. A Westy won't be a problem at all. Give me a call at work . . . 630-572-9710. Just ask for me.

I have been looking into shipping options for the "Caravana Panamericana" as seen on the website, although i don't know that coyote knows that. Bypassing the Darien Gap will be more of a challenge than a simple port-to-port move from San Fran to Buenos Aires. I'd love to hear from you.
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Capt. Mike

Transferred from another post to consolidate similar subjects.

Concerns over propane system during overseas shipping

Kruser Junior Member # 972 posted 06-05-2001 03:46 PM

Found an 84 camper in great condition for a resonable price here in Germany. Need to ship it back overseas- it is US specs, but there's controversy over how to safely ship it with the propane system. To purge and seal it would be too expensive. Is removing the main tank and leaving it a sensible option? With no known leaks do you think it's safe to ship full? Has anyone ever bought the tank from Go Westy and installed it?

Loree Junior Member # 831 posted 06-06-2001 02:48 AM

I bought my van of a German fellow who brought it over from Germany with Canadian specs for propane etc. It came over as is, not sure if that helps you. If the tank is empty I can see it being a problem.

Capt. Mike Moderator Member # 11 posted 06-14-2001 09:59 PM

The regulations are in the CFR Title 49 which is posted on the US Government Printing Office web site. It's complex.
In simple turns, it's illegal to ship with propane in it without complying with special hazardous cargo regs.

Option: Ship on a commercial vehicle carrier. Same people that prep the car will set it up for transport.

But you are over estimating the cost of emptying the tank. Run it dry. Any LP dealer should be able to purge or flush. That's a LOT cheaper than a new tank.

Capt. Mike

Transferred to consolidate same topic -- subject wandered into shipping question.

Camping in Europe

douglasaurus Junior Member # 842 posted 02-20-2002 07:52 PM

Call me nuts, but I plan on shipping my '78 Westy to Germany in 4 yrs to travel around Gemany and Europe during the world cup soccer tournament and after. It will be over there 2 to 3 years and we will fly over there several time to do a tour in our beloved Westy. It will be stored at a relatives house while we are gone.
I have several questions i'm hoping will get a response.

1. Anyone know about the regulations regarding driving an American registered vehicle over there?

2. What is the situation regarding the use of propane? Do they use the same fittings and bottles. I seem to recall that the fuel of choice is butane, but I'm not sure.

3. What would be the best way to ship it? I've thought about just buying a camper over there, but I have this dream of camping in Europe in MY Westy.

Any other advice would be greatly appreciated.

Capt. Mike Moderator Member # 11 posted 02-21-2002 08:36 AM

1. Auto clubs like AAA have extensive European driving information. I understand the Michelin Guide people do also.

2. Can't answer that, but LPG vehicles and industrial equipment like fork-lifts are common.

3. The most secure way to ship, especially if loaded with personal effects & camping equipment, is via sealed container. Most cargo is now shipped intermodul in containers and properly done, the sealed container is delivered to you at the designated unloading facility. If shipped as loose cargo on a regular freighter, it will be subject to whatever the longshoreman decide they don't want to take home. Sorry, but that's a reality. The car must be unlocked for loading/unloading and shipping companies will not accept responsibility for loose contents inside. Contact a freight forwarder or broker.

Shipping companies like Sea-Land/Maersk or Lykes Lines can give you guidance. American Consolidation Services, a division of American President Lines, specializes in less that full container lot sizes (A 15' Westy would have plenty of room in a 20 footer and be lost in a 40 footer.) A.J. Fritz is the worlds largest and industry leader.

One flaw in buying a new Westy over there is that it will be a Westfalia built, but when you return it to the US or Canada, all support is based on the Winnebago built model. Thus you may experience some problem with parts & service. That's assuming VW would have Westfalia build a US/Can-spec vehcile for you. They have discontinued the tourist delivery program.

Since you are going back & forth, renting a camper just while you are traveling is an option. As is buying a European version and then selling it at the end.

nosliwmit Member # 267 posted 02-21-2002 03:04 PM

Several years ago I started to look into this issue but bailed out because it was fairly complicated and required shipping the vehicle at least two months before it was needed on the other side--it didn't fit into my plans. I believe I found a freight-forwarder who was willing to ship from the east coast for somewhere around $1700.
There are a lot of Americans (military etc.) in Germany, and the U.S. gov't ships privately-owned vehicles frequently. Perhaps you can get in touch with someone on a military base and get lots of answers.

I'd still love to ship my rig over for a summer someday...

Good luck!

Al Adrian Junior Member # 2671 posted 03-30-2002 09:57 AM

I'm a Canadian living in the Netherlands. I brought my Canadian bought Toyota Corolla wagon here.. I can't tell you a ton about the paperwork because it was taken care of for us.. But it is possible to Bring NA cars here temporarily. There are a lot here in The Hague. It's even possible for me to leave NA cars here for ever. It may mean a ~2000 euro "inspection" fee depending on whether or not a simular model was done before.

I concur about putting it in a container.. Ours came over on a drive-on/drive-off and someone went through it and took everything of value out.

As far as bringing a Vehicle from here to there is concerned.... I've bought and am waiting for a new T-4 California Coach camper to arrive (3 month wait). I've looked into bringing it back to Canada with me, but it seems to be impossible. If the vehical was over 15 years old, or built to Canadia spec. it would be possible. Not many car manufacturers are selling local vehicals built to Canadian spec. anymore..

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Capt. Mike

Transferred to consolidate same topic.

Buying a Wesfalia from overseas

Ben Lloyd Junior Member # 4017 posted 04-21-2002 05:54 PM

Hi, I am considering buying a 67 Westfalia from a chap in Nevada USA.

Can anyone give me some guidance as to what to be aware of and any pitfalls I may come across.

How would I go about making a deal with him without getting ripped off?

What the processes for exchanging money etc etc? What about Import costs . . what's it going to actually cost me?

Somebody has bound to have imported cars from overseas, so I would especially like to hear from them. Reply by e-mail if you want or on here.


Capt. Mike

Transferred to consolidate same topic.

tomshelstad Junior Member posted September 29, 2002 06:30 PM

We are looking into buying a new VW camper from the factory in germany and driving it around for a few months before shipping it back to the US. We have heard it is possible to choose engines, customizations, color, and even get Syncro added as well. Does anyone have any other or more specific information about this? Thanks a lot!


New member
We are hoping to find a Westfalia or even a Eurovan in U.K. or Europe. Does anyone know the best way to go about this?
Leigh Stewart


New member
Hi steward
just saw your question about purchasing a t4 westy.
The best way, and also she less costly, is to look on, I have bought about 4 of them from Germany. The site is in german, unfortunately. Dealers seem fairly trustworthly.
Any questions , please write to