How Much Does it Cost to Ship a Classic Car?

Classic red car parked in front of a white house

Estimated reading time: 6 minutes 

According to The Classic Car Club of America, a classic car is a “Fine” or “Distinctive” vehicle that’s American or foreign built and was produced only between 1915 and 1948. For such prestigious motors, driving long distances is not the best option if you need to move it.

There are several alternatives, such as shipping it by train or using a tow dolly. But before looking at those options, let’s explore the most convenient, safest, and affordable, which is classic car shipping with an auto transport company.

In this post, we’ll also answer the question: “How much to ship a classic car,” and much more.    

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What are the options for shipping a classic car with an auto transport company?

When it comes to shipping a classic car, certain things are essential. Owners of classic cars are very proud of their vehicles and want them to be looked after. Therefore, it’s vital that the auto transport company understands the sentimental and financial value of the car and treat it accordingly. 

While shipping a standard sedan on the back of an open multi-care carrier will be more than OK, it’s not going to be suitable for a Chevrolet Corvair, DeLorean DMC-12, Volkswagen Beetle, or McLaren F1. In such cases, it’s critical that you work with a shipper that has lots of experience and expertise when it comes to moving classic cars.

In the auto transport world, there are two alternatives for shipping a car: open and enclosed car transport. 

Open car transport

Open car transport is a car shipping service that’s aimed at your average car owner. Vehicles are transported in an open trailer and there can be as many as 10 vehicles on that trailer. 

When the trailer is open, the vehicles being transported are exposed to the weather, dust, dirt, and traffic grime. While this is not a big problem for the ordinary car, a classic car needs to be more protected. 

Enclosed auto transport

Enclosed auto transport costs more than open car transport, typically between 30% and 40%, however, the extra cost means you get a service that provides complete protection for your classic car. 

Your classic car is transported in an enclosed trailer, often on its own. The trailer has four sides and a roof so the vehicle inside is completely protected from the elements, dirt, dust, and traffic grime. 

Whether you’re shipping your car to a favorite classic car show, have bought it at a classic car auction, or need to move it because you’re relocating, classic car shipping is worth the cost because you get complete peace of mind.   

What does it cost to ship a classic car?

The cost to ship a classic car depends on several factors. A small vehicle, for example, will cost less to transport. The cost of shipping your classic car a short distance will also cost less. 

Other factors that affect the cost of classic car shipping include the time of the year, the condition of the vehicle, the weather, and the delivery time frame. As we’ve already mentioned, shipping a classic car will cost around 30% to 40% more than shipping a standard car. 

Let’s give you some examples of how much it costs to ship your car using enclosed auto transport. The rates below are reflective of current market conditions as of January 2020. They are subject to change due to various factors such as pick-up/delivery locations, the price of gas, seasonal fluctuations, and more. 


Distance in miles

Average price per mile

Sample distance

Sample price



300 miles




750 miles




1350 miles




1900 miles




2200 miles




2750 miles




3200 miles



The figures above are meant as a guideline if you want to know how much it will cost to ship your classic car, get in touch today. 

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How to prepare your classic car for shipping

If you want to do everything you can to ensure the safe delivery of your classic car, there are some things you can do to get your car ready for transportation. 

  • Remove all personal belongings (except standard vehicle equipment such as the jack and spare tire)
  • Remove coverings such as car cover, grill cover, and spare tire cover
  • Make sure the battery is fully charged and secure in its mounting bracket
  • Secure the top of your convertible as tightly as possible
  • Repair any leaking or mechanical issues
  • Remove after-market and custom products such as spoilers, ground effects, bumpers, fog lights, luggage racks, radio interfaces, garage door openers, toll tags, and parking passes
  • Disconnect, disable, or turn off all alarm systems
  • Top off all fluids in your car
  • Make sure that the tires are properly inflated
  • Run down your gas tank to between 1/4 and 1/2 full
  • Fold down the side car mirrors
  • Remove or fully retract all antennas

What are the alternatives?

There are some alternatives if you’re not sure whether enclosed classic car transport is right for you. 

Using a tow dolly

There is the option to use a tow dolly, but this would really only work if you’re transporting your classic car a short distance. If you need to get your classic car to Hawaii and you live in New York, for example, you should get an auto transport company to transport your vehicle for you. 

Tow dollies are strong, but they’re not meant for long-distance transportation. 

Shipping your classic car by train

If you want to ship your classic car over a long distance, you may find it costs less to ship it by train. However, it’ll take some time to get to its destination because trains have to follow a specific schedule and route. The routes are also very limited, so you may not find a train that meets your requirements. 

Paying someone to drive your car for you

If you want, you can also pay someone to drive your car across the country. The downside with this option is the wear and tear on your car, and finding someone you can trust with your precious vehicle. It can also work out to be a very expensive option. 


How safe is classic car shipping?

Classic car shipping is a very safe option if you want to move your car between two locations. Your car is transported in an enclosed trailer so it is completely protected from the elements, road and traffic grime. 

How do you ship a classic car that doesn’t run?

You can ship a classic car that doesn’t run using an enclosed auto transport carrier. When talking to an auto transport company, make sure to mention that your car doesn’t run. This is because the carrier will need specialist equipment for loading and unloading your classic car. 

If I don’t ship enclosed, can you guarantee top load only?

If you want to use an open car trailer, there is the option of top load only. There is an increased degree of protection when you use this option. However, it’s not as much as shipping your car in an enclosed trailer. Not every auto transport company can guarantee top load-only transport, however, here at SGT Auto Transport, it’s something we can arrange.

If you want to know more about shipping your classic car, our shipping advisors are always available to help. Speak with them directly by calling (864) 546-5038 or use our Live Chat

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