Classic red car parked in front of a white house

What Does it Cost to Ship a Classic Car?



Shipping a classic car isn't just about transportation; it's about moving a piece of history, a labor of love, and often, a significant investment. This task comes with a unique set of challenges and considerations, especially when it comes to cost. In the world of classic cars, every detail matters, from the choice of transport to the insurance coverage, all of which influence the overall shipping cost. 

In this comprehensive guide, we delve into the nuances of shipping classic cars, focusing on the factors that directly impact cost. From the valuation of your cherished vehicle to the distance it needs to travel, various elements play a crucial role in determining the price of safe and secure transport. Our expertise in this specialized field allows us to offer insights into not just the costs, but also the value behind each decision you make for your classic car's journey. 

We will explore the options available for shipping, analyze their cost implications, and provide strategies to balance cost with exceptional care. Whether you’re a seasoned collector or a new enthusiast, this guide aims to equip you with the knowledge to navigate the costs of shipping your classic car effectively.

Factors Influencing Classic Car Shipping Costs

Numerous factors influence the cost of shipping your classic car to and from Tennessee or anywhere else in the country. To help you understand them better, let’s explore each one in turn.

  • Vehicle size and weight: Larger and heavier vehicles cost more to ship because they take up more space and weigh more. Carriers are limited in how much they can transport in one load. 
  • The value of your vehicle: This is particularly relevant when it comes to classic cars because they are often more valuable than standard ones. For more valuable vehicles, carriers take extra care and the insurance coverage is typically higher. 
  • Shipping distance: Longer shipping distances are more costly. However, they cost less per mile than shorter distances. 
  • Condition of vehicle: If you’re shipping your classic car to a specialist repair shop, it may cost more if it’s inoperable. In such cases, more care and time are needed to load and unload. 
  • Type of transport: Enclosed transport is not the cheapest way to ship a car cross country, but it’s recommended for classic cars because of the increased protection. We’ll explain the difference between these two options in the next section of this post.  
  • Pick-up and drop-off locations: Pick-up and drop-off locations in rural or hard-to-reach places are less convenient and therefore cost more. 
  • Delivery time: You can expect to pay more for express auto transport or guaranteed pick-up. 
  • Time of year: Prices tend to be higher during the summer months, over the holidays, and in January. 
  • Fuel costs: Car shipping rates typically rise when gas prices increase

We can give you a rough idea of how much it might cost, but any prices we share here will be estimates.

To ship a classic car between Philadelphia, PA, and San Francisco, CA will cost an average of $2,029. Whereas shipping a classic car between Miami, FL and Dallas, TX will cost $1,219, on average. To move your classic car from New York City, NY to Chicago, IL will cost $1,009.

Some of the classic vehicles we’ve shipped over the years include a 1940 Nash Lafayette, a 1957 Triumph TR3, a 1969 Buick LeSabre, a 1966 Chevy Impala, and a 1970 Chevy Corvette.   

Shipping Options for Classic Cars and Their Costs

Whether you want to ship a 1963 Chevrolet Corvette Sting Ray, a Shelby Cobra Super Snake, a 1969 Chevrolet Camaro ZL1, or any other classic car, you’re going to want it done as safely and securely as possible. You have two options: standard open car shipping and enclosed auto transport. 

Open vs. Enclosed Transport

Open transport is by far the most popular option for most kinds of car shipments. It’s also the cheapest way to ship a car across country and offers the best value. 

If you choose this method for shipping your classic car it will be transported on an open trailer along with several other vehicles. Your car will be exposed to the elements as well as road debris, dirt, and dust. Nevertheless, it is still a very safe way to move vehicles between different locations. The risk of any damage occurring will be minimal. Should any damage occur, it will be covered by our shipping insurance. We also include contingency insurance in the cost of our shipping services.

Your second option is to use enclosed auto transport. You get greater peace of mind with this shipping method because your classic car is completely enclosed and protected, not just from the weather, road debris, and traffic grime but from prying eyes too. It’s not the cheapest way to ship a car but you can’t put a price on satisfaction and contentment.

Classic car owners prefer this method of transport, particularly if the vehicle is a rare model, a unique car, or a classic with great sentimental value. It’s also the shipping method we would recommend to anyone who wants to ship a valuable or luxury car. 

There’s one other option available, but it’s not as popular as it once was. Terminal-to-terminal shipping is when you deliver your classic car to a terminal where it’s picked up by a carrier and transported to a terminal close to your final destination. You’ve then got to go to that terminal to pick up your car. 

There are a few reasons why you might want to consider terminal-to-terminal shipping. For example, if the carrier will find it extremely difficult to access your property or maneuver a truck in your location. It is also the cheapest auto transport service, at least up front. You may have to pay storage fees if you want the terminal to hold onto your car until you can get there to collect it. Car shipping terminals are also designed to handle every type of vehicle and should have the equipment needed to load and unload oversized and inoperable vehicles.  

However, as you can imagine, terminal-to-terminal shipping is nowhere near as convenient as enclosed or open car shipping, both of which are door-to-door.

When would we recommend you choose open car shipping? For your standard vehicle such as a Honda Civic Type R, Acura Integra, BMW M2, Toyota Camry, Nissan Maxima, or Chrysler 300, open car shipping is more than adequate.  

When is enclosed transport the best option? For classic vehicles such as the Aston Martin DB5 1964, Ferrari 250 GTO 1962, Jaguar E-Type 1961, the Porsche 911 1963, and similar classic cars we recommend using enclosed transport. If you’re a snowbird heading south for the winter and want to take your classic car with you, enclosed transport is also the method we’d recommend.           

Reducing Costs and Maximizing Value in Classic Car Shipping

Let’s finish up this post by sharing some tips on how you can reduce costs and maximize value when you choose classic car shipping.

It’s not always cost-effective to drive your classic car long distances which makes classic auto transport an essential service. If you want to attend a show across the country, arrange dealer-to-dealer car shipping, buy your dream classic car online, or move it to your favorite custom repair shop, it is possible to save money on shipping costs without compromising the quality of service. 

In this next section, we’ll provide strategies and tips to help you trim expenses but at the same time ensure a safe and reliable transport experience for you and your classic car.  

Planning is Crucial

One of the simplest and most effective ways to save money on car shipping is to plan. Last-minute bookings aren’t the cheapest way to ship a car but there are advantages to scheduling your classic car shipping well in advance. 

Not only will you have more time to research and compare figures from various auto transport companies. It also allows you to choose a cost-effective carrier with an excellent reputation. 

Compare Multiple Quotes

Never request only one quote or settle for the price without comparing it with multiple quotes from different auto transport companies. 

In addition, as well as comparing prices, make sure to compare the services included in the price. A company offering lower upfront costs is not necessarily going to guarantee the best value. The low price tag may mean you’re compromising quality or sacrificing critical services. 

Why not get the ball rolling by requesting a quote from us here at SGT Auto Transport? For your convenience, we’ve made an online quote calculator available here on our website. You also have the option of speaking with our shipping advisors at (864) 546-5038 or by using our Live Chat.  

Choose Open or Enclosed Transport Wisely

We’ve already discussed the two main options you have when you want to ship your car. It’s down to you to decide which is the best auto transport service for your needs. 

In open transport, your vehicle is exposed to the elements, but it’s more affordable than enclosed transport, which provides greater protection. 

If your car doesn’t require special handling or has a lower value, open shipping is cost-effective without sacrificing quality. 

Consider Seasonal Discounts

It’s not uncommon for auto transport companies to offer discounts during slower months or off-peak seasons. If you have the luxury of a flexible timeline, make sure to inquire about seasonal promotions or discounts as these could be a way to save money. 

Take the time to explore different websites to see which discounts are available. You can also visit our deals page to check out our latest offers.  

Ship During Non-Peak Times

Shipping your classic car during non-peak times is another way of saving money. The summer, for example, is when many people move and this means prices tend to be higher. A more economical and convenient time of the year is to ship during the fall or winter months.  


The best thing about the auto transport industry is that there are lots of options which allow you to choose a car shipping service that’s right for you and your car. When it comes to shipping your classic car don’t focus solely on the price as the safety and security of your car should also be a priority. 

With careful planning, research, an understanding of how the pricing of services works, and how to save money, you’ll be able to find a reliable auto transport company that fits your budget. At the same time, it will ensure your car arrives at its destination in top condition. 

Prioritize quality and safety, ask questions, and negotiate with potential carriers and you’ll secure the best possible deal. 

Get a quote banner