Classic Car Transport: The Ultimate Guide

Classic car transport can be a challenge for classic car enthusiasts. It’s understandable that you wouldn’t want to leave your priceless vehicle in someone else’s hands. However, with a classic car transport company, you can have the peace of mind that your car is in the best possible hands and will arrive at its destination in perfect condition.

What Is Classic Car Transport?

Classic car transport is a niche car transportation service that focuses specifically on classic cars that tend to require special treatment and protection during shipping. Classic car transport is designed for classic vehicles like Ford Mustangs, Chevrolet Corvettes, Ford Thunderbirds, Pontiac Trans Ams, and Porsche 911s.

What Classic Car Transport Options Are Available?

There are two different options available for shipping a classic car: open transport and enclosed transport. Let’s explore both of these options so that you can choose the best one for your needs and budget:


Open transport is the most common method of car transport. This method of transport usually involves loading multiple vehicles onto a double-decker auto trailer that’s open on the sides. Depending on the size of the trailer and the types of cars being transported, as many as 12 cars can be transported at a time.

Since open transport is the most common method of car transport, it’s also the most affordable method of car transport. The supply of open trailers is high, so the price is low. And while open transport is perfectly acceptable for regular cars, this might not be the best option for classic cars.

The design of open trailers leaves vehicles unprotected and exposed to the elements. So not only will your classic car get very dirty on an open trailer, but it can also be damaged by anything from hail to road debris or even theft.


Enclosed transport is a more specialized method of transport that’s usually reserved for higher-value classic and luxury cars. There’s no exposure to the elements with enclosed transport since the trailer is completely enclosed and the vehicle is completely protected. Enclosed transport also decreases the likelihood of theft since the vehicle isn’t as easily accessible.

There are many different enclosed trailers to choose from, ranging from small trailers that can only fit a single car to double-decker trailers that can potentially fit up to eight cars at a time.

Since you cannot ship as many cars with enclosed transport, the cost is often higher. However, this higher cost may be worth the extra protection for the transportation of valuable classic cars.

How Much Does It Cost to Ship a Classic Car?

The cost of shipping a classic car depends on several different factors. For a more precise estimate, reach out to the car shipping experts at Carvaygo. In the meantime, here’s some cost-related information to help you plan and make sure that you’re getting the best rate:

1. Type of Car

Bigger cars are going to cost more to ship since they take up more room on a trailer. For example, the average cost of shipping a sedan is about $1,150, whereas shipping a truck is $300 more at $1,450.

2. Method of Transport

As we mentioned earlier, enclosed transport will cost more than open transport since fewer enclosed carriers are available, and these carriers tend only to transport a few vehicles at a time.

Generally speaking, you can expect to pay about 30% to 40% more for enclosed transport. On average enclosed transport costs $1,500, whereas open transport averages about $1,080.

3. Shipping Distance

Since most auto transport companies charge per mile, longer shipping distances will cost more than shorter shipping distances. At the same time, the rate per mile typically gets cheaper as the mileage goes up. For example, you may be charged $1 per mile for distances less than 500 miles, but you may be charged just $0.50 per mile for distances greater than 2,000 miles.

4. Shipping Service

In addition to different transport methods, there are also different shipping services to choose from when shipping your classic car. You can choose between terminal-to-terminal service or door-to-door service.

With terminal-to-terminal service, you’re responsible for dropping your vehicle off at a nearby auto transport terminal, where a carrier then picks it up. Afterward, you’re also responsible for picking your vehicle back up from an auto transport terminal that’s close to your destination.

With door-to-door service, you schedule specific pickup and drop-off times and locations with the driver so that they come directly to you at your convenience. Although it may cost a bit more, this shipping service is recommended for classic cars since your car is always in the care of a driver instead of being left alone in an auto transport terminal before pickup and after drop off.

5. Time of Year

You can also expect to pay more for car shipping based on the time of year. Peak car shipping season runs during the summer, and rates can be up to 40% higher to ship during this time from May to September.

What Do I Need to Do Before Shipping My Car?

Preparing your classic car for shipment is key to a safe and successful process. Here are some things you need to do before shipping your classic car:

  • Remove personal belongings and accessories: Remove any personal belongings from the inside of your car that could roll around and potentially cause damage during transport. Also, remove any exterior accessories like custom spoilers to prevent damage.
  • Clean your car inside and out: It’s always a good idea to make sure that your car is clean before you put it on the trailer. That way, any existing scratches, dents, and dings are clearly visible.
  • Inspect your car: Take note of any existing scratches, dents, and dings in your car. Take plenty of photographs and videos to document the condition of your car prior to shipment.
  • Perform maintenance on your car: It’s also recommended to perform basic maintenance on your car before shipment. Make sure that the brakes are working properly. Also, check to make sure that there are no leaks.
  • Don’t fill up on gas: Avoid shipping your car with a full tank of gas as this can add extra weight to your car and the trailer. Instead, aim for a gas tank that’s about 25% full.

How Do I Know My Car Won’t Get Damaged?

Peace of mind is everything when you’re shipping a classic or antique car. So how do you know that your car won’t get damaged?

For starters, choosing enclosed transport and door-to-door service decreases the likelihood of damage.

Additionally, choosing a safe and reliable car transport company goes a long way toward protecting the value and preserving the condition of your classic car.

How Do I Find a Reliable Shipper?

But how can you find a safe and reliable shipper for your classic car? Here’s what you need to do:

Do Your Research

Start by doing your research into potential shipping companies. Check out their reviews online on Google and the Better Business Bureau.

Ensure that they are properly licensed and insured by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA). You can also look into safety records with the FMCSA.

Read Carefully

Next, read each shipper’s terms and conditions very carefully before you sign on the dotted line. Know what they’re responsible for and what they’re responsible for. Get answers to any questions you may have and receive clarifications where needed.

Read Up on Insurance

Finally, check the insurance policies of each shipper to make sure that they will cover your vehicle in the event of an incident.

How Long Does Car Transport Take?

Naturally, car transport takes longer for longer distances. Most drivers can cover about 500 miles per day, although this can vary depending on traffic, weather conditions, road conditions, etc. Based on this number, here’s how long you can generally expect your classic car transport to take:

  • Two days of transit time for distances less than 500 miles
  • Four days of transit time for distances between 500 and 1,000 miles
  • Six days of transit time for distances between 1,000 and 1,500 miles
  • Eight days of transit time for distances between 1,500 and 2,000 miles
  • Ten days of transit time for distances between 2,000 and 2,500 miles
  • 11 days of transit time for distances greater than 2,500 miles

The length of your car transport time also depends on the shipping service you choose. Door-to-door shipping is faster than terminal-to-terminal since your driver comes directly to you before/after picking up any other vehicles in the shipment.

However, with terminal-to-terminal shipping, your car may sit in the auto transport terminal for several days before a carrier for transport picks it up.

How Can I Be Sure My Vehicle Will Arrive on Time?

If you’re looking for the best and fastest shipping service for your classic car, then you need to consider expedited shipping from Carvaygo. With expedited shipping, your car can be picked up in as little as 24 hours.

Your car is also given priority placement onto the truck to reach its destination as quickly as possible. And while you can expect to pay a bit more for expedited shipping, this service is worth it if you need an on-time delivery.

The Bottom Line

For the best and safest classic car shipping services, contact Carvaygo for more information and a customized quote. Carvaygo offers enclosed transport, open transport, and expedited services to cover all your classic car shipping needs.

How Much Does It Cost to Ship A Car? |
8 Tips to Prepare Your Vehicle for Auto Transport |
Licensing & Insurance Carrier Search | FMCSA

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