Answer: I’ve received quite a few of these questions over the past few months, so we’ll spend a bit of time on this one in the hopes that it will interest even those readers who are not selling their cars, particularly overseas.
I’ve been exporting collector cars overseas for some time now, and I can tell you that in almost all cases it is a myth that your car will be worth much more money overseas than it is here. However - what you might find - is that depending on the type of car that you are trying to sell, it may be easier to find a customer for your car overseas than it is here in the U.S. You would have to do some advertising overseas to determine for yourself what the market might be for a 1968 Lincoln Sedan. I find that buyers all over the world routinely scour the major collector car publications and websites in search of their car of choice.
Assuming that you find a buyer overseas, the first hurdle that you will encounter is getting paid for your car. I’ve found that it’s best to accept payment only in the form of a wire transfer. It is as good as cash once it arrives at your bank. International fraud abounds and even a genuine looking bank draft can be returned by your bank long after your car has left your possession.
Make it clear to the buyer that you will be cooperative in assisting with shipping, but that they are responsible for the shipping, and that they are to be listed as the shipper, not you. This includes not only the ocean voyage, but the overland transportation from you to the port. In the event that something goes wrong, such as damage in transit, in almost all cases the shipper is responsible for filing claims, and you don’t want to get involved with that when you no longer own the car.
Ensure that they are using a freight forwarder or agent in the U.S., and that the buyer is not attempting to handle the shipment by themselves. In theory it is possible for a buyer to handle the purchase, shipment and documentation independently. In reality, it is a recipe for disaster. Rules and regulations pertaining to taxes, duties, customs, vehicle condition, vehicle preparation, insurance, and more vary from country to country. For example, when shipping a collector car to Australia, it must be completely free of organic material that could carry diseases. This means no mud or grass in the wheel wells, and no dead bugs in the radiator. Forms and documents can be complicated and if not completed properly it can result in expensive delays when clearing customs in this country or another country.
The transaction should be arranged in such a manner so that the buyers agent or freight forwarder simply contacts you to tell you where to ship the ownership documents (usually directly to them), how to prepare the vehicle (usually as simple as draining the fuel to 1/8 tank or less), and when the vehicle will be picked up by a transporter. It should be as simple as that.