How Much Does it Cost to Ship a Classic Car?

Harish Makam

12 Oct 2022 2 months ago


If you ever need to ship your classic car across the country, using an auto transport company like SAKAEM Logistics is the smart thing to do. After all, owning a classic car is a massive responsibility as well as a significant investment. Driving your classic car long distances is not always the best option. For example, you may have just bought your car from a private owner online. If they’re located across the other side of the country, you’ll need to get your purchase home. On the other hand, you might want to attend a classic car show that’s several thousand miles away. Another likely scenario is that you’re relocating and need to get your collectible car shipped to your new home.  One critical factor that prospective car shippers are going to want to know is how much it will cost.  In this post, we’ll answer your question “How much does it cost to ship a car?” In addition, we’ll look at:

  • The average price to ship a car
  • How to calculate the car shipping cost
  • How to get your auto transport quotes
  • Factors that can affect your car transport cost
  • How the car shipping process works
  • How to prepare your classic car for transport
  • And much more

How Much Does It Cost to Ship a Classic Car?

The cost of shipping a classic car is not a one size fits all answer. It’s possible to give you some guidance or an average answer, but this won’t be exact. The actual cost of shipping a classic car depends on many things. Everyone is different and has different needs. Each car is also going to be unique and require a tailored service.  Several factors have to be taken into account when calculating the cost of classic car shipping.

Location and Distance

As you might imagine, the further you want to ship your classic car, the more it’s likely going to cost. Also, the proximity of the pick-up and delivery locations to more frequented shipping routes is also going to impact your rare car shipping costs.  Remote locations are more of a logistical challenge for carriers, which adds to car transport costs. 

Model of Your Vehicle and Condition

In general, you can expect to pay more to ship heavier and larger classic cars. The condition of your treasured car is another important factor. When carriers have to load and unload a rare car that’s not running, specialist equipment is essential. 

Supply and Demand

This is another factor that impacts the cost of shipping a classic car. In turn, supply and demand are also affected by seasonality, fuel prices, weather conditions, and several other factors. Supply and demand change almost daily. You can trust SAKAEM Logistics to keep track of these fluctuations and calculate the fairest and most realistic price.  Put your trust in our shipping company and we’ll ensure your priceless car is shipped safely, efficiently, and most important of all, on time. 

Supply and demand

How Fast You Need Your Classic Car

You can expect classic car shipping to take around 1-6 calendar days from the date your car is picked up. Auto transport drivers typically cover about 500 miles per day.  Once you place your order for car shipping, the first available pick-up date will be 2-7 business days. This is perfect if you’re able to be flexible with your shipping dates.  If you need an auto transport service that’s quicker, you have the option of choosing express classic car shipping.  With express or expedited car shipping, your car can be delivered quicker than the normal time frame. You can also request a pickup on a specific date.  The downside of this option is that you’ll pay more. However, if you need to ship your car for an upcoming show or auction, express classic car shipping is a much better fit.  

Type of Car Shipping Service

If you ever need to ship your classic car, there are aspects that are vital. You’re very proud of your vintage car and want it to be treated with care and respect. This makes it crucial that the auto transport company you choose understands tow things. Not only the financial value of your car but its sentimental value as well.  Basically, when it comes to shipping any kind of vehicle, there are two options. The first is open car transport and then there’s enclosed car transport. What’s the difference between the two? Let’s explain.

Open Car Shipping

Open car shipping is an auto transport service that’s perfectly suited for your average car owner. If you want to ship a standard sedan, it’s an option that’s safe, secure, and very affordable.  Vehicles shipped in this way are loaded onto a multi-car trailer that’s got the capability and space to move up to 10 cars simultaneously.  It’s called open car shipping because the trailer has no sides. It’s open to the weather, traffic grime, dirt, and dust.  For a run-of-the-mill car, this is not a major problem. However, if you’re the proud owner of a McLaren F1, Mercedes 399SL Gullwing, Ford Model T, or another classic car, you’ll want to work with a car shipping company that offers more protection.  

Enclosed Car Shipping

If you choose enclosed car shipping for your prestigious car, it will be transported in a trailer that’s got four sides and a roof. This guarantees your vehicle is protected on all sides. You won’t have to worry about the weather, dust, dirt, and traffic grime damaging your car. It’s also likely that your antique car will be shipped on its own. When you’re shipping your Ford Model T to your favorite classic car show or buying a Ferrari 250 GTO at a car auction, you can be certain it’ll arrive in exactly the same condition as it was picked up. Enclosed car shipping is a costlier option, but your car won’t be sharing space with any other vehicles and will be completely protected during its journey.  Paying extra guarantees the safety of your car, which is vital considering its high value. 

Enclosed car shipping

Getting Your Car Transport Quote

When you want to know the cost of shipping your classic car, the best thing to do is get a car transport quote. To ensure you get the best possible price, make sure you request auto transport quotes from several operators.  To find out how much it will cost with SAKAEM Logistics, use our easy-to-use car shipping calculator.  You can get a personalized quote in less than 60 seconds. All you’ve got to do is provide a few basic details. 

  • Pick-up and delivery location: You can provide the city, however, if you have the zip code, you’ll get the most accurate quote. 
  • Transport preference: Choose between open vs. enclosed car shipping.
  • The make, model, and year of your classic car: This helps us determine the dimensions of your car and the price of shipping.
  • The condition of your vintage car: This information is important as additional equipment may be necessary for the loading and unloading.
  • Preferred pick-up date: This is used for determining the availability of a carrier.   

As long as you provide the correct information, you’re certain to get an accurate quote.  If you’d prefer to speak with someone directly, call SAKAEM Logistics directly on (888) 725-0005.  There’s also a Live Chat option if you would rather.

How the Classic Car Shipping Process Works

Shipping your prestigious car is a five-step process that goes like this:

  • Choose your shipping method: We’ve already looked at your options. You can choose open car shipping or enclosed car shipping and then decide whether you want expedited service. 
  • Get your auto transport quotes and compare prices: Once you’ve decided on the method, it’s time to collect your car shipping quotes. Compare prices from several different companies to ensure you’re getting the best bang for your buck.  
  • Book your car shipping and schedule your pick-up: When you’ve decided on the best company, it’s time for you to book your auto transport service and schedule your pick-up. In general, you’ll be expected to pay a deposit to secure your car shipping service, so be prepared. 
  • Prepare your vehicle for shipping: While you’re waiting for the pick-up date to arrive there are some things you can do to ensure your classic car is ready for its upcoming journey. Take a look below to find out more. 
  • Track your vehicle’s progress: Once the carrier has collected your car you should be able to track its progress. Most companies provide information that enables you to stay up to date on the location of your car. The carrier should also contact you when they’re nearing their final destination.  

How to Get Your Classic Car Ready for Transport

Of course, you want the car shipping process to go as smoothly as it can. If you want to ensure your car is shipped safely, securely, and delivered on time, you should find the time to do the following:

  • Clean your vehicle inside and outside.
  • Take pictures of your vehicle from a variety of angles. 
  • Remove all of your personal belongings except for regular items such as the spare tire and jack.
  • If your car is a convertible, secure the top as tightly as you can.
  • Remove other coverings such as those over the grill, spare tire, and car cover.
  • Fold down any side mirrors.
  • Remove all custom and after-market products such as bumpers, luggage racks, fog lights, radio interfaces, spoilers, and ground effects.
  • Fully retract or remove all antennas. 
  • Take out any toll tags, parking passes, and garage door openers.
  • Turn off, disable, or disconnect any alarm systems.
  • Make sure the car battery is secure and fully charged.
  • Top off all fluids.
  • Repair any mechanical issues or leaks.
  • Correctly inflate all tires.
  • Run down the gas tank to no more than 1/4 full.  

Other Ways to Move Your Vintage Car

If you’re not quite sure whether you want to ship your car, there are some alternatives that might suit you better. 

Drive it Yourself if Pay Someone to Drive it for You

If you want to, you could drive your sterling car yourself or hire someone to drive it for you. Whether this is the better option depends on the distance. If you haven’t got to drive too far it might be a more affordable and convenient option. However, you’ll be adding additional miles to the odometer and increasing wear and tear.  For long distances, there is little that compares to classic car shipping with a company like SAKAEM Logistics. 

Shipping it by Train

Shipping a car by train often costs less than most other options, but there are some downsides. For example, routes are very limited. In addition, you have to get your car to the station and collect it at the final destination. In terms of flexibility, amount of effort, convenience, and other savings, vintage car shipping can’t be matched. 

Using a Tow Dolly

Another option that may work for short distances is to tow your classic car using a tow dolly. Tow dollies are very strong, but are only meant for short distances. Certain requirements also have to be met and not all antique cars will be suitable for this method of transportation. 

Classic Car Shipping FAQs

Is classic car shipping safe?

Yes, it is very safe. Typically, your car will be shipped in an enclosed trailer that protects it from traffic and road grime, and the elements. 

What are my options if my car doesn’t run?

You can ship a car that’s not running, but you do need to inform the auto transport company. The carrier will need special equipment to load and unload your classic car. 

I understand the difference between open and enclosed, but is there anything else? 

Open car shipping

There is one other option you might prefer when you want to ship a classic car across the country. When you speak with a company representative ask if top load only is an option. The degree of protection is higher than open car shipping, but not as complete as enclosed car shipping. If you’re ready to make the arrangements for shipping your precious car, SAKAEM Logistics is here to help. We are a leading auto transport provider and will provide the best shipping service for your valuable car. Other benefits we offer include:

  • Reliable service
  • Safe shipping
  • Competitive rates
  • Flexible scheduling

Look no further if you want a reliable, flexible, and affordable car transport company. Our representatives are waiting to hear from you today.     


Harish Makam