Importing an Airstream from USA to Melbourne

Submitted: Saturday, Oct 19, 2013 at 00:58
ThreadID: 104781 Views:14172 Replies:14 FollowUps:31
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Hi all!

I read a forum on this site about someone who was thinking of important a caravan from overseas. I would like to do the same.

Some of the answers where a little off track and a little hear say!

My dream is to have a Bambi airstream, and I think the only way to get one is to import.

I would like to hear from anyone who has imported a caravan from overseas which was not over $50,000, the issues that they had, and what regulations they had to go through to bring it over to Australia.

I know that there are now companies who help you transport and import caravans.

I would love to hear from anyone who has actually gone through this process.

Was it worth doing? Thank you for your time

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Reply By: Member - David 221160 - Saturday, Oct 19, 2013 at 08:06

Saturday, Oct 19, 2013 at 08:06
We have imported two 5th wheelers. The first damaged in the storms in Rockhampton 2013. nsurance company final wrote it off.
We deal with Spectrum RV at the Gold coast owners name is Dave, forgotten last name.
Ours is more than $50,000 as tit is our permanent home and so is bigger.
Process is 2 months to build, 2 months shipping and about 1 month for Aussie regulation work to be done.
Spectrum RV are very good to deal with.

AnswerID: 519957

Follow Up By: retrovintage - Saturday, Oct 19, 2013 at 11:45

Saturday, Oct 19, 2013 at 11:45
Thanks Dave,

I had a quick look at Spectrum RV.

It doesn't mention anything about importing that I could find.

They sell caravans, and 5th wheels.

It made me think about the waiting time, for the shipping process and and the Aussie regulations, and the time it takes to get something into the country.



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Reply By: Ron N - Saturday, Oct 19, 2013 at 13:13

Saturday, Oct 19, 2013 at 13:13
Louise - I haven't imported a caravan (because I believe importing U.S.-built caravans is a mistake due to substantially different build standards to Australia) - but I have imported machinery and large components from overseas.

You haven't outlined the exact process you want to indulge in, so we need to clear up exactly the process you're looking at.

1. Are you looking to purchase a new van from a U.S. dealer? - a used van from a U.S. dealer? - or a used van from a private individual in the U.S. (such as buying off an eBay seller)?

2. Are you looking at doing as much of the "legwork" (i.e. paperwork and Customs and freighting arrangements) yourself? - or are you looking at someone who will do all this for you and just deliver the 'van to you here?

Importation of vehicles and items of machinery is a complex maze with lots of paperwork requirements to be met, quarantine regulations to be met, and many hidden costs and charges - then, in the case of a road-registered vehicle, you need to have the vehicle inspected, modified and plated to meet local laws and regulations, such as Vehicle Standards, and electrical wiring laws.

You need to fully understand all these potentially-costly traps, before you can seriously investigate the proposition of importing a vehicle from overseas.

Cheers - Ron.
AnswerID: 519973

Follow Up By: retrovintage - Saturday, Oct 19, 2013 at 13:30

Saturday, Oct 19, 2013 at 13:30
Hi Ron,

Thanks for all that information for me to think about.

I want to buy a vintage Airstream, so it will probably be from a private seller.

I need to find a company that will deal with all the paper work so the Airstream is not sent back due to Australian regulations, and help me transport it back to Australia. I would be crushed if the Airstream was sent back or destoyed, because I didn't follow through all the protocols to get it here in the first place.

I've dealt with Australian customs importing large quantity of shoes. The biggest problems I had was the loading Docks.

They only take cash, and if you don't have cash, they will charge you per day for having your items being stored there.

And I totally agree with you! I would be stupid if I didn't look into all these things before purchasing the caravan.

I'm looking for as much information as possible, or a company that can go through the process and costs.



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Follow Up By: Ron N - Saturday, Oct 19, 2013 at 15:42

Saturday, Oct 19, 2013 at 15:42
Louise - Purchasing a used caravan from an American seller is fraught with major difficulties.

Before you even start, consider these factors.

Americans live in a reverse world to Australia. Everything they do is different to us - electricity voltage, the side of the road they drive on, their measuring, wiring and plumbing standards, their fittings, brackets, attachments and accessories, are all different.

The doors on American caravans are on the wrong side. A caravan door has to open on the kerbside for safety, to ensure you don't step out into traffic. American caravan doors are on the RHS, the opposite side to our vans.

The frames of American built vans are lighter than our locally built vans, because America has a nation-wide roads and highways system where road surfaces are almost without exception, smooth as the proverbial babys bottom.

Americans use the imperial system of measurement. That's inches and feet. Everything built in inches and feet is largely incompatible with the metric system. Where critical fit is concerned, you need to source imperial items. Items of imperial construction in Australia are now very difficult to source - even imperial tools are becoming oddball.

The Americans use NPT threads on all piping and plumbing - a thread system that is 95% incompatible with our BSP and metric system and components.

All door locks, hinges, attachments, accessories, switches, etc., on American vans are of American construction and sourcing. Break something on your American import van, and you either have to modify something locally-made to replace it - or get it shipped in from the U.S.

Wiring in U.S. vans is built to American 110V standards, which is largely incompatible with our 240V Australian/NZ standards. The wiring has to be substantially reworked to meet AU/NZ wiring standards before any wiring compliance plate can be fitted.

If none of this fazes you, and you stiill wish to proceed with the purchase, then you need to consider the following vital points as well;

1. - You have to ensure you're not buying a stolen item. Getting caught up with an FBI investigation into "interstate transportation of stolen goods" is the last thing you need. All road-registered items in the U.S. have a Certificate of Title that must be obtained and shown to prove ownership.
The local DMV in the state where the vehicle/trailer/boat/van is registered will supply that. Be aware that a vehicle/trailer/boat/van owner can live in one state and register the vehicle (legally) in another state many thousands of kms away.

2. Before you buy, you have to acquire permission to import the item from the Federal Dept of Infrastructure. If you don't get this BEFORE you buy, your item will promptly be refused landing, and re-exported upon arrival.

3. Cleaning of an item for shipping is of critical importance. Used items must be cleaned to "as-new" condition. This cleaning is costly, and must be supervised intensely by someone with knowledge of AQIS requirements. If you can get the item inspected by an AQIS agent after cleaning, and prior to shipping, this is much better than having the item arrive and have to be cleaned here.
AQIS charge by the half hour, and the last time I shipped an item in in 2009, that charge was $175 per half hr.
An AQIS Saturday call-out fee was $500 back then (plus the half-hr charges).

4. Arranging the pick-up, security in transit, and security in storage in holding yards before shipping, is costly, and difficult to control from 15,000kms away.

5. Theft is rife in America, and theft from items being shipped is a major problem. This is why items are shipped in locked containers. Insurance that covers the item from the sellers premises to your premises is vital.

6. If your item can't fit in a seatainer, it has to go on a "flat-pack" container frame. If it's outside standard container gauge, the item has to be top-loaded, resulting in extra handling and extra costs.

7. If the item can't be containerised, it needs to be shrink wrapped in plastic for protection against theft, weather, and salt spray from storms and waves. That's another cost again.

8. Just securing an item to a flat pack or placing inside a seatainer results in more costly charges - and you're reliant on good supervision of whoever you hired, to ensure the item is properly secured.

9. Seatainers must be hired (more cost) and then there's a de-hiring cost as well (opening and cleaning the seatainer).

10. The paperwork involved in importation is mind-boggling. You need to provide every piece of paper involved in the purchase, and receipts for every cost associated with the purchase in the U.S.
Australian Customs consider all these charges are part of the total purchase price, and you're charged GST on that total figure upon landing.

11. You are going to be up for import duty (yes, import duties were supposed to all be abolished, but they weren't!), GST, port charges, security charges, Customs recording fees, brokers fees, possible cleaning fees - and possible demurrage fees if something goes wrong, and the item sits on the wharf while the problem is sorted.
Demurrage fees can run to $500 a day or more!

12. You are well-advised to deal with a freight-forwarding company who has extensive experience in importation of the item you're attempting to import. These people know the ropes, and the pitfalls, and have an extensive range of agents overseas, who will carry out the necessary transporting, securing and loading operations for you - at a cost, of course.

13. The general rule of thumb is that if an item costs you "X" amount to purchase - by the time it has landed in your yard, it will have cost you nearly 3 times "X".

14. The following shipping agent provides a humorous, and somewhat long-winded, outline of the hassles and costs in importing.
Putting aside the humourous BS in the article, everything this bloke says, is spot-on - because he's in the business of freight forwarding, and he tries to make people aware of the major hassles and costs and enormous regulation requirements of importing vehicles/boats/trailers/vans.
It can be done successfully by an individual, but it's by no means, cheap.

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Follow Up By: Candace S. - Saturday, Oct 19, 2013 at 16:08

Saturday, Oct 19, 2013 at 16:08
"...America has a nation-wide roads and highways system where road surfaces are almost without exception, smooth as the proverbial babys bottom." Speaking as a "Yank", I wish this were true!!

But the real point is of course true: hardly anyone in the U.S. would ever tow a caravan, etc. more than a few miles off the "sealed" roads. So yes, the local equipment isn't built for that kind of use.

This reminds me... I recall one or more people on this forum insisting that despite the cost and hassles, importing an RV from the U.S. to Oz was still much less expensive than buying locally. Maybe we'll hear from some of those folks?

Louise, good luck if you go forward with this. Those Airstreams were/are beautiful, no doubt about it!
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Follow Up By: retrovintage - Saturday, Oct 19, 2013 at 16:23

Saturday, Oct 19, 2013 at 16:23
Thank you so much for all that info.

I'm looking for a Vintage Bambi Airstream, so as long as the frame and exterior are good, I will be re-fitting it inside including the electrical s.

I know there are different regulations for vintage cars, so I'm wondering if this is also for caravans??

I never thought about Stolen goods. Excellent point.

The Bambi is one of the smallest caravans you can buy, so I'm hoping it will not cost to much for space on a ship.

As for vintage parts, I know all about that. My hubby had a 1960 Karmannghia. Try getting parts for that one! Nightmare.

I'm on a mission, and I have always won the battles I chose to fight.

I will keep you up dated, if I decide to go through all this process. It is more about the cost of importation, and so forth, and weighing up the pro's and con's.

I will be printing out your response, and making a list of all I have to do!

Again, thank you for all your time and effort into answering my questions, and also giving me questions I need to be asking!!

And Candace, thank you for responding. Finding a 1950's Airstream in Australia, is like finding a needle in a hay stack. And Once found, you will need a golden nugget to pay for it!


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Follow Up By: Nomadic Navara - Sunday, Oct 20, 2013 at 17:45

Sunday, Oct 20, 2013 at 17:45
I see you are wanting a "vintage Airstream." When you get it here you will have to cut it around to install a fully working door at the rear or the LHS. When you do this I don't think you will have much of a vintage van left.
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Follow Up By: Nomadic Navara - Sunday, Oct 20, 2013 at 17:48

Sunday, Oct 20, 2013 at 17:48
Further my above see this link.
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Follow Up By: Lyn W3 - Sunday, Oct 20, 2013 at 19:38

Sunday, Oct 20, 2013 at 19:38

If the Airstream was built prior to 1989 and has not been modified then ADR do NOT apply.

That is why you now see so many pre 1989 left hand drive cars "classics" on the road.

So there will be no need to change the door location.
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Follow Up By: Juzzy - Friday, Oct 25, 2013 at 00:57

Friday, Oct 25, 2013 at 00:57
"where road surfaces are almost without exception, smooth as the proverbial babys bottom"


I'm an Aussie living in Detroit. The roads here are either concrete or tarmac. Both deteriorate badly, particularly in the snow; they pothole and buckle. Yes buckle. Every 10 metres you will get a small speed bump (20cm high) in some areas.

Hardly smooth at all!

Some roads here are also just gravel, even in the suburbs. The households along these roads don't want it to be tarmac'd becaue then their "council" taxes would go up.

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Reply By: roger t4 - Saturday, Oct 19, 2013 at 17:43

Saturday, Oct 19, 2013 at 17:43
Hello Louise,
After reading all of Ron`s advice, it apppears to be a rather daunting operation. Have you considered acquiring the plans,if they are still acquirable, and build one here to aussie specs? Especially if you expect it to be small enough to be able to fit inside a container. That alone means it`s less than 8ft wide. There`s plenty of custom builders in aus, and you would have a new vehicle. Or is the fact that it`s vintage, the hook?

Cheers Rog.
AnswerID: 519987

Follow Up By: retrovintage - Saturday, Oct 19, 2013 at 17:49

Saturday, Oct 19, 2013 at 17:49
I have considered that option. I've looked at the teardop that are custom made in Australia. They look fantastic, but I would always prefer the original.

It's not the same!

The vintage ones also hold their value a lot better, not that I would be selling it.

I am also an antique collector, and I can only have the real thing!


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Reply By: Lyn W3 - Saturday, Oct 19, 2013 at 19:01

Saturday, Oct 19, 2013 at 19:01
Basically what Ron N said is a load of crock. We have imported many items from the USA including boats on trailers, ATV's, farm equipment etc etc.

You need a good shipping co in the USA to arrange things, just use Google, Make sure the equipment is clean, the USA has an excellent system of recording of title of cars, trailers etc. If you don't get the "pink slip" don't touch.

If you buy from a dealer it is an advantage as they can deliver it directly to the shipping company and you won't have to pay sales Tax on the purchase 5-10%.

You have to get clearance to import to Australia which costs about $75.00 and takes a couple of weeks for registered trailers etc. and you will have to pay GST on the purchase price and freight component.

For customs clearance we use INTERPORT in Brisbane as they have their own bonded warehouse and onsite DAFF (AQIS) inspector and also their own wasddown facility. Last time I was down there a few weeks ago there were about 100 cars, boats trailers etc from the USA,

It really isn't hard if you use the right people both ends.
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Follow Up By: retrovintage - Saturday, Oct 19, 2013 at 19:29

Saturday, Oct 19, 2013 at 19:29
Nice to hear that!

You seem to learn a lot and from your mistakes on the first time you try something new.

I've heard of a lot of people importing classic cars into Australia. I just wanted to hear from people that have actually imported themselves, and to let me know of anything I should know or think about doing.

I need to find a good company too, to help me transport my dream caravan across to Australia. This will make my life easier, and I also expect that it will cost me more money to use a company, but it could also be saving me money in the long run!

I also like the idea you mentioned, using a dealer to save on sales tax.

Thank you for you input Lyn W3 !!
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Follow Up By: Ron N - Sunday, Oct 20, 2013 at 19:54

Sunday, Oct 20, 2013 at 19:54
Well, I'll leave it to others to make up their own minds about one opionated arrogant poster that dismisses everything that both I and an experienced shipping agent have put up for advice, in one dismissive statement.

That poster lacks any ability to understand where the original poster is coming from, as a PRIVATE INDIVIDUAL importing a SINGLE PURCHASE.

It's too easy to speak about how "we have imported many items" - as that immediately indentifies the poster as a dealer or a business owner, importing on a continuous basis.

There is one thing you learn quickly in this world as a private individual - and that is - no business wants to deal with you as a private individual - and particularly overseas businesses. Therefore you struggle to find a shipping agent who will take you on, because they're only interested in businesses, and repeat business. Private individuals are just a nuisance to them.

Then, there's the major difference between importing as a business - as compared to a private individual import exercise - where added costs and blowouts mean very little to a business, because they just pass the costs onto the customer - or just claim them as another useful tax deduction.
If the import bill suddenly rockets by $5000, when you're importing as a private individual - then that's cold hard after-tax cash out of your pocket - not a handy tax deduction - or something you can pass on to someone else.

I've been shafted by the best of them in the shipping agency business, and finding a "good agent", just by Googling, has given me the best laugh of the week. But then, some people just know it all.
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Follow Up By: Ron N - Sunday, Oct 20, 2013 at 19:59

Sunday, Oct 20, 2013 at 19:59
I might add, the "100 cars, boats trailers etc from the USA" sighted on the wharf, will be the multiple imports of maybe 5 or 6 professional/business importers, along with perhaps 1 or 2 private individual imports.
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Follow Up By: Lyn W3 - Sunday, Oct 20, 2013 at 21:23

Sunday, Oct 20, 2013 at 21:23
Ron, just for the record we have a private company with Horticultural interests in Australia and the USA. We only import or export on an "as needed" basis and are not considered an import/export business.
The original poster asked for someone with personal experience which is what I consider I have. I am fully aware of the pitfalls in shipping commodities, you should try shipping container loads of live plants from Australia to the USA!

However as I said if you have a good agent both ends the risks are minimal. We have never had an AQIS inspection problem even on used agricultural equipment which needs a Quarantine Entry.

I gave the poster the agents we have used both ends who we found to give excellent service.

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Reply By: yarda - Saturday, Oct 19, 2013 at 21:44

Saturday, Oct 19, 2013 at 21:44
I assume the bit you want is the beautiful riveted aluminium body, so consider just importing that on its own as a spare part, slide it into a container, strap it down.

Drop it onto a custom locally built chassis and fit it out here. Plenty of aircraft sheeties around who can relocate the door if needed.
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Follow Up By: oldtrack123 - Saturday, Oct 19, 2013 at 22:16

Saturday, Oct 19, 2013 at 22:16
New used or 2nd hand you will have to have"

All 11OV wiring converted to AUs Stndards including cables, plugs, switches .etc
You will have to toss out ALL the 110V appliances etc

The Gas piping will have to be ripped out & redone to Aust Standard
ALL the gas appliances will have to tested & get Aus approval
You will have to have a full sized van door fitted on the curb side
You will need to be carefull that it is not overwidth

Summed It will have to fULLY comply to
Aus electrical Standards AS /NZS 3000 AND As/NZS 3001
Aus Gas Standards
AUS design rules [ADRs]
The days of these slipping through the system with being fully compliant are over!!

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Follow Up By: Lyn W3 - Sunday, Oct 20, 2013 at 19:41

Sunday, Oct 20, 2013 at 19:41

ADR does not apply to pre 1989 built, no need to change the door.

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Follow Up By: stevesbigtoys - Monday, Nov 11, 2013 at 14:22

Monday, Nov 11, 2013 at 14:22
Lyn you are correct
and oldtrack 123 you must be related to ron as he is very anti USA or he is a importer,
and to change the wiring and gas is no major drama for the people that do it,
and I can do it for you or have it done by my people,
and remember they said you would never fly either,,
any way to many so called experts !!!!
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Follow Up By: oldtrack123 - Monday, Nov 11, 2013 at 15:31

Monday, Nov 11, 2013 at 15:31

Well I hope you are one who has ALWAYS made them FULLY compliant TO AUS standards THROUGHOUT

For example ,NOT fiitting a 240v >110V Step down transformer & still running 110V ,NON approved "low voltage "appliances /device etc

As most importers have been doing!!!
Although quite a few have now been sprung

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Reply By: retrovintage - Sunday, Oct 20, 2013 at 01:04

Sunday, Oct 20, 2013 at 01:04
I just found a blog about a family who imported an Airstream from the USA.

It talks about the doors, that if it's pre 1969, you can definitely keep it on the right

If you ring Vic Roads/RTA equivalent for your State, ask to speak to someone familiar with vintage imports and tell them you’re importing a trailer pre-ADR (Australian Design Rules) and they can confirm it for you.

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Follow Up By: Lyn W3 - Sunday, Oct 20, 2013 at 01:24

Sunday, Oct 20, 2013 at 01:24
I think you will find that you can import pre 1989 models with no modification. You should see some of the junkers which are being imported to do restorations on. Wish I had some photos but you're not allowed to take photos in a Custom's Warehouse.

BTW we use DGX Shipping out of Los Angeles

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Reply By: retrovintage - Sunday, Oct 20, 2013 at 01:36

Sunday, Oct 20, 2013 at 01:36
thanks Lyn,

I know this can be done, as I'm not the first or the last!

I also know with vintage vehicles, it is a little more lenient for compliance certificates.

I do understand that it will probably need to be rewired and re plumbed, but I guess I would like to keep all the old features that make it a classic caravan, as Original as possible, not moving the door is important to me.

Thank you for you info on the importer that you use. I agree, The key is to use great companies at both ends.

The only way I will find this out is through recommendations.



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Reply By: Lyn W3 - Sunday, Oct 20, 2013 at 01:38

Sunday, Oct 20, 2013 at 01:38
Here is the VIA Form you have to fill in.

VIA Form
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Follow Up By: retrovintage - Sunday, Oct 20, 2013 at 01:46

Sunday, Oct 20, 2013 at 01:46
Thank you, your too kind! Especially at this time of night!
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Reply By: Ron N - Sunday, Oct 20, 2013 at 20:16

Sunday, Oct 20, 2013 at 20:16
Louise - Here is the important page to start on, for Govt info as regards importation of vehicles (including caravans).

Click on "which import option is best for me" at the bottom of the above page.

When the new page appears, click on "trailer".

When the next page appears, click on "The Aggregate Trailer Mass (ATM) is 4.5 tonne or less".

When the next page appears, click on "Small Road Trailers Option", and read carefully through that page.

Lower down that page is the link to click for the correct form for an application to import a Small Road Trailer.

Note that large amounts of the above info relates to a trailer built after 1989. Prior to 1989, different rules apply.

If you decide to import a pre-1989 model Airstream, then on the Application Forms page, you will see, "Addendum IO4—Vehicles Manufactured before 1989 Option" and a clickable link to download the form for pre-1989 build trailers.

Cheers, Ron.
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Follow Up By: Ron N - Sunday, Oct 20, 2013 at 21:27

Sunday, Oct 20, 2013 at 21:27
Here's the relevant info page for the cleanliness requirements for imported motor vehicles (including trailers and caravans).

Note that AQIS inspectors will check inside chassis rails, inside wheel arches, under the floor coverings, and inside hollow areas of the van, looking to see if seeds, weeds, or soil are present.
Even finding the smallest amount of mud, soil, sand or gravel or seeds will send them ballistic. They require the vehicle to present "as new".

They also look for any potential fruit-contact areas, or fruit-containing areas - because fruit diseases are easily transported in anything that has been in contact with fruit.

I once bought some old magazines off an eBay seller in the U.S. The seller packed the large magazines in an old cardboard fruit box and mailed them to me.
AQIS intercepted the shipment as soon as it landed, emptied the box, destroyed it, fumigated the magazines - and then sent them on to me with a severe warning about the massive penalties, and the huge disease risk in using old fruit boxes to transport mail items.

The thing was - I wasn't even aware of what the seller planned to use for transport of the magazines - yet I got treated as if I was a guilty party to a huge biosecurity breach!
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Reply By: Ron N - Monday, Oct 21, 2013 at 13:33

Monday, Oct 21, 2013 at 13:33
Louise - Here's a blokes blog (links below) about how he imported a 1974 Airstream.

He's a designer and he gutted and rebuilt the Airstreams interior to use as a static studio.

He provides a range of figures for the initially estimated costs of importing the Airstream.

Note that these were estimated figures from June 2011, and he doesn't give any final figures on the actual cost. The 3 times "X" (purchase cost) looks pretty right.

Note that Roll-On-Roll-Off (RO-RO) is discussed as the best transportation method in the comments. Using RO-RO reduces your shipping choices and it's difficult to get a shipping deal lined up on a direct shipping basis (LA to Melb direct).
You will probably have to put up with a trans-shipping offer (i.e. the ship goes to Singapore, Japan, NZ or some other shipping hub before it's re-routed to Melbourne. Trans-shipping always costs more than a direct shipping deal.

Note that the blogger used a "highly recommended" shipping agent who has now gone out of business. Only use shipping agents that are sizeable and long-established. This bloke could have easily ended up with additional unforeseen costs if the shipping agent had folded up during the shipping deal.

Purchasing an Airstream closer to the West Coast of the U.S. is highly advisable. This means reduced costs overall, and you get a van from a drier climate.
The North and North-Eastern States of the U.S. are known as the Rust Belt for good reasons. They use salt on the roads during Winter and this plays havoc with the undersides of vehicles and trailers, creating much corrosion.

If the Airstream has spent much time outside in the weather (i.e. - much travelling around the country, or it has been stored outside in Winter), it will more than likely have serious leaks. Leaks means repairs. Watch out for leaky vans.

Finally, be aware that scammers love using "Airstream" as the basis of scams. Be alert to Airstream scams. If it looks too good to be true, it is.

Cheers - Ron.
AnswerID: 520100

Follow Up By: Candace S. - Monday, Oct 21, 2013 at 16:23

Monday, Oct 21, 2013 at 16:23
Excellent point about the climate differences across the country, and the use of salt in areas subject to snow/ice!

If you can get a trailer that verifiably has been in the southwest all its life, that would be a big selling point. ;)
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Follow Up By: retrovintage - Monday, Oct 21, 2013 at 19:33

Monday, Oct 21, 2013 at 19:33
I've been looking for Airstream Bambi's along the West coast of America.

The truth is , Bambi's get snapped up in a heart beat, because they are the smallest Airstreams, so I'm prepared to buy one any where!

It's the same here in Australia. The smaller and older the caravan is, the more desirable and expensive they become.

People are now living on smaller land, and their garages are lower and smaller too.

People can not house such a big Caravan at their place of residence.

Small caravans have also become popular due to the hot rods and classic cars.

People go to meets and conventions , and want 5 star camping!
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Reply By: AirstreamRuby - Monday, Oct 21, 2013 at 14:11

Monday, Oct 21, 2013 at 14:11
Hi Retro vintage
We just held the Inaugural Rally for the Airstream club in Australia this past weekend in Tathra.

Did you know we are bringing in factory made Australia Airstreams? see

We have 2 models 624 and 762 specifically designed for Australia. It takes 280 hours to build an Airstream and they last for 50 years or more!

We will have the Sport 579 here in December. It is single axle with ensuite and the tare will be around 1600kg.

Before you go through the hassles of importing, check out what we have - we have done the hard work and provide a factory made, 2 year warranty with 240 wiring and gas and electric complied - and registered in Australia.

Airstream Ruby
AnswerID: 520106

Follow Up By: retrovintage - Monday, Oct 21, 2013 at 14:22

Monday, Oct 21, 2013 at 14:22
Hi Airstram Ruby,

Yes, I have seen your website. I looked at the models and they are too big.

I'm after vintage, vintage vintage.

I could get one made here for the same price or cheaper, but I wouldn't be happy with it!

I'm one of those people who exactly what I like and want, and I want a Vintage Bambi!

Thanks for your message


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Follow Up By: Candace S. - Monday, Oct 21, 2013 at 16:46

Monday, Oct 21, 2013 at 16:46
I just looked at the photos on that site. Those Airstreams are made for the Oz market, but the doors appear to be on the "wrong" side? Or maybe there are doors on both sides?
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Follow Up By: AirstreamRuby - Tuesday, Oct 22, 2013 at 11:17

Tuesday, Oct 22, 2013 at 11:17
The Airstream 624 and the Airstream 762 have 2 doors which as owners have exclaimed is wonderful for convenience, airflow, and safety.

The Sport 579 19' will be here in December and it will have only the kerbside door. Photos will be on the website soon or contact me through the website and I can send photos.

Anyone who knows of Airstream owners, please have them get in touch with me so I can direct them to the Airstream Club WBCCI DownUnder unit that has had their first Airstream rally. The WBCCI started in 1955 and is now underway here. The WBCCI are trying to reach all Airstreamers to join and get input for the 2015 tour of eastern Australia.
FollowupID: 800583

Follow Up By: stevesbigtoys - Monday, Nov 11, 2013 at 14:17

Monday, Nov 11, 2013 at 14:17
Hi Retrovintage
look this guy ron is a drama queen the shipping goes from LA to Japan and changes ships there and comes here to Brisbane,, Port Kembla .Melbourne etc it is no problem he is a importer no doubt about it ta steve
FollowupID: 801942

Reply By: stevesbigtoys - Monday, Nov 11, 2013 at 14:12

Monday, Nov 11, 2013 at 14:12
Hi retrovintage
I have been working with a company doing many imports and I think this guy ron is a importer,
otherwise how would he know all these things I have people like this reply before,
and they are there to stop the average joe from doing something,
as if you wanted to climb a tree he would tell you if you climb that tree you will fall out and kill yourself,
or if you drive that car fast you will have an aciident,
from my point of view and what I have done just check it out and make sure you understand the process and you will be fine,,
after all if Captain Cook didn't get in his boat and go sailing you wouldn't have to worry about importing would you !!!!he was warned he might die ,,,mmmm
also there are plenty of services out there who will help you and people like me who can help you ,
so just be careful and cross your Ts and dot your I s ,,
ok so don't be put off by someone who is obviously an importer or he wouldn't know all of the things that can go wrong,
but hey I have dealt with 25 items a fortnight being mainly caravans and boats so if you want one then source it and ship it ,make sure it is clean etc,
AnswerID: 521255

Follow Up By: oldtrack123 - Monday, Nov 11, 2013 at 15:52

Monday, Nov 11, 2013 at 15:52
HI Steve [aussiespecuscaravans ring a bell?]

Using a loop hole in the import regs to Help register vans etc NOT FULLY compliant to Aus STANDARDS"AS3000 & AS 3001
[BY fitting a 240V to 110v transformer to run non approved "low voltage" appliances ]

The loop hole of allowing some who where overseas & bought a van,etc wanting to bring it back ,was given a concession on bringing it fully up to date to Aus standards
So some saw Dollars in acting as a "facilitator" for some who never left Australia !
FollowupID: 801948

Reply By: oldtrack123 - Monday, Nov 11, 2013 at 16:07

Monday, Nov 11, 2013 at 16:07
Hi to those importing van with so called full complianceort modified in AUs by fitting a transformer to allow use of 110V appliances

I advise you to check very carefully that they are in FACT FULLY COMPLIANT TO AUS STANDARDS? [not just the word of the facilator or the seller]

YOU COULD BE RUNNING INTO BIG TROUBLE if you wish to sell the unit in the future

The concession referred to above only applies to the original Aus purchaser!
IF the registation lapses OR the vehicle is sold, IT Will have to be FULLY compliant TO AUS Standards before registration .

The Authorities are NOW AWAKE

AnswerID: 521258

Follow Up By: Lyn W3 - Monday, Nov 11, 2013 at 17:04

Monday, Nov 11, 2013 at 17:04
Give it a break Peter.

I'm sure everyone here knows how you feel.
FollowupID: 801955

Follow Up By: oldtrack123 - Monday, Nov 11, 2013 at 18:29

Monday, Nov 11, 2013 at 18:29
HI lyn
I also feel for those who have been conned ,& there are many, By Faciltators & some importers into BELEIVING THEIR UNITS ARE FULLY COMPLIANT TO AUS STANDARDS.

I wonder how many have been told that the concession for noncompliance ceased when /if the registration lapsed or they tried to sell it .
Perhaps you would like to comment on THAT fact???

FollowupID: 801964

Reply By: The Landy - Monday, Nov 11, 2013 at 16:44

Monday, Nov 11, 2013 at 16:44
An ExplorOz member recently wrote about his experiences of importing a boat from the US. A great read and eye opener.

Money and patience usually fix most things, and I suspect importing a vehicle, boat, van or anything of this size from the US will require lots of both.

Good luck with it…

Importing a Boat from the US
AnswerID: 521263

Follow Up By: retrovintage - Wednesday, Nov 27, 2013 at 16:11

Wednesday, Nov 27, 2013 at 16:11
I have now bought an Airstream, and I guess the fun will begin to get it into Australia, and meeting Australian Standards.

I'll keep you up dated with the problems that arise, or the simplicity of the matter!
FollowupID: 803148

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