Importing a caravan from USA to Australia

Submitted: Wednesday, Jun 18, 2014 at 16:56
ThreadID: 108304 Views:5953 Replies:7 FollowUps:10
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Hi all,

I posted a thread last year in October about importing a vintage Airstream caravan from the USA to Australia, and I thought I would update my story, as I had a lot of feedback.

I searched High and low in the USA to find the perfect one, and I had to make sure that it wasn't a scam.

I used a caravan import company to negotiate with the buyer, and to make sure all was above board. The company is in Australia but they have their company also in the USA. So it made things a lot easier to buy a caravan that I have never seen before.

It boarded the ship in late December and arrive on our shore in January 2014.

Because it is vintage, before 1988, the regulations of imported caravans are different and so I didn't have to change the side of the door.

I then found this amazing company to bring the caravan up to Australian standards with electricity and gas. They work on caravans from all different era's, and I am so glad I found them, as they made sure any modifications that had to be made like putting in vents and plugs didn't change the appearance of the caravan.

I then took it to VIC roads, and they were also fantastic. I couldn't believe my luck on how good they were!

I am so happy I bought this caravan, and now I get to enjoy this beautiful country of ours .

Thank you to all for your replies and wisdom.

I am now a Happy camper!:)
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Reply By: aussiedingo (River Rina) - Wednesday, Jun 18, 2014 at 17:53

Wednesday, Jun 18, 2014 at 17:53
G'day retro, it's great to hear good news for a change!! Some pic's would be nice for all to see, 'n some history, year model etc. congratulations on being "a happy camper" hoo roo
"the only thing constant in my life is change"




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Reply By: Member. Rob M (QLD) - Wednesday, Jun 18, 2014 at 17:53

Wednesday, Jun 18, 2014 at 17:53
Sounds like you did well.
Any photos?
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Follow Up By: retrovintage - Wednesday, Jun 18, 2014 at 18:23

Wednesday, Jun 18, 2014 at 18:23
It is a 1955 Californian Bubble 16 foot, a very rare one!

I would post photo's, but it says I need to be a financial member!


Thanks

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Follow Up By: Member - Scott M (NSW) - Wednesday, Jun 18, 2014 at 21:12

Wednesday, Jun 18, 2014 at 21:12
retro - talking of something like this?

http://vintageairstream.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/05/55Bubblec.jpg
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Follow Up By: Member - Scott M (NSW) - Wednesday, Jun 18, 2014 at 21:13

Wednesday, Jun 18, 2014 at 21:13
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Follow Up By: retrovintage - Thursday, Jun 19, 2014 at 10:34

Thursday, Jun 19, 2014 at 10:34
Yes, that's the one, but mine is in Mint condition!

Thank you for finding the picture!:)
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Follow Up By: retrovintage - Thursday, Jun 19, 2014 at 10:59

Thursday, Jun 19, 2014 at 10:59
http://www.pinterest.com/pin/124552745916775078/
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Follow Up By: retrovintage - Thursday, Jun 19, 2014 at 11:16

Thursday, Jun 19, 2014 at 11:16
http://www.pinterest.com/pin/260153315947115086/

The inside of the Bubble
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Follow Up By: retrovintage - Thursday, Jun 19, 2014 at 11:21

Thursday, Jun 19, 2014 at 11:21
http://www.pinterest.com/pin/295267319293233737/
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Reply By: Candace S. - Thursday, Jun 19, 2014 at 13:13

Thursday, Jun 19, 2014 at 13:13
Thanks for the update! There seem to be many horror stories about such imports, I'm glad yours worked out so well.
AnswerID: 534627

Follow Up By: retrovintage - Thursday, Jun 19, 2014 at 13:37

Thursday, Jun 19, 2014 at 13:37
I think I was lucky.

The lady who sold it to me had gone through some issues with people who tried to scam her on the sale of the caravan.

She was very helpful, and was willing to work with a person from overseas. She also lives part of the year in another country so she was quite knowledgeable about the world outside the USA, plus she has an affection of Aussies! She follows the tennis!
We are now good friends, and in the near future will visit me here in OZ!

The Australian company helping to import the caravan, were also amazing. Especially with there people in the USA. I wouldn't have been able to get the caravan here if it wasn't for them. Even the lady who I bought the Caravan said, the man she dealt with was an asset to the company.

When the caravan arrived hear in Australia, I wasn't too sure who I would get to work on it. I rang a caravan refrigeration place who recommended Simpson's caravans in Melbourne. I can not speak more highly of them. They are a family business of over 30 years, and they have a passion for anything vintage. They understood what it meant to keep the caravan as original as possible, and their workmanship and turn around time was outstanding.

And to top it off a VIC roads, we had a few hiccups, but again, I was so lucky with the inspector. He bent over backwards to allow us to fix the problem . Simpson's caravans drove to VIC roads and sorted the problem onsite, which turned out to be the towing vehicle, not the caravan.

Maybe it was luck or maybe I am a good judge of character!

I have no regrets, and would consider doing it again, even though it was a lot of work!



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Reply By: Ron N - Thursday, Jun 19, 2014 at 23:00

Thursday, Jun 19, 2014 at 23:00
retrovintage - Good to hear everything went smoothly, and you dealt with the right people, and you've achieved your dream.
Importing anythiing privately is definitely a hit-and-miss operation, and is fraught with dangers and pitfalls for the unwary.
Arming yourself with as much information as you can, before you start out, is vital.

I was one of the "knockers" in the previous thread who advised against importing.
I personally still wouldn't consider it - but I don't dream of owning a lot of things that other people find highly desirable.

I've been burnt on the importation of machinery, having to rely on others to pick up and pack the item - and being caught between different shipping agents, all with a "rip them off" mentality.
I was quoted US$6,000 to import a large forklift from Japan - when the forklift and the bill arrived, it had "blown out" to US$15,000. This was 15 yrs ago, too, when $15,000 bought more - and the currency exchange rate was pretty awful.
The ensuing bunfight left me with a lot of grey hairs and a nasty taste in my mouth. I did win, eventually.
I won't even go into the details of the hassles of finding a severe infestation of weeds and seeds on the forklift, when it was supposed to have been cleaned. That cost me, too.

The entire process of importation is so complex, you were very lucky not to have run into trouble somewhere along the line.
However, I'm glad to hear you managed to meet the right type of people at every turn, and you now have your "American Dream". I trust you get much pleasure from it.

Cheers, Ron.
AnswerID: 534660

Reply By: MactrolPod - Friday, Jun 20, 2014 at 16:17

Friday, Jun 20, 2014 at 16:17
What a great story to read on a Friday arvo, end of the week on a positive and all that.
Maybe not on my wish list but if I saw you parked somewhere I would enjoy a tour!
Well do mate.
AnswerID: 534692

Follow Up By: MactrolPod - Friday, Jun 20, 2014 at 16:18

Friday, Jun 20, 2014 at 16:18
well done mate!!!!!
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Reply By: BunderDog - Friday, Jun 20, 2014 at 21:49

Friday, Jun 20, 2014 at 21:49
Well done, I was one of your supporters!
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Follow Up By: retrovintage - Saturday, Jun 21, 2014 at 08:08

Saturday, Jun 21, 2014 at 08:08
thank you for the lovely comment!
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Reply By: Andre C1 - Wednesday, Jul 16, 2014 at 12:50

Wednesday, Jul 16, 2014 at 12:50
Hi,

The price here in Australia for a caravan is unbelievable!

I've found a caravan in the USA that is reasonable priced. Can you please tell me where I have to start or find out what it will cost to get it here?
In your statement you mentioned people that changed the electricity and gas for you. Can you please tell me which company you use for this?

Cheers
AnswerID: 536137

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