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Selling a US race car into Canada

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Steve Scheifler

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Has anyone sold a race car from the US into Canada or recently investigated what is required to import an untitled production-based car to there? I’ve been reading some of their auto import requirements which are quite rigid but hoping that a used SM race car is simpler & cheaper, more like a used refrigerator or something. Do they even need refrigeration in the frigid north? :)
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Andy Mitchell

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I bought a US race car and brought it into Canada 7-8 years ago now, so I could tell you what the buyer had to do back then at least.... but I have no idea what the seller had to do to export his car. My impression was not all that much, most of the responsibility for paperwork fell on me. I remember sending some sort of form to the border authorities two days before the car was supposed to cross, and there was duty/tax to pay at the Canadian side. A lot of the fussy stuff was relaxed because it was a race car, and obviously never going to be registered and driven on the street.


I bought a motorcycle for the street from the states a few years before that, and I had to get Ducati to certify that all the US recalls had been cleared before I could bring it across the border. And then I had to have it inspected by a registered shop here before it could get a tag. It was still no big deal, just took a bit more screwing around.

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Tom Sager

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Just tell the border people that the car is seeking asylum in Canada and they'll wave you through. 

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Johnny D

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I sold a car to a Canadian buyer back in 2013. Sadly, I've forgotten many of the specific details probably because I was so stressed that there would be a problem that I blocked it all out. I actually crossed the border with the car to bring it to Canada. I think it made it easier because my car (1996 SM) had a Michigan title in my name. I do recall that I did get SCCA to send me a letter stating that this car was a registered race car, listing the VIN and logbook number on the official letter. Had hoped this might help in some way. I do believe there was paperwork on my side that I might have called the US Customs/Border Patrol to get.

Key point to remember...You are supposed to stop at the US side and have a Customs agent come out and inspect the car, looking at the VIN. They are then supposed to sign off on the paperwork you have (or title, sorry I can't remember). This states that the US recognizes this car is going for export (I think to prevent stolen cars from going over to Canada). If you do not have this signature, Canada CAN REFUSE to accept the car into the country. I just so happened to miss the turn in for the US Customs, but couldn't not turn around as it had me on the International Bridge already and the only landing is Canada. Luckily, they accepted the car. I was detained on the way back into the US because they watched me drive by and asked why I didn't stop. They were surprised that Canada accepted the car. The Canadian buyer had to pay the duty/tax, right there with the Canadian agents.

Also, be mindful of the money aspect. There is a strict $10,000 cash rule. They got all up in my face demanding to know how much cash I had. They wanted to know to the dollar what I had. One agent was threatening me, "I swear, if you have a dollar over $10k, we are going to take it all." Thankfully, I had been aware of that law before doing the deal.


Sorry this isn't really specific, but hope it helps.

On a funny note, when I was inside while they searched the truck, the agents there were pretty funny...

Agent: "You said it was a race car you sold?"

Me: "Yes."

Agent: "But you don't have a mullet." 

Me: "That's because I race cars that turn left AND right."


Good luck.

Jon Yanca

2003 SM


Former cars:
2010 MX-5 T4

2001 SM

1996 SM

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