Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Submissions Wanted - Share Your Experience

So this site has been online for 7 months now, and the hit counter is approaching 10,000 pageviews. About half of the visits come from search engines, often linking directly to a post about a car someone searched for on Google (the Renault 5 Turbo is the most "hit" car on this site). It's probably no surprise that most visits come from North America as well. What this means to me is that there are really a good amount of people interested in grey market cars, whether they know about the grey market or not, and they're hitting this site when searching for more information.

I wish I were more of a valuable resource on the subject, but my experiences are limited, and we can only gather so much from reading public information and classifieds. That's where you come in! If you've ever dealt with a grey market car are and are willing to share your stories and experiences with us, please shoot me an email at greyintheusa [at] gmail {dot} com (I have to write it that way or I'll get tons of spam).

We would love to hear about your grey market car, where it came from, shipping and customs recommendations, complications you've encountered, loopholes that are helpful to know, basically anything that can help the grey market enthusiasts among us learn more about the ins and outs of the process so we can more easily put it to use. I'm especially interested in hearing from people who've dealt with late model cars that don't have model-wide DOT and EPA approvals. Many owners of these cars are tight-lipped about the road to their car's legitimacy, especially when trying to sell the car, which makes me weary of fraudulent methods. But I want to get deeper into the subject and the legal means for getting a car cleared and tagged.

Any information you send can be credited anonymously if you prefer, and I can't say I'll use everything, but I'll do the best I can to pass along all the good info that I get. Also, thanks to all who've written to me so far!


  1. I'll definitely send you tips on gray market cars in the future. Here is a piece I wrote about the 3 kei cars for sale in Utah in April. Maybe you can share with us your strategy for legitimizing them in the U.S. of A.

  2. First, I visit the site becuase you cover unusual cars I cant fint anywhere else...great pics and good writing. But, if I had to be concerned with Grey Market cars...I would like to learn about importing a car from Canada. I see a lot of cars on eBay from Canada, and am not sure if I can buy it and import it here. I can do a little research. Great site!

  3. I remember that auction, what an odd assortment. Unfortunately as far as I know there is no way to tag them in the US, and I think the auction house said they would have to be exported. Whoever owned them probably just threw on some tags from another car if he wanted to drive them, but I'd still be curious to know how they got into the country. I suppose they could have come into Canada, being over 15 years old, and then driven into the states on Canada tags and sold under the table.

  4. Anon- Canadian rules allow cars just 15 years old to be imported trouble-free, but the US limits it to 25 years old or older. This means all those Lancia Evos and Nissan Figaros are still a few years too new for us to buy. It can be confusing though as some Canada sellers list the cars on US eBay or open bids up to US bidders, when we really have no way to register them. I think I remember reading something though that the US DOT will allow Canadian-market cars (cars sold in Canada when new) to be sold into the US after a certain year, but I forget the details. I'll have to look back into it. An example of a car like that would be the post I wrote about the Acura 1.6EL on 11/30/10.

  5. I've legally imported 5 cars from England, all of them 25 years old. A 78 Austin Allegro Estate, 78 Austin Mini, 79 Ford Granada Coleman Milne Cardinal Hearse, 80 Austin Princess and a 83 Austin Maestro Vanden Plas. Gotta say dealing with customs can still be a nightmare even when a car is old enough. They really have very little knowledge on the Subject and I get wrong information every time I bring another car in. I know more about importing cars than They do! Problem here is when I tell them they're wrong which is often, they get all defensive and angry which makes it more difficult for me, Thing is, Every time, I win in the end! Having said that, Let me tell you about my Not so Legal Imports. I'm in Seattle, so being close to Canada only encourages my bad behavior. I brought in a Canadian Made Renault 16, a Citroen GS Wagon, a 77 Austin Mini. All 3 of those was back before the 25 year exemption, I just did what's logical, have the Canadian owner drive it across the border for me. Then once it's here, use another car's Vin # and paperwork and Voila! You're down the road. In the case of the Renault Easy, $100 parts car, problem solved, Mini same deal, isn't that what they made Austin Americas for? to be used ad paperwork donors for Minis? There Were however Two other cars Not so easy. A 85 Skoda 130 Rapid, That car I went through Titles unlimited ( We'll sell you paperwork for any car for $100 ) in Alabama. I just told them I wanted it to say 1974 Skoda, Got the paperwork in the mail, Even went as far as far as taking it to the state partrol to be inspected but thought ahead and had 04/74 engraved on the Vin Tag as a producting date at Sears and then Took one of the tags off my Renault 16 parts car that said, This vehicle meets all US Safety standards for Date of manufacture. What could they say? it was right there! And being a wink wink 1974 it was too old to be required to pass emissions. The last car was a 1991 Lada Samara, That one I found an rusted out 79 Fiat Strada for $100 and the title said...1979 Fiat 138! Well there is no such thing as a Fiat 138! But that's what the title said, So wham bam rivet gun, drill, it was Now a Fiat 138 and who was going to argue with me that it wasnt! Ended up selling that car to Russian guy who really didn't care What it was registered as

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