The deed is finally done!
After all this time I have finally bought a ZR-1.
The vehicle is currently in Michigan and has 33000 miles on it, the bodywork is almost flawless and so is the underneath. It has a custom exhaust and wheels, but comes with all the original parts (including the original 1991 tires!) and even has the original window sticker (original price $66000!)
The previous owners have really kept the car in amazingly good condition and a big thank you goes out to all of them.
Of course, the story is not quite that simple. It never is it seems – in this instance theÂ car is in the US and I’m in Canada, so now I have to go through the importing process.
My first thought was that I would drive it back. That was always the way I pictured it in my mind when I thought about it. Buying the car, picking it up and then cruising back in a milestone journey from somewhere, bonding with the ZR-1 in a suffusion of man and machine…
Okay, forget the poetic stuff. I figured it would be FUN!
Well, that wouldn’t be too bad, except it’s January and most of the journey is through countryside that’s snowbound or at the least prone to snow storms and icy roads with little or no warning. Not the ideal conditions for a ‘vette.
I also heard from several people that the Canadian customs are ‘less than helpful’ when it comes to people trying to import vehicles on a ‘DIY’ basis. After the third such warning from someone who’d done this, I got the message and looked for someone to do it professionally
I have to say that just about everyone involved in this have been really great in guiding me through what was needed. Everything about this is new to me and so no doubt a lot of my questions have been naive, but they’ve been patient and cheerfully helpful in almost all cases.
The process itself is relatively simple, and helped by the fact that the ZR-1 is a 91 and falls outside the 15 year regulations that involve more complex inspections and modifications. That said there are a lot of hoops to jump through.
One thing to remember when doing this is that the original ownership record (Title), has to stay with the car so that the importers can bring it through customs. When I made the deal with the seller we did the exchange through our respective Banks to ensure everything was above board, as a result of which I ended up with the Title and have had to post it all the way back to the seller!
The costs also start to add up a fair bit, there are brokers fees (actually very reasonable), transportation costs (varying by distance of course) GST as import duty, processsing fees with the Register of Imported Vehicles ( RIV ), then PST when you register the vehicle, not to mention any modification costs (newer models might need day time running lights and theÂ newer ‘vettes require new bumpers to meet Canadian impact regulations).
My own personal ‘cost fuse’ has blown and now I just somewhat wearily ‘add it to the bill’ mentally. With all that said, I wouldn’t go back for an instant. I’m getting the car I have been dreaming of for seventeen years, a truly lifetime ambition and an achievement I am entirely proud of. I wouldn’t trade any part of it for the world!
Until next time.