Of course, since the lovely Cortina was a product of Ford of Britain, finding one on this side of the pond is not impossible but rather difficult. Cortinas that have already been imported from the UK (or the few sold here) are probably already in the enthusiast zone and as such may command a premium.


Source: Wikimedia Commons

Certainly there is nothing wrong with purchasing a previously imported vehicle however a more likely scenario is that a buyer has found a vehicle on an internet-based marketing site and needs to get it home. Clearly there is a level of trust that needs to exist between the buyer and seller as well as the various intermediaries the car will encounter on its journey. Understanding these intermediaries and the requirements of the multiple governing bodies involved will be the subject of multiple stories on this blog going forward however information presented here is to be used for personal education only and does not constitute legal advice. If you are especially concerned about the risk or simply don’t want to deal with the details consider engaging a professional concierge service that can handle the process on your behalf in exchange for a service fee in addition to the other fees involved.

The great news here is that since the last Cortinas were built in 1982 none of the safety or emissions challenges exist. Vehicles over 25 years old are exempt from US Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard (FMVSS) and Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) regulations. Although this greatly simplifies things there are still a number of matters to attend to when shipping a vehicle from one country to another.

The selling dealer may be able to help with some of the transport arrangements, such as certain paperwork, however if the seller is an individual, assistance may be limited to handing the vehicle off to a local transport driver. Coordinating a financial transaction in another developed country is not too difficult however making sure your prize gets back to your workshop safely is a bit more complicated – but certainly not impossible. Knowing what needs to be done – when, and by whom – along with some careful planning is all it takes to retrieve one of these British gems for yourself.

One of the first things to be aware of is the shipping method – container or RORO. Containers come in 20- and 40-ft varieties however the most economical method (if the car is driveable, licensed, insured, etc.) is “roll-on roll-off” or RORO; your car is simply driven on and driven off the transport vehicle.  There is an important distinction here – it is your vehicle now – in another land. Keep that in mind.

The container option is more expensive due to the loading/unloading costs and warehousing fees however the advantage is that the container can be packed with other items such as spares.  With the RORO method no other items are allowed to be inside the vehicle. Another thing to consider is that if the vehicle is not roadworthy how will it get from the seller’s possession into the container? Controlling all of these aspects remotely can be a complicated adventure – but well worth the effort.