Importing a Vehicle
Chris & Russell Holden have had a lot of experience in importing vehicles into Australia for over a decade. They have, both for themselves and for customers, imported many brass era cars & bikes.
There are rules and pitfalls. Yes, every vehicle entering Australia needs to be cleared by Australian Customs & Quarantine. This is normally a reasonably quick process (7 - 10 days). However, sometime there are unavoidable delays! However if you follow the guidelines, it all works out.
Importing a Vehicle
You can import your vehicle into Australia on a Carnet, or, if departing New Zealand for Australia you can use the XX
Both of these processes have similar basic rules; you provide the documentation and assurance that the car will only be used here in Australia for a 365 day period at the end of which (or prior) the vehicle will depart the country. The advantage of this is there are no taxes on the import and the costs are pretty well limited to the Customs and quarantine fees required to process and inspect the vehicle, as opposed to a tax that would be charged on the market value of the car in Australian dollars.
All vehicles participating in the International Tour must be road worthy, ie good brakes, steering, no worn out tyres and where applicable useable lights. We are working with authorities to ensure any checking required is a relatively simple process and as much as possible, stress free.
There has been a lot made on the internet of the Australian requirement that there be no Asbestos in vehicles entering Australia. There is not doubt that if Australian Border Protection do have reason to consider that their is asbestos, the process of investigation is both time consuming and expensive. However, having said that, in over a decade of importing brass era vehicles into Australia Russell has never had any hassles, thankfully. I am firmly of the opinion that asbestos was not commonly used in motor vehicles until the late1950's and the chances that our brass era vehicles contain asbestos is very remote. In the few cases where Australian Border Security have conducted positive asbestos screening on other imported vehicles, it has been severe on the importer.
Our attitude to Australian Customs and Quarantine has always been very conciliatory and as I personally unpack all our containers, I am often in contact with the officials. I have found them to be honest, diligent, polite and as a rule, fairly easy to get on with and interested in the vehicles we import. They have a somewhat difficult job to do and have rules to follow, some rules are more important to some officers and we go with the flow as far as each officer is concerned. It should be noted the 100% no asbestos rule is a Federal Government policy carried out by Australian Customs and Quarantine, not a Australian Border Force edict. Australian Border Force have release a FAQ's page which is very helpful to look at.
The "quick fast forward" of what they are looking for is out lined below:
Australian Border Force are also targeting engine gaskets, hood gaskets, exhaust gaskets, hood liners, carpet liners, clutch disk, etc, and by solely removing the brake pads will not stop further inspections on arrival. If Asbestos is found in any component, just removing the brake pads does not show the required “due diligence” and will not protect the importer from an inspection or potential fine. The fines are substantial and several importers have been fined already.
As most of our vehicles have no head gaskets or a thin copper sheet as a head gasket, and leather (or in some cases steel / copper) lined clutches, the major components that are considered "no go" for Australian Border Forces, are not present in our vehicles and probably explains why we have not experienced any hassles to date.