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So I bought Jared's (greensmurf20) '72 Manta Rallye, which involved importing it across the boarder, from Michigan to Ontario, but I assume it would be basically the same for all provinces and states. Before I bought it, I had searched around various places to find out what I needed to do and had to piece together exactly how to do it. So I thought it would be a good idea to write up a how-to article for canadians looking to import a car and drive it home from the US... its probably similar if the car is going the other way across the boarder, but I don't really know. I'm mostly done importing the car, I just have to go to the MTO and get the Ontario ownership and pay PST.

The simplist way to do this is to make 2 trips there and back, the first one to purchase the car and get the origional copy of the ownership, which is needed to get the temp permit to drive it home, the second to drive it home, obviously. I think it might be possible, although more complicated to only make one trip, if you can sort it out with the owner to mail the origional ownership to you after filling out their half. or if you tow it the ownership can just be faxed instead of mailed, I will explain why later. I was origionally trying to do it in one trip, but it didn't work out, so I ended up doing it in 2.

The very first thing you need to do is set up a date with the owner to come have a look at, test drive, look over again and if all seems well, purchase the car and get the ownership signed over to your name. You will also need him/her to write up a bill of sale, stating the make, modle, year, VIN number and cost of the car, then both of you will sign the bill of sale. You pay for the car, or at least a downpayment on the car, take your ownership and bill of sale and head home.

The next thing you will want to do is get the fax number for the American side of the boarder you will be crossing for the side, again, American, not Canadian side, make 110% sure you send it to the right boarder and the right side too as you cannot phone them to confirm that they recieved the fax, and if they do not recieve the fax you will be in for a nasty suprise at the boarder. I found the number for my crossing by searching for a while on google, finding the phone number and asking them for the fax number. Once you get the fax number, fax a copy of the ownership to them 72 hours before you cross, some boarder crossing's customs are open 24/7 (mine was), some are not, if not then it is buisness days that they count for the fax, you will have to call them and check their hours.

Once you have faxed them the ownership, the next steps are fairly straight forward and the same as if you were buying a car in ontario, get yourself some insurance and a temp permit. Since it is considered a classic car, if the previous owner hasn't had an appraisal done on the car, you should be expecting some outrageously high insurance rate until you can provide one since all the insurance companies I called (alot) would not consider giving me a policy without one, so I had to go with high risk facility insurance and my 2 month payment was a sickening $800, but as soon as you get it home you can cancel the insurance and get most of your money back thankfully. Temp permit is simple, just walk into any local vehicle and driver licencing building with your origional ownership, bill of sale, drivers licence and proof of insurance, hand them to the person at the desk, pay your $15 and you are on your way.

After your 72 hours has gone by for your fax, you are now set to go get the car... 2 choices, either fly down and drive back, or get a buddy to drive down and back with you, which is alot more fun. When you get there, you should double check the car, take it for a test drive again and make sure it will last you the whole way home, once it passes the test, you're on your way. Once you arrive at the boarder, you pay your toll on the American side, while you're there tell the person that you are importing the car and ask where you can pull over to go inside the customs building, then go where they tell you, get out and go into the customs building. Inside the building, find out which desk you are supposed to go for exporting a car from the US, go there and give them the origional ownership. The customs guy will type some stuff into a computer for a while, might ask you one or 2 questions, then he will take the ownership, stamp it, give it back then you are done with them. Get back in your car and drive to the Canadian side, go up to the normal booth for crossing and tell the person that you are importing this car and if your drive back with a friend, get them to say they are with you and you are importing a car. Since its an Opel, you might get stuck for a while like me because the person might not believe you that it is a real car and have to look it up for himself, after that, they will give you and your friend a little paper that says you are importing a car and tell you to go over to the customs building. Once you get there, you will go inside to the main desk with all the paper work you have aquired so far, along with your drivers licence and some ID... might as well just bring everything that could possibly be related, because you'll probably need it. The guy at the desk will ask you alot of questions and fill out a form for you that you will end up signing, after its all filled out (10-15 min) he will stamp all the layers of the form, you will get 2 of them, take these to the cashier to pay your 7% boarder tax and $100 if the car has A/C, get your reciept, then your almost on your way, car search time. someone will meet you out there, ask you to pop your hood and trunk and take a look over the car to make sure you're not a drug smuggler or something, this is about the time you hope you and your buddy don't look too suspicious, apparently I seemed like a good guy, so the Opel only got a 2 minute once over, but my buddy looked a little suspicious, so they made him open up his car and wait over by mine while 4 of them did a very thorough 20 minute search, where they looked everywhere from his spare tire to under his floor mat to inside his CD cases and found nothing, NOT a good time to have anything illegal in your car. Once you clear the search, your home free, time to enjoy the drive home.

Now this is where I currently am and from what I understand, your at home, and you have 40 days to go to the MTO to pay your PST (GST too if its a dealer sale) and to get it officially registered in Ontario, then that is it for the importing process finally... just be glad its more than 15 years old, otherwise its 100X more complicated. Once I get the MTO portion done, I'll update my writeup to verify that there isn't anything else involved.

I think thats it, here are some night pics of the car... night pics hide the dents and scratches nicely, I'll get some day pics before too long. I really like the first 2 pics :cool:
 

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Discussion Starter #3
well i got it all finished up successfully today, the last part is pretty easy... just show up at your closest MTO and provide them with all the paperwork you have aquired so far during your importing, you don't actually need all of it, but bring it all just to be sure you didn't leave something at home. they will just fill out some paper work, ask for your drivers licence and get the rest of the info they need from the papers you provide them and from asking you questions (all they asked me was the car's colour). when they finish filling out the paper work you will pay PST on whatever the bill of sale says the car was purchased for, then they give you your ontario (or whatever province) ownership and you're on your way about 10 minutes after arriving... unless there is the typical lineup

so thats about it, and i hope it helps someone else. the whole process isn't all that painful really since the cars are over 15 years old and it can be worth the extra cost if the car is at a really good price.
 

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