Did you know… In the fifties, you could buy a Land Rover with tank treads, and the steering was in the middle of the dashboard…
When we first bought our Land Rover Defender in 2013, we didn’t know that it was going to be a little bit like joining a secret club. But we are now proud members of the eclectic and brilliant group of people who rely on the Defender to get them to their destinations, whatever the terrain. From the Queen of England to humble sheep farmers, from Bond Girls to World Famous Explorers; Defenders are the car that will get you to where you want to go.
One of the most common questions that we have answered when talking about our trip is “Why are you shipping your car all the way to the US? Why don’t you just buy/rent/borrow/steal (ok maybe we haven’t been asked that!) one when you get there?”
And the answer is… well firstly, we’re nostalgic. We bought our Land Rover Defender in December 2013 so that we could drive it around the world. We have done a few trips in Europe in it, but we think that it’s time to really test it out on a long, diverse and challenging trip.
But the second answer is that, when you buy or borrow a car, you really don’t know what you’re getting. Even if the owner tells you that it’s a reliable, unfailing engine in amazing condition, you never really know. And the Defender is pretty much as reliable as it gets!
Thirdly, it’s actually pretty much the same price – when you rent for so long, it gets expensive!
And lastly, we will be making it into a home on wheels. We’ll be sleeping in the back, when we’re not staying with friends, and have put quite a lot of effort into making sure it will be comfortable and safe for us!
So once we decided that we were going to ship the car, the second question that we had to answer a lot is “Can you actually do that? Isn’t the wheel on the wrong side of the car?”.
Yes, it is on the wrong side. But yes, as a non-resident you can do a temporary import, as long you have the correct approval from the EPA and you don’t leave the country while the car is there and you only keep it for up to 12 months and you only have it for personal use and you don’t sell it or rent it while you’re there and…
There are a few hoops you have to jump through. The USA doesn’t have the same customs procedures as the rest of the world (surprise surprise!) and so it took us a great deal of research and phone calls to finally figure out if we were actually going to be able to bring the car in without having to pay an enormous bond. But we eventually heard that we got the green light and we have now arranged for the car to be picked up and put on a boat in Southampton. Hopefully we’ll see it again in New York City without any extra surprises!
Thank you to Kingstown Shipping and Flora and Fauna Brokers for your invaluable service. And to Nene Overland for getting the Defender ready for the trip!