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    Importing discussion

    After a few years out of the E30 world, SWMBO has given me permission to return.
    I, of course, plan on pushing my luck :devil: and am looking into a touring, which I've always wanted. So, let's discuss the process of getting a touring to the States. I'll of course keep my eyes open for existing ones here on cl etc, but I think I'm going to look at bringing one over fresh from Europe as my best option.

    I've read the jalopnik article from a couple of years ago. I've reviewed European ebay and car selling websites. How did people here who have done it get it done? Did you work with an importer or do all the paperwork etc yourself? Are there trusted resources?

    #2
    Roguetoaster (on here) brought all of his over, including the one that I currently own.

    He said it was a pretty easy process, paperwork wise, but naturally it's infinitely easier for those who live by port cities. I'm sure he could share some more specifics on how he managed it. He managed to get 3 good ones here, so i'd say he had it figured out pretty well.
    '89 318i Touring
    '90 Miata

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      #3
      I have talked to a friend that imported mine and he said its around $2500ish to get it here and paperwork completed but thats to the east coast. I dont know any more info then that as far as the paperwork or shipping part. I have one here in the states for sale. Im in florida which is literally the farthest it could possibly from you lol but its in the states fully imported and a FL title in my name. its the grey one in the touring picture section getting painted. its almost done if you wanted any more info just send me a PM
      Last edited by Shftr8; 02-15-2016, 02:33 PM. Reason: added info

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        #4
        Super funny that this section exists now that I effectively have zero tourings. :(

        If people want I'll write up the whole process with pictures/directions pertinent to the Baltimore terminal.

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          #5
          Please do, it'll be a great source of information. I know the importation process has been covered plenty of times before, and even about e30 tourings..but not a pinned discussion thread that we could leave in this sub-forum.
          -89' 320iT, Brilliantrot
          -15' 320i, Glacier Silver Metallic

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            #6
            Roguetoaster, I know I for one would definitely be interested in a writeup on the process

            Sent from my SM-N920V using Tapatalk

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              #7
              Originally posted by Shftr8 View Post
              I have talked to a friend that imported mine and he said its around $2500ish to get it here and paperwork completed but thats to the east coast. I dont know any more info then that as far as the paperwork or shipping part. I have one here in the states for sale. Im in florida which is literally the farthest it could possibly from you lol but its in the states fully imported and a FL title in my name. its the grey one in the touring picture section getting painted. its almost done if you wanted any more info just send me a PM
              Your lachs mt2 does look beautiful, but unfortunately I'm not ready to buy just yet. Have to get a little more debt paid off to be in a spot to buy a hobby car. I'll probably be buying next year, just enjoying hanging around here again so I can obsess for the next 12 months [emoji2]

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                #8
                Also, has anybody imported to west coast? I'd be coming through San Francisco most likely

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                  #9
                  Originally posted by roguetoaster View Post
                  Super funny that this section exists now that I effectively have zero tourings. :(

                  If people want I'll write up the whole process with pictures/directions pertinent to the Baltimore terminal.
                  That would be great!
                  My Garage
                  2001 Z3 2.5i Steel Gray/Black (Lexi)
                  1988 325ix Diamond Schwartz/Black (Izzy)
                  1989 325i Cirrus Blue/Houndstooth (Stitch)
                  Feedback

                  Instagram: Stone.Hopkins

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                    #10
                    Originally posted by stonea View Post
                    That would be great!
                    I'll get on it!

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                      #11
                      After reading more about California's absurd car registration laws, it looks like I won't be a member of #teamtouring unless I leave the golden state. Basically, to import a car newer than 1975 into CA, it has to run through a battery of tests originally intended for manufacturers, adding $2-3k to the import cost. Bummer

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                        #12
                        Originally posted by bstarr3 View Post
                        After reading more about California's absurd car registration laws, it looks like I won't be a member of #teamtouring unless I leave the golden state. Basically, to import a car newer than 1975 into CA, it has to run through a battery of tests originally intended for manufacturers, adding $2-3k to the import cost. Bummer

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                        What about diesels? Do they need undergo the same inspections if they are pre-1998? From what I have found the answer is no, at least for now.

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                          #13
                          I imported a Touring last year from Germany. I am native German, so communication was easy for me, which is where it may get challenging for Americans due to the language barrier in some cases (most Germans speak English though). This causes an, IMO, unfortunate effect...People buy Tourings in the UK because they speak English and it is easier for communication.
                          If you have noticed, a lot of Tourings in the US are RHD (which I think is lame because RHD is only the UK (English), all other European countries are LHD). But, it is what it is, and importing a car is not very hard.

                          The process in theory is very easy:
                          - Pick out car in Europe on local classifieds or ebay.de
                          - Get buyer to work with you on export process
                          - Fill out paperwork for EPA, DOT, Customs, Shipping etc
                          - Get it picked up by shipping company
                          - Pay Shipping company for shipping and Broker to get car to US.
                          - Wait to clear customs
                          - Have car shipped to your location, OR pick it up yourself.
                          - Go through local DMV to get car registered

                          Here is where it gets tricky
                          - Convincing the seller that this magic person from oversees wants to buy their car. To Europeans, a 25 year old bmw is nothing special and they sometimes respond in a confusing manner..."why would you want this, isnt that expensive?". On top of that, most will never actually meet the seller, so you have to gain their trust for the transaction...to them, it sounds similar to "I am Nigerian Prince calling you for my heritage of 2 million dollars".
                          You need to get them to be willing to have the car inspected by a third party (or not, but I highly recommend it because European cars are exposed to a LOT more rain and overall humidity which causes rust..and alot of it).
                          Second, you need them to hold the car...sometimes for weeks until everything is arranged with the shipping company.
                          Then there is the money transfer challenge...are they ok with doing half up front? What about a downpayment...maybe have the carrier give them the money at the time of pickup?

                          Second, you need to have the car cleaned and free of items inside, otherwise shipping AND customs may not be happy.

                          Third, when the car gets here, your local DMV can be a pain to work with. The funny thing is that EPA and DOT say the car is legal to import once 25 years old...without needing to pass safety and emissions...but at your local State and County level...this may not be the case.
                          Utah is a nightmare in that regard. The car had to be brought into compliance...most DMV employees had no idea why I would import a car...what to value it at...how to document it...etc...
                          I got caught in a loop: Car has to pass safety and emissions...but no VIN existed in the systems...at the DMV, I could not get that entry created without a Safety and Emissions certificate. So I got around it by just applying for a title first without plates/tags...then went and got safety/emissions done...then registered car.


                          You will need to fill out just about as much as you did just to get the car to the US.

                          So this is my personal experience, which will vary from person to person and state to state.

                          I have the process down now, so I am going to keep importing more proper German spec LHD Tourings to even out this flood of RHD cars. It's sort of cool to have a Japanese car be RHD since that's how they are in Japan...but to have a RHD German car just is not cool IMO.




                          The car is also part of our newly started Youtube Channel. Click on the pic to watch the videos

                          Last edited by Styleprojekt; 05-02-2016, 01:25 PM.

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                            #14
                            I have always wanting to buy a Touring...but Im from CA Republic too. Anybody here in CA have a Touring that is legally registered ?

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                              #15
                              In theory a turbodiesel might fit the bill as it's exempt from emissions AFAIK (only post for 1998 cars). Does that mean you can register it without jumping through hoops? Who knows, but do look in to that route.

                              Obviously you couldn't swap out the M21 engine legally, but if you can live with an engine that has very little support/info online it wouldn't be too bad.

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