Author Topic: fly/buy/ride/import?  (Read 361 times)

Offline jachenbach

  • Resident Legend
  • *****
  • Join Date: Feb 2014
  • Posts: 563
  • Karma: 8
fly/buy/ride/import?
« on: 30.01. 2015 01:13 »
Back when I was in high school (late 1960's) it was advertised that you could fly to England, buy a bike at the factory, ride around for some number of miles and then bring it back to the USA as a used bike and save a bunch on import duties. As I recall they claimed the savings would about pay for a vacation. I don't really have an interest in new bikes (probably comes from working on them) but I'm wondering........... Seems there are a lot of really cool old bikes over there. Would it be feasible to do the same with a vintage bike? That is, would import duties be minimized by putting on some number of miles, after which it would be considered your personal property of something?

Online Angus

  • Suffolk, UK
  • Resident Legend
  • *****
  • Join Date: Nov 2012
  • Posts: 510
  • Karma: 10
  • The A7
Re: fly/buy/ride/import?
« Reply #1 on: 30.01. 2015 09:06 »
I think the direction of import exports has changed a few times over the years. I live near Felixstowe the UKs largest port and there is a company close by that bringing in large numbers of ‘old’ bikes from the states. I regularly take a trip down there to view the latest arrivals, all sorts of 70’s and 80’s bikes (and cars) some times some older stuff. They don’t sell anything themselves just do the importing, I have seen some nice bikes in their lot that have appeared on ebay and few day later from various dealers of imported bikes. So currently I think the money making route is to the UK I think.
1961 A7 since 1976
1960 A10 Gold Flash Super Profile Bike
1958 Matchless G80 Project
1952 Norton Model 7 Plunger
1950 T100

Online Greybeard

  • Jack of all trades; master of none.
  • Wise & Enlightened
  • *
  • Join Date: Feb 2011
  • Posts: 6183
  • Karma: 35
Re: fly/buy/ride/import?
« Reply #2 on: 30.01. 2015 09:53 »
Off topic really but I thought folks may be interested:
In the early 70's I was a motor mechanic working at a small business in London. The owner bought some interesting vehicles and shipped them very cheaply on top of cargo containers to the USA to be sold. He got us mechanics to drive them up to Felixstowe to be loaded. I drove one of these; a Lea Francis: http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Lea-Francis.jpg and also one of these; a Daimler Dingo Scout car: http://goo.gl/9zqkiu. Felt great driving the scout car through the London traffic, peering out of a narrow slot in front of the steering wheel *smile*. Unfortunately the vehicle had no gun turret :(. The Dingo had a pre-select gearbox, 5 forward, (or reverse) gears. It had solid bullet-proof tyres and combined with the very basic plywood seat the ride was uncomfortable.

Online RichardL

  • Outside Chicago, IL
  • Wise & Enlightened
  • *
  • Join Date: Nov 2007
  • Posts: 5062
  • Karma: 48
Re: fly/buy/ride/import?
« Reply #3 on: 30.01. 2015 11:43 »
Graybeard,

Seeing those cars, one got from me a spontaneous "Ooooh" and the other got an "Oh." I'll leave it to you to guess which got what.

Richard L.
Plan on signing up for the world-wide 2020 DISTINGUISHED GENTLEMAN'S RIDEon September 27, 2020 (if it's not cancelled and we are free to move about by then). Watch website at https://www.gentlemansride.com for details.

Offline Topdad

  • bob hebdon
  • Wise & Enlightened
  • *
  • Join Date: May 2011
  • Posts: 2242
  • Karma: 32
  • l
Re: fly/buy/ride/import?
« Reply #4 on: 30.01. 2015 12:40 »
I didn't want to start this with " back in the '60s " but I will anyway  *smiley4*, my family ran a cafe in Seaforth Liverpool ,which was the nearest to the Gladstone dock ,where the US lines boats used to berth .Over the years a friendship developed with quite a few guys off these boats partictularly Gerry De la hunty. He had the distintion of serving in Irish, english and US armies and was earning enough money to finish college, he virtually  became a member of our family and  also loved bikes particularly Trihards .Has I  worked for a BSA/Tri main dealer the plan was hatched to buy a Bonnie register it at his sisters in London and after a year take it home has his "used" bike, .In '66 we got him one ,was that the tangerine dream year ? forget now ,but thats what we did ,took over 2 years ,has due to Vietnam his boat, the US builder ,was diverted from NY to the pacific coast and after 18 mths just as suddenly back to NY and Liverpool ,following the reunion where much falling down water was drunk, the  bike was picked up and well wrapped up went over strapped to some part of the decking . After some haggling with Us customs he eventually got it home to San Francisco where I assume it may still be ,although not gerry who'd be in His 90's by now , we lost touch as people do but I hope he enjoyed it. Sorry to highjack the post but couldn't help but post this regards bob,   
" rules are made for the guidance of wise men and the blind obediance of fools"
United Kingdom

Online RichardL

  • Outside Chicago, IL
  • Wise & Enlightened
  • *
  • Join Date: Nov 2007
  • Posts: 5062
  • Karma: 48
Re: fly/buy/ride/import?
« Reply #5 on: 30.01. 2015 16:55 »
Bob,

That doesn't seem a hijacking at all.

Richard L.
Plan on signing up for the world-wide 2020 DISTINGUISHED GENTLEMAN'S RIDEon September 27, 2020 (if it's not cancelled and we are free to move about by then). Watch website at https://www.gentlemansride.com for details.

Offline unclerob

  • A's Best Friend
  • ***
  • Join Date: Jul 2012
  • Posts: 214
  • Karma: 6
Re: fly/buy/ride/import?
« Reply #6 on: 30.01. 2015 17:36 »
I have to say I agree with Angus.....my definite impression is that BSA, Tri, Norton prices are better in the States and you're not very likely to get many bargains here. Though I might be wrong here but is it you who has an interest in Italian bikes? If so, send me a pm and I can give you a good idea of current prices in the Uk. I'm retired now but I used to work on them all the time and still deal in them to some extent....currently have a dozen or so! Admittedly they're newer bikes but I think prices here compared to the US are a fair bit better....

Online KiwiGF

  • Last had an A10 in 1976, in 2011 it was time for my 2nd one. It was the project from HELL (but I learned a lot....)
  • Wise & Enlightened
  • *
  • Join Date: Feb 2011
  • Posts: 1462
  • Karma: 12
Re: fly/buy/ride/import?
« Reply #7 on: 30.01. 2015 19:05 »
A while back I was looking at buying a new Triumph Street Triple, the price here in Nz  was around 17K nzd and in the states some 30% less, but of course there would be no warranty, so I was tempted to bring in a late model used one, but got a good deal locally on a 2010 bike in the end.

A few guys in the nz bsa clubs have funded there hobby of owning bsas for many years by using contacts or relatives living in the states to help them export bsas to nz, currently the later unit bsas are still being brought in numbers, they can import 4, keep 1 and sell the other 3 and end up with a "free" bike   *conf*, this only works of course if they can find buyers!
New Zealand

1956 A10 Golden Flash (1st finished project)

1949 B31 rigid “400cc hot rod” (2nd finished project, + favourite bike)

GL1800 Goldwing, well, the wife likes it

KTM 950 ADV, cos it’s 100% nuts

1952 Armstrong Siddeley Whitley for rainy days (with wife)

Offline Topdad

  • bob hebdon
  • Wise & Enlightened
  • *
  • Join Date: May 2011
  • Posts: 2242
  • Karma: 32
  • l
Re: fly/buy/ride/import?
« Reply #8 on: 30.01. 2015 19:44 »
Bob, have to say different world then, no vat, just purchase tax , Bsa tri sales were ,basic bike ,even a bonnie can sans tachometer ,speedos ,dual seat( after 67 not) side stand etc all add on's . My staff discount helped to plus extras the like no prep !well on paper and I seem to remember some special state tax was mentioned by Gerry, anyway he was well clued up and wouldn't have done it if it was easier to just buy one, also there was probably a waiting list over There. Cheers bob
" rules are made for the guidance of wise men and the blind obediance of fools"
United Kingdom