Lotus Elan

To buy or not to buy? Customs / Import Tax and VAT worries

PostPost by: carjam » Wed Nov 14, 2012 1:21 am

Sorry for the delay in replying to one and all.
Needless to say a BIG THANK YOU to everyone who replied with advice.

I now have some forms from the DVLA and Customs. Will now check to see if rolling chassis (body in place)
is a viable registration project.... or just a bit-z-a kit car, 'q' plate elan sprint lookielikee.

Will keep you informed of progress as soon as I know something more.

Regards CARJAM
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PostPost by: vernon.taylor » Sat Dec 08, 2012 8:24 pm

Salut Rohan

This is a question for a forum member I had the pleasure of meeting this Summer.

He's also a fortunate man because he has a holiday home in France and plans to bring a Sprint over to leave for his vacation pleasures :mrgreen:

It's an American Sprint that he imported to Australia where he lives - it's registered in Australia in his name.

First question concerns importing: from surfing it would seem that he would have to pay a reduced VAT rate (5.5%) only to import the car if considered as a collector's car - the definition is a little vague on this point. If not he would have to pay the full VAT rate (19.6%) plus import duty which would make his project unviable. To make things even more risky the customs officer can disagree with the invoice of the car if they think it doesn't represent the real value of the car (and he's done a full mega resto'). Any comments or experience ?

Second question: which I think I've worked out and concerns registering the car. Lotus won't give him a 'certificat de conformit?' as this only concerns cars sold in Europe. That leaves the choice of the infamous 'Mines' inspectors or the French Classic Car Federation who only require photos of the car. As the car has some race preparation (e.g. big Webers) the later and longer choice imposes itself.

Merci et @+

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PostPost by: rgh0 » Sun Dec 09, 2012 7:20 am

Hi Vernon

I have had some discussions already with the person you are referring to. He was hoping to import the car to France also for use in historic racing but wanted to get it first log booked here in Australia for racing so he could do some testing before shipping it to France.

Unless he can get the concessional rate it will be an expensive proposition to bring into France. In Australia there is provision to bring race cars into the country temporarily without paying tax but they have to be re-exported after a specific time. Does France have any thing similar?

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PostPost by: lelandolson » Mon Jun 01, 2020 1:19 am

Importing 1972 Lotus to Australia can be a tricky process. This is due to the country’s strict laws, which attempt to discourage car importing as much as possible. I don't know exactly how much 1972 Lotus is now but if you're planning to import your car to Australia it should be worth over AU$7,000, I suggest you should work with ACC customs broker in Australia otherwise its not really worth shipping because of the customs fee.
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PostPost by: gherlt » Sun Jun 07, 2020 10:04 am

I would add the following option (not that it is the best one)
If the car has no papers, buy some ! No need to to import or tax anything, at least if you get UK papers.
Then buy a repro chassis plate and fix it to your car. Check number stamped on chassis.

I knew one person whose car (a Spanish DHC) burnt out and he still had the papers, 15 years afterwards !

You did not mention the price of the "parts", but I must agree with previous comments that the rebuilding a car without engine (gearboxes are not that expensive) is a bad starting point.
You will part with lots of cash getting a newly rebuild engine and paint the body (15.000GBP that two tasks alone) and then you will put it on a used chassis (requires work?) and with some parts which the PO did want to have handy just in case ...
Not very congruent and you will notice that at a later point.
Looking at the economic outlook in the world I would wait for a price fall in the classic car market.
1964 S1 (engine ready, awainting body paint)
1967 S3 DHC (left window stuck)
1969 S4 FHC (waiting for return pickup)

Brian Bucklands 2nd edition available ! Look here: https://theelanman.com
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PostPost by: alan.barker » Mon Jun 08, 2020 5:11 am

If the car is more than 30 years old in France then it can be registered on "Carte a Grise Collection".
You use the "FFVE" who for 50 Euros give you a Certificate to register the car.
Very easy to do but takes a few weeks.
I have done this for 5 different cars no problem.
Alan.b Brittany 1972 elan sprint fhc Lagoon Blue 0460E
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PostPost by: Frogelan » Tue Jun 09, 2020 6:46 pm


There are quite a lot of documents missing here. Whilst a sympathetic approach tends to be observed in France, the general feeling of the threads - "is this really such a good idea" - seems wisest.

If the amount of financial exposure is very limited...and let's say it is ex-Graham Hill then give it a try!

I would also suggest caution for another reason: the brexit disaster has yet to even kick off and this may make matters more complex.
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