There’s a downside to the surge in Mopar musclecar prices—people aren’t as inclined to drive them long distances as they once were. Back when a great Dodge or Plymouth musclecar cost less than a new econo-box (and back before $3 @ gallon gas) it wasn’t such a big deal to drive cross-country.
Professional transportation services have been around for a long time, but the impression used to be that these enclosed luxury transports were the conveyances of Duesenbergs, not Max Wedge Mopars.
Even in the heyday of factory sponsored Dodge and Plymouth drag teams many of those racecars rode on open bed trailers. Ramp trucks were considered deluxe accommodations and enclosed transporters were extremely rare. These days it seems like even bracket racers are hauled around in semi trailer rigs or behind million dollar motorhomes.
The point of these examples is that transporting a valuable Mopar isn’t as simple as it once was. The good news is that there are more choices than ever before. With the high number of cars being bought and sold over the Internet and at big, national auctions, more and more Mopar collectors are turning to professional carriers to move their cars.
Like any subject, it pays to do your homework. Check out ads in collector car publications and do some Internet research. Talk to other collectors and learn about their experiences with professional and semi-professional carriers.
Our personal experience and those of some close friends has been that the well-established, major auto transport companies are the best bet. It’s equivalent to buying a national brand as opposed to a regional or private label brand. It’s not that the private label brand isn’t great (it could be outstanding or it could be marginal), but you’re dealing with a known quantity when using a national carrier. And, making a mistake with a valuable car is much riskier than choosing a poor bag of potato chips.
Besides their excellent track records, the big companies are better insured and they can offer services such as tracking. A do-it-yourself car hauler can run into delays and not inform you. That isn’t something that will help you sleep better wondering if your valuable Super Bird is stranded in East Nowhere, Utah.
Rates can vary greatly with professional carriers. Variables such as whether you want an open trailer or a fully enclosed one and where and when the car needed to go can affect rates. Time is another factor. The quicker you need something the more it costs. Professional carriers try to schedule full trucks that follow an orderly route. Time and mileage conservation are keys to their bottom line. If you live too far off the beaten path it may make sense to have a car delivered to a big city hub and pick up the car there.
Deciding between an open or enclosed carrier can affect your piece of mind. Besides the risk of rock chips there is some risk of vandalism on open transporters. With enclosed trailers your car is out of danger and out of sight. Open transport can cost as little as half of an enclosed trailer, but if you’re moving a $50,000 Mopar, is it worth saving $500 or would you rather have the extra piece of mind?
Another alternative to professional transporting is to do it yourself. The quality of enclosed tandem (or triple) axle trailers owned by enthusiasts rivals professional carriers of old. These trailers are great for transporting a valuable Mopar to local and regional car shows or moving a restoration project between shops and home.
The bigger question becomes whether it makes sense to do your own cross-country transporting. Fuel costs and the value of your time can easily make a professional carrier look like a bargain. Professional auto transport has gone from being a luxury to being a near necessity.
As much fun as it is to drive a muscle Mopar that’s not the best way to move one cross-country. Besides protecting the car’s condition, gas prices can put a big dent in your wallet.
Enclosed transporters are the safest, most trouble-free method of shipping a valuable collector car. Besides being securely locked and fitted with alarm systems, most of these rigs are relatively inconspicuous.
Transport companies frequently set up vendor spaces at auctions and large swap meets to take orders to haul cars and hand out information about their services. When several companies are at the same event that makes it easy to compare services. You may even be able to inspect one of their trucks.
Not all enclosed transporters are the same so be sure you investigate before signing up. The best rigs have fully hydraulic lifts and partitions between the upper and lower levels. You don’t want some other car’s transmission fluid leaking on your pristine convertible top.
Tandem axle tag along 20 to 28-foot enclosed trailers are the trailers of choice for many enthusiasts. There’s room enough for the car and extra equipment such as different tires for auto crossing or drag racing. These high quality trailers serve as a secure garage when attending car shows or races.