There are many times in the life of an SL-C when shipping the car can be a useful option. At the very beginning of an SL-Cs life, it is just a rolling chassis with the body laid on-- you have to arrange for it to get from Superlite to your garage.
During the build process, you may want to ship the car to and from your preferred interior shop or painter. And after it is finished, you may want to ship it to a show far away.
There are several options discussed below.
|Commercial shipper (e.g., Reliable, Horseless Carriage, and similar carriers)||The best of them do a good job with real-time GPS updates as to where you car is, etc.||Can be very expensive compared to other options.|
|Some, but not all, will have a small pickup and delivery window so you can plan better.||Some carriers may not allow cars that aren't driveable, or may have a surcharge if your car can't be driven onto the carrier's truck|
|Some will guarantee delivery to a specific place at a specific time- great for shows like SEMA, etc., (but usually at a higher cost.)||Some low-end carriers don't have good drivers or equipment and your car could be damaged by weather (if not in a closed hauler) or other in-transit damage.|
|Insurance is typically extra, and recommended. Be prepared for some drama if there is a claim for damage during shipping.|
|Uhaul or similar trailer rental||Relatively inexpensive||Not always the greatest equipment, occasional surprise charges.|
|Open trailers mean potentially more damage from bugs, stones or other objects on the road.|
||Requires that you own a tow vehicle suitable for the trailer in question.|
||Some trailer rentals require you to return the trailer to where you rented it, so you may have to bring it back empty if you can't arrange a drop-off near your destination.|
|Private enclosed trailer||Most flexible- you set your schedule||Can be expensive to purchase, but well-specified trailers have a good resale value, so can easily be sold when no longer needed, with most of the trailer cost returned if in good shape.|
|Given the good resale value, this can be the least expensive option if you can afford to tie up capital in the trailer until you are ready to sell it.||You are responsible for fuel, tires, etc on your tow vehicle, so these costs need to be accounted for in terms of understanding true costs.|
||You must have access to a suitable tow vehicle, with a brake controller (necessary for the size of trailer that is adequate for an SL-C)|
|You have to go through the registration process, pay taxes, and possibly inspections, as well as be able to manage wear-and-tear items like tires and brakes.|
|Must have a place to store the trailer when not in use. If you have to rent a space, this can be very expensive.|
||Not recommended- the SL-C is not a good car to tow on a dolly, as the front is very difficult to load, and the car is relatively long (though the rear has a good departure angle).|
In most cases, using a commercial shipper means having insurance. There are at least two ways to insure your car against loss or damage:
1. If your car is already insured, check your policy to see if it covers damage while in transit, and the deductible, if any. Call your agent to understand the limits of coverage when the car is being transported by a third party.
2. The carrier can offer insurance coverage. If your car isn't insured (not unusual if it isn't finished, but a good idea anyway), you'll want to consider buying insurance when you ship the car. This is usually fairly expensive, and the proffered policy should be checked very carefully for exclusions, time limitations on claims, etc.
Buying shipping insurance is arcane, so here is a glossary of shipping terms to help de-mystify things.
If you use a commercial carrier, be sure to take pictures of the car in detail, preferably as it is half-loaded on the trailer, to document condition. When you get the car back, check it carefully against your pictures, and document any damage so your claim can be established- there are time limits for concealed damage, so act accordingly. If you have shipped anything inside the car, especially in boxes, open them up immediately in the presence of the trucker, so that missing pieces or hidden damage can be documented immediately.
Here are some carriers that have experience with high-end cars.
GPS tracking, good recommendations from others
|Horseless Carriage||Lots of experience, also offers storage for cars|
|Plycon||Also have open trailers- be sure to specify|
|Reliable Carriers||One of the bigger carriers, big fleet|
|Intercity||Family owned, all enclosed trucks|
|Exotic Car Transport||Based near Orlando, some have had bad experiences but who knows?|
There are more, but you should always investigate your carrier before you commit.
SL-C builders should also be aware of USHIP, which is not a carrier, but a brokerage for freight. This site shows freight jobs which are bid on by independent truckers, so in theory you should get a low price. But many people have had bad experiences with this route, from not making pickup or delivery dates, to open trailers when an enclosed one was specc'd, to finding that their car was moved from one trucker to another along the way, adding delays and damage. In general, this is the last option, and one that should be avoided if at all possible, due to risk of damage and late pickup and delivery.