Importing a Vespa Ape to California
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LXV150
Joined: 15 Mar 2011
Posts: 3
Location: Santa Monica, CA
Fri Feb 01, 2013 2:24 pm quote
I have a colleague looking to purchase a '60 Vespa Ape from overseas to bring into California. Does anyone know about restrictions on getting those into the country/state or where to look for that information?
Ossessionato
GTS250
Joined: 26 Jan 2009
Posts: 2823

Fri Feb 01, 2013 3:37 pm quote
Unless it is just a showpiece on display...

Forget about it.
Hooked
2013 Vespa 300 SS
Joined: 06 May 2010
Posts: 292
Location: St Pete Fl.
Fri Feb 01, 2013 3:56 pm quote
I believe the scoot or vehicle needs to be 7 years old to bypass the emissions laws... Don't quote me on that... I remember a gal who was moving there a couple years ago who had a Vespa 150s with the emissions plumbing removed, Was looking into it... I ended up with a really good deal on a 150s
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A whole showroom full!
Joined: 02 Mar 2006
Posts: 3877
Location: San Diego, Ca
Fri Feb 01, 2013 4:46 pm quote
I would say it's been in your family for a long time and you want to get it registered. Trying to import it officially will be a PITA.
Veni, Vidi, Posti
'12 Genuine Buddy 170i TARDIS
Joined: 30 Jan 2007
Posts: 7129
Location: Burbank, CA
Fri Feb 01, 2013 4:52 pm quote
Because it's a vintage, it can likely be done. But it probably won't be very easy.
Molto Verboso
MP3 500
Joined: 13 Oct 2012
Posts: 1994
Location: Va.
Sat Feb 02, 2013 5:18 am quote
Shipping in multiple pieces makes importing easy. Then it's not a vehicle, it's parts.
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2006 PX 150 & Malossi Kitted Malaguti Yesterday (Wife's)
Joined: 11 Dec 2007
Posts: 10542
Location: Paros Island, Greece
Sat Feb 02, 2013 6:07 am quote
A 1960's vehicle can enter the US as is, without any Customs, DOT or EPA issues. NO need to disassemble it. Just do the proper paperwork, which is straight forward.

I doubt Calif has any restrictions on a vehicle that old, either, but that's just a guess.
Ossessionato
GTS250
Joined: 26 Jan 2009
Posts: 2823

Sat Feb 02, 2013 7:43 am quote
California has restrictions on Everything.

Most likely it will have problems being deemed road worthy.
Ossessionato
2009 MP3-500 aka Red Dog 2007 Vespa 250ie
Joined: 16 Oct 2009
Posts: 2109
Location: Southern Oregon Coast
Sat Feb 02, 2013 8:44 am quote
You might also consider importing it into a state that's friendlier and register it there, then bring it into CA and just do a title/registration change for CA. Some states are more lenient about such things and that may be the best way to go.

LL75
Member
Piaggio Ape
Joined: 13 Aug 2013
Posts: 17
Location: San Diego
Wed Aug 14, 2013 3:25 pm quote
I have heard that the department of transportation (DOT) a federal agency is the one that denies Ape into the US because they are not roadworthy.

Does anyone have concrete data or information on having done this?

I have checked with the CA DMV and as long as its pre-1978, it can be registered.


I've found one in Italy but need help even if its a PITA, its my mission

Thanks -i'm new to the board, so sorry if i have overstepped

Classic Ape in Rome.JPG

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4:4
Joined: 11 Jan 2007
Posts: 6176
Location: San Francisco
Wed Aug 14, 2013 3:49 pm quote
'60s will be zero problems in California. '70s will get progressively more difficult but still not bad. California is really quite easy if you know your way around. If you don't know it's often worth employing a title service.

Also, the picture is a Lambro not an Ape
Member
Piaggio Ape
Joined: 13 Aug 2013
Posts: 17
Location: San Diego
Wed Aug 14, 2013 3:58 pm quote
Yeah, sorry its a Lambro

Here is an Ape

What about the DOT restrictions, not worried about DMV as you pointed out?

Ape near Grosseto.JPG

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4:4
Joined: 11 Jan 2007
Posts: 6176
Location: San Francisco
Wed Aug 14, 2013 4:05 pm quote
DOT has a (i think) 25 year threshold. What year is the Ape, doubt it will be an issue with the paperwork in order.
Member
Piaggio Ape
Joined: 13 Aug 2013
Posts: 17
Location: San Diego
Wed Aug 14, 2013 4:13 pm quote
I don't have one yet, I want to nail down the import restrictions before I buy one.

The owner of Scooter West in San Diego told me that its not just as simple as 25 years or whatever as you suggest. He said that the DOT forbids all imports of Ape because they are not roadworthy. He said as I confirmed and as you wrote, that its not a California DMV registration issue.

So I'm looking for concrete information on the specifics of how to precisely import one before I get it on the container. If you have done this, then I thank you in advance for the detail.

Thanks
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4:4
Joined: 11 Jan 2007
Posts: 6176
Location: San Francisco
Wed Aug 14, 2013 4:19 pm quote
the site seems to be down but here's the google cache

http://webcache.googleusercontent.com/search?q=cache:dLWgLeLrqmAJ:https://help.cbp.gov/app/answers/detail/a_id/278/~/importing-classic-or-antique-vehicles-%252F-cars-for-personal-use+&cd=1&hl=en&ct=clnk&gl=us&client=safari

in many ways it's easier than a 81 P200 that has lost its US vin plate
Molto Verboso
Fly 150
Joined: 29 Apr 2011
Posts: 1342
Location: Springboro, OH
Wed Aug 14, 2013 5:44 pm quote
Have it mildly disassembled and sent over as "parts". Then reassemble when it's all here.
Hooked
2013 GTV 300 IE
Joined: 10 Aug 2013
Posts: 307
Location: Sacramento, CA
Wed Aug 14, 2013 9:15 pm quote
I am in the preliminary stage of purchasing, retrofitting and repainting a new APE in Lavazza colors. Mine will be coming from the UK to California. The only down side was that it can not be shipped with the engine. This means I would have to install an engine here or tow it to events for selling coffee etc.




Maniac
Member
Piaggio Ape
Joined: 13 Aug 2013
Posts: 17
Location: San Diego
Thu Aug 15, 2013 10:08 am quote
OopsClunkThud.

Love your name by the way, fun to type. I'm not as creative.

Your link to the DOT was extremely helpful and thank you for that. Informative....However, my read is that the 25 year aspect is only for pollution issues--that there is still a DOT requirement that the vechicle be safe. (Its described at the bottom). So my hypothesis is that one could get the 25+ year exemption for EPA and DOT for the emission part--but that the DOT could still block an Ape for not being "manufactured to US standards".

This is what the Vespa owner in SD told me, and explains why they are just not in the US (but all over UK and Mexico).

To the other posters, it occurs to me that the best path for me is to have the motor taken out and shipped separately...so thanks for that information.

I'm still open to buying one from someone who has one here already.

thank you
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4:4
Joined: 11 Jan 2007
Posts: 6176
Location: San Francisco
Thu Aug 15, 2013 10:34 am quote
It's not like they were never sold here, they were back in the '50s-'60s. Bajaj also imported and sold them in california. Being a three wheeler makes it a "motorcycle" in California so there is no crash test or bumper requirements.

Would need to have all the lights needed based on the year but that's not hard to do.
Ossessionato
01 Vespa ET4 Red/ Satin black. 1974 Vespa Rally 200 White, non battery model.
Joined: 06 Feb 2006
Posts: 2180
Location: Dallas, Tx
Thu Aug 15, 2013 11:01 am quote
Maniac wrote:
I am in the preliminary stage of purchasing, retrofitting and repainting a new APE in Lavazza colors. Mine will be coming from the UK to California. The only down side was that it can not be shipped with the engine. This means I would have to install an engine here or tow it to events for selling coffee etc.




Maniac
I have a friend that did the same thing almost a year ago.
It was a big PITA and he still waiting on the engine they promised they would ship to him.
They also welded the axle so you can't put the engine...

WUCApe1.JPG

WUCApe2.JPG

WUCApe3.JPG

Member
Piaggio Ape
Joined: 13 Aug 2013
Posts: 17
Location: San Diego
Mon Aug 26, 2013 10:26 am quote
Update
On this topic, I have found an individual in Canada who appears to have mastered this process and I felt like I would post some specifics to benefit others on this community.

Its not as simple as it seems but can be accomplished.

Once an Ape is found in Europe, one key is that you must have a Broker in the USA who is accomplished on the paperwork side (to meet both the EPA and DOT safety regulations).

One critical piece of this is to obtain documentation prior to shipment from Piaggio directly there in the form of a Certificate of Origin and acquire all the original documentation of the Ape from the seller.

Obviously, having a European shipper too to handle the cargo/shipment piece and one in the US to truck it to California.

But having the evidence of original manufacturing of the unique Ape is key (not all sellers in Italy have this), appears to be paramount to gain admission to the US (or Canada) as a roadworthy 3 wheeled motorcycle. You'll want to go for the 25 year old plus to pass through and pay a duty rate of 2.3% or less.

So paperwork, good broker and familar shipper with an Ape is critical.

It appears that taking the engine out and shipping them separately may also be a tenable "end around" strategy and some are pursuing.

Just my two bits, I'm going to try it once I find one in Italy.

Unless--ANYBODY OUT THERE WANT CASH for a working Ape in the US?
Banned
GTS 300
Joined: 25 Jul 2013
Posts: 417
Location: Rancho Mirage Calif
Mon Aug 26, 2013 10:30 am quote
State by state
I plated all my 2 strokes/ off road bikes in Oregon

Its still a motorcycle and easy to register

Every state is different, With Calif you have to deal with Carb

I dont see a problem as a custom construction title or since its so old

GB

ktm200 exc.jpg

Hooked
2013 GTS 300 IE Super (previously 2008 LX 150)
Joined: 15 May 2008
Posts: 162
Location: Sacramento, CA
Mon Aug 26, 2013 10:36 am quote
Umm... awesome. That's all I've got to say!
Maniac wrote:

Maniac
Moderator
2006 PX 150 & Malossi Kitted Malaguti Yesterday (Wife's)
Joined: 11 Dec 2007
Posts: 10542
Location: Paros Island, Greece
Mon Aug 26, 2013 11:11 am quote
Copied and pasted from the link that Patrick gave you:

A motor vehicle that is at least 25 years old can be lawfully imported into the U.S. without regard to whether it complies with all applicable DOT Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards (FMVSS).

That would mean that DOT standards do not apply to such a vehicle, wouldn't it?

Whatever you do, engage a competent customs broker BEFORE THE FACT in the US to guide you and your vehicle through the import hoops.

Might also be worthwhile downloading and reading the forms cited in the link Patrick provided.

Do not assume that a newer than 21/25 year old vehicle can be successfully imported, as it may very be that it cannot be modified to US standards by a registered importer, which is a totally different person than a customs broker.

last note - one does not "import a vehicle into California" or any other state. The importation is into the US, under US laws. The risk one takes in bringing in a vehicle as "parts" or other clever schemes is of running into a DMV clerk who knows what they are doing and wants proof of how the vehicle entered the US since the VIN will be non-compliant.
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