Importing a Vespa Ape to California
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LXV150
Joined: 15 Mar 2011
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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
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Fri Feb 01, 2013 3:37 pm quote
Unless it is just a showpiece on display...

Forget about it.
Hooked
2013 Vespa 300 SS
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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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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.
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'00 Helix
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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.
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2008 MP3 500, 2013 BV350
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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)
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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.
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GTS250
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Sat Feb 02, 2013 7:43 am quote
California has restrictions on Everything.

Most likely it will have problems being deemed road worthy.
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2009 MP3-500 aka Red Dog 2007 Vespa 250ie
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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
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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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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
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Piaggio Ape
Joined: 13 Aug 2013
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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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2:6
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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.
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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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2:6
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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
Ossessionato
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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
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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
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Piaggio Ape
Joined: 13 Aug 2013
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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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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.
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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?
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GTS 300
Joined: 25 Jul 2013
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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
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Location: Sacramento, CA
Mon Aug 26, 2013 10:36 am quote
Umm... awesome. That's all I've got to say!
Maniac wrote:

Maniac
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2006 PX 150 & Malossi Kitted Malaguti Yesterday (Wife's)
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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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apecar
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Thu Dec 22, 2016 2:40 am quote
Someone Import an APECAR for a foodtruck ?
Hello GUYS. i am Italian, and i living in Houston Tx. i really like to start a food truck business with and Apecar classic. but import the apecar looks so complicate especially because i want legally drive in the states. can some one help me please !!!! THANKS SO MUCH.

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Moderator
2006 PX 150 & Malossi Kitted Malaguti Yesterday (Wife's)
Joined: 11 Dec 2007
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Thu Dec 22, 2016 5:15 am quote
Read the posts above, especially the EPA and DOT links ooppsclunkthud gave.
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GT 200
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Location: Naples, FL
Thu Dec 22, 2016 6:35 am quote
tommymoyes wrote:
OopsClunkThud.

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


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

thank you
Have you checked the for sale section on this site? Someone has one in Maine for sale if it hasn't already sold.
World Traveler
2007 LX150 Daring Plum Leonardo Da Vespa
Joined: 02 Jul 2006
Posts: 26186

Thu Dec 22, 2016 8:26 am quote
KW is spot on. The one in Maine is already registered so you shouldn't have a problem there. I's see if that one still for sale. Good luck
Ossessionato
2013 Vespa LX150ie, 1968 Vespa Sprint 150
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Thu Dec 22, 2016 8:33 am quote
rgconner wrote:
Unless it is just a showpiece on display...

Forget about it.
Trust me...this is 100% accurate. Import rules and customs will make that Ape cost way more than its worth. However, one way around the rules is to have it completely disassembled into small parts. That means down to the nuts and bolts. If it's shipped here as auto parts, it will miss the emissions and safety requirements that a vehicle has to go through. My wife's uncle bought an airplane this way (of course he's pretty rich).
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Thu Dec 22, 2016 10:18 am quote
Seems like the simplest approach is to buy a vehicle that is already here in the US. That becomes even easier if it does not have to be a Vespa Ape. Both Bajaj 3-wheelers and Cushman trucksters are easier to find. The Cushmans are actually fairly common.
Hooked
2013 Buddy 125
Joined: 23 Apr 2016
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Thu Dec 22, 2016 2:40 pm quote
Paddlenround wrote:
rgconner wrote:
Unless it is just a showpiece on display...

Forget about it.
Trust me...this is 100% accurate. Import rules and customs will make that Ape cost way more than its worth. However, one way around the rules is to have it completely disassembled into small parts. That means down to the nuts and bolts. If it's shipped here as auto parts, it will miss the emissions and safety requirements that a vehicle has to go through. My wife's uncle bought an airplane this way (of course he's pretty rich).
There are no safety requirements as it's a motorcycle. Import rules just means a lot of paperwork, but it can be done. You just have to be very dedicated to getting it done. There should be little or no customs fees.

About 3 months ago I assisted a friend in bringing a non-USA motorcycle (Euro spec only) into the US from Canada. It was a HUGE PITA for him, but in the end we got it done. He also used a well known vehicle importer to help with the DOT and paperwork, and paid that importer $1800, and the importer screwed things up and caused more red tape headaches for him.

The big hurdles were EPA compliance- with regard to both exhaust sound level and emissions compliance. YOU have to prove it complies. Very difficult to do if the manufacturer has never applied for the vehicle to be sold in the USA.

Even after you provide the necessary proof to the US government, the vehicle importer is supposed to hold the vehicle for up to 30 days and not release it to you. The federal government has those 30 days to approve or deny the vehicle's entry. If the gov't doesn't answer within those 30 days, the vehicle is automatically released to you for entry.

Maybe it will be easier for a vehicle older than 25 years, I don't know.
Also, we had some more hurdles because it was a Canada to USA import, and the US Congress has passed laws to prevent a US buyer from crossing the border to take advantage of a favorable currency exchange rate to buy a vehicle in Canada and register it here. They know via the VIN if it's a vehicle approved for sale in the U.S.
Ossessionato
2008 MP3 500, 2013 BV350
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Fri Dec 23, 2016 4:33 am quote
rgconner wrote:
Unless it is just a showpiece on display...

Forget about it.
That is not true, the show American Pickers (Antique Archeology) imported an Ape and motorcycles from Italy, so it can be done.
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