The Di Tella Magnette

Importing it to the USA


Right after my Di Tella was ready to hit the road again, I had to move from Buenos Aires to Chicago for work reasons. Since I would never have accepted to sell it (it does not have a significant collector’s value anyway, so I would have lost all the money I invested on it) I just put it into a container with my personal belongings and shipped it.


An advice; If you ever happen to ship your car like this, check out carefully how the movers tie it up and make sure they lock and seal the container right in front of you. I couldn’t do it and I paid a bitter price. Since I moved to Chicago before my family did, they were in charge of shipping all our goods –including the car- and they just left it for the movers. When I opened the container in Chicago, big surprise! The shims and ties were inadequate, the car got loose during the trip and began to rock back and forth, hitting the container walls a gazillion times. Although the insurance paid for it, this was an experience you don’t want to go through.


Getting the Illinois title and license plates was another minor adventure. There are very few nuts importing old cars to America, not to mention South American cars whose marque does not even appear in any catalog… and the Argentine customs retained the original title for some unknown purpose, so all I had was a bunch of photocopies and forms written in Spanish, that even after translation probably meant nothing to the Chicago’s Secretary of State employees. After a long paperwork battle that almost took away my patience, a helping lady in Springfield, Illinois cared enough to give a close look to it and decided they were ok.


If you are considering importing an old car to the USA, note that cars manufactured prior to 1968 are not required to comply either with DOT (Department of Transportation) or EPA (Environment Protection Agency) regulations regarding safety protection and emission controls. Most custom agents are not aware of it so they would scare you talking of expensive bonds you are supposed to pay to release your car; this is just not true. My 1965 car is legally allowed to drive even without an emission sticker.