Shipping Headaches - 1957 Corvette

The big problem that I had was the cost of shipping the body and frame from Buffalo NY USA to Calgary, Alberta Canada. I received quotes that were higher than what I paid for the body and frame! Eventually, I listened to Joe's initial advice at AC Autos and went with a shipper that would deliver the parts to Montana and I would meet them and transfer the car to my truck. Doing it this way saved me about $2000 over the best quote I could get to deliver it to my house!

The trip to pick up the car!- more adventure and stress!

I originally scheduled the pickup during spring break, I'm a teacher and I had 5 days off. Naturally, this occurred during a major snowstorm in the East coast and the truck shipping my car was stuck in the middle of the snowstorm and couldn't make it. We scheduled for two weeks later.

I was originally going to rent a Uhaul and the prices were pretty decent for the middle of the month. The rescheduling put it at the end of the month which is the most busiest for Uhaul rentals and the price jumps astronomical - 4 times what the middle of the month was! I live about 250 miles from Montana and it was going to cost about $1500 for a one day rental! I could purchase a used car trailer for that price and tow it behind my pickup.

An old buddy of mine just happened to have a 5'x13' trailer that he used for hauling his quads around. I had two weeks to install and hookup a trailer hitch to my little Ford Ranger 4 cylinder truck and pick up the trailer. The Vette body and frame dimensions were 6'x14' which would just fit on the trailer.

Little Ford Ranger loaded to the hilt!

The body and frame weighed about 900 lbs and I had another 700 lbs in the back of the pickup. I was at the limit for the little engine. With my foot to the floor, I could 65 mph on the level in 4th gear at 3000 rpm. 5th gear was totally out of the question. A big problem with my truck is the rear end gearing which is 3:08 which is totally wrong for a little 4 cylinder. It's great for a V8 for economy but horrible for a little 105 hp engine. On my list of things to do is changing the rear end to 4:11, this'll put it right in the middle of the engine's power curve. I did make 20 mpg though.

An hour from home, the engine started to act up and the engine light came on. I had replaced the intake muffler (between the mass air flow sensor and injection body) with an aluminum flexible pipe to gain a little more hp. It allowed engine backfiring to confuse the MAF sensor. No big deal, turned off the engine, started it up and the check engine light went off

About 3 hours later, the turn signals stopped working. Ends up that you need a heavy duty flasher when pulling a trailer. The normal flasher unit can't handle the load. A trip to the next town and its auto parts store fixed that.

The shipper was supposed to meet me at 1:00 pm in Coutts at the Canada Montana border but it was 3 hours late! Did I mention that it was -25 deg C that day! Well, there's absolutely nothing at Coutts so I drove down to the next town with a restaurant and had lunch.

I contacted the trucker and decided to meet them at Great Falls. Finally met up with them at a truck stop at 6:00. It took until 7:30 to load up. Thankfully, there were a few truckers that were willing to give us a hand as we had to lift the frame and body onto my trailer. Once it was all strapped down and tarped up, I headed off to the border.

At the border, I had poor documentation and a half assed story but the customs officer was kind enough to let me through. See my webpage on importing kitcar/car parts into Canada to do it the right way. I was expecting paperwork to arrive with the body and frame and it didn't. I was scrambling to put together anything together that resembled paperwork. I got lucky and made it through. It was very close!

About a 1/2 hour from the border, a deer jumped out of the ditch and I just caught his butt with the driver's side headlight. Luckily, it happened so fast I didn't have a chance to swerve or hit the brakes. I basically ended up with a smashed headlight and bezel. Unfortunately, it was 10:30 at night and I had another 4 hours to drive!

Truck versus Deer - truck won this time!

The rest of the drive was uneventful until I hit Calgary's streets. Boy are they bad! Bumpy and rutted, you really notice them when you are pulling a trailer. I drove 400 miles without a problem and then the last 10 miles driving slowly through Calgary streets, snapped a tie-down on the frame and the whole load shifted - no damage though, just everything sitting slanted on the trailer. If you look at the picture of the loaded trailer at the top of this page you'll see that the Vette is sitting nose down and to the passenger side. It was originally level! I arrived at 2:30 am in the morning.

The next day a group of my buddies helped me lift the body and frame off of the trailer and carry them into the garage.

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Copyright May 2011 Eugene Blanchard