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Hi John,

I spent loads of time researching the process to import a speedster into Australia, being that I live in Australia . I attempted a number of times (over a few years) to import a speedster but was eventually lucky enough to come across one locally that ticked all the boxes and didn’t need to import. I did however meet many awesome people on this forum during my search, very generous with both their time and advice.

Below is correct to the best to my knowledge but I’d welcome others to chime in and provide their opinions and/or corrections.

The “easiest” (and possibly the only) option to import a replica speedster into Australia is under the “Vehicles Manufactured Before 1989” Scheme. The key criteria to meet this scheme is being able to provide proof of the date of manufacture of the Speedster. There were a few companies building Speedster replicas before 1989, however finding a speedster that either has the date of manufacture clearly marked on the vehicle (plate/sticker) or an owner that has sufficient paperwork to demonstrate this is the tricky part.

The other significant hurdle in the process is meeting ADR (Australian Design Rule) compliance. In order to be road registered, all imported vehicles must meet the ADR’s current at the time of the vehicle’s manufacture. Advice I received from a number of Compliance Engineers here in Qld identified that there was a significant change in ADR’s from 1980 onwards, when emissions and safety design requirements were substantially ramped up. I understand any speedster built from that point on would struggle to meet compliance, or it would be very expensive to do so.

With all the above considered, I narrowed my search down to the manufacturer ‘Automobili Intermeccanica’ who built speedsters between 1977-1980 (I understand 608 in total were built) out of Santa Ana, California. With the exception of a few of their earliest speedsters, most have a foil identification plate/sticker with the date of manufacture clearly marked (refer pic below).

Something to also keep in mind is that any obvious engine replacement to the speedster, like a Subaru engine, will almost certainly disqualify it from import eligibility during the import approval process (I felt the sting of that one!!). The import approvals department want to see original engine (or equivalent).

Finding a good freighting/import company and a compliance engineer you can work with is also ideal.

Below is a link to the Australian Government information page on the scheme mentioned above.

Sorry, that post ended up a lot longer than expected ....but I am also happy to try and help with any other questions you may have.

Australia needs more speedsters!!

Cheers, Tony


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How about just importing the car "kit"?  It wouldn't be classified as a car - just car body parts.  Find a VW bug chassis down under or build a custom tube frame.  Build it yourself or have a dune buggy shop build it. Build manual readily available. Not a big deal to move gauge binnacle to the right side.

Fiberfab kit-1957 Speedster | - 356 Speedsters, 550 Spyders, Replicas and more

Last edited by WOLFGANG

Hey John,

I'm really sorry if I put a bit of a dampener on your plans, definitely not my intention. There's been a couple of guys in recent years that have bought speedsters from the States only to find out they can't import them and I would hate to see others have that same experience.

As per Stan's advice, post a wanted ad or keep your eye on the market for one of these 70's Intermeccanicas. They are absolutely out there!!. Being that you are in in the States you are in a great position to check them out and sort one before shipping down here!

....and I should add, of the few that I have seen (and the one that I own), they hold their age very, very well.

Wolfgang's suggestion would possibly work also, as long as you don't mind circumventing the Dept of Transport rules. I'm certain it's been done before.

It will likely be a pretty good investment also, with most replicas going for between AUD$70-90k (USD$55-70) here.

This group here on SOC are pretty good at watching out for what's on the market. I'll certainly keep an eye out for you!!

Kind regards, Tony

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