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2008 Lotus Elise SC
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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
During my transaction to purchase the 2008 Elise SC from @SCamper, I contacted several vehicle shippers to transport the car from Austin to New Hampshire. My initial preference was for a carrier who specialized in exotic vehicles rather than a broker.

Reliable Carriers responded that "this is not a traffic lane we are currently servicing".
Intercity quoted $2,795
Horseless Carriage quoted $2,250

I also contacted a highly rated broker, Mercury Auto Transport, who quoted $1,350. This was not binding, and there was no guarantee that a carrier would do it for this price. My understanding is that brokers post their estimates to a central board for carriers to take up if interested.

The agent from Mercury Auto Transport was initially very responsive to any questions, but then contacted me so often by text and e-mail that it became spam.

My first choice was Horseless Carriage who guaranteed pickup within a 2 week window. No advance deposit was required, and payment was due on delivery. I specified the date on which the transaction was to be completed, and requested transport for the soonest date after that. However, they first tried to pick up the car before the transaction was completed, so we were not ready to load it. Then they told me it would be transported two weeks later. Two weeks later, on Sept 19, they delayed it by at least one more week. Winter is closing in fast, so I was in a hurry.

In frustration, I called the Mercury Auto Transport agent. However, he was not immediately available. I tried a couple of other brokers. Mostly, they were quite transparent about the process, consistent with what Mercury Auto Transport had explained about the process. An agent from Montway, another highly rated broker, persuaded me to give them a chance. Within in 1 hour he called me with a price of $1749, discounted from his original estimate and said that he could have the car picked up the same day, Sept 19!

The carrier was Just Car Haulers Inc. Under the watchful eye of @SCamper, the car was loaded onto a two-car trailer towed by a pickup truck. The driver took careful photos of the car, even identifying small areas of dirt as defects. The pictures were loaded into a dashboard that allowed us to track the progress along the route. The driver called and texted several times the day of the delivery with updated ETA.

After picking the car up on Monday evening, the car was delivered by midnight Wednesday. 2000 miles in 48 hours! The driver said he was then headed to Boston to pick up a Ferrari. And yes, I gave him a pretty good tip. :D

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Very useful write-up! I found that once I asked any on-line entity for a quote, I was deluged with quotes and contacts, for months after the car was delivered. In the future perhaps it would be best to contact Just Car Hauler's Inc directly.
 

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Congrats on the car. I was one of the people who messaged SCamper in case you didn't end up buying it!

Tomorrow, I might be my own auto transport - likely buying an Elise in the bay area, driving down the coast to Escondido, then east to Phoenix.
 

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2008 Lotus Elise SC
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42 Posts
Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Thanks, @MarkR171. I have to say that buying a car 2,000 miles away has been quite a challenge, but I was lucky to find not only a perfect car but a perfect seller in @SCamper. I wish you all the best in your quest to buy your Elise and safe travels once you do.
 

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FIND ANY GUNS UNDER THE SEAT? OR IMMIGRANTS IN THE BOOT?
 
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Glad to hear…I had a great experience with Montway as well for price, commitment, communication and reliable transportation long distance. This was after I was continuously delayed by another carrier trying to get a bid accepted on the board.
 

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Now we know! I am not sure how big their operation is. They don't have a web presence, but here are the contact details in case anyone is interested:

I might caution against this. When booking through a broker, they use "central dispatch". It is a system where these guys derive their main portion of their income. If anything goes wrong, a 'bad' review will cost these guys their livelihood. So they work very hard in resolving any claims QUICKLY. To be on central dispatch, they need to keep current insurance...etc.

I know this because I had a $3000 damage claim on a transport one time. The guy did not use the nose lift and broke the little carbon fiber center splitter. The transporter's payments and bookings were put on 'hold' until the claim was resolved. I got a call from the shippers insurance company that day and the process to make the claim right was started immediately. Within one business day, check was mailed.

You may cut out the broker, but you are also cutting out the system that keeps these guys wanting to have perfect feedback. Also, you calling the shipper directly probably wont get a 'better' price. The way central dispatch works, is the broker puts a load out to bid at a rate. Drivers pick up loads that suit where they are relative to their current runs. So it makes for very efficient shipping.

You call them direct, and the chances of them having a load right next to where you need it are small. So you will probably end up paying more.


 
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