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  1. Default European in the Northeast - August 2008

    Hi RTA fellows,

    I am planning a short 2-week road trip for this August in the Northeast. I would appreciate any comments on the feasibility.

    Background: I'm flying in from Hungary in Central Europe, but having lived in the States before I feel completely at home. I've also done a Greyhound tour of the East a few years ago, so we can assume I'll make it - hence I've devised some tricky bits just to make things more interesting :)

    1. HOW: for a road trip naturally I need a car. Renting is the last resort - though anything else is pretty difficult without a U.S. address and drivers license.

    My goal would be to buy a car for the trip that at the end I can bring back home with me (well, more like arrange to have it brought home of course...). Being somewhat of a car nut I'm looking for some 60s muscle - right now I've got the 1965-67 Ford Galaxie in my sights: a less appreciated car of its age, hence you can find decent examples around 10k dollars. Note: my main concerns regarding the car are reliability and style. I don't care about fuel economy, new-age gimmicks like satnav and such - this trip is going to cost me anyway, and afterwards the car will be a cruiser.

    However buying a car as a foreigner seems bordering on impossible. My idea would be that an American friend of mine could buy the car and arrange for full coverage insurance so I can drive it too. Is this doable? Am I allowed to drive someone else's car in the U.S.? Is my E.U. drivers license valid in the U.S.?

    I plan to make arrangements with Hungarian import sepcialists to ship the car back to Europe - so at the end of the road trip I just drop the car off and it travels it's own course home in the care of professionals.

    2. WHERE & WHEN:

    Aug 11: fly in to NYC
    Aug 12-14: in NYC, pick up car during this time from friend
    Aug 15: to Atlantic City for the evening = 130 mi
    Aug 16: thru Philly, Baltimore to Washington D.C. = 200 mi
    Aug 17: in D.C.
    Aug 18-20: take Skyline Drive and Blue Ridge Parkway south, at farthest till Roanoke, then head North to Slippery Rock PA (just N of Pittsburgh, fixed date) = 500-700 mi for 3 days depending on how it plays out
    Aug 21: thru Buffalo, Niagara to Toronto = 270 mi
    Aug 22: to Ottawa or Montreal = 420 mi
    Aug 23: to Waitsfield VT (fixed date) = 130 mi
    Aug 24: in Waitsfield VT
    Aug 25: head back to NYC = 330 mi
    Aug 26: fly home

    Total is around 3000 miles with buffer times and shortcut options along the way.

    As you can see, I plan to go thru Canada because I have the time between the two fixed date stops and I've never been there. Question is: am I looking at unnecessary trouble trying to drive a U.S. citizen's car thru Canada and back?

    Any and all comments are welcome - including tips on what to see along this route. Plan is to take the back roads mostly and use Interstates only to catch up time or cut through less interesting areas.


    Budapest, Hungary
    Last edited by AZBuck; 06-15-2008 at 06:34 PM. Reason: Poster Request

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Tucson, AZ

    Default You Need More Than We Can Offer

    Szívesen lát! Welcome aboard the RoadTrip America Forums!

    I see nothing in your planned itinerary that should cause you problems, other than the border crossing which, as you point out, could be problematical. Your EU license should be perfectly valid as long as it has an English language version included. If not, an International Driver's License (which is nothing more than a translation of your own valid license into several languages including English will suffice and is relatively cheap to get. By the same token, youcan certainly buy any car you want here in the US and ship it back to Europe. The trick will be getting it legally registered and licensed to drive in the US. Taking someone else's car across the border is an invitation to problems, and I would not attempt it without at least 1) a notarized letter from its legal owner giving you permission to do so and 2) full insurance. Everything else is really beyond the scope of this or any self-help website and should be taken up with the appropriate consulates, but the these discussions might point you in the right direction.


  3. #3
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Green County, Wisconsin

    Default 2 weeks

    As Buck mentioned, buying a car is difficult process, but the potential problems that stand out for me are the timeframe and the specific nature of the car you are looking for.

    Buying any car can be a time consuming process. You need time to look for cars, have a mechanic inspect it, and then get through all the paperwork. Even in a best case situation, its tough to do everything in a day. Trying to do all that while limiting your search to a classic car would be even more time consuming. You've got 3 days planned in NY, and I'd expect you'd need every bit of that time to get a car and be ready to go.

    It should be possible to have a friend buy the car and give you permission to use it. However, I think the problem you'll run into then is the paperwork of trying to ship the car back to Europe. That is something you'll really need to talk with your importer about.

    Another potential option might be to get some sort of transit permit. Since you'll only have the car for 2 weeks before shipping it out of the country, there might be some ability for you to buy the car and temporarily license it. However, you'll have to see if that's an option, and if there are any restrictions on where you can drive with that license.

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