Importation and price guide

Importation and Price Guide

Table of Contents:
Be Patient
Do your Research
What are you getting into?
Where to obtain the car
NZ Law
Working with an importer
Rough importation cost guide



As you probably know, DeLoreans are fairly rare, especially in New Zealand, when they do come up for sale, they tend to be very overpriced. Most of the DeLoreans I have seen for sale are listed between $40,000 to $65,000 which is a lot of money to spend on a “weekend car”.

DeLoreans are not so rare in the USA, and sell a lot cheaper, even for decent condition ones. So in this article, I will cover the steps and information around importing your own DeLorean to New Zealand.

Be Patient

Don’t rush into importing a car… have a read though this guide, learn what you need to know and take your time!

Do your research

I have been researching DeLoreans in general for several years now, and seriously researching importation for around 6 months. you need to know a few things:

  • What you are getting into; the foibles of DeLorean ownership
  • Budget, what you get for your money
  • Where to obtain the car
  • NZ Laws around importation of a car and getting it on New Zealand Roads
  • Working with an importer
  • Maintaining your DeLorean

What are you getting in to?

First thing is first.. do you really want to import a DeLorean? its probably going to be one of the most complicated things you’ve ever done and the end result is a car that could be more trouble than its worth.

I’m not going to get in to all the issues with DeLoreans (on this page), but to be 100% honest, they can suffer from a lot of ‘New Car Teething Issues” — Remember the DeLorean Car company closed before all the issues could be worked out of the cars. The issues range from things like:

  • Windows falling out
  • Doors locking you in, with the only way to unlock is to pull the fuse
  • Bad fuel supplies/pumps causing starting issues
  • Worn cams causing bad cam knock (you’ll be surprised how many DeLoreans suffer from this)
  • Engine fires

The list goes on. Don’t get me wrong though, if you do your research and ask the right questions you can end up with a daily driver that lasts you a life time, but you need to know about the issues before you buy! I’ll add a “common problems and fixes” page later on.

So why would you want one? Everyone would have their own reasons, I want one because I love the history of the car. The entire DeLorean story is fascinating, and getting a car factory from nothing to producing cars in 6 years (DMC was founded in late ’75 the first production car rolled off the line in ’81) is an amazing feat! and to me, the DeLorean is an icon of the 80’s when I was born.


So you’ve decided you want to buy a DeLorean? well I’m sure the first question you will ask, is “how much do they cost?” Well, you need to do your own research, Start by having a look at the pages in my links page. as with all other steps, this will take time, don’t just have a quick look, spend weeks re-visiting these pages. Keep on top of the new listings and note what condition you get for the prices. As a quick reference I have found over the past 6 months, this is what you get for your money:

Price Range (USD) Description
$5,000-$10,000 Rough damaged or painted
$10,000-$20,000 Needs work but runs
$20,000-$30,000 An everyday DeLorean, good condition with no dents
$30,000-$35,000 Low milage and in “mint” condition
$35,000-$45,000 Concourse condition, very low mileage, museum quality
$45,000+ Brand new, built by DMC Texas using old parts

 Remember this is a guide, spend the time to write your own guide, as times change, as do exchange rates.

Where to obtain the car

Obviously the links page on this site is a good place to start. Ebay is a great place to find DeLoreans, but remember to look at “Buy Now” prices rather than the bid prices. Many times I have seen a DeLorean be listed at $5,000usd then sell for over $50,000. I know a lot of people who assume the first bid price is what they will get the car for, this simply isn’t true. Remember the USA have a population of 311 million people… that’s a lot of competition for bidding on a car!

I recommend buying from a dealer if possible, you may spend a little more, but generally they are a little more trustworthy and you have someone to hold accountable should the car never turn up!

NZ Laws around importation of a car and getting it on New Zealand Roads

Most of the information you will need is located here, however i will grab a few relevant snippets for your convenience below:

The only vehicles that can be registered as LHD and driven on New Zealand roads are those that belong to one of the specific categories of LHD that are permitted by law. 

Under Land Transport Rule: Steering Systems (2001), it’s generally illegal to register a LHD vehicle for use on New Zealand roads. However, the rule allows some specific categories of LHD vehicles to be registered and operated.

I won’t list all the categories, only this one as it applies to DeLoreans:

Category B: Light vehicles that are 20 years old or more

These are light vehicles that were manufactured more than 20 years before their date of first registration in New Zealand

The vehicle must be Class MA, MB or MC with a gross vehicle mass not exceeding 3.5 tonnes, or a Class NA vehicle, that was manufactured in a country other than New Zealand 20 years or more before the vehicle is certified.

The vehicle must not be operated in a transport service.

MA = Class MA (passenger car up to and including 9 seats)

The main processes for importing a car are:

  • MAF and Customs clearance
  • Border inspection (structural)
  • Entry certification
  • Vinning

The above will cost around $800 to $1000NZD

For more information please read the official NZTA information page here.

Another cost you will have to pay will be GST:

The full “ADVICE ON PRIVATE MOTOR VEHICLE IMPORTS” factsheet can be found on the official customs NZ page, but to summarise:

Duty and GST are calculated on the customs value of privately imported new or used motor vehicles, which is determined in accordance with the provisions of the Second Schedule of the Customs and Excise Act 1996. In normal circumstances, the customs value is determined as the price paid or payable overseas for the vehicle (which includes overseas vehicle registration fees and insurance costs paid to the retailer) by the importer, less:

    • any overseas duties or taxes included in the price paid which have been rebated or refunded before the vehicle arrives in New Zealand
    • an allowance for depreciation if the vehicle has been personally owned and used by the importer overseas for not less than 90 days prior to the arrival of the vehicle in New Zealand.

So basically you pay GST on the cost of the goods, plus cost of freight plus duty. You can fund a handy calculator here to work out the GST on your purchase. See the example below the table in “working with an importer” below to see an example of GST.

Working with an importer

There are many Car importation companies in New Zealand, to be safe you should allow around $7000 NZD to get the car from the seller in the US to your front door. Allow even more if the car is inland. I looked at importing a car from Minnesota and the total importation was going to be $8427.45.

I would also recommend using an “escrow” service, which means you pay the escrow service and they in turn pay the vendor of the car. This way, if there are any issues with the car, the escrow service won’t pay the seller and you get your money back.

Extreme Global are a favourite importer of mine, the also provide escrow services, so you can pay them and they will pay the vendor when their agent picks up the car.

Rough guide of how much to expect to pay

To make things easier and give you a rough ballpark idea of how much to allow for each stage, here is a table of the figures I was looking at to get a DeLorean in from Minnesota. The closer to LA the car is, the cheaper the “pickup” fee will be. Again these figures are completley fluid, things change like exchange rates, fuel etc, so only use this table as a rough guide. Also, this table does not include getting the car on the road in NZ! it only covers getting the car into NZ, Vinning, WOF and rego are extra.

We now have an interactive calculator so you can work out for yourself how much it will cost to import your own DeLorean! Click here to visit the DeLorean Importation Quote Calculator.