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USA car trip.


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Hello there Lotus fans. 

I am looking for some expert help/advice from knowledgeable people in the USA.

My wife and I are planing to travel down from Vancouver to LA/San-Francisco next year.

What I would really like to do is buy a cheap vehicle in Seattle (or even Vancouver, if logically possible) drive it all down US Route 101 and sell it in LA.

Alternatively, I have heard of people delivering cars, so you pick-up a vehicle and deliver free

of charge (you may have to put the petrol in?).


Is what I am talking about even possible?

I am a Brit by the way... 

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Top Posters In This Topic are not talking of buying a Lotus, ( I read the word cheap,  lol  ) or are you?


Sounds like a great plan and a lot of fun.  I see no reason why you couldn't do it. It is, of course, a great trip of a life time, although I would probably end in San Francisco as going into LA isn't all that great unless you want to do something special in the LA area. Traffic is the worst and the roads are terrible and beat up.


But if you drive another hour or so to San Diego, there are many beaches and sites to visit and it is a much nicer place to see. I lived there for a few years. I would think you may also want to see a car race while in the area so planning it accordingly might be fun as well.




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Share on other sites are not talking of buying a Lotus, ( I read the word cheap,  lol  ) or are you?

No, not a Lotus Richard, looking to bu something cheap but, hopefully reliable that I can sell in the South without loosing too much money. Alternatively, the car/truck/pickup/whatever  delivery option would be great.

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Well, if you are going down 101, then you are in for many curvy, twisty fun corners ( best to have a Lotus here ) so I would pass on the truck and get something that has good road manners like maybe a Ford Fusion ( best selling medium size car in the US and at the top of the class too). There is a huge market of cars here in Seattle so there should be no problem finding a good car to buy and then sell.


The only problem you might find is that California has stricter smog laws so you don't want to buy a car that passes in the state of Washington, that won't meet CA regulations so no one wants to buy it in CA. So just make sure it will meet CA laws.


I probably would not buy a car in B.C. as there may be extra charges like duty coming across the boarder and their cars, many times are different, being made in Canada than the USA. 


Just something to ponder. Sounds like a great trip. hope you have a good one!

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Thanks for the reply Richard. Do you know if there are likely to be any issues for me regarding vehicle ownership (as a non national). I bought a vehicle in Thailand recently and I had a terrible time transferring it to my name. Had to go to immigration, show proof of residency, visa, all sorts of time consuming rubbish. I really can't afford time or money having to wait around in Seattle having to do the same sort of thing.

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Not sure about that but I have never heard of anything like that here in the states.


If you have to know right now, I would call the dmv ( department of motor vehicles ) here in Washington state and find out.



Or, visit their web site for more information. 


I looked around and didn't see anything related to your question but if here, you go to the bottom of the page, you can  ask them a question.


hope this helps.

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Richard - do yourself a favor and rent a car, if you shop smart you can get them for $20-30 day on sites like Priceline and Hotwire.  


Issues you'll have owning and selling a car in the US: 


You'll need to register the car with the WA DMV to take ownership, meaning you'll need a US address to send the vehicle title to etc.  When you register the car the DMV may want to see proof of insurance (at least they do in California), and not having a US drivers license will make it next to impossible to get insurance, and even if you did, it'll probably cost you more than the car.  Sure you can drive without insurance, but if caught in California your car can be confiscated and the fines heavy, and lord help you if you get into an accident and the lawyers get involved.


Selling a Washington state registered car in California can also be a challenge. You'll have to get the car inspected by the CHP to prove it's not stolen or wanted, then get it smogged (which can be a tricky for out-of-state cars to pass), next, goto the California DMV to register to a CA address and show proof of insurance etc.


Yes it can be done, but honestly you'll be a lot better off simply renting and walking away at the end.  The auto "drive away/delivery" is certainly an option, but tends to be seasonal, meaning the folks in Washington come South in the Winter.  I did exactly that in the 1980's driving a Mustang from New York to LA with the first time I ever drove in the in the US being Mid-Town Manhattan in the rush hour (an experience I'll never forget!).


Things have changed a lot since in the 1980's when a lot of folks used to do exactly what you're describing, and honestly for your own piece of mind and enjoyment simply rent and walk away at the end of your trip.  Sure, it can be done, but the effort and expense in time is probably better spent on driving down the coast vs dealing with US state bureaucracy! 


If you make it to California drop me a note and I'll get our local Lotus crowd together.

Paddle Faster, I hear Banjos!
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