1. JFB

    JFB Puttering Along

    Hi Everyone,
    This winter, our friend Justin sold me his little blue Trabant.
    I was planning to have it shipped to my door by a car transport company. But a friend of mine with who I did some long distance touring on vintage Vespas, offered me to drive the car from Texas to Montreal!

    Justin on his side worked hard to prepare the car for the trip. My friend Jocelyn and his girlfriend Jeanine will fly to San Antonio on sunday 11th, and then on monday, they will leave to Tennessee, and North-Carolina.
    On the next Saturday, I will drive down to Carlisle PA for the Import Car Show with my Renault R16, and then on sunday we will slowly come back to Montreal. On sunday night I should be able to get the Trabant cleared by the customs at the Canadian border near Plattsburg NY, and then the little Trabi will arrive in Montreal!
    So if you are on Facebook, you can follow the trip on this page!

    Let's hope that Alex (the name of my little car) won't get any trouble on the road to Montreal! it's a 2500 miles trip almost across USA! :)
    Keri likes this.
  2. turbofiat124

    turbofiat124 Premium Member Forum Donor

    Hey, if they are passing through Kingsport, Tennessee which is not far from I-81 tell them to stop by and pay me a visit!

    I used to goto the Carlisle import shows years ago. Quite the selection of French built cars there.
  3. JFB

    JFB Puttering Along

    Cool! I will let them know! :)
  4. vdubbin

    vdubbin Loyal Comrade

    Liked and following, bon chance!
    JFB likes this.
  5. Aaron

    Aaron Leader

    Wow this should be amazing
    JFB likes this.
  6. Keri

    Keri Leader

    2500 miles? No problem!
    Enjoy the ride!
    JFB likes this.
  7. turbofiat124

    turbofiat124 Premium Member Forum Donor

    Any idea what day he might be passing through Kingsport? Im on my phone . Will send you my address.
  8. JFB

    JFB Puttering Along

    Honestely, I don't know, they will leave on monday, so in PM, give me your phone number, and when they will pass near your place, you can meet them! :)
  9. Bill Overbaugh

    Bill Overbaugh King Trabi Administrator Forum Donor

    Awesome! Good luck guys. I'll PM my number, and drive my Trabi out to meet you when you head up to NY.
  10. Justin

    Justin Founder Moderator

    They came and took the car yesterday. I'll let JF give updates if he wants.
  11. Aaron

    Aaron Leader

    Following on Facebook..Only problem is it's in French :(
  12. vdubbin

    vdubbin Loyal Comrade

    Google Chrome is your friend.
  13. JFB

    JFB Puttering Along

    Here's the latest news,
    Everything went wrong... not with the car but with my friend's girlfriend I guess ;-)

    First, they needed a temporary registration to drive the car back to Montreal. I asked the DMV by email few weeks before to make sure to have everything they needed, and once there, they told them that our Canadian insurance was not accepted in Texas. I called Justin who quickly gave me a list of insurances available for us.. but at that point, my friends closed the phone and decided to go on their own.
    I then heard that the car was not running perfectely and was not powerful enough. Again we found few solutions and Justin gave me a list of guys who can help us on the way up north.. But again, they decided that the only option for them was to rent a flat bed trailer and a truck to Uhaul..
    After that, it was over. There's no way they would want to drive the car back.
    I was not really happy. But at least I will be sure to get a running car in good shape, they won't brun the engine on the way.
    We suspected a carb or a timing issue.

    On Monday they drove and stopped in Waco, and yesterday, they arrived in Little Rock Ak. Now they are heading to Memphis.
    They should be in Carlisle PA on Saturday.
    I'm leaving on Friday morning to Carlisle PA with my '70 Renault 16, and with a a small group of Renault collectors from Quebec. One of the guy filled up the trunk of his Renault 5 with tools and he's a good mechanic. He's excited to look at the Trabant when we will join them there.
    I'm sure it will be something stupid.. but they just gave up to do the trip at the wheel of the Trabi.


    983653_774885969195796_3749448982208580538_n.jpg 983653_774885969195796_3749448982208580538_n.jpg 1506543_774882939196099_2634864507280592210_n.jpg 10341519_775399159144477_4846830089737044773_n.jpg 1506543_774882939196099_2634864507280592210_n.jpg
  14. JFB

    JFB Puttering Along

    They are in Graceland! :) image.jpg
    frogbros likes this.
  15. turbofiat124

    turbofiat124 Premium Member Forum Donor

    Well that's how it usually goes. At least your friend should have a "new" reliable tow vehicle!

    Back in January I rented a 2005 box van to move my sister-in-law from Asheville, NC (about 160 km from here) back to Tennessee. I told the guy I wanted the van with the best tires because I was going to be driving it across the mountain and we were expecting snow. Which is did.

    I had to make two round trips in this POS. It made it fine up the mountain then once I got it loaded up and was coming home it started running rough. The check engine light started flashing. That means major engine misfire and risk of engine damage. Then once I made it over the mountain on the Tennessee side, it started to run fine.

    So I get home and wonder, should I take this van back and ask for another one? Since renting a box van is a long drawn out process that usually takes two hours, I was pressed for time and decided I just wing it. I figured it made it this far, why not another 200 miles? I'll just return it and say nothing , probabaly like the guy who rented it before me. Just like me, it will be the next guy's problem! Although the guy from Budget said I was the last guy who was going to be renting it and it was going up for auction in Nashville.

    Going across the mountain it started missfiring again. But coming back it ran fine. I thought I may have had it loaded down with too much stuff but apparantly not because I had more stuff in it the second trip back!

    Oh the adventures in renting box vans!
  16. JFB

    JFB Puttering Along

    Here's the final news about Alex, my little Trabi bought from Justin!
    We meet at the Carlisle Import show two weeks ago, and we drove the final leg to Plattsburgh NY. It's crazy to think that my friends took the Uhaul truck an hour from the Mexican Border and we left the truck about 5 miles from the Canadian Border! :)
    I had to go to the exportation center at the US custom, they retained the title for 3 days, and then I left the Trabant in storage to a Freeport warehouse. They are used to that kind of stuff. At the exportation control, the US custom agent was funny. I asked him if he think that I will have some trouble to export this car out of US, and he answered "well, don't worry, I will make sure by my self that this junk leave the US, By the way, I want to thank you for cleaning up my country by moving the trash out of my land! So I will make sure that it will happen!"...

    3 days later, I came back to the office and got the title back with a stamp from the Homeland Security marked "exported". I then drove the car from the exportation control to the Canadian line, in the no man's land, and then to a closed area of the Canadian Custom where I needed to go to get my custom clearance for the car.
    This time I had an hard time to convince the custom agent that everything was legit. He wanted to know why Justin was not on the title. I had to say that Justin was the Trabant Guru in the US and the guy named on the title left the car to his place for repairs, then decided to sell it.
    He then opened Google and went on the Trabant Forum!
    I pointed him the post that I made where I introduce myself saying that I'm looking for a Trabant.
    He took about half an hour surfing on this forum trying to find a post or an ad that will be contradictory. But he never found anything.
    I'm lucky that he never found the original posting of Justin showing this Trabant that he just found.
    Anyway, soon after, as he was still looking for a smoking gun the Trabant Forum, another guy arrived and wanted to clear a BMW that he just bought in the US... Obviously, that was a more serious case than an stupid collector trying to bring into Canada a two-stroke communist junk.
    So he moved on and signed my paperwork!
    The car was cleared and I crossed the border. Right on the other side, still in the custom area, a provincial police car was waiting for me! Because I didn't have any tag on the car, I was not allowed to drive it! But they were waiting that I step right into a street. I just parked on the side of the service road about 100 meters from the Canadian border, in a service parking area. And I called a towing to pick it up. The towing was busy and he asked me to wait 4 hours there. The police car and the two fat police men stayed there the 4 hours! They never asked me anything, but they were turning around the car once in a while. Sometime they were moving out of sight, and reappear 2 mins later... When the towing arrived, I saw their face drop, like if they lost a huge fish! And within a minute, they left the scene! They probably realized that they had a quota of tickets to do and without me, they were late!
    Anyway, the car is now in my parking lot.

    I cleaned the carb, sent the tank to be cleaned and refurbished. I also checked all the electrical system, and now the car is running perfectly.
    I have to pass the MOT inspection next week.

    frogbros likes this.
  17. JFB

    JFB Puttering Along

    Here's a set of pictures behind the hotel at Carlisle!

    Attached Files:

    Justin likes this.
  18. turbofiat124

    turbofiat124 Premium Member Forum Donor

    Don't you just love going through US/Canadian customs? Last time I went to Canada back in 2000, I pulled into the Canadian customs at Niagra Falls. That was before passports were required. I handed them my driver's licence and told them I was a US citizen but I was hauling three British nationals with me. They never even bothered to look at my driver's licence. All they asked me, was I carrying any handguns or drugs. DUH? If I was do you think I would tell you?

    I said no but told me to pull into a search lot and for my friends to go inside the building to check their passports.

    So three border guards proceed to inspect my van from top to bottom. Then they come to this drawer under the passenger seat that was locked. At this moment this terrible thought entered my head. This was actually my father's van and when he goes to Florida he always carries a .22 piston with him. He had just taken the van to Florida about a couple of months prior and wondered if he had left his piston under the front seat. When I borrowed the van, the first thing I did was drag a trash can over to it and started chucking trash in it. This took me over an hour. I did not see any guns at the time.

    I unlocked the drawer and luckily they found nothing. Then we waited while the Canadian authorities was running my friend's passports through interpol then they allowed us to leave.

    On the trip home, I called my dad and told him about the story and he said, "You know, about a week before you borrowed the van, I was looking for something and found my gun under the driver's seat, I forgot to take it out of the van when I got home"!
  19. JFB

    JFB Puttering Along

    Oh shit! You was terribly lucky!
    Usually the Canadian customs don't really are about guns and firearm, the only thing they want to know is if you bought something or you intent to sell something so they can make you pay taxes...

    We had a joke around here about the customs:
    -you cross the US Border:
    Are you a terrorist? Do you have any explosives or firearms?
    Have you ever committed a crime? A criminal file?
    Euuuh, no?
    Ok, have a nice trip!

    -you cross the Canadian border:
    -do you have any explosives or firearms?
    Euuuh, actually I have a 40 pounds of C4, two guns and an automatic raffle...
    Ok, how much you pay for that? Do you have an invoice?

  20. JFB

    JFB Puttering Along

    It's weird that they controlled and inspected your car for 3 Brits entering Canada, because one of our privilege of been in the British commonwealth is that we are considered almost as compatriots. Last time I crossed the UK border as I was going to take the Channel between France and Britain, when they saw my Canadian passport, they just said "have a nice stay in GB and drive safely" and I drove straight into the train for the tunnel.

Share This Page