The story of importing my GAZ from Poland to the UK.
I found my GAZ 69 via the internet in a little village in south-west Poland. He was 100% original, and had only been decommissioned from military unit in Warsaw a month before I found him. I didn't think twice. Paid the deposit and started organising shipment to England.
I decided to bring him back by trailer towed by my old Mitsubishi. Crossing the channel and driving across Germany took much more time then I expected. We arrived in Poland very late in the night.
The next day, after a short inspection I knew: this is 'my' GAZ. Exactly what I was looking for.
The GAZ driving unaided onto the trailer.
There was 1000 miles to drive across Poland, Germany, Belgium, Holland, France, English Channel and England...
... so he had to be well strapped down.
Petrol station in Poland.
Short brake in Germany.
This army vehicle keep chasing us!
Getting more fuel in Germany. After just few miles the old Mitsubishi refused to go any further. With cracked engine block, there was no way to go any further.
After a night in the hotel we hired a van with a towing bar. That was the only option to get the GAZ home. The Mitsubishi stayed in Germany, looked after by local mechanics. We thought it was only a head gasket blown.
The little van was doing well, slowly but surely getting us across Europe. In the evening we arrived at the ferry terminal. They allowed us to use previously booked tickets, even if the towing vehicle was different. Thank you SeaFrance!
GAZ at Calais, Just before getting onto the ferry.
On the ferry.
I was told that I would have to pay duty and tax while crossing the border. That proved not to be true. Everything can be done later, from home. The paperwork I had to fill in was quite complicated, especially choosing the right form. There was no duty or VAT to pay for a vehicle like this imported from within European Union.
At last! Arrived at home about 4am. Didn't even think about unloading that night.
The GAZ is just about touching the English ground for the first time.
He drove into the drive and the engine stopped. The engine refused to start again. Obviously didn't like his new home...
Click here to see more photographs of that amazing adventure.
He was stored away by the army for all his life. Covered genuine 7.000 miles in 40 years! All he needed was good service to ensure that everything is OK for the MOT.
He passed it without any major problems. The tester fully understood the nature of old military vehicles and the need of keeping it as close to the original state as possible. So no need for amber indicators, seat belts etc.
Registering the vehicle in the UK was quite easy. The DVLA provide a list of required documents. I had a little problem of proving the year of manufacture. The temporary Polish registration document I had didn't state it. This can be done by the MVT and the letter from them will be accepted by the DVLA. Go to your local branch of DVLA rather then send your paperwork to Swansea. They will issue a number plate related the area where you live rather then random one. It's nice.
Do not let the uninformed MOT tester force you to install seat belts in your classic vehicle. IT IS NOT LEGAL REQUIREMENT if your vehicle wasn't originally intended to be equipped with this safety feature.
My personal opinion? No matter how massive bracket you use, if it is just bolted to the floor and not to the chassis, your safety is very illusive.
The story of importing my GAZ from Poland to the UK.