Global Maserati Gathering soured by Border Force

By: Mark Higgins, Unique Cars magazine

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maserati global gathering2018 Happy times - unfortunately events like this are doomed if something isn't done. maserati global gathering2018
glen sealey maserati Glen Sealey of Maserati Australia glen sealey maserati

Cars held on docks amid confusion over asbestos inspections

The Australian Border Force soured the inaugural Maserati Global Gathering in Australia by refusing to release several priceless cars to compete in the event; demanding they first undergo an asbestos inspection, despite, as we understand, being accompanied by supporting paperwork that they were free of the material.

It's the latest chapter of a major crackdown by the Federal Government department that introduced massive fines up to $900,000 in March 2017 for asbestos found in cars and is threatening to destroy an industry and livelihoods.

After several days of intense negotiations with the car owners, their customs agents and Australian Border Force drew a blank, Maserati Australia Chief Operating Officer Glen Sealey help broker the release of two cars: a 2008 Quattroporte Bellagio Touring and a mid-2000s 4200 model.

However, trapped in a bond store and unable to participate in this historic Maserati event were several others, including a 1974 Frua Quattroporte built for the Aga Khan and a 1964 5000GT owned by Eagle guitarist Joe Walsh that inspired his legendary song Lifes Been Good with the lyrics: "My Maserati does one-eighty-five, I lost my license, now I don't drive".

Arrangements are being made to have the cars shipped back to their home ports, having never turned a wheel on Australian soil.

Today it's also been revealed two of the cars were from Australia and had been sent overseas for restoration.

The actions of the Australian Border Force clearly puts events like the Maserati Global Gathering and Motorclassica in jeopardy and puts another nail into the coffin of plans for those wanting to import a classic.

Since 2017, some local classic car dealers who relied on imports have ceased bringing in cars, in part because of the risk of fines and the unreasonable demands being made, plus the damage that inspection agents referred by Border Force have inflicted on expensive cars. 

Unique Cars magazine will be pursuing this story further. Also look out for our report on the event itself, which was excellent.

In the meantime, here is some earlier reporting on the asbestos issue:

Dock drama for importers

USA pre-import asbestos inspections

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