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Asbestos in Cars

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Asbestos in Cars
  This topic is about my 1968 Triumph TR250
mat2828 Ian M
Perth, WA, Australia   AUS
Having purchased a few classic cars from the USA previously and shipped them to my home town of Perth in Western Australia , I recently purchased a Triumph TR 250 which was advertised here and also on Barn Finds.
I purchased the car on the 20th January 2017 and received the Vehicle Import Approval from the Australian Government on the 3rd Feb 2017.
The car was prepared for transport very kindly by Rick in Baton Rouge and trucked from there to CFR Rinkens located at Texaco Ave, Paramount , CA and awaits other vehicles to make up a total of 4 to fit in a 40 foot high cube for economical shipping to Fremantle Port, Western Australia.
Here comes the dilemma.
A few days ago I received an Email from CFR Rinkens informing me of new Australian regulations which to all intents and purposes , bans the import of all products containing Asbestos into Australia including CAR BRAKES , CLUTCHES , GASKETS etc.
This regulation was given on the 7th March 2017 with NO consultation with the various interested parties.
The Australian Government Department will allow Cars into Australia only if
1) - All such items which potentially could contain Asbestos MUST be tested by a NATA Certified Lab before leaving the country of origin and a highly detailed report completed with assurance that there is no Asbestos present. ( Sounds very expensive besides being impractible in my instance ).
2) - Alternatively , I can employ a local mechanic to replace all such items with new items which must obviously be individually marked and certified Asbestos Free.
So, can anyone recommend a mechanic who can replace all the Brakes , Clutch and check if there are any Exhaust System Gaskets which will need removing.
Regards, a frustrated English man in Australia.
Ian Mathieson

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mgruber921 Avatar
mgruber921 Marvin Gruber
Florence, AL, USA   USA
Really? What a pain. Thats going to be a big, unnescessary cost. Brakes fairly quick but clutch will take some labor. Exhuast, very small if at all. Sorry to hear.

Bpt70gt Avatar
Bpt70gt Brian T
Westmoreland, NH, USA   USA
That's going to be an interesting dilemma. Costly one. Really limits getting classic cars there, but a whole new market for US mechanics close to shipping ports. Paperwork is going to be a pain and who would want to "certify" a car to be clean and put their name on it. Good luck Ian.

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Desert TR Avatar
Desert TR Jim P
Albuquerque, NM, USA   USA

I find this interesting given Australia was the worlds largest exporter of asbestos until it banned mining in ~2003. All this triggered by major health issues related to the Wittenoom mine disaster in NW Australia. (The mine was run for decades with little or no safety regulation. The town has now been officially "erased" from all maps by the government.)


sagreenwoo Stuart Greenwood
San Diego, CA, USA   USA
I suggest that you contact the Southern California Triumph Owners Association . They are based in Los Angeles.Their web site is Using the Web site you will be able to contact them and they probably can help in finding a mechanic to do the work.

It is highly probably that the car does not have any asbestos in it since using asbestos for gaskets, brake linings and clutches etc was phased out years ago but I presume you have no records of when these parts were last replaced in the car.

If the car was in San Diego ( about 100 miles south of LA) I could be of greater help

Stuart Greenwood
Triumph Sports Car Club of San Diego

simmoTR3A Avatar
simmoTR3A Ian Simmons
Rylstone, NSW, Australia   AUS
Hi Ian,
I sent the email, with my reply to our customs agent. Hope is will keep the topic alive

Thanks for the reply mate. Please send me any updates.

Best Regards
Ian Simmons
Lytmo Classic Automobiles

Rylstone Australia
Tel: +61 2 6379 1910

From: Craig McRitchie - EDI []
Sent: Sunday, April 2, 2017 11:46 AM
To: Simmons Holdings <>
Subject: Re: Check this out

Hi mate.

Yes, the addition of asbestos profiling to vehicles has really rocked the industry. Im on holiday in Los Angeles and had a telephone hook up with numerous industry bodies and Customs last week. We wanted Customs to remove vehicles from the asbestos question but they would not and reported they have had positive tests from cars already so wont budge.

Im waiting for Customs to confirm that changing parts before shipment will ensure the vehicle is not tested on arrival. Testingcosts are very high so there is a lot riding on this assurance.

Thanks for sending me the link. Ive spoken to Ian when he was negotiating the purchase of the car so understand his frustration with the change during the process. Glad you missed out on all this "fun" though.

Craig McRitchie
EDI Customs

mat2828 Ian M
Perth, WA, Australia   AUS
Thanks for your replies guys and I will contact the Stuart , thanks for that info.
Its a ridiculous situation when these people in power enforce such strict rules without any consultation with the Industry users and without putting any real thought into the subject.
Having said that , I don't want to down play the dangers of asbestos , but common sense must prevail.
I will keep my fingers crossed that Craig from EDI can chase down some realistic solutions , thanks for sending the email on Ian S.
Ian Mathieson.

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mat2828 Ian M
Perth, WA, Australia   AUS
Hi Guys,

Its been a while but finally time for an update on the importing of classic cars into Australia that could " potentially " contain asbestos.

The TR 250 actually docks into Fremantle Port tomorrow 26th July.
Its hard to believe I purchased the car on the 20th January !!!!!

As The options I had for entry into Australia were :-

(1) - Have all items replaced / renewed , that could potentially contain asbestos at the country of origin , prior to shipping , with a full written statement from the mechanic or garage doing the work to confirm all brake parts , clutch parts and gaskets have been renewed with asbestos free parts.

The problem then is that the ABF have the option of inspecting the car to have these parts removed and tested ( NATA approved ) and if asbestos is found then BIG fines follow along with the destruction or repatriation of the car , with the cost of the inspection and testing being billed to me.

(2) - The way I chose for certainty was to have all these potentially asbestos containing parts removed and disposed of , Brakes , Clutch and Gaskets and all parts cleaned to remove dust etc.

This was carried out at British Connection by John Haines in California and I can highly recommend this service.

The confirmation that this is the best way to go came yesterday when my customs clearance guy called me to say it will not need to be inspected for Asbestos (Too right because there is nothing to test !!! ).

Well 6 months waiting so I'm really looking forward to seeing the car in the flesh.

I also recently purchased a 1964 Sunbeam Tiger and had John carry out the same removal of parts on that one too.

Hopefully CFR Rinkens can get cracking on this one as they have had it a week now with no news on shipping dates !!!!!!

Thanks guys for the contacts that led to me finding John at British Connection.


Bpt70gt Avatar
Bpt70gt Brian T
Westmoreland, NH, USA   USA
After all this, is it still financially viable to import classic cars into Australia? The market must be good there.

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mat2828 Ian M
Perth, WA, Australia   AUS
I think each make and model of car must be taken on its own merits depending on purchase price , condition , shipping , customs , restoration costs and now this asbestos removal procedure etc , compared against potential market value.

My cars are all keepers for my own collection so its not such a commercial decision but it would be pointless to do all this and spend more than what the car is finally worth.

benfrenchh Ben French
Sevenoaks, KENT, UK   GBR
1980 MG MGB
Hi Ian,

I am just about to ship an MG from UK and was advised by an agent to have clutch, brakes, carb manifold replaced in UK with statements and invoices, which I have done. Sounds like you chose to simply remove those parts. I can't do this as the car is coming RORO. Also, I cant get the parts tested in UK as the testing is destructive.

Did you make the customs statement that the car was asbestos free or that you weren't sure or did the agent make this declaration?

Do you have a recommended import agent?

Do you know of anyone in Perth that can quickly and efficiently remove effected parts in the event that my car gets inspected?

Any help would be great!


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