News : EU-wide MoTs – call to action!

Carole Nash Classic Insurance Specialists

The Association of Car Enthusiasts is encouraging people to make themselves heard in opposing EU-wide MoT legislation that could hinder drivers who want to modify their cars.

We recently broke this story, stating that the European parliament is leading a consultation into vehicle testing, and one of those who was involved in this process suggested that the Germans were leading this process…

Here’s the story in full from the ACE website.


Beacham's gorgeous Mk2 Super V8: would it be allowed under new EU-wide MoT legislation?
Beacham’s gorgeous Mk2 Super V8: would it be allowed under new EU-wide MoT legislation?

ACE has always been of the opinion that modifying of vehicles would eventually end by the ability to do so being slowly eroded by small pieces of legislation rather than one single regulation. We have unfortunately now been proved correct with a single item before the EC parliament that will prevent any modifying and will, currently, render already modified cars illegal.

Without a large effort over the next 6 weeks this ’proposal’ will pass into law very shortly afterwards.

We have in our possession a questionnaire issued by DfT asking for views on the legislation and we feel it couldn’t make any clearer the end outcome.
This is NOT a Consultation document as there are no active documents via VOSA or DfT relating to this legislation.

Quoting from the DfT document: The Commission proposes to introduce a definition for a roadworthiness test that components of the vehicle must comply with characteristics at the time of first registration. This may prevent most modifications to vehicles without further approval of the vehicle. (this will apply to many components and to all types of vehicle)

The Commission proposes to change the definition of an Historic Vehicle that may be exempt from periodic testing. This may allow vehicles older than 30 years to be exempt from testing providing the vehicle has been maintained in its original condition, including its appearance.

http://tinyurl.com/cpw5lnj

In the DfT interpretation it is all ‘proposes’ and ‘may’ .
However, as shown later in this article, This is going to happen unless a member of the EC Parliament forces reconsideration.
Normally a ‘proposal’ such as this would require a separate Consultation to be done with all interested parties. However this is not the case as this ‘proposal’ brings together various items already covered in previous Consultations. Again this will be dealt with in depth further on in this article.

The proposal itself
http://ec.europa.eu/transport/doc/roadworthiness-package/com%282012%29380.pdf

ACE and several other organisations who we work with will input to DfT but that alone is not enough. We need everyone to be made aware and bring all possible pressure to bear to ensure this ludicrous ‘proposal’ does not pass into law. All those who wish to be involved should contact ACE and discuss what is to be done to fight and also address any queries that need resolving. ACE shall be opening a forum to improve communication in the very near future, we are taking this step because we have very little time to go to other forums to deal with queries due to such a short time frame.

The Details
How can it become law without Consultations taking place?

They have already taken place! The Consultation took place via a EU only website and was, to all intents and purposes purely to do with Roadworthiness testing. These are the other Consultations that have formed the backbone of this ‘proposal’

Directive 2009/40/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 6 May 2009 on roadworthiness tests for motor vehicles and their trailers (OJ L 141 of 6.6.2009, p.12).
Directive 2000/30/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 6 June 2000 on the technical roadside inspection of the roadworthiness of commercial vehicles circulating in the Community, as amended (OJ L 203 of 10.8.2000, p.1).
Council Directive 1999/37/EC of 29 April 1999 of 29 April 1999 on the registration documents of vehicles (OJ L 138 of 1.6.1999, p.57).
COM(2011) 144 final.
COM(2010) 186 final.
COM(2008) 30 final.
Directive 2008/50/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 21 May 2008 on ambient air quality and cleaner air for Europe (OJ L 152, 11.6.2008, p.1)
http://ec.europa.eu/bepa/pdf/monti_report_final_10_05_2010_en.pdf

“An open consultation was conducted over the Internet from 29 July 2010 to 24 September 
2010. The Commission received 9,653 responses from citizens, Member State authorities,
 equipment suppliers, test centres, garage associations and vehicle manufacturers.”

This is the Consultation in question:-
http://ec.europa.eu/transport/road_safety/take-part/public-consultations/pti_en.htm

So how do things change with this ‘proposal’?
Firstly all vehicles other than clearly defined Historic must undergo a roadworthiness test and part of that will ensure that the vehicle meets its original Type Approval, i.e. is totally standard.

“General context
Before a vehicle is allowed to be put on the market, it has to fulfil all the relevant type or individual approval requirements guaranteeing an optimal level of safety and environmental standards. Every Member State has the obligation to register for the first time any vehicle that got the European type-approval on the basis of the “Certificate of Conformity” issued by the
vehicle manufacturer.”

“….The goal of roadworthiness testing is to check the functionality of safety components, the environmental performance and the compliance of a vehicle with its approval.”

Who is this going to affect?

Within the ‘proposal’ it states that: –
This Regulation shall apply to vehicles with a design speed exceeding 25 km/h of the following categories, as referred to in Directive 2002/24/EC, Directive 2007/46/EC and Directive 2003/37/EC: motor vehicles having at least four wheels, used for the carriage of passengers
and with not more than eight seats in addition to the driver’s seat –

Vehicle category M1, motor vehicles used for the carriage of passengers and with more than eight seats, excluding the driver’s seat;
Vehicle category M2 and M3, motor vehicles having at least four wheels, normally used for the road carriage of goods and with a maximum permissible mass not exceeding 3 500 kg;
Vehicle category N1, motor vehicles used for the carriage of goods and having a maximum permissible mass exceeding 3500kg;
Vehicle categories N2 and N3, trailers and semi-trailers with a maximum permissible mass not exceeding 3500kg;
Vehicle categories O1 and O2 trailers and semi-trailers with a maximum permissible mass exceeding 3500kg;
Vehicle categories O3 and O4
two or three-wheel vehicles;
Vehicle categories L1e, L2e, L3e, L4e, L5e, L6e and L7e wheeled tractors with a maximum design speed exceeding 40km/h;
Vehicle category T5
.

Will anyone be exempt from being tested to original standard specification?

Once again within the ‘proposal’ This Regulation shall not apply to:

  • vehicles of historic interest
  • vehicles belonging to armed forces, fire services, civil protection, emergency or rescue services
  • vehicles used by agricultural, horticultural, forestry, farming or fishery undertakings with a maximum design speed not exceeding 40 km/h
  • specialised vehicles transporting circus and funfair equipment with a maximum design speed not exceeding 40 km/h and only operating on the territory of the Member State.

So Historic vehicles won’t have to worry?
Within the UK we have a system that allows alterations to ANY, including Historic, vehicles whilst still allowing them to retain their identity. Known commonly as the 8 point system and also we have the ability to change body appearance on chassis based vehicles.
However the ‘proposal’ contains a NEW EU wide Historic vehicle definition.
“(7) ‘vehicle of historic interest’ means any vehicle which fulfils all the following conditions :
It was manufactured at least 30 years ago,It is maintained by use of replacement parts which reproduce the historic components of the vehicle; It has not sustained any change in the technical characteristics of its main components such as engine, brakes, steering or suspension and It has not been changed in its appearance;”

This ties in with the FIVA definition ACE has been warning would become law, rather than being used as a ‘lobbying tool’ as suggested by others.

Why do you keep saying ‘proposal’ rather than Proposal?

Because this is anything but a Proposal which most would assume requires further consultation. This will pass into law very shortly.

The procedure for becoming law is: http://www.europarl.europa.eu/aboutparliament/en/0080a6d3d8/Ordinary-legislative-procedure.html

Once forwarded it only takes two readings by EU Parliament and EU Council without objection and it becomes law!

The ‘proposal’ has already been forwarded to both Parliament and the Council as detailed here :-

http://tinyurl.com/ccjr93n

Keith Adams

Keith Adams

Editor and creator AROnline at AROnline
Created www.austin-rover.co.uk in 2001 and built it up to become the world's foremost reference source for all things BMC, Leyland and Rover Group, before renaming it AROnline in 2007.

Is the Editor of the Parkers website and price guide, formerly editor of Classic Car Weekly, and launch editor/creator of Modern Classics magazine. Has contributed to various motoring titles including Octane, Practical Classics, Evo, Honest John, CAR magazine, Autocar, Pistonheads, Diesel Car, Practical Performance Car, Performance French Car, Car Mechanics, Jaguar World Monthly, MG Enthusiast, Modern MINI, Practical Classics, Fifth Gear Website, Radio 4, and the the Motoring Independent...

Likes 'conditionally challenged' motors and taking them on unfeasible adventures all across Europe.
Keith Adams

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30 Comments

  1. Hmm.. hard call for me, I really don’t get in with the throwing everything out of a Mk2 jag and putting a modern one in a Mk2 shell and pretending its a Mk2 Vicarge were really bad for this, destroying many Daimler V8s to make jags, Its a new car. The fact that nearly every SD1 on the owners club website seems to be modified in some way or other is also depressing. Cars with period mods though are entirely differnt and are ‘of their time’. But then I also don’t get on with the ‘throw the car away and build a new one and pretend its the same car’ restorations such as happend to that N reg SD1

  2. @ Stewart
    Agreed. The amount of pre-1971 registered Minis on the classic scene with mid-engine conversions and the like is unreal.
    I sense a bit of hypocracy from ACE here, as they seemed to strongly support the idea of keeping cars to original spec in a report I read a while ago when this sort of thing was first mooted

  3. So what happens if parts are no longer available but something modern could be adapted to keep a vehicle on the road? And how many MOT stations are going to keep Giant instruction manuals of obsolete cars to identify any modifications?

    This has been brewing for some time as I recall when Motor and Autocar merged back in late 1980s/early 1990s Manufacturers were complaining back then about too many classic cars, also the use of modern parts/modifications, like unleaded engines etc from a newer vehicle could be used in an older car, It has long been said that some owners keep hold of cars far too long thus “Harming the industry” Looks like they are finally getting their way.

  4. There’s a big gap between keeping the cars going by using alternative parts and that Beecham at the top of the page. They take Very good to pristine Mk2’s and throw them away and stuff a modern XJ into the remaining shell. Whats left is in no way a Mk2, rather a sihoulette of one if you wnat to drive a Mk2, buy one, if you don’t want to drive one, don’t buy one. Then tehre are those that deliberatly look for already rare cars and then throw all the rare parts away to make some ‘wonderfull’ creation, Happend to a TP vitesse, some muppet fitted an american V8 and rear axle and a few other bits, Had to be a TP to start with though.. why not use a 2000.. or better still a 2400SD? he binned all the Vitesse parts virtually only the shell remained! Then there was a Golf G60 Syncro that had a Vr6 fitted and the 4 wheel drive system binned. Used it because the ‘shells are stiffer’ than stadnard golfs, well with that heavy V6 up front theres no advantage to that. Modifed classics are never worth as much as the original car and so most of these creations end up being broken for spares so it does spell the end of a rare potential classic. Then we get things like Charlie Ware’s Mk3 minor which is very much the original car updated and retains most of the quirks that are the character of the minor unlike the Beecham Mk2 which is a modern car that looks like an old one.

    I’ve got a ‘modded’ classic, A mk1 Sprite, but all the parts on it are all genuine sprite parts, it does not have a bike engine but a 1380cc twin SU A-sereis, no 5 speed box, rather a ribcage Mk3 sprite box.. Mk3 front brakes and so on. Love to know how many testers would know how much of it was not original.

    In relaity I suspect its unworkable for some cars, such as mine, how many testers are going to know it should have drum brakes on the fromt? (How many Mk1 sprites still have their drums, very few I suspect) Are they going to force you to remove the seat belts?

  5. Personally,i dont see the need for the EU to meddle,this is not industry protectionism its idiots in the EU saying some 3-4000 people die on europes roads for needless reasons,presumably because someone has converted thier 90 Tdi from drum handbrake to disc,while there are cars and people there are going to be accidents,this is why we have fat,bloated cars nowadays-it started with the 408 with its nine mile long fron overhang and continues with some other not so sleek cars,why meddle? our MOT system is one of the best and fairest in europe only differing station to station on the mood and personality of the VT.Its the drivers in the main that cause accidents due to human error,arsing about and generally not reading the road or pissed.If you are unlucky to encounter black ice or a diesel spill thats how the biscuit breaks,our system is balanced and fair,if no one likes an outcome of a test we appeal,we dont need no more red tape which prevents some geezer on the next street modifying his MK2 escort or an enthusiast restoring a MGB from the ground up with newer,safer and modern coilover suspension and parabolic leaf springs-all as lomg as it is safe and passes an MOT-which is only a minimum standard when the vehilce is presented in any case.This needs to be opposed strongly,thereare better ways to make roads safer like removing street furniture and traffic lights-that has been a tried and tested formula to reduce accidents so why not look into that further instead?

  6. Modding classics seems to be a modern development. I know Old cars have alsways been subject to this, but what I have seen is the deliberate seeking out of rare cars and then totally changing them in preferance to lesser versions of the same car. Just as well the Lightwieght E-Type and D-type are out of reach of most mortals or we would see those with modern Jag V8s installed, with AC and magnilia leather and wallnut dashes.

    Modding common classics is fine by me, there are enough standard ones left to go round, and period mods are rather nice to find. The worst though are big rims on a classic, it’s like the Queen in a bikini..

    What I would also like to see are the figures on how many accidents have been caused by neglect

  7. Blinking typical an edict from an un-elected body in Brussels which impose laws which are dubious to say the least. If you make a modification to a car, as long as it is road worthy and safe and pass an MOT why should it be illegal? Whats safer – a car on Drums or a car converted to run on Disc’s?
    We are probably not the only nation in the EU thinking that this is a mistake, and again is ignoring the will of the many. Instead of concentrating on pointless things which will not make a difference, but makes Brussels feel big, we should be looking at the state of the roads, insurance firms (and their hyper inflated insurances) and ways to stop people flowting the law.

  8. @francis brett

    They don’t sell the 408 in Europe so it’s not a concern, unless you can import one and there may not be a reference of standard features.

    I’m going to be a bit controversial here and state that my safety concern is that those who previously bought saloon cars or hatchbacks are now buying SUVs. The person who 10 years ago drove a Sunny is now driving a Qashcow.
    The bonnet / engine height of these is head level, if they broadside something like an MX5 they could effectively ‘drive over’ it, their blindspots are so high that I saw an XC90 nearly sideswipe a Clio when joining a motorway, they don’t really fit in parking spaces, when reversing the driver is more likely to rely on sensors rather than looking behind and they give their drivers a sense of invulnerability and sight that can encourage dangerous practices such as tailgating and cutting up.

    I appreciate that there are needs for SUVs, Land Rovers have been sold for years (Series, 90/110, Defender) as have Range Rovers. However where previously they may have been used as a vehicle where such a machine was applicable, now they have became replacements for ordinary hatchbacks.

  9. My Sprite has its drums. I’d love to install a 1.1 eight valve K series, can’t afford it.

  10. @9 i did mean the old 407! at the end of the day we dont buy a car to have crashes in but of course if i drive a mini i would feel vulnerable (the original mini)the trouble is now we are so removed from driving the car with semi autonomous driver aids we become complacant and reliant.
    Setting that aside,we dont need any more silly rules just common sense,we wouldnt give a gun to a baby would we?

  11. @11
    407 does have a long front overhang, most FWD French cars do.
    My Xantia was a nightmare to park because of it.

    Cars have improved, people can push mundane hatchbacks to what was sports car territory not so long ago, thanks to advances in braking and handling. And if all goes wrong, you can rely on crumple zones, rigid body shells and multiple airbags to keep you right.

  12. leight wieght land rover ,i,d like one ,but not with the old engine , a later perkins would do ,the same LOOK but better m p g , it would keep a old rover on the road with out makeing a new one ,

  13. people who use old cars if they wont them to stop better should be able to put better brakes on , fuel ,if they wont a improved engine to make a gallon go further ,it should happen ,

  14. Classci cars are about far more than the look, its the way they behave and drive, the charcateristics that made whatever they were to the time they were current, once you make serious changes to them they are not that car any more. Would you fit a perkins to a 1938 Rolls Royce Wriath? a car that is still known as the quietest car Rolls Royce has ever made

  15. I am amazed that this piece has only attracted 15 comments, and similarly on a popular forum the responses are muted too. To me it looks like the Germans (because you can be sure that’s where this stems from) want to legislate older cars off the road, by making it impossible to drive anything which isn’t exactly how it left the showroom.

    This is very worrying.

  16. So modifying your car by putting upgraded brakes, and maybe a modern fuel efficent engine falls foul of the proposed law ?
    What a crock of sh*t.
    And how is this law supposed to do anything ? apart from make the MOT man’s life harder. Will it save the environment ? Will it reduce road deaths and accidents ?
    Sooner we pull out of the eec the better.

  17. @12,look at the side of the 407 from the centre of the front wheel to the front bumper there is nearly a metre there,so that is a large overhang from centre of axle.

  18. Beacham’s Jaguar is from New Zealand is it not? I would hope that it gets an MOT before its put on the road in England or Europe 😉 alex

  19. So no modifications, eh? I’m currently in the process of organising a 16000 mile trip through Europe and South America in my Maxi which will have a few mods to suspension, wheels, tyres and engine to cope with this journey. And now I’m told I can’t do the European leg because my car wouldn’t get an MoT? Seriously? Why the heck am I bothering giving up my free time organising this so that a bunch of unelected morons can justify their pay?

    Bloody madness!

  20. @21,i would be surprised if there was any legs in these proposals,a friendly VTS is always about and the EU have bigger fish to fry like the Greek economy collapse.Everyone had a chance to vote for UKIP and similar,people get what they vote for and deserve,apathy breeds idiots like these folk whom propose nonesense like this.

  21. Just had a quick speed-read. This sounds like another gin-laced pile of EU legislation designed to strangle us. If only the inward looking, fat-bellied committee would look up from their manifestos and realise the world outside the EU is doing great because their committee has pushed all our “dirty” processes outwards in our want to out-law them on EU soil. I understand safety is paramount on our bulging roads, but hey – how far do you go? How tight do you squeeze? How sanitised do we become? How bored whitless with the mass-produced Berlingo clone cars do we have to get? We’ve outlawed that much in Europe that we’ve now got a Eurozone crisis. I’m sure it can’t only be me who can see the Brussels MEP crowd are actually going too far. This is time for “Petrol Heads” to scream out the words NO, STOP and ENOUGH. I’m sat here typing under a low energy lamp, clutching my bag for life. My business is based on re-cycling and re-using. I’m doing my bit for Europe and keeping my carbon footprint as low as possible. Please don’t bleach out the need for speed!

  22. My insurance broker told me that fitting Vauxhall alloy wheels to my Omega could affect my insurance premium. Presumably, this means the old Chinese front/ remould rear tyres and bent steel rims were safer than new low-profiles. Funny old world.

  23. @Ken Strachan

    Is that not more to do with the desirability (and potential theft) of the car or wheels?
    Or are all modifications classed as a danger because of boy racers putting halfords wheels on civics then punting them into ditches?

  24. I have written to my Euro MP protesting these proposals and strongly urge anyone who cares about the right to own modified cars does so also.

    Whilst I would strongly prefer that certain drivers refrained from modifying their vehicles in a tasteless manner, I would defend their right to do so.

    It can be difficult determining what the original equipment was for a given car as manufacturers change specs, and even the dealers can’t always tell whether certain alloys were fitted as standard or as an extra- harder still when the manufacturer is obscure or has gone out of business.

  25. So wait: Answer me YES or NO:

    If I modify a classic car in ANY way INCLUDING retro parts which were of the time but NOT fitted to that car previously, it will NOT pass the EuroMOT?????

  26. Reading this, it’s a vague but well-intentioned piece of legislation.

    I find it terrifying that cars over 30 years old, if original, should not be tested. That implies I could get a knackered 1981 Whatever, and only get picked up for driving an unroadworthy vehicle if the police should happen to stop me. (The Commission proposes to change the definition of an Historic Vehicle that may be exempt from periodic testing. This may allow vehicles older than 30 years to be exempt from testing providing the vehicle has been maintained in its original condition, including its appearance.)

    I read the intent of the legislation as being that modified cars will need at best a re-test and at worst a Type Approval, after the modification – so presumably if you fit a K-Series to your MG Midget you’ll be running it down to the MOT station. (This may prevent most modifications to vehicles without further approval of the vehicle.)

    Overall it just feels sloppily worded, because member states can then interpret what ‘further approval’ means, and what ‘historic/may be exempt from testing’ means. The worst-case scenario outlined here is that sticking a set of poly suspension bushes on means you have to take your car in for type approval, whereas you won’t get tested on anything pre-1982 whether it’s a Roller or a Lada. The best case (assuming it was passed, which seems unlikely) is that member states will interpret it sensibly – bear in mind this is deliberately general to allow national governments to implement as they see fit. Overall though, I fail to see any value-add from it beyond the current system, even if it’s done with the best of intentions to prevent (for example) people sticking a 302 V8 in an Anglia and keeping the drum brakes.

  27. These nonsense proposals mean that a MOT tester has the build info for whatever car is presented to check against-that is every single component down to a nut or washer.
    It would be sensible as above comment to type approve serious mods like big engines/brakes and suspension to suit or at the very least a inspection,but lets face it the papers are not awash with death-trap modified cars killing all and sundry.Let sleeping dogs lie.

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