News : More than 16,000 call for 30-year classics

Keith Adams

This Rover 3500 is for sale through AROnline. (Picture: Richard Gunn)
This Rover 3500 is would be classified as historic under a 30-year rolling exemption.

A new online e-Petition calling for a change in government policy regarding the historic vehicle exemption. Currently, the VED ruling is that any car registered (or built) before 1 January 1973 is subject zero-rated tax discs – and the petition calls for this to be changed in favour of a rolling 30-year arrangement.

The 1973 date originates from the 25-year exemption introduced during the 1990s, and phased-out by New Labour in 1998.

We’ve already declared our interest in the principle that historic vehicles of all ages should be classified into age bands – in order to put paid to the tedious ‘classic car’ debate, and support in principle a 30-year classifiecation for historic vehicles – logical as cars grow into their historic status.

Classic car clubs and enthusiasts have warmly welcomed the proposal, although an unnamed spokesperson for a major player in the classic car movement, confided, ‘my main concern in putting our head over the parapet, is that the government brings in the 30-year banding, but drops the zero-rated tax band…’

If you agree with the 30-year exemption, visit the e-Petition’s page and show your support by adding your name. If 100,000 signatures are reached, this will trigger a Commons debate.

Keith Adams


  1. To keep the (guaranteed) debate about people to misuse this for cheap motoring (as is in the Netherlands), the free road tax should not only be coupled on age, but also on car condition (i.e. condition 1 or better).

    Here in Germany we have a reduced tax for old cars, but this is still more expensive than the tax for most modern cars, so classic cars will hardly be misused as a cheap form of transport, because they are not that cheap.

  2. I agree with Alex, there needs to be some sort of mechanism to stop abuse. When it first came out we suddenly saw a deluge or rusty old heaps being dragged out of fields and put through and MOT with the bare minimum expense just to avoid paying road tax. The rural garage i was in at the time had about 4 Morris Minors on the books, that suddenly appeared when they became tax exempt, they were utter heaps and only barely scraped through the MOT each year, the floor pans were just patch after patch of bodged metal plates. You couldn’t turn them away, because they would have just bodged them at home or found someone else to do it.

    I think it’s just the wrong time to be trying to do this anyway, given the state of the economy they last thing on any governments mind is to make a load of old cars tax exempt. Even if you get to 100’000 signatures, they’ll just have a debate at which they’ll say they can’t afford it. end of. Would be better to try one the economy has recovered. 

  3. I don’t think tax exemption is the answer either personally.

    What i would like to see is a monthly renewal at no extra charge (ie actual pro rata) so that it would be easier to tax and use the vehicle as and when needed 

  4. I like the idea Mark, and it would be ideal for those with several classics, in that they could all be run in a rotation but I fear monthly renewal would be an admin headache and cost a fortune.
    I can for see thousands of ordinary motorists using the ‘monthly pay’ option, just as they do with insurance, council tax etc.

  5. It wouldn’t be direct debit or anything like that, as I see it. Literally; go to the post office or go online and an extra option for 1 month.. alongside the the current 6 and 12 month options.

    Obviously there’d be minimal additional admin but that would be cheaper than exemption. 

  6. Only 84,000 signatures to go. Can’t see it, myself. In any case, we shouldn’t need a petition. Didn’t the Tories promise to reintroduce it if they got into Number 10?

  7. there are not that meny old cars left ,it is not as though you will make british workers all sheap cars come from india ,but it will give jobs to the repail industry ,

  8. RFL is an important revenue stream. You can’t make too many tax exempt.

    If they linked it to an MOt, all theyd do is make the MOT test 200 quid. Where’s the benefit? Think about it 

  9. Monthly renewal would be a nightmare. There is a recurrent discussion about misuse here in the Netherlands, but they have also noted that the average mileage of these classic cars is still below 2000 kms a year. Including the mileage of these horrible imported tax evader heaps. The tax exempt category will be moved from 25 to 30 years old anyway and Diesel and LPG vehicles (the most likely misused category) will lose part of their exemption. Though the Dutch road tax is a ridiculous system for moderns, I think we can be pleased with this 30 year exemption and we should cherish the possibility to actually use our vehicles.

  10. Monthly renewal wouldn’t be mandatory. Just another option to use the vehicle cheaply over a 12 month period

  11. I think too many people would choose the monthly option ?

    Think of the additional tax discs that would be required if just 10% of the public moved from one a year to twelve!

  12. Excuse me, but where in the original legislation did it say that the tax exempt benefit was linked to limited mileage?

    Sorry guys, but if I want to use my 68 Hornet as a daily runner that is my choice. I pay for an MOT, I pay PLENTY tax in fuel, I pay VAT on parts, tyres, etc.

    The fact is that most folk with cars in the tax-exempt category don’t use them much anyway, so to impose some sort of limit on use is, in my opinion, infringing on people’s right to use their possessions as they wish. If they have a limit put on mileage, then this could put a stop on enthusiasts attending any number of car shows they wish, and from taking their cars out for fair-weather runs when they want once they hit the limit.

    A 30 year rolling exemption should be just that, straightforward criteria without complicated red tape to complicate the system. Drivers have enough confusing legislation to deal with and don’t need more burdened on them.

  13. I can’t believe this raises much revenue. Try campaigning closer to the election and see which party decides its a low-cost vote-winner

  14. Agree with Paul T, as i use my Midget all year round ( although there are other cars in the household), from experience its better than laying a car up for half the year. Make it straightforward and at 30 yrs i am sure only classic car owners would go down this route as most drivers expect to be pampered with electric computerised everything so abuse of the system would be minimal.

  15. @ paul mcfarlane

    Thank you. I also have a 74 Midget that I DO pay road tax on and use it regularly to make sure I get the use out of it!

    As you say, laying up the car is a false economy. I have had to replace the wheel cylinders twice on the Hornet due to lack of use, initially when I first got it because the previous owner let it sit idle for 10 months, then me when it sat for three months over the bad winter 2 years ago. I now make sure I use my classics on a fairly regular basis to ensure are kept moving and working as they should. 

  16. How about making it easier and having NO TAX EXEMPT CARS AT ALL.

    Everyone in the same boat so everyone happy.. yes?

  17. @ Mark Mastro

    Not a helpful answer.

    I think paying road tax on a car for 25 or 30 years is enough. The current system is simple. All people are looking for is the reinstatement of a rolling age-related exemption rather than it being frozen by the Tony Blair and his cronies. Car over 30 years old? Tax exempt. Simple. Straightforward. Not complicated.

    Mileage limitation would be unworkable.  All that would happen is that owners would start to clock their mechanical odometers or just disconnect the speedo cables if there was a need to declare your mileage.  Very simple to do on old cars without ECU’s. Added to which, who is going to come and look at your speedo to say your mileage is correct? A lot of cars do not have their MOT and road tax dates at the same time.

    Let’s keep this on topic with reasoned debate

  18. I agree with Paul T on this – keep the whole rolling road tax simple and workable both for the owner and the DVLA. Why complicate it with issues relating to mileage?

    As for the Tories promising to implement a rolling date for VED on 30 year old classic cars – I will believe that when I see it! Most are quite content to be seen driving around in their brand new foreign-made cars than supporting British manufacturing jobs. A Tory MP for part of East Devon drives a Vokswagen Eos, so they certainly don’t get my vote.

  19. What’s to suggest a vehicle thats 30 years old has been taxed for each of those 30 years? 

    nothing at all. I have given my reasoned debate on the matter, suggesting the option, for those who don’t use their vehicles for the whole 12 months concurrently, to pay monthly.

    Just because one chooses to drive an older vehicle, they shouldn’t be exempt from tax if it’s being used as a regular car. The whole ‘historic vehicle’ classification came in to protect from standard everyday running costs, those who wished to preserve a vehicle, not suit their pocket whilst driving something they find more interesting.

    The truth of the matter is  there are definitely more folk out their that would use and run an older vehicle if the tax was free. This would side step alot of tax revenue for the treasury and whilst, we may jump for joy at more old cars being saved, the crooks of the matter is, is it right? I don’t believe it is. RFL is an accepted running cost associated with car ownership, if people can’t afford a tenner a month (or thereabouts) to tax a car, I would suggest they shouldn’t be owning/running/using one 

  20. I have just voted. No classic at home. But the point is when I did have a P6 every little helps. This present scheme would be up to January 1982, ten years worth of cars. Therefore all P6’s, Series one SD1’s (Keith’s OK!) early TR7’s, Series 3 Landies etc. The question is is this up for abuse…. I don’t think so because how many do you see on the roads these days…. Even at 35 year olds if they are that worried, keep it rolling which I thought was the original idea. Oh I forgot it’s the gov’t we are talking about

  21. Of course it’s open to abuse. as if there isn’t enough incentive already for nefarious characters to change the identity of vehicles, given the fact that if it’s pre Aug 1980 (v or earlier) it doesn’t even need to have a VIN plate to pass the MOT!!!  It’ll be the same nightmare that LR owners have about vehicle identity and theft spreading out to other models as the desirability and lure of other cars will be greater

  22. It should be re-introduced exactly as it was in the early 90’s, rolling 30 years is fair enough. I dont think that can be abused in any great number, you cant suddenly pull TR7’s and Cortina mk5’s out of thin air, they just aren’t out there. And anybody who thinks running a 30 year old car on a daily basis just to get out of paying tax would be paying more in fuel (avg 25 mpg) compared to todays cars and facing the headache of finding rare tyre sizes that few vehicles use today, it would be false economy.
    I do think the whole car tax system needs looking at in general to be honest, it no longer pays for road building or repairs, its become an enviromental tax that is unsustainable once we all start driving zero rated vehicles. What does annoy me is that I am lucky enough to own 5 cars, and I have to pay £600 every 6 months to tax them, but I cant drive them all at the same time, when I’m driving one the other 4 emit no emissions and damage no roads. The RFL should be scrapped and the levy put on fuel like has been muted so many times and never implimented, its the only fair system.


  23. @23

    The flip side of your last sentence is that the fact it IS barely more than £10 per month means the car owner is hardly dodging tax on a large scale!

    For the amounts involved, I don’t think the Government are going to miss the money on agen30+ cars. Parts availability means that ultimately most classic are going to be used sparingly as owners won’t want to wear out bits they struggle to replace, due to availability or cost.

    I would also say that it is debatable that VED is an accepted running cost of motoring – my personal view that it is tolerated on the basis that it is legally compulsory. If it was put onto the fuel then EVRYONE would be paying pro rata for the amount of time they are on the road, including those cars that are zero-rated due to emissions. Consequently I would imagine the Government would pocket MORE cash by collecting their road tax by slapping it on fuel.

  24. Its not the free VED, but the banning from cities due to emissions that is the worry, I think a few tightwads are missing the big picture.

  25. @ Andrew comment 29

    Didn’t read that in the article, although I seem to recall overhearing something on the news about an ’emissions tax’ or something being introduced in London to keep the streets a bit clearer during the Olympics.

    Is that what you’re referring to or have I missed something else??

  26. I don’t agree with tax exemptness. The saving to the owner is negligible in the whole sceme of things and as a coutry we have no money. I’d be more in favour of scrapping the exemption altogether and concentrate of spending money fixing the appalling state of our roads which we have paid for. Allowing free tax for a minority is not helpful to that cause. I think as a movement it be better to concentrate on this issue rather than free tax.
    I also think fuel duty should be reduced but that won’t happen either. We don’t seem to accept tax on fuel or cars yet we seem happy to drive round on roads which are literally falling apart. I don’t get it, sorry. I’m sure that many people would agree it’s better to pay a little to use your cars, classic or otherwise but have decent roads to drive them on.
    The only way to counter the free VED argument is to bring in mileage based taxation though argunably we have that with fuel duty today but then that winds up another section of the community so we cannot win here.

  27. if the cars have a M O T ,and todays tests are stringent ,let them be free tax.”

    You’d be amazed at the rubbish you can get to pass an MOT, it’s only a test for the car when it’s presented for test. Besides if road tax was linked to the MOT then the MOT would just be £1500 like it is in Japan. 

    ” you cant suddenly pull TR7′s and Cortina mk5′s out of thin air, they just aren’t out there.”

    You’ve not seen rust in peace in Practical Classics then? 

    Simplest thing to do is do away with road tax all together and put it on fuel. Saves money because you don’t need all the staff in swansea to administrate it, you dont have police chasing people for having their car untaxed so they have to time catch people doing other things instead and then you pay tax based on the amount of miles you do. The whole CO2 thing is nonsense, because burning x amount of fuel generates X amount of CO2, so if your car has low MPG it emits more CO2 and vice versa. 

  28. @ dolomitefan

    Reducing fuel duty reduces the amount of money in the account of this skint country, so there is even less chance of crap roads being fixed.

    As far as tax exemption for the few, there are billions of £££’s sitting in tax free bank accounts that savers have accumulated over the years which are also depriving the Treasury of basic rate tax on the interest. Not everyone can afford to save at those sort of levels as they are struggling just to make ends meet. Those poorly paid people cannot save and are, I would say, representative of the majority of the population, so it is only the ‘few’ who can afford to pay tax that are avoiding it.

    I agree with Dennis on the CO2 thing as well. The Government keep going on about ‘green credentials’ and helping the environment so are slapping taxes on airline companies that are being passed on to the passenger. Despite their ‘green’ claims, they are now talking about building another airport in London for more planes now that the third runway at Heathrow is no longer an option. Do they they think we are so bloody stupid?? The environmental arguments are purely a smokescreen and an excuse to get more tax into the coffers rather than any real concern for global warming. We are not the worst country for this but we are trying our hardest to compete!!!

    Damn, I’m going against my own argument and getting on a politics rant!

    Back to cars, for goodness sake, PT!!!

  29. In the USA, generallyany vehicle can be registered as an ‘antique’ if 25 or more years old. The designation is ‘rolling’. The main benefits are lower 3rd party liability insurance, sometimes limits of annual mileage, in some states a lower annual registration fee (either by being over 25 years old or a flat rate registration fee) and what we call ‘car tax’, that is a tax based on the value of the vehicle charged in some states. Usually the states will issue special plates designating the vehicle as an antique. You may also be exempt from pollution and safety inspections in some states.  

  30. The best Road Tax solution is to scrap it altogether, and transfer whatever is raised through VED to a fuel tax – ticks every box, everyone pays directly for how much they use the roads  – eg little used classic cars pay less, whilst the company car driver pays more, along with foreign registered vehicles that would otherwise pay no VED. Also helps “green” interests. The only downside is the horrendous hike in the price of a litre of fuel, though overall annual running costs for my ’78 MGB will be far cheaper and totally representative of my road use. 

  31. @ Tony
    You beat me to it!

    Time to abolish the brontosaurian VED altogether and put the tax on fuel. Make it obligatory to display a valid insurance and MoT ‘vignette’ on the windscreen, as many other European countries already do. Oh, and make MoTs every 2 years, while we’re at it.

    Trouble is, such a move to scrap the VED system would put half of South Wales on the dole and no government has had the ‘cojones’ to do it.

    And so, the wheels of the bus go round and round…

  32. I agree the fuel costs in rural areas is a bit of a con. I cannot believe the companies can get away with charging a fuel retailer more wholesale for the same product they sell in towns and cities.

  33. @ Dennis 32
    “You cant pull TR7’s and Cortina MK5’s out of thin air, they just aren’t out there”

    “You’ve not seen rust in peace in practical classics then”

    If you took every single car in that section over 30 years old, bodged them thru an MOT and put them on the road it would be a drop in the ocean of people getting out of paying road tax, totally irrelevant, almost unmeasurable in percentage terms against the 27 million cars on British roads.

    @Jonathan 39

    Rural areas are already disadvantaged in just about any area you can mention, fuel duty, broadband speed, road repairs, street lighting, hospitals, leisure facilities, retail facilities,employment,bus services, even the humble post office has all but disappeared. 5 pence extra on fuel to cover road tax would be the least of our worries to be honest.


  34. “If you took every single car in that section over 30 years old, bodged them thru an MOT and put them on the road it would be a drop in the ocean of people getting out of paying road tax, totally irrelevant, almost unmeasurable in percentage terms against the 27 million cars on British roads.”

    You wouldn’t think them irrelevant if one of them crashed into you or your car because the brakes had failed. I don’t have a problem with genuine enthusiasts getting free road tax, but i’ve seen the amount of utter crap that that got dragged out of fields and barns last time they did it.

    “even the humble post office has all but disappeared.”

    You’re joking! about the only place you can find a post office is in rural areas these days. I live in a large town with 3 post offices, people are usually queuing out of the door and there’s no where to park near them. I end up driving out to a small village post office simply because i can park outside with my parcels and get served pretty much right away, it works out quicker. I agree they’ve closed loads of them, but because they’re restricted by government on closing rural ones, they just shut all the urban ones instead.

    Back to road tax though, there is a danger too that if we push too hard, we’ll get out free road tax for classics, but then we just get other restrictions put in place as to how we use the cars. When ever you see this argument come up, we hear about how other countries get some sort of free tax on ‘classic cars’, what we don’t normally hear about is the other restrictions they have too. Such as only being able to drive the car between April and September or only between certain hours of the day.

  35. This is getting to be quite the debate! Thing is cars that were built on the same production line just a month after the cut off point, which are mechanically Identical are forced to pay the Tax, whilst the Month or even day older car is free.


    Check the prices of Classic cars on ebay and the same models built a few months apart means the younger car is always cheaper as most would rather have the “special benefit car” than the expensive route to classic car ownership, This brings on its own problems of the unwanted car either gets broken up for parts because nobody wants to pay tax or it ends up being cloned/ringed…. Have seen plenty classic cars at shows with an older reg plate…


    Putting the fuel up even more is sheer madness, Do you not think we pay enough bloody Fuel Tax as it is? where does those Millions go I wonder… I myself have two Hillman Imps (68-69), one is just a shell (there was talk a while ago by our friends….the EU, that even cars laid up could face a tax… it was allegedly supported by the Motor Manufacturers….).


    My road worthy Imp did a grand total 27 miles last year, which consisted of a trip to the mot centre, and one car show, So should I be paying the £100 + for 6months car tax?


    If the rolling road Tax does not go on then only the brave will fund their Hobbies, the rest will be sold for scrap So thats all the old stuff swept away whether good or bad, as for comments of “Tax Dodgers ” driving old bangers just to save a few £££, as a once a week car couple of times a month then it is a good laugh, but any distance and you have a noisy, draughty and sometimes uncomfortable journey (modern cars have come on leaps and bounds) besides It isnt cheap keeping an old car on the road even if you do low mileage and who has the time to do constant maintenance.

  36. Agreed we already pay too much in fuel tax, but thats purely an extortionate tax levy on fuel and something else we should fight against. But pennies on a litre that would directly go to the same coffers as the present Road fund licence I feel is slightly different and fairer all round to all concerned, you would pay pennies to do your 27 miles in a year, I would pay a few pounds to do my 2000 miles a year and the company car drivers doing 30000 miles a year would no longer be subsidized by the man in the street for the greater road and enviromental damage they do. Although I agree the enviromental issue is just a smoke screen. If the Government were serious about it we would all get a rebate for making our 20 year old Rovers last and save energy in building new cars.
    But just maybe if we make enough noise about free or rolling tax exemption then some idiot in a suit wont think about banging our RFL up to £800 a year because our cars are “dirty” in the emissions table. Another misconception.


  37. “Putting the fuel up even more is sheer madness, Do you not think we pay enough bloody Fuel Tax as it is? where does those Millions go I wonder… I myself have two Hillman Imps (68-69), one is just a shell (there was talk a while ago by our friends….the EU, that even cars laid up could face a tax… it was allegedly supported by the Motor Manufacturers….).”

    If they abolished road tax and put it on fuel then your hillman imp shell is obviously not going to have to pay road tax. As Dave has pointed out above, at the moment you basically pay the same road tax for your Imp (that you perhaps use only occasionally) as a sales rep does for his Mondeo doing 150k per year.

    As for where all the millions from fuel duty go, well surely that’s obvious? Schools, the NHS, sea defences, social housing, the armed forces, the police forces, bailing out banks, redoing MP’s gardens, and paying bonus’s to the heads of loss making state owned banks.

  38. VED historic vehicle exemption
    FBHVC has again written to the Treasury (2009) asking for a return to the rolling date for the VED exemption pointing out that UK is the only country in Europe where such a concession employs a fixed date, and that the threshold for concession is set at 20 or 25 years in other countries, except Denmark which uses 35. By the end of this year (2009), the youngest vehicles qualifying for the British concession will be 37 years old.

    The totally unfair ‘fixed’ cut-off date of 1972 has also resulted in many classic cars that were in production in similar form each side of the ‘arbitrary frozen date’ being swapped onto older pre-73 V5 log books from suitable scrapped donor vehicles during ‘restoration’ especially Land Rovers, early Range Rovers, classic Mini’s, MGB’s, MG Midgets and Triumph Spitfires, etc.

    The sad thing is most would have long been tax exempt by now if Gordon Brown had not messed with the 25 year rolling date system in his first 1997 budget for the Blair government.

    An increasing number of new small cars are now tax exempt including the MINI Cooper D!

  39. “FBHVC has again written to the Treasury (2009) asking for a return to the rolling date for the VED exemption pointing out that UK is the only country in Europe where such a concession employs a fixed date, and that the threshold for concession is set at 20 or 25 years in other countries, except Denmark which uses 35.”

    See there is another example of the ‘age cutoff’ in other countries being bandied about, without any mention of ‘restrictions’ placed on classic cars in that country.

    It’s a lot like a few years ago when HGV’s started being registered on the continent because it was lower road tax, what they didn’t mention was in some countries you had to pay an additional ‘advertising tax’ for having your company name plastered down the side of your trailer. This is why you’ll see many continental lorries only have small company logos on the trailer curtains. You see very few foreign registered RHD trucks theses days.

    It really is a waste of resources to even bother lobbying for this at the moment though. I mean the government are telling nurses, teachers etc that their pensions are going to be cut and their pay is going to be frozen, how could they then turn around and say we’re giving a few classic car owners free road tax?

  40. @ Dennis

    If they abolished road tax and put it on fuel then your hillman imp shell is obviously not going to have to pay road tax. As Dave has pointed out above, at the moment you basically pay the same road tax for your Imp (that you perhaps use only occasionally) as a sales rep does for his Mondeo doing 150k per year.

    What? Both My Blimp’s are Free!, The Tax mentioned about proposed “sorn” cars has been scarily rumoured since 2000, Probably just scare mongering but appeared to raise its ugly head then fade away, only to come and go again, basically as mentioned in plenty of the Classic car mags (Classic car weekly springs to mind) If you have a Vehicle whether it be in boxes or just laid up, The EU was trying to put a levy on this,with allegedly backing from the Car Manufacturers as they all want perfectly usable old car’s off the road as it harms new car sales and somewhere down the line it puts peole out of work, not to mention the bit of revenue for the owner who has a Reliant Robin shell sitting at the bottom of the garden.

    Not sure if this will ever come off but somehow it wouldnt surprise me if it did, The Government could probably just apply a tax on all the old log books that some people keep, as they would never know what box’s of bits you have stashed away..

    As for the French way of bit extra tax on fuel…. Sounds good but The Green people will lobby the Government as there wouldnt be any incentive in buying an eco friendly car, (some use more fuel than the higher despite lower emissions)and with less pressure on Manufacturers to lower Co2 engines.

  41. On the condition debate I think it is irrelevant. I’d rather push a rusty heap that drive a new Audi any day. Taking into account the condition is the sort of snobbery that needs to be stamped out and that is why I tend to shy away from classic car shows. Too much polishing not enough tinkering. Who cares if an oldie is rusty its part of the aging process. Would you kick Sharon Stone out of bed because she has a wrinkle or stretch mark? Its like the government saying you can’t have a pension because you have age related illness.

    If you say a car needs to be in A1 condition who will be responsible for appraising it and how will you stop them from refusing a car with a few non-standard parts to make modern traffic easier? Its not workable to include condition and the pretentious lot who think a car must be concours to be worth looking at need to be reminded of the feeling of cold drop fordged chrome vanadium in their hand.

    If it means more classics on the road to break up the monotony of silver german boxes so be it. If its MOT’d, insured and puts a smile on its owners face its should be allowed free VED, rust or no rust.

  42. Ash Crane …+1

    Here Here, also worth a mention which has been doing the rounds is any “Classic” that has been modified (The defining to this is as yet unclear, for instance Not the original Engine/Gearbox or different wheels were mentioned right up to any modification to the bulkhead or structure, at the other end of the scale something like a different seat or steering wheel could also render it “No Longer Classic” rendering it void from free road tax.

  43. Can have the best of both worlds with these below perhaps…….

    “a 1958 landrover which has been fully uprated to be like a 98 defender with the 300 tdi engine and lots more.”

    1972 MG Midget M3 (Tax Exempt)
    “running gear is all BMW E36 including 320 bhp 3.2 litre straight six, with six speed gearbox, LSD and BMW driveshafts.”

    and a tax exempt MGA like this was recently being MOT’d locally with a Honda S2000 VTEC engine, not to mention all those early classic Mini’s also with Vtec power!

  44. Such modified cars would be excluded under the regulations in place here in Germany. To be a classic car it has to be in good condition and – if any modifications have been made, they should have been made during the 1st 10 years of the car. As this is not always easy to prove, modifications that have been around during the period in question are often considered acceptable if they have been carried out at a later date. More or less invisible modifications that improve road safety (i.e. better brakes) or emissions (i.e. fitting a cat) are generally acceptable, obviously only if legal in the first place. One can argue about the details, but IMO such a regulation needs to be used. The current practise of making a kit-car tax exempt (and therefore a legal classic car), because the diff is from a 1971 Ford seems a bit soft to me.

  45. @Martin

    It’s not the best of both worlds though is it? It’s cheating the system. No other way of looking at it.

  46. 1972 MG Midget M3 , MGA Honda S2000 VTEC…..Brilliant !

    There are those who look down upon these Frankenstein Monsters, whilst others will put two fingers up at the establishment… In the Imp Club there is a Corvette Engined Imp (Honest) front engined Automatic Drag Strip racer, the opinion with most is that “At least it is still recognised an Imp and it hasnt been scrapped !” But to others it is Sacrilege and how on earth it qualifies as Free Road tax!

    It is nice to see a completely modern old car but to live with it with all its original faults is a very brave and sympathetic attitude (though the amount of totally original cars I have seen are very rarely or have very low mileage for obvious reasons…they want to keep it original) and are usually trailer to shows and lead a pampered life, (though not all! ) However I want to use mine the odd weekend rather than have a nice ornament in the Garage!

    As for updating the running gear I think if there is a modern item that could be used in old cars (for instance 6 speed gearbox instead of 4,= less mechanical ware/better mpg, quieter, or more reliable) then it is a good thing, you can use your old item for longer without the worry it is going to break down or you can no longer get some parts if it wares out! But there lies the argument again… It isnt original so therefore it could be more acceptable to be used every day and it shouldnt qualify for Free R.T. and round and round it goes!

  47. I am currently restoring my Mini 30 auto, and before I took it off the road I ran it for a year with all its bodywork flaws for the world to see – or more accurately covered with duck tape.

    In 2009 it did the Thistle Run, a camping trip to the lake district with all the gear on a roof rack (and a springer spaniel as a passenger), Tain Classic Rally and the IMM (not to mention the Geordie Job Mini show in Washington). The duck tape was almost as much a talking point with some spectators as the minted cars, and as one guy said to me at Tain at least it was being used, warts and all.

    In case you don’t believe me…….




    Now who’s to say that car didn’t deserve to be on the road and do all it did? Never missed a beat and sat at motorway speed comfortably on the M6 and A9. Fantastic car which should be back at full strength this summer 🙂

  48. @56
    That Land Rover is a ringer and nothing more. A real 1958 landy has been destroyed in that ‘restoration’ just for it’s log book and VIN plate. Have you been to a Mini show recently, and seen the number of pre ’73 minis that are no such thing?

    The rolling exemption should be returned as it will hopefully reverse the crappy disposable attitude we have to cars, but I would add something else.. Any car that is registered to the same person for more than 10 years will become tax exempt, until they sell it when it will loose it’s tax exempt status (unless over 25)

    As for the person moaning about the heaps being dragged out the last time for MOT, well do the test properly if it fails to an extent it can’t possibly be passed legitimately and you see it later with tax disc report the thing!

  49. I am of course assuming you are an MOT tester. If you are not then I am afraid your opinion on what and what should not be on the road is in fact irrelevant. Personally I think all BMW X5s should not be on the road, they are hideous to look and and useless off road but that is equally relevant as a non qualified opinion on what should or should not have an MOT.

  50. Oh and I don’t agree with the 30 year rule, the 25 year one as I like originality.. nothing to do with having a 1985 Golf GTI and the possibility of a Newer Lie-bore getting in at the next election and stopping it again of course

  51. @ Stewart

    I think all 3 cars are basically ringers and should be running around on ‘Q’ plates. There is a % rule about how much of the car is ‘original’ – and on reading various sources about how this rule works, it allows for direct replacement of original parts as you would while maintaining any vehicle.

    Once you change the engine, fabricate the necessary engine mounts, suspension components etc for those 3 motors, as well as the V-tec Minis to which you refer, the % of the car which is in an original state will be well outwith the permissable limits. Plus, as soon as you cut and refabricate any part of the shell the car cannot keep its original plate and should be a ‘Q’.

    No doubt an expert will come on and shoot me down, but I am pretty sure if someone from VOSA visited some of those car shows they could be issuing quite a few tickets to owners of illegally-modified and registered vehicles. As ever, though, the Government will say that they don’t have the resources to police this and will turn a convenient blind eye…..

  52. Well the MG’s do visibly have some of the orginal car in them.. the Landrover has absolutly s*d all of the original. The Midget there is a case for putting it on a Q.. however The MGA is an uprated MGA and a very differnt beast to the other two and not some backyard special like the Midget, the chassis, body, front suspension and interior have survived.

    Actually the powers that be will take action with such cars if reported, normally ends in the crusher though

  53. Although my real opion is to scrap the road theft licenece entirely and just be taxed on fuel. But thats far to simple to implement, and cuts out a whole department of beuracrates.

    It’s self adjusting as to millage and size of vehcile.. and that’s from soemone currently doing 30K miles a year

  54. The RFL also gives the guarantee I suppose that at least once (sometimes twice) a year a car HAS TO have a valid test and insurance cert. (I know these things are checked at random or come up on ANPR, but you know what I mean)

    I personally don’t like cut off dates for changes in prices IMO those shouldn’t exist and vehciles should be rated when they’re replaced etc. IE if you have a pre mar 01 75 V6 it’s cheaper to tax than one built a month later. That’s just silly IMO

  55. I know exactly what you mean and that reason does not wash, With ANPR and the police national computer and the MID these things can be checked before the car is even pulled over, the tax disc is no longer relevant and should be scrapped and consigned to history. It is true that those that regularly drive without one also do not have insurance or MOT, but they also seldom have the cars registered to themselves, or at their place of abode. If the car gets seized and crushed they just buy another old banger. However if VED was scrapped and put on fuel even they would at least be paying for that, although they could go down the bilking route but that would result in their car turnover going though the roof

  56. I am sure its been mentioned in ‘too many to read responses’ but it was the Blair Govt and no doubt thanks to Gordon ‘sell all the gold cheap’ Brown who abolished the then existing Tory instigated rolling 30 year tax exempt rule…. and for what? a pittance of extra road tax each year? How more crass a decision i cannot recall for the car suffering public to endure. Will the left leaning Tories bring their old policy back? Very doubtful but whatever petition is available for signature please count me in.

  57. @Richard B
    It was originally a 25 year rolling tax exempt rule.. and thats what should be re-instated.. not 30

  58. In Ireland, the VED(or equivalent)for vehicles over 30 years old is something like 45 euros. I always thought that the December 1972 cut-off point was a bit random, e.g, some L-reg vehicles are tax exempt, while others aren’t – it makes bugger-all sense whatsoever, 1975 or 1980 would have made more sense. While we’re at it, please could we make it illegal to transfer registration marks, which is depriving vehicles of their true identities. In Ireland, vehicles keep the same registration number for life.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.


This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.