Will MoT exemption for classic cars be extended? Will your modified classic no longer be legal? There are concerns that Europe-wide legislation could make this a reality.
European-wide legislation looks set to shake up the MoT system in the UK in the coming years – and if current thinking within the working group comes to pass, then the in-built flexibility of the UK system, which allows certain modifications to road cars, will no longer be allowed.
John Ball owner of MOTEST, based in Farnham, was until recently involved in this consultation process. He told us: ‘I have been involved with UK and European vehicle testing policies as a key trade representative, but have stepped down from because of time issues. However I still keep my ear to the ground and this new set of proposals concerning “the periodic roadworthiness tests for road vehicles”, needs to be strongly challenged as it applies to our hobby.’
The UK attitude to MoT tests on modified cars has traditionally been a sensible one – and it’s basically this. If you have modifications to your car, then as long as they adhere to Road Traffic Act regulations, then they are acceptable for the test. So, if you fit discs to your 1960s Mini or 15in alloys to your MG Maestro 1600, then you could be potentially driving into a whole lot of MoT pain in years to come, regardless of whether the modification makes your car safer or not.
John Ball fears that the consultation process is being dominated by certain countries, which currently favour the approach that all cars should be OE spec, and must not deviate from this.
He also states that – sensibly – that, ‘the definition of a historic vehicle will be 30 years minimum,’ but as current legislation is to change in November, exempting all pre-1960 historics from being tested, there’s a clear danger that this fixed date will become a 30-year sliding one. As he says, ‘so cars as diverse as a Ferrari 308GTB to an Austin Metro need not be tested?’
John encloses extracts from the text from the consultation document – it has an interesting view of what actually constitutes a classic car, and how they are typically used.
- Vehicles of historic interest are supposed to conserve heritage of the époque they have been built and considered to be hardly used on public roads, it should be left to Member States to extend the period of periodic roadworthiness testing for such vehicles. It should also be for Member States to regulate roadworthiness testing of other types of specialised vehicles.
- Definitions – For the purpose of this Regulation the following definitions shall apply: (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;
- ‘roadworthiness test’ means a verification that the parts and components of a vehicle comply with its safety and environmental characteristics in force at the time of approval, first registration or entry into service, as well as at the time of retrofitting
As John summarises, ‘if it is as bad as the proposals appear, we all need to unite on this and fight it.’
- REGULATION OF THE EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT AND OF THE COUNCIL on periodic roadworthiness tests for motor vehicles and their trailers and repealingDirective 2009/40/EC
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.