What constitutes a historic vehicle? Well, according to the people that levy Vehicle Excise Duty (VED) it’s any car which reaches 40 years of age. But for another government agency, namely the Department for Transport (DfT), it’s any vehicle built before 1960. With the obvious and often confusing discrepancy highlighted by the fact that the VED exemption is on a rolling basis, with more cars becoming exempt each year, calls are growing to a change in the MoT ruling.
Due to regulations introduced in 2012, owners of cars built on or before 1960 don’t need to put their vehicles through an annual test, as long as they remain roadworthy. However, Sir Greg Knight MP of the All Parliamentary Historic Vehicles Group (APPHVG) has recommended that the MoT exemption age be lowered, making all vehicles made 40 years ago exempt from both VED and MoT as part of the Historic Vehicle classification and that both are enforced on a rolling date basis.
The proposed changes coincide with further likely rule changes throughout mainland Europe as part of the 2017 EU Roadworthiness Directive, although as we are now poised to possibly leave the EU at some point, it is unknown how these measures will eventually affect UK enthusiasts.
Reportedly, the DfT is considering a number of other proposals concerning older vehicles which will be put out to consultation later in the year where lobbying bodies such as the Federation of British Historic Vehicle Clubs will be able to have their say, with any changes likely to be declared by May 2017.
According to the weekly classic car publication Classic Car Buyer, ClassicLine Insurance is backing Sir Greg’s campaign as part of its ‘Save our Classics’ appeal which is aimed at raising the awareness of endangered classics, suggesting that raising the date of the MoT exemption from 1960 to 1970 would keep more of our older cars on the road.
While avoiding the expense, hassle and worry of putting an older vehicle through an MoT every year appeals, it’s not something that’s universally applauded. The argument goes that us enthusiasts tend to keep a closer eye on maintenance and by lavishing time, love and care on our classics they remain in a state of constant good health. However, many believe there’s no substitute for having a car regularly checked on a four-post lift by a trained mechanic. After all, it’s prudent to ask when was the last time you inspected the inner walls of your tyres or gave the condition of your flexible brake pipes a close eyeball? Having an unbiased professional inspection carried out of repairs and welding work to check for bodges, and indeed any unsafe modifications, could also be deemed useful for newcomers to the scene or those who have just acquired their first historic VW. Where safety is concerned, many would consider the cost of an annual MoT a small price to pay…
What do you think – should Dubs made prior to the mid-’70s become exempt from the MoT?
The opinions expressed here are the personal opinions of the author and do not necessarily represent the views and opinions of VW Heritage.