MoTs scrapped for pre-1960 cars
No more MoTs for the 160,000 older classic cars on our roads
So while those of us with road cars modified for track use have been getting all het-up over changes to the MoT system that could make it difficult for certain mods to be permitted, the Government has been quietly busy getting the MoT dropped for older classics.
"Owners of classic cars and motorbikes tend to be enthusiasts who maintain their vehicles well," says transport minister Mike Penning. "They don't need to be told to look after them, they're out there in all weathers checking the condition of the engine, tyres and bodywork.
Under the new rules, the owners 160,000 or so pre-1960 cars on the road will still have to prove their cars are in a safe and roadworthy condition - and they will be able to undertake an MoT test should they choose to do so - but it will be voluntary.
The news seems to be getting a mixed reception in the classic car community, however. The Federation of British Historic Vehicles conducted a survey earlier in the year and found that, of the 4,000 respondents, 53 per cent of those surveyed said they would still take their vehicles for test on a voluntary basis, even though 59 per cent supported the government's preferred option of exempting all pre-1960 vehicles.
Our colleagues on Classic & Sports Car magazine also voiced concern about the news, pointing out that, without an officially sanctioned government test as protection, there is too great a responsibility on owners to ensure the roadworthiness of their cars.
"As owners we all seem to like the reassurance of a second pair of eyes checking over our cars and warning us of potential problems to come," says Group Editor James Elliott. "As enthusiasts, we all fear the repercussions for our hobby of the inevitable consequence when an unroadworthy MoT-exempt car (and there are guaranteed to be some) causes havoc, destruction and maybe even death."
Older cars surely are the ones with the opportunity for most to go wrong? Saying that owners are fastidious is not exactly the catch all of the century for safe cars!
Of all the things that could be being done to road and traffic legislation, this does seem an odd choice.
I don't know any classic enthusiasts who have any trouble submitting their vehicle for an annual 45 minute / £30 MOT (OK, so they're cheap around my way. It makes up for the fact petrol isn't).
I'm not actually in favour of this move but hopefully the huge majority of classic cars will continue to have their cars MOT'd annually.
In a similar way, despite being quite ambivalent towards the compulsory seat belt law all those years ago, if they suddenly announced tomorrow that we no longer had to 'buckle up', I know I'd carry on wearing one!
What worries me is that a lot of hot rods are still registered on the original 1920's / 30's plates yet have 500+ bhp and no MOT? No thanks!
Just because someone has got a pre-60 car doesn't mean that they know anything about the mechanicals and keeping it safe. They might be able to polish it repeatedly and keep it looking good, but it's what's under the body that really matters.
As a petrol head who hates the increasing stupidity and intrusion of the nanny state, this is a stupid piece of legislation.
Additionally, the new rule will not mean the driver of the classic will be exempted from making all reasonable efforts to ensure their vehicle is roadworthy befroe setting out on a journey, just like the rest of us.
What about light alignment, brake balance, tyre issues, rotten brake pipes.....*shudder*.
"tend to keep them in good condition" since when has "tend" been good enough for any government agency.
I can't help but think most people who keep a pre '60 Car do so as a hobby, and it's not their daily driver so an extra £30 a year isn't going to bother them.
If this was coming from Westminster my BS alarm would be ringing, I'd be thinking to myself, Classic Car people tend to be a bit older, and as people generally like to collect cars from their teenage years this will please a lot of older folk who haven't been as well looked after by the Con/Dems as they might have hoped and this is a vote winner for them.
But as it's come from VOSA I have to assume the whole MOT network isn't self-funding and they've had their budget from central government cut.