MOT Tests, Classic Cars and the Law

As of May 2018 cars built and registered over 40 years do not require an annual MOT. That means that almost every popular ‘classic car’ is now MOT exempt. This is a rolling exemption, so as soon as your vehicle reaches its 40th birthday you can apply for Historic Tax Exemption and will no longer need a valid certificate to apply for a (free) road fund licence.

As always, with legislation, there is small print. If your vehicle has been ‘significantly modified’ from standard then the exemption doesn’t apply. Basically if you have changed the engine, gearbox, chassis/subframe from original spec you still need an MOT. The DVLA have no way of knowing this, so it is up to you as an owner to declare this and make sure your MOT is kept up to date.

This means that if you fit a 5 speed gearbox to your E-Type for example your MOT exempt car stops becoming exempt. The exemption also applies to kit cars such as Caterham 7’s even if they have the identity of their 40+ year old donor vehicle.

 

Why your exempt classic still needs an MOT Tests

For the 90% of ‘standard’ classics then, we can all breathe a sigh of relief! Why would we voluntarily get an MOT? Once again the devil is in the detail.

Although MOT exempt, the owner (you) still has a legal requirement to keep the car in roadworthy condition. So when you have a fault accident how can you prove to your insurer or the police that your destroyed car was in fact roadworthy?

There have (to date) been no test cases. However, somewhere in the small print of your insurance document it will say that you must carry out ‘regular checks to confirm your vehicle’s road-worthiness.’ Nowhere does it advise you how you might prove this if it all wound up in court!

So what should I do?

For years we have had a perfect road-worthiness test. An MOT and it cost just £54.00. The problem is that modern MOT ramps (known as TTL ramps) are automated to a certain extent and they are brutal on classics.

Project Shop uses an MOT tester with over 30 years experience, who knows about classic cars and has a traditional ramp. We test over 100 vehicles every year and believe in the extra protection it affords the owner so much that it comes as part of our annual service at no extra cost.

Don’t get caught out. Book your Classic Car MOT with us today.

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