1990s petrol classics may be banned from German cities

It's not just diesel cars being targeted, petrol powered classics may be banned from German city centres and put to the scrap heap

There are fears that owners of 1990s cars in Germany may be prone to scrapping their vehicles before they’re considered classics after a recent piece of legislation that will ban such cars from the Frankfurt city centre.

Petrol cars that produce nitrogen oxide levels higher than the Euro 3 emissions standards level from 2000, some 2.1 million in total, are set to be barred from driving in Frankfurt as soon as February 2019. The number of cars directly affected would be far smaller, but that could still result in 100s being scrapped.

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The Euro 3 emissions standard dictates how much carbon monoxide, nitrogen oxide, hydrocarbons and aerosol particles a passenger vehicle can produce per kilometre. Petrol cars made to the previous Euro 1 and 2 emission standards from the 1990s, sometimes called ‘Youngtimers’ will be affected, but cars older than 30 years old can be registered as ‘Oldtimers’, with a vintage-specific registration plate meaning they are immune to the types of legislation being proposed in Germany.

Examples of ‘Youngtimers’ that could end up on the scrap heap rather than in the auction room are the Mercedes-Benz W124, BMW 3 Series (E36), Porsche 964 and VW Golf VR6.

The branch federation DEUVET believes that such rules will be picked up across Germany, which could have an effect on the classic car market. ‘There is a danger that more vehicles worthy of protection will be scrapped before reaching the vintage car status,’ said DEUVET vice president Eckhart Bartels.

The rule change is set to come about due to the high amount of nitrogen oxide that ‘youngtimer’ cars produce. Federal Environmental Agency data shows that NOX produced by petrol engines has similar dangers to diesel in substantial quantities, and is following diesel in being on the receiving end of legislation change across the world in the last couple of years due to ‘dieselgate’.

Although the state of Hesse, in which Frankfurst sits, has appealed against the judgment of the Administrative Court of Wiesbaden on the driving ban, stopping the legislation being implemented is unlikely. There will be at least a month’s wait before ‘youngtimer’ owners will find out their fate.

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