All you need to know about the new classic car MoT rules
Confused about the new UK MoT regulations? Here’s how it works – and which classic cars, motorbikes, buses, coaches and HGVs will be exempt from MoT testing
New MoT regulations for classic vehicles of all types in the UK are coming into effect on May 20, 2018. It should be simple, with classic vehicles exempt from the MoT once they turn 40 years of age – but it’s more complicated than that.
Here’s everything you need to know as the custodian of a classic vehicle come MoT time.
Pertinent points first:
- The new Vehicle of Historic Interest (VHI) system works entirely on a self-declaration basis; the onus is 100 percent on the owner, so being truthful is key
- With standard classic vehicles, the process is straightforward; read on below
- It’s more in-depth when we’re talking substantially modified vehicles. Read on below, and find out even more info here. It’s complicated, so be prepared…
- The day of reckoning depends on the exact date your vehicle was registered. When you next re-licence it (apply for road tax) after that date, you’ll have to do a bit of research, make some decisions and take action to declare your vehicle VHI (and therefore MoT exempt) or otherwise
- New VHI class rules supersede previous ones concerning vehicles registered before 1960
- First-time applications for the VHI class must be done by completing a V112 declaration form at your local Post Office. This can’t be done online. More info below
- How to keep your classic safe without an MoT
- Does my modified classic need an MoT?
- Pre-1978 MoT-exempt classics for sale
Classic cars, motorcycles and vans MoT rules
Motorcycles, cars and light commercial vehicles registered more than 40 years ago can be declared as Vehicles of Historic Interest (VHIs), which makes them exempt from the MoT test.
For example, if a car was first registered on May 31, 1978 – you won’t need an MoT as of 31 May, 2018 onwards.
You don’t have to apply for MoT exemption. But each time you tax your historic vehicle – even if you don’t pay a fee – you’ll have to declare it ‘meets the rules for not needing an MoT’. This is your responsibility – so if your vehicle is found to be unroadworthy, you will be prosecuted.
Naturally, with a set date of 40 years old, this slices certain classic car production runs in half. Straddling both sides of the cut-off date are the likes of the Ford Escort Mk2, Austin Allegro, Land Rover Series III and Range Rover Classic, Rover SD1 and Vauxhall Chevette.
You must check your car’s registration date before assuming that your classic is exempt. You can do that by entering your license plate into the DVLA’s online MoT checker.
There’s more important information on licensing further down the page.
Classic buses and coaches MoT rules
All buses and coaches, whether or not they are in commercial use, built – not registered – before 1960 are entitled to be declared as a VHI. This makes them exempt from the MoT test.
Buses and coaches not in commercial use but built more than 40 years ago are also classified as a VHI, not requiring an MoT.
Teal Bugatti Tourer replica, Teal Tourer Special 1975
Teal Tourer Special (Aluminium) This superb Teal Special was built by 1987 by Peter Farrell and Bob Jones at Teal, Only 10761 recorded miles since. Correctly registered as the law of the day as a Teal Tourer 1975 Very rare Tourer special with swept wings and doors! Believed the only one in existence! Finished in unmarked Aircraft Bugatti French blue, Full aluminium body detailed with leatherFor Sale | 24 May 2018 | Epping, UK£ 59,995
Austin 18/6 Windsor 1938
Blue 1938 Austin 18 Six Saloon. MOT and Tax Exempt. The perfect car for weddings and other special occasions. A true classic that is perfect for special occasions and becoming increasingly hard to find. This car has been kept in very good condition, engine runs and drives with no issues.The 2510cc straight 6 cylinder petrol engine is in good running condition and the four speed gearbox has no probFor Sale | 23 May 2018 | Lincoln, UK£ 9,500
1970 MG BGT
Very sound and well presented in dark blue, really good older restoration holding up well, tidy engine bay, very good chromework, excellent interior, running very well with new MOT. Comes with wire wheels, overdrive, Webasto sunroof, and a large history file documenting regular expenditure.For Sale | 23 May 2018 | The Old Motor House, Gidley Farm, Chieveley, Berkshire RG20 8TX£ 8,750
1965 Daimler 250 V8 Saloon 38,000miles only-Automatic...
Delivered new to the Channel islands. . Restored 15 years ago to a very high standard with large file of invoices and photographs showing a bare metal windows out restoration-comprehensive overhaul of engine and transmission etc etc. Original sumptuous red hide interior. Just 38,000 miles travelled from new and 3 recorded keeper. Recent recommissioning includes the fitting of electronic ignition fFor Sale | 23 May 2018 | Established 1980 .Registered in England and Wales . Company Number 03879693£ 25,950
1959 Austin Healey Frogeye Sprite MK1 For Sale -...
Original UK market right hand drive car. . Full professional restoration retaining the original 1 1/8th brass top carburettors - dynamo driven rev counter. Heritage certificate reveals that it was delivered new in the same colours and matching numbers, a better more charming original correct car would be difficult to find.For Sale | 23 May 2018 | Established 1980 .Registered in England and Wales . Company Number 03879693£ 26,950
1966 Lotus Elan S3 Coupe Special Equipment-5 speed For...
1966 LOTUS ELAN S3 COUPE Special Equipment-pre airflow model. The 36th Elan Coupe to roll off the production line. Fully rebuilt over the last 3 years with photos and bills to substantiate -including a replacement lotus chassis with Spyder upgrades-during the restoration much time was devoted to get the doors to fit properly. Upgraded fast road cylinder head. . Stainless steel exhaust manifold andFor Sale | 23 May 2018 | Established 1980 .Registered in England and Wales . Company Number 03879693£ POA
1972 MG B GT Series 2 For Sale - £11,950
A lovely specification tax exempt MGB GT. Teal Blue coachwork in very good order. Black Leather interior with occasional rear seats and front head restraints. Rebuilt Ivor Searle engine fitted in late 2012 and with just 14k miles since. Overdrive in 3rd and 4th gears. Kenlowe electric fan. Electronic Ignition. Painted Wire Wheels. Full length Britax fabric sunroof. Kenwood Face off CD/Radio. LargeFor Sale | 23 May 2018 | Established 1980 .Registered in England and Wales . Company Number 03879693£ 11,950
1964 MG B `Fast Road` Car For Sale - £17,950
Early pull handle MG B Fast Road car in Connaught green. . Uprated engine with Kent Cam, enlarged valves, large bore exhaust, Weber carburettor, K&N air filter, electronic ignition and overdrive gearbox. . Works style hard top, alloy bonnet, 72 spoke high performance wheels, debumpered bodywork, Sebring headlamp coversFor Sale | 23 May 2018 | Established 1980 .Registered in England and Wales . Company Number 03879693£ 17,950
1957 MG A Roadster MK1 For Sale - £29,950
Imported in 1991 Beautifully restored in orient red by marque specialists a and maintained by Lynx Motors Itnl ltd using a rust free South African donor car. Upgrades include. Alloy radiator with Kenlowe electric cooling fan. 1800cc 3 bearing MG B engine and gearbox. . Telescopic shock absorbers. Stainless steel sports exhaustFor Sale | 23 May 2018 | Established 1980 .Registered in England and Wales . Company Number 03879693£ 29,950
MG Midget Mk III 1971
1971 MG Midget MK III GAN5 Convertible. The 1275cc A-Series I4 has been stripped & rebuilt, with the cylinder head converted to unleaded petrol in the process along with new spark plugs, HT leads and full service. Brakes have undergone a complete overhaul. Chassis needed minor welding work & is now in very good condition, rust free. New stainless steel exhaust has also been fitted. The list of worFor Sale | 22 May 2018 | Lincoln, UK£ 7,995
Classic Heavy Goods Vehicle MoT rules
HGVs built before 1960 and not in commercial use are also declared as VHIs and thus escape the MoT test – as long as they do not travel laden or towing a laden trailer.
Heavy Goods Vehicles (HGVs) built after 1960, regardless of their use, are not entitled to any exemption from the MoT test – irrespective of whether or not they are in the ‘historic’ taxation class.
These guidelines have been set out in the Department for Transport’s consultation response. Therefore, they are here to stay and not further to discussion.
Keep scrolling! There’s more important information coming.
Do modified classics need an MoT?
As of May 20, 2018 – any vehicle ‘substantially changed’ within the previous 30 years will need to be submitted for an annual MoT test. The Department for Transport explains that: ‘If a vehicle keeper cannot determine that the vehicle has not been substantially changed, they should not claim an exemption from the MoT test.’
How can you tell what determines ‘substantial change’? There’s a lot to it, so we’d advice reading our full guide to modified classics and MoTs.
Do restored classics need an MoT?
Even if a classic has been reshelled during a restoration, fitted with replacement engine or running gear, or uprated components it can still be given VHI status.
Q-plates and kit cars
A vehicle will be considered to have been substantially changed and will not be exempt from MoT testing if...
It has been issued with a registration number on a ‘Q’ prefix
It is a kit car assembled from components from different makes and model of vehicle
It is a reconstructed classic vehicle as defined by DVLA guidance
It is a kit conversion, where a kit of new parts is added to an existing vehicle, or old parts are added to a kit of a manufactured body, chassis or monocoque bodyshell changing the general appearance of the vehicle
However, if any of the four types of vehicle listed above is already taxed as a ‘historic vehicle’ and has not been modified during the previous 30 years, it can be considered a Vehicle of Historic Interest (VHI) – and hence MoT-exempt.
This guidance is only intended to determine the testing position of a substantially changed vehicle, not its registration.
The self-declaration process
As of May 20, 2018, there will be a new self-declaration process to be carried out as part of annual licensing through the DVLA by a keeper of a qualifying vehicle who doesn’t want to submit the vehicle to an MoT test.
By declaring your vehicle doesn’t require an MoT test, you therefore confirm that the vehicle is at least 40 years old and has not been substantially changed in the previous 30 years. It is your responsibility to accurately describe your vehicle, as no inspection will be made.
How to declare your classic as a VHI
Declaration as a Vehicle of Historic Interest is to be made at the time of relicensing, as the Department for Transport considers it too ‘administratively complex’ to permit the required declaration to be made prior to the re-licensing date.
For example, your car might turn 40 years old on, say, August 12, but the tax might not run out until the end of October – so you can’t have it recorded as a VHI until you renew the tax in October. Can you still go without an MoT from the date that the vehicle turns 40?
Yes you can, but you must declare the vehicle as an MoT-exempt VHI when the tax does run out – ie in October in the example above.
DVLA will use the date of first registration to determine when a vehicle becomes 40 years old, flagging the vehicle as being MoT exempt. This does not apply to an HGV, bus or coach in commercial use.
Should you not declare your classic as a VHI when re-taxing, the requirement for an MoT will reappear on the DVLA record. This vehicle record is updated every two months for police use.
The police will therefore accept every vehicle older than 40 years as MoT exempt unless the record states an MoT is required.
How to declare a vehicle for MoT exemption
From May 20, when you tax the vehicle, you can declare the vehicle as a VHI and therefore MoT exempt once beyond the 40th anniversary date. When declaring the exemption you will be asked to confirm that it has not been substantially changed.
This process will be applied to vehicles registered before 1960, even thought they’re already MoT-exempt, alongside the newer vehicles in the historic vehicle class.
If your classic doesn’t have an MoT but you wish to continue using it on public roads, you can go for two options:
Undergo an MoT or claim exemption from future MoTs by relicensing to declare your car as a VHI.
If this is the first time applying for the historic vehicle class, you cannot claim exemption online. This must be done at your local Post Office.
You will be required to complete a V112 declaration form to declare MoT exemption.
There’s more information on this here.
Classic Cars for Sale
Teal Tourer Special (Aluminium) This superb Teal Special was built by 1987 by Peter Farrell and Bob Jones at Teal, Only 10761 recorded miles since. Correctly registered as the law of the day as a Teal Tourer 1975 Very rare Tourer special with swept wings and doors! Believed the only one in existence! Finished in unmarked Aircraft Bugatti French blue, Full aluminium body detailed with leather
Blue 1938 Austin 18 Six Saloon. MOT and Tax Exempt. The perfect car for weddings and other special occasions. A true classic that is perfect for special occasions and becoming increasingly hard to find. This car has been kept in very good condition, engine runs and drives with no issues.The 2510cc straight 6 cylinder petrol engine is in good running condition and the four speed gearbox has no prob
Very sound and well presented in dark blue, really good older restoration holding up well, tidy engine bay, very good chromework, excellent interior, running very well with new MOT. Comes with wire wheels, overdrive, Webasto sunroof, and a large history file documenting regular expenditure.
Delivered new to the Channel islands. . Restored 15 years ago to a very high standard with large file of invoices and photographs showing a bare metal windows out restoration-comprehensive overhaul of engine and transmission etc etc. Original sumptuous red hide interior. Just 38,000 miles travelled from new and 3 recorded keeper. Recent recommissioning includes the fitting of electronic ignition f