Relief for classic car owners as updated DVLA/ DfT Guidance is announced

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Relief for classic car owners as updated DVLA/ DfT Guidance is announced

Department for Transport (DfT) Guidance change on Substantial Change of Vehicles of Historic Interest.

As a result of concerns expressed by member organisations of the Federation of Historic Vehicle Clubs and classic vehicle owners to the proposed definition of ‘Vehicles of Historic Interest’, the DVLA / DfT have issued revised guidelines.

The Guidance sets out the definition of a Vehicle of Historic Interest (VHI), vehicles that will, from May 2018, be entitled to be exempt from taking a vehicle (MoT) test and supersedes all previous potential criteria released for discussion earlier this year.

The FBHVC have been locked in talks with the DVLA and DfT since the announcement of the new MOT exemption legislation back in September. When the news first broke, there were some worries over the scrapping of the 8-point system rule in favour of a measurement of power to weight ratio gains.

The implications for the future of the classic car movement were significant and worrying and were covered in our earlier article here.

However, since then and thanks to the perseverance of the FBHVC in ensuring the needs of the classic motorist were heard by the regulatory bodies, they have revised their documentation to an eminently more sensible and workable set of guidelines as outlined below.

Speaking to the classic car press, an FBHVC spokesperson said, “In the discussions, we were careful to take into account all the possible needs of the historic vehicle community. The FBHVC wishes to express its appreciation of the open and collaborative manner in which the DfT approached these discussions.”

We, like the FBHVC, feel that this is a much more positive way forward to ensure the freedoms of the hobby and industry remain intact into future years and that TRs are not taken off the road or deemed not be historic without reason.

The guidance states that a vehicle may generally be a VHI if relevant changes were undertaken more than 30 years previously. The biggest headline change is that this will be a rolling 30 years and replaces the fixed 1988 date previously proposed by DfT.

Key points:

  1. The process is one of self-declaration.
  2. Owners will only be required to declare their vehicle to be a VHI if they wish to be exempted from an annual MOT Test.
  3. All vehicles will still be able to be tested if their owners wish.
  4. The criteria are generic and permit changes made, less than 30 years prior to the declaration, which improve efficiency, safety, preservation or environmental performance.
  5. Those vehicles registered on a Q plate, as kits or built up classics are not entitled to be declared as VHIs until forty years after they were registered.
  6. For motorcycles only the criteria of Q plates, kits and built up classics prevent declaration as a VHI.

Finally, the Guidance refers to “a marque or historic vehicle experts”. We expect this will be a similar process for verifying cars for the V765 scheme where a vehicle owner may apply for an age related plate and papers but a full list will be published on the website of the Federation of British Historic Vehicle Clubs by 30th April 2018.

The DVLA has stated that the guidance will not change their processes for vehicle registrations.

Text of the Guidance is at: https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/668274/vehicles-of-historical-interest-substantial-change-guidance.pdf