Industry bodies urged to petition for annual classic car safety test

Industry bodies urged to petition for annual classic car safety test

Classic car organisations, such as the Federation of British Historic Vehicle Clubs (FBHVC) and the newly-formed Historic & Classic Vehicle Alliance (HCVA), are being urged to lobby government to introduce a basic safety test for older vehicles. The calls are being championed by Ben Field, Managing Director of Vintage Tyres, the world’s largest supplier of original-equipment tyres for enthusiast vehicles.

Back in May 2018, MoT exemption was controversially aligned with historic vehicle tax (VED), meaning UK-registered vehicles built more than forty years ago no longer need to be tested annually, providing no “substantial changes” have been made in the last thirty years. Ben reckons a consultation regarding the decision “read like a done deal against the MoT from the start” and that representatives from the Department for Transport responsible for organising the consultation, collating responses and drafting the report, didn’t fully understand what an MoT test actually involves. “Surely, the MoT was the backbone of vehicle safety — a second pair of eyes and hands checking everything is in order?” he argues. “Granted, the MoT was a bind, and yes, it probably wasn’t entirely fit for purpose when it came to inspecting older vehicles, but to eliminate the test altogether wasn’t a satisfactory solution.”

The need for a safety test has never been more important, Ben claims, having witnessed a steep decline in the condition of tyres fitted to classic cars in recent years. He also says colleagues across the industry are dealing with serious mechanical and structural problems far later than they would if a test were flagging advisories on a yearly basis.

“Just recently, we welcomed the owner of a classic into Vintage Tyres for new rubber,” he told us. “The tyres on the car were decades old and were visibly deteriorated. Three were radials, one was a crossply. The car itself was brimming with body filler and was one wet winter away from disintegration, yet it just been sold on for a five-figure sum. This sort of thing is not untypical.” He also believes anyone selling classic vehicles, trade or private, should have to produce a valid MoT certificate before completion of sale. Do you agree? Contact us through the usual channels.

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