MOT exemption and substantially modified cars
Two announcements from the DfT are of particular interest to classic car enthusiasts: MOT exemption for cars 40 years and older which secure Vehicle of Historic Interest (VHI) status but also cars 40 years and older where modifications have been made more than 30 years ago will also be eligible for VHI status and MOT exemption. This will be of particular interest to our members with MGBV8 Conversions, however we await further clarifications.

The measures announced are the result of intensive discussions between the FBHVC and the DfT. They are complex so we have created a flowchart to try and help explain them.

See also our recent NEWS item

Posted: 180104
MOT Exemption
Currently vehicles manufactured prior to 1960 are exempt from the requirement to pass an MOT test, but from 20th May 2018 that simple arrangement is changing to comply with an EU Regulation. In future, vehicles will not be automatically exempt on the basis of their age, owners will have to declare them to be Vehicles of Historic Interest (VHI).

To be eligible to be a VHI, a vehicle must be over 40 years old and have not undergone any substantial modification during the previous 30 years. The meaning of "substantial modification" has been the subject of intensive discussion between the DfT and FBHVC. The original proposals put forward by DfT in its consultation would have been restrictive and impractical but it is thought that the guideline now agreed and the introduction of the 30 year rule make this a workable solution.
Vehicle of Historic Interest (VHI): Substantial Change Guidance

Major points of note
o The process is one of self-declaration by the owner.
o Owners will only be required to declare their vehicle to be a VHI if they wish to be exempted from an annual MOT Test.
o All vehicles eligible for MOT exemption can still be tested if their owners wish to do so, not least because owners continue to be responsible for their vehicle's roadworthiness.
o The criteria are generic and permit changes made, less than 30 years prior to the declaration, which improve efficiency, safety, preservation or environmental performance.
o The Guidance refers to "a marque or historic vehicle experts". A list will be published on the FBHVC website by 30th April 2018. Vehicle owners wishing to confirm if they may declare their vehicle as a VHI, may choose to contact the appropriate nominee from this list.
Both the 40 and 30 year conditions are on a rolling basis. The rolling 30 years replaces the fixed 1988 date previously proposed by DfT.

Vehicle Excise Duty (VED or Road Tax)
This is not affected in any way by these changes. It will still be possible for all vehicles over 40 years old to be registered in the Historic class and exempted from VED. That exemption continues to be on a rolling 40 year basis.

Flowchart explanation
These measures are complex so we have created a flowchart to try and help explain them. Flowchart

V8 Conversions
Owners of these cars should study carefully what the DfT "VHI: Substantial Change Guidance" says about changing engines. They may consider that as the MGB was available with both the 1800cc engine and the V8 engine at one time, the V8 engine may be taken to be alternative original equipment for the MGB and fitting one does not constitute a substantial modification. We understand the MG Car Club has had initial contacts with the FBHVC to be considered a marque or historic vehicle expert but can offer no advice on the subject.