DVLA tries to calm concerns over historic vehicle checks

Real concerns amongst vintage car enthusiasts over rumours relating to the DVLA investigations and the associate letters they have issued are reported as causing the vintage car scene concern with some people "scared of rebuilding vintage cars because they don't want to get into trouble with the DVLA." But some classic car enthusiasts with modified or converted cars from the 1970s may also have concerns and will be watching these developments and statements from DVLA with a great deal of interest.

Classic Car Weekly is a well regarded classic car newspaper which comes out on Wednesdays providing news items, vehicle reviews and private and trade adverts. More

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For some time there have been concerns over the provenance of some vintage and classic cars and we had heard that DVLA had, in a relatively few cases, been carrying out investigations to establish that the original registration and the authenticity of a small group of vehicles. The Federation of British Historic Vehicle Clubs (FBHVC), which represents most historic vehicle clubs in the UK, has also been actively involved in discussions with the DVLA over issues related to the registration of historic vehicles and the issuance of age related vehicle registration numbers (VRNs).

The DVLA has sought to calm the situation as rumours and speculation saying "its initiative asking some historic car owners to validate their vehicles' identities is not part of a wider campaign to crack down on classics with non original parts or modifications". In a copy of a statement from John Vale (team leader for DVLA registration policy), given to Classic Car Weekly and obtained from the DVLA press office, he sought to clarify the position saying it's important to "understand what DVLA is trying to achieve through the current exercise which has seen letters sent to a number of classic car owners." Some of the few letters that have gone out may have been circulated freely causing plenty of concern and controversy.
What is in the statement from DVLA?
A copy of the statement released by the DVLA press office says:

“I think it is important your [CCW] readers understand exactly what DVLA is trying to achieve through the current exercise, which has seen letters sent to a number of classic car owners. This is not a crackdown as suggested and DVLA does not intend to call into question the authenticity of all classic vehicles, potentially withdrawing their historic status. This exercise is intended to establish the authenticity of a small group of vehicles.

The FBHVC (Federation of British Historic Vehicle Clubs) has been consulted and acknowledged DVLA has a legal responsibility to maintain an accurate record. Where doubt is cast over the accuracy of the records held, thorough and proportionate investigations are necessary. As your readers will know, classic vehicles qualify for an exemption from vehicle excise duty and an exemption from vehicle testing if pre-1960. They can also display period registration numbers. It is vital, therefore, DVLA holds accurate records.

I can confirm again that this exercise is in no way linked to the introduction of any EU Directive. Nor does it extend to some of the examples mentioned in your [CCW] article of 22nd July. For instance I am aware of a recent V765 application (to register a vehicle under its original registration number) where a vehicle was shown on the original old style logbook as a four-door saloon and when presented for registration had been altered to a two seat sports. Not surprisingly further investigations were necessary in this case.

The response to our letters has been encouraging. We appreciate the uncertainty felt by the classic car owners, however, the number potentially affected is very small. Where investigations establish that the original registration was incorrect these vehicles will require re-registration under an alternative registration.”

John Vale, team leader, DVLA vehicle registration policy

The "alternative registration" comment presumably refers to the issue of Q-plates for cars of indeterminate origin.

What information has the FBHVC provided?
In the latest quarterly FBHVC report received this morning there are several lengthy reports which members may find interesting as they provide background and a number of useful insights too.

DVLA - Correcting Registrations
In this report Bob Owen explains at some length but I feel in view of all that has happened it is essential that you all understand where we are and how we have got to this position
. See report

Report From the Regular Meeting Between DVLA and FBHVC
In this report Ian Edmunds covers the topics of "V765, Evidence for Applications" and "Replacement Bodies and other Parts", "Vehicle Inspections", "Age related plates" and more saying many of you have contacted the Federation in the last few weeks with various comments and questions relating to changes in DVLA policy with regard to the evidence required to support V765 applications for the reallocation of original registration numbers.
See report