British Government to exempt 40 year old vehicles from MOT
Following a consultation a few months ago on proposals to extend the MOT exemption, the Department of Transport has released the UK Government's response to the consultation saying that "after considering the responses, we have decided to exempt most vehicles over 40 years old from the requirement for annual roadworthiness testing".
Posted: 170914

In an announcement today from The Government has decided to proceed with the exemption for all vehicles constructed or first registered more than 40 years ago, on a rolling basis, from the annual MOT test. Vehicles of of Historical Interest include "Classic Cars" like the MGBGTV8. Government announcement

"Substantially modified" cars will not be covered by the exemption but there will be further discussion over what that term means.

The "for and against" arguments CCW has in this week's edition are interesting:

The case for the MOT exemption is made by Sir Greg Knight (chair of the all-party parliamentary classic car group) who suggests "the MOT test is becoming progressively irrelevant for historic vehicles which are exempt from emissions testing anyway and tests are being performed by a young tester who doesn't know the first thing about old cars". He then adds the usual political two way handwash by adding "it doesn't mean people are free to drive unroadworthy vehicles, they will still need to ensure they are in a roadworthy condition and furthermore anyone who cannot maintain their own car can still submit it for a voluntary MOT or safety check at their local garage".

The case for retaining the MOT test or a similar annual safety check is made by several classic car groups and by Fuzz Townsend the CCW master mechanic who writes wonderfully clear and well illustrated pieces for CCW on various components on our cars.
In its latest issue on sale at newsagents today, Classic Car Weekly has as its lead article a good review of the DfT document setting out the UK Government's response to the consultation. In that document they said that "after considering the responses, we have decided to exempt most vehicles over 40 years old from the requirement for annual roadworthiness testing".

Although the CCW headline is "MOT exemption divides owners" when you read pages 2 and 3 on the topic it seems many enthusiasts share the view that retaining the MOT test for VED exempt cars was a desirable annual check and a contributor to safety.

There are insurance considerations and CCW has a comment from Marcus Atkinson of Hagerty who says they "can't insist on owners (presumably people for whom they are providing motor insurance cover) having an MOT, however we do require the car is kept in a roadworthy condition. When the MOT exemption was first raised we very strongly insisted that people get an annual check so there is an element of accountability in the event the vehicle is involved in an accident. Our stance remains that, while you are not required to get an MOT, it is a very good practice to get one - or at the very least - an annual service to ensure the car is roadworthy". If ever I saw a comment that between the lines indicated a classic car owner should continue to get an annual MOT test and/or a service from a reputable service specialst who would include the safety checks an MOT inspection would include and maybe more, that has to be it! The reality is that with an insurance claim, assessors look at everything that could be seen as a failure by the insured to comply with the terms of the policy and they dig into the duty in most policies to maintain the car well and disclose all modifications.

Update: In the CCW report, the section with the comments from the Hagerty representative mentioned insurers "can't insist on owners having an MOT if the vehicle is exempt as this goes against legislation. However we do require that the car is kept in a roadworthy condition". On contacting Chris Hunt Cooke his helpful response was "I think what is being referred to is s.148 Road Traffic Act 1988 which renders void any purported restriction on the third party liability in a policy relating to a number of matters, including the condition of the vehicle. After all it would be very unfair if you were hit by a driver and discovered he was uninsured because he had failed to get his car through an MoT test. It applies only to the required legal cover under the Act, an insurer would be free to restrict cover for damage to the insured vehicle".
Updated: 170923
MOT exemption divides owners
In its latest issue on sale at newsagents today, Classic Car Weekly has as its headline for its lead article - MOT exemption divides owners.

Updated: 170920

Classic Car Weekly is out on the stands at newsagents every Wednesday and carries many topical items of interest to classic car enthusiasts together with product reviews and features. Well worth buying a copy and judging for yourself.

What is the FBHVC?
The aim of the Federation of British Historic Vehicle Clubs(FBHVC) is to uphold the freedom to use historic vehicles on the roads without any undue restriction and to support its member organisations in whatever way it can. FBHVC website

"Substantially changed vehicle"
It is a requirement of EU Directive 2014/45 that vehicles which have been substantially changed “in the technical characteristics of their main components” should not be exempt from road-worthiness testing. DfT has decided that it will consider only modifications made since 1988 when determining whether a vehicle has been substantially altered and thus not exempt from testing.