Reassessment of the MOT exemption for classic cars

You have only until 22nd March 2023 to give DfT your views on the MOT exemption for classic cars.

Send your views to the V8 Webmaster or post them on a V8 Bulletin Board thread.
V8BB thread

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The Department of Transport is seeking the views of classic car owners on the MOT exemption which was introduced for classic cars over 40 years old in 2018. This exemption from the requirement for an annual MOT test replaced an earlier legal exemption from an MOT test for pre-1960 vehicles. It appears the DfT is interested in having the views of classic car enthusiasts and the wider public on how they feel the 40 year MOT exemption has worked and whether it needs to be reviewed. So in many ways it appears like a consultation ahead of a consultation. You have only until 22nd March 2023 to give DfT your views on the MOT exemption for classic cars.

Following the introduction of the MOT exemption in 2018 classic car use fell during COVID period with the constraints on gatherings like motor shows and club events, but now many enthusiasts are using their classics more again.
When the MOT exemption came in during 2018 many people did feel that whilst it was a convenient concession at that time, more generally there were concerns over the wisdom of allowing owners to decide whether or not to have their classic car tested on an annual basis by an experienced tester, able to spot safety and roadworthiness issues, which could easily be missed by even a diligent enthusiast owner. The V8 Webmaster recalls discussing this with the MOT tester he has used for many years - his response was: "if you saw some of the things we see you wouldn't stop having the MOT annual test!". He has an MGB Roadster and briefly mentioned he sees with some of the cars they test dripping brake fluid from the leads to the rear brakes, emerging cracks on the steering rack connection to the crossmember with cars retrofitted with power steering kits and more.

What effect did the MOT exemption in 2018 have on classic cars?
Well figures obtained from the DVSA (Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency) reveal a significant drop in classic cars having an MOT test but since Covid epidemic had eased the numbers tested have increased slightly.
2017 - 221,860
2018 - 117,565
2019 - 83,737
2020 - 60,657
2021 - 63,629
This increase in tests in 2021 may well be as some owners who value the keen eye of an MOT tester have booked an MOT test as they are planning to bring their car out of an extended layup during the COVID period and then enjoy driving it more this year.

Post on the V8BB from David Macadam
I think not having an annual MOT for a classic
car like an MGV8 is very unwise as experienced MOT testers with a vehicle up on a ramp can with a strong lamp inspect a car very closely, not least the underside, and spot safety issues which an owner might easily miss. I can see why many owners might support the MOT exemption and stop having their classic car MOT tested even though it is eligible for the exemption. They may possibly decide to have only an occasional MOT test. They may feel that with a low annual mileage their car doesn't need an annual test and that they do enthusiastically maintain their car themselves. A concern I have with owners not having an annual MOT is that a key requirement in their motor insurance policy is the car must be maintained in a roadworthy condition. If they were to make a claim for damage and the insurer's inspector discovered evidence of inadequate maintenance that might lead to the insurer reducing a payout on a claim or even deciding to void the policy.

Post on the V8BB from Chris Hunt Cooke
Not only might defects bring difficulties with insurance, but there are also specific criminal offences applying to defective brakes, steering, tyres and dangerous condition which carry a fine and 3 penalty points, and defective lights or exhaust can bring a fine.

Post on the V8BB from Chris Bound
This is very topical as, earlier today, I took two of the cars in the Brooklands Museum collection (Bentley "Le Mans" and Railton Terraplane, should anyone be interested) for MOT tests. (The Museum's policy is that any cars which are likely to be used on public roads should be tested.)
The experience highlighted the value of having a test carried out - so long as it is done by the right calibre of tester.
In the past, we have taken cars to testers who don't really know (or care) what they are looking at. Sometimes, they have not inspected the cars properly and have then just clicked buttons on their computers and issued a certificate. I cannot see that this helpful to anyone other than themselves.
Today, my colleagues and I spent a full two hours with the tester, while he thoroughly examined chassis mountings, suspension components, brakes, etc. We were able to join him under the cars and to discuss all the issues that arose. One of the cars (which passed a test about 18 months ago and has probably done fewer than 10 miles since) was found to have several significant faults, which may have been present for years. Now that we know about them, we will be able to address them and ensure that the car is made safe.
At just £45 for each car tested, I think the value of a thorough test in unquestionable. Expressed in terms of an hourly rate, you would probably have to pay at least twice that for someone to come and fix a washing machine and, yet, some people resent paying a expert to check a classic car. Just make sure that you choose your tester carefully, if you actually want to know what faults are present and are not just looking for ticks in the boxes.

Post on the V8BB from Victor Smith
The photo in the NEWS item posted on the V8 website is of the J&P MOT test centre in Hampton which I have used for many years. One of the team there has an MGB Roadster and they understand and like classic cars so do very good and thorough checks as part of the test and are careful in handling my V8. They are about 35 minutes from my home but well worth the time driving over to see them for a first class MOT test.