an MGBGTV8 registered in France
Franck Morand (Mirage 0154) from Clermont Ferrand responded to an enquiry from
Dave and Elizabeth Phillips on how to find a way through the French bureaucratic
system for importing and registering an MGBGTV8 to France as they intend living
there. (Oct 03)
Phillips contacted Franck saying he and his wife "intend to move soon to
France, and would like to bring with us our MGBV8. Do you have classic car insurance
in France and is there a good MG Club in France, how strict is the testing of
cars in France by the ministry for older cars, and is the MGBV8 a practical classic
car to bring to France as we have the option to swap the V8 for a MGF with left
hand drive? Do you feel the MGF would this be more practical than a V8 in France?
Any other tips you can give me would be appreciated".
note is taken from Franck Morand's response. It is good to hear that British citizens
are moving to France with an MGBGTV8. Although I live in Thailand at present,
I have owned an original V8 since 1989 which I keep in France and still drive
the car about three to four times a year when I am back on my business trips and
holidays to my home country.
of all, you need to pay the tax, but I think it is based on the cost of the car
when it was new, so, it is negligible. Now the greatest difficulty is to have
the car registered in France. In fact, I was extremely lucky to have purchased
my V8 from an English gentleman who had moved to France, and who had painfully
followed all the various steps of registration required by the "Service Des
Mines". I have a two inch thick file at home which describes the tedious
process and the numerous meetings he had to go through so he could eventually
get the car officially on the road with French number plates. In fact it took
him nine months to complete those formalities.
the reason why it is so difficult to register a V8 in France is because the MGBGTV8
was never officially imported to France, therefore there is no import licence
for this vehicle, known as "fiche d'homologation.". However if the car
was a standard 1800 engined MGB, for instance, it would be relatively easy because
you could then refer to the original "fiche d'homologation" for that
model which you can find at Austin Rover France, because the MGB 1800 was imported
to France in its day. In that case, you simply need to make a few modifications
to the car by refering to the original "fiche d'homologation" to ensure
compliance with the French regulations. Then the inspector simply needs to check
whether the car is in compliance with what he reads on the "fiche d'homologation".
But in the case of the V8 it is not so straightforward as there simply was never
ever a "fiche d'homologation" for this vehicle. You need to ask for
a registration of the V8 - "a titre isole" or individual registration.
Then, it all depends on how serious your file is, and on ...luck. In this case
the inspector cannot refer to any official document, and that is where the difficulty
that the reason why James Gracey, the former owner of my V8, managed to get the
car registered was probably to do with the fact that he was a British citizen
married with a French lady, and he had genuinely moved to France with his car.
He was able to plead his cause as a personal case, and the French authorities
were therefore more lenient with
him. Incidentally, on my "carte grise", I have the mention: "Par
Derogation du Ministre des Transports et de la Mer", which literally means,
"by derogation of the Minister of Transport and Navy". Impressive is
This complicated process is probably the reason why there are
only about five genuine V8s officially registered in France to my knowledge. Despite
this, I would say that the fact that you are British and that you are moving to
France, would definitely work in your favour. What the authorities do not see
with a favourable eye is French people who try to get foreign car registered in
France which were never imported originally, particularly when they realize that
those people are in the motor trade. Your chances are then extremely slim, except
if you know someone at very high level...!
am actually contacted at times by French people who want to register a V8 in France
- they even manage to get my parents' telephone number, and call them via the
MG Club de France or through the journalists who test drove my car a couple of
years ago. That is why, among other reasons, I do not subscribe to any Club in
France. (MG Club de France).
if you manage to get your V8 registered in France, it is a fantastic car to own
as there are thousands of country roads virtually designed for the V8. So I would
tend to say that it is really worth trying to get your V8 registered in France.
Again, as a British citizen, it is likely to be much easier.
When my V8 was restored some years ago I had it converted to LHD as I thought
it would be much easier to use on European roads which was actually a pretty tough
operation. However, considering it is a leisure car and given the V8 torque, I
would not repeat the exercise today. So, I would not see keeping the car RHD as
a major obstacle on the long run, plus of course in the end, it is better to keep
the car original.
to the MGF, it would be so much easier to buy a nice second hand one in France.
There are plenty of them but this is a totally different kind of fish if I may
say! Again, for the reasons explained above, you could also register a British
MGF as the car is imported in France. So there should be no particular problems,
except some paperwork which will need a little patience.
my MG in France is not a problem at all. Since it is a 1973 car, I can go for
a classic car insurance policy, and the cost is very reasonable - around £350
pa. But this is full coverage, including theft with an agreed value. The agreed
value for my V8 is based on both its rarity in France and condition, is £15,000
and I can drive it at any time with no annual mileage limit. I will give you some
recommendations for insurers in France if you need so but you can find many addresses
of insurance companies specialising in Classic Cars in magazines such as "Auto
Retro", "Retroviseur", "La Vie de L'Auto" and so on.
Finally some good
news - the "carte grise" is free for an MGBGTV8 because the car is more
than 30 years old. The same applies to an old V12 Ferrari, for instance, which
means that apart from insurance, you do not pay road tax on these exotic vehicles
in France provided they are over 30 years of age.
So, you see, you are
moving to the right country! Good Luck for your registration.