Europe-wide Roadworthiness Testing legislation, agreed in Brussels last month, is scheduled to come into effect in April, and the UK’s Department for Transport (DfT) will then have until April 2018 to decide how to incorporate the directive into UK legislation. Part of the legislation includes exempting ‘classics’ from MOT testing on a rolling 30-year exemption basis. If introduced this year, it could potentially be applied to all Land Rovers built before 1984.
LRO takes the view that all vehicles should be checked for road safety at regular intervals by a certified professional, and never has supported the idea of abolishing the MOT for older vehicles – which currently applies to vehicles registered before 1 Jan 1960 in the UK. Even if the new legislation goes ahead, the owner of an MOT-exempt vehicle would still be responsible for their vehicle’s road safety, and legally liable for any damage caused by mechanical failure. We think it’s too risky to rely on owners who are not vehicle technicians to assess the safety of their own vehicle.
According to the new directive, a vehicle qualifies for exemption if:
- 'It was manufactured or registered for the first time at least 30 years ago.’
- 'Its specific type […] is no longer in production’.
- 'It is historically preserved and maintained in its original state, and has not sustained substantial changes in the technical characteristics of its main components.’
For vehicles as modifiable and long-lived as Land Rovers, that leaves plenty of wiggle room. Does a 1983 One Ten count as ‘no longer in production’ when the largely similar Defender 110 is still being made? Would swapping a 2.5-litre diesel for a 200Tdi (based on the earlier 2.5) count as a ‘substantial change’? What about a Tdi engine in a Series Land Rover? And how would you classify a well-preserved 1970s-built V8 Series I trialler? Despite being heavily modified, some vehicles can still be ‘historically preserved’ and a classic in their own right.
Nothing is yet set in stone. The form of the Brussels agreement, as a directive rather than a regulation, allows the UK government some flexibility in how it interprets the legislation, and whether it wants to adopt it at all.
The Federation of British Historic Vehicle Clubs (FBHVC), representing 550 member clubs, is liaising with the DfT, and has said that it aims ‘to ensure that as testing becomes more modern and automated, it still remains possible to test older vehicles’.
For more information, visit the FBHVC’s website at fbhvc.co.uk