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No tax or MOTs for another 300,000 classic cars

By raccars Published

 

Old Golf

The Government wants classic cars built before 1977 to be exempt from MOTs and tax.

The Government has announced its plans to make cars of 40 years and older exempt from having to undergo the annual MOT test, meaning that cars built prior to 1977 will not need either tax or an MOT. The news has been met with mixed reactions, with some experts claiming that this is a good move for owners who maintain their classic cars to a high standard whilst others have slammed the proposals as dangerous.

Driving down safety?

The proposed move is undoubtedly a controversial one and many motorists, including those who own classic cars, have spoken out about the plans. Motoring journalist Quentin Wilson, for example, took to Twitter to call the new government proposals ‘totally insane’. He said that he ‘happily’ paid £40 each year for the safety check provided by the MOT test for his classic.

Cars which will may no longer have to be taken to the garage for an MOT check include the 1976-launched Rover SD1 3500, the Mercedes-Benz W123, a 40-year-old Ford Fiesta, the Chrysler Avenger, the Lamborghini Silhouette, the Renault 14, the very early Volkswagen Golfs, the early Volkswagen Scirocco and the Triumph TR7. Others soon to be exempt from MOT and tax could include the Ford Cortina, the Morris Marina and the Vauxhall Viva.

Untested classic cars could increase road risk

Campaigners are concerned that the Government’s proposals to reclassify such classic cars could increase the danger on Britain’s roads whilst cutting red tape for owners and making it simpler for them to keep driving them.

The changes would affect around 300,000 vehicles and could be introduced within two years to recognise cars created during the 1960s and 1970s as collectors’ items. A new Department for Transport document outlining the plans has been published, reflecting a belief that the owners of classic cars maintain their vehicles to a high standard.

Speaking in the national press, however, Quentin Wilson called the plans ‘absolutely wrong’ and said that they posed a real risk of ‘compromising road safety’. He said that older cars should be scrutinised even more than new cars and that it was a worry that cars such as 1970s Hillmans, Vauxhalls and Fords could be driven on public roads without undergoing safety checks.

Proposals go against EU opinion

The document that has been published by the Department for Transport (DfT) also goes against a proposal by the EU to reduce the threshold for classic cars to 30 years. All vehicles would, however, need to be certified in order to ensure that they have not undergone substantial modification. It is believed that classic cars are more likely to be well maintained and driven less than more common, newer vehicles.

The DfT maintains that the proposals would not compromise safety and put other road users at risk. A DfT spokesperson said that Britain’s roads are amongst the safest in the world and that the Government is committed to cutting accident numbers. As part of this, they said, MOT testing is vital in keeping dangerous cars off the road and maintaining safer vehicles.

The DfT added, however, that research has revealed that classic vehicles are proportionally far less likely to be involved in accidents than modern cars and there are an extremely low number of crashes which are known to result from mechanical defects.

The Government has been consulting on the proposals and the DfT spokesperson said that the results of this controversial consultation would be announced in due course.

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