With opinion still varied the Government have settled on their plans along with the Department of Transport and one of the best explanations of this somewhat complicated situation comes from our American cousins at Hemmings; the five page Government PDF on the plans are linked at the base of this article…Still a bit confused after reading all of this; well, me too!
After declaring earlier this year that it would not consider modified vehicles as Vehicles of Historical Interest, thus making them ineligible for exemption from annual roadworthiness tests, the U.K. Department for Transport recently reversed course, allowing exemptions for period-modified and lightly modified vehicles. When the DfT altered its definition of VHI – its term for “classic car” – in September from any pre-1960 vehicle to any vehicle 40 years and older, it notably excluded “vehicles that have been substantially changed, regardless of their age,” from the definition, effectively exempting nearly 300,000 more vehicles from MOT testing. That position, as the DfT pointed out in its announcement, corresponds with the European Union’s own roadworthiness testing directive, though the DfT was left wanting for a definition of “substantially changed” vehicles. DfT officials have since conferred with representatives from the Federation of British Historical Vehicle Clubs and issued new guidelines on modified vehicles that will only exclude from VHI status vehicles that have been substantially modified within the last 30 years.
The new guidelines also define “substantially changed” as any vehicle that has seen a change in technical characteristics to its chassis, axles, suspension, or engine. In addition, the new guidelines also allow some leeway for “changes made to improve efficiency, safety or environmental performance” as well as “changes that are made to preserve a vehicle” for vehicles modified within the last 30 years. Any Vehicle of Historic Interest must still be registered in the U.K., though any vehicle 40 years and older is exempted from annual excise taxes. Owners of vehicles exempted from annual roadworthiness testing may still have their vehicles inspected.
The exemptions from MOT testing will take effect May 1, 2018.