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UK Government releases details of new rolling 40-year exemption for vehicles — and it’s good news for modified classics and the MoT.

classics and the mot

Originally proposed in September 2017, the Department of Transport has now published the confirmed details of its roling 40-year MoT exemption for Vehicles Of Historic Interest (VHI) to commence on May 20, 2018 – with some substantantial changes the the rules for modified classics, largely thanks to efforts by the Federation Of British Historic Vehicle Clubs.

From May 2018, almost all UK vehicles manufactured or first registered over 40 years ago will be exempt from the MoT — if they are registered as a VHI.

Vehicles that have been modified in the last 30 years (this is a rolling date) will not be eligible to be registered as a VHI, but will simply need to be MoTd each year, as they are currently — when the initial proposals were revealed last year, there were fears that 40-year-old cars with almost any modifications would not be classed as VHIs and be regarded as ‘substantially altered’, which would potentially mean either going through a stricter, separate test and losing their original registration, or worse, being legislated off the road.

mot exempt

There are a couple of exceptions that will allow a vehicle to be modified and still classed as a VHI:
1. Vehicles that were modified in period – including specials – will be allowed to be registered as VHIs, and will therefore be exempt from the need for an MoT.
2. Modifications that improve ‘the efficiency, safety, preservation or environmental performance’ of a vehicle, such as uprated brakes, will not prevent the vehicle from being granted VHI status.

It’s important to note that vehicles 40 years or older will not automatically be classed as VHIs – owners will need to declare this status (and prove the vehicle’s eligiilty with a recognised ‘marque or historic vehicle expert‘ where necessary, but owners will still be able to have their VHI-registered vehicles MoTd if they wish to.

Modified classics and the MoT: Full details of the Department Of Transport’s published VHI substantial change guidance can be found here.

VHIs and the MoT: key points

1. Most vehicles manufactured or first registered over 40 years ago will, as of May 20,
2018, be exempt from periodic testing if registered as a VHI — unless they have been substantially changed

2. The VHI process is one of self-declaration

3. A vehicle that has been substantially changed within the previous 30 years will have to be submitted for annual MoT testing as before. Whether a substantially changed vehicle requires re-registration is a separate process, again as before

4. Keepers of VHIs old can voluntarily submit vehicles for testing

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