MOT change means forty-year-old classic vehicles to be given exemption

Additional 293,000 registered classic cars to be given a free ticket under new MOT exemption rules

The Ford Cortina will be exempt from the annual test next year.

Vehicles over forty-years-old will be MOT exempt from May 2018 on a rolling basis, the Department for Transport (DfT) has announced despite road safety concerns.

Currently, all vehicles that were manufactured before 1960 are exempt from compulsory annual roadworthiness testing, representing 197,000 vehicles on the UK’s roads.

However, from May 2018, a further 293,000 vehicles will also become exempt.

Consultation opposition

The announcement followed a government consultation in which 1,130 respondents opposed MOT exemption for vehicles over forty-years-old while 899 supported the plans.

According to the DfT, historic vehicles are “usually maintained in good condition and used on few occasions”.

Concerns that these cars are at greater risk of failure than their modern counterparts were dismissed with the claim that “they are used on few occasions, usually on short trips and requiring a full MOT was unreasonable.”

Popular 70’s cars to get MOT exemption

  • Ford Cortina
  • Ford Escort
  • Morris Marina
  • Mini
  • Vauxhall Viva
  • Austin Allegro
  • Ford Capri
  • Austin 1100/1300
  • Ford Granada
  • Hillman Avenger

Transport minister, Jesse Norman said: “After considering the responses, we have decided to exempt most vehicles over forty years old from the requirement for annual road-worthiness testing.

“This means lighter vehicles and those larger vehicles such as buses which are not used commercially.

“Heavy goods vehicles and public service vehicles falling under operator licensing regulations will remain within the scope of road-worthiness testing.

“Vehicles that have been substantially changed, regardless of their age, will not be exempt from annual roadworthiness testing.”

During the government consultation, GW readers raised serious road safety concerns about a forty-year-rolling MOT exemption.

Professional inspection

James Holt commented: “The purpose of an mot is to make sure any vehicle used on a public road meets a minimum safety standard to protect all road users and pedestrians.

“Why would anyone consider not testing any vehicle, however old, a sensible or rational decision.”

Nigel Samson said: “I am a classic car collector and a garage owner and as such I have first-hand knowledge of how a classic vehicle, however kept, can deteriorate over the winter months when not used.

“Many a time I have decided to give one of my cars an airing only to find I have binding brakes or a mis-shaped tyre.

I can only imagine how many owners would take the attitude that they are ‘only going to a show, so it will be alright’ if they did not have to have them professionally inspected.

Do you support MOT exemptions for older vehicles or are you concerned about the safety implications? Share your comments and experiences in the comments below.

Auto Torque has partnered with Garage Wire to bring you all the latest aftermarket news.



  1. WOW another missinformed judgment from VOSA i service/maintain classic cars and struggle to understand this ruling ,my classic car customer base is fairly large i find the older cars do not get the required service or repair unless there is a known fault by the owner/user or it is due for mot ,for VOSA to apply thios ruling is wrong illadvised and will result in roadside vehicle fairures IE DANGEROUS .
    Why oh why is it that cival servants involved in this ruling do not have proper advise or do not have the required mechanical expertise to understand this fact, A car owner who have a classic car serviced correctly befor being MOT tested then will normally have a clear MOT result .
    I also have classic cars ie 1960 Sunbeam Rapier / 1976 MGB GT / multiple classic citroen vehicles x5 .
    My advise to VOSA is a simple old cliche IF IT AIN`T BROKE DON`T FIX IT enough said .

    Keith Davis
    46 continuous years in the motor trade and still repairing vehicles .

  2. Absolutely ludicrous decision,any vehicle used on public roads if involved in a serious/fatal collision will be investigated to make someone culparable if defects are found. Owners are not and should not be perceived as experts of maintaining there vehicles, classic or otherwise.

  3. I fully agree with the last two comments, I have been in the motor trade for 50 years and can only endorse what has been said. Many a classic car left standing for long periods will deteriorate and cause problems, especially with mostly unqualified engineers looking after them.


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