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

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

Related: Respond to historical vehicle MOT consultation now, says RMI

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.


  1. I do not support exemptions as many of our customers use their cars regularly and as everyday drivers. Where they use them for high days and holidays then they should still be safe as they are on the roads with other road users. They do not transport the car to the show and just drive it slowly in the show ground area. They drive it to the show, sometimes hundreds of miles.

  2. I’m not in disagreement with the DTF that a complete MOT may be not required however the owner should have to apply for exemption and a thorough check done before the exemption is granted. If the vehicle is found un-roadworthy during the ‘exemption MOT’ then the vehicle should be made roadworthy first. At least this way we know that the classic vehicle has been looked after and is safe.

  3. No I do not support mot exemptions. All the above cars are prone to heavy corrosion, ( I know cos I owned them) and this will give the opportunity for cars with major chassis corrosion to be on the road.

  4. I am an MoT test inspector, and based on the vehicles we see [and fail], the exemption is a recipe for disaster which will undoubtedly come back to bite the public. There is no outcry from the public for this exemption, by what right has some faceless bureaucrat, who cannot later be sacked for making this error, give away tax payer’s money?

  5. I am an owner of classic vehicles, I own an MOT station and repair such classics. I would consider myself best placed to judge on this matter, and I think it is a ridiculous idea. So many of these are NOT maintained to a high standard. Many are rotten and owned by people with a passion, but not the money. I spent the weekend surrounded by classics cars, vans and their owners, and not one of them owners I spoke to thought it was a good idea.

  6. As one of the 1130 people who responded, and very much against exeption based on common sense, I cannot understand how this got through, more voted against than for and anyone who owns a classic car knows that the brakes seize up during the 6 months off road time, rust does not stop because the car is laid up and electrical connections corrode.
    One way forward is for MOT testing stations to offer a free check to classic car owners as long as their normal day to day cars are taken to the same testing station andthey pay the full price

  7. This is madness I’m in total opposition for obvious reasons . What exactly is wrong with having your car checked if it’s so well looked after ? It’s wrong I own classics and months of non use creates problems especially with safety related components . Is this the beginning of restriction of use ?

  8. Definitely a bad idea , only recently mot’d a 1960 Morris minor and failed it on an insecure drivers seat ( due to corrosion ), steering wheel loose and horn not working . The owner was oblivious to the faults .

  9. As a motor engineer taking cars for MOT tests and owning old cars I would like to say no car is safe ! An MOT is only on the day so all cars need to be checked often . Some old car owners still have test done just to have a bit of paper to look at,how car is driven is the main safety factor . Could a driver be tested each year to make sure ?

  10. I run 2 MOT stations and also collect classic motorcycles. I cover substantial mileage on my bikes, despite the patronising assumption that they’re hardly used. Maintenance is a big issue because of the age of the vehicle. The pre-1960 exemption from MOT has already proved a farce. Remove the obligation for the test and the vehicle doesn’t receive proper maintenance. I know this from some of my fellow members of the Vintage Motorcycle Club who don’t bother with maintenance any more i.e. it runs, ergo it will be alright. The MOT Test already allows certain exemptions due to age but why remove the need for any test at all? The short term gain for the vehicle owners might gain a populist vote or two for the politician but what will they say to the family of the person who is eventually killed by a vehicle that isn’t roadworthy? The Politician’s lifespan in ‘service’ is short-lived in this area. Where is Michael Penning now – the politican who passed the pre-1960’s exemption? The effect of the consequences, when lives are lost, will be forever.

  11. As a garage owner and a classic car user I will still have my car “MOT’d” purely for safety, as someone has already said cars don’t like to stand around and deteriorate very quickly. there are things the average Joe cant check like brake efficiency / imbalance, headlight aim to name a few. KEEP THE MOT!

  12. I look at the cars listed above and remember what poor quality they were from new. Now they are “low-priced” classic cars often in the hands of amateur mechanics, I can’t help wondering how well they will be maintained without a regular MOT check.
    I am considering googling the dates of local classic car shows so my family and I are not on the road at the same time as some of these vehicles!!

  13. I`m suprised an insurance company will cover a car that has not been tested/inspected to a criteria. Shiny polish can not hide rust,faulty brakes,tyres and steering. A car travelling at 30 mph will still kill someone if it is 3, 10, 20,30,40 or more years old.

  14. I own 2 classic cars I use them regularly I would hate to put any one in danger because I missed a fault on one of my vehicles. A Mot is peace of mind plus it’s great to have a look underneath when your car is on the ramp!

  15. I recently tested a 44 year old Rover 3500S and it was a complete, rotten mess to the point where it was hard to tell how the front suspension was remaining attached to the body! The thought that a car like that would now be considered automatically fit to be on the road is terrifying. If decisions like this are to be made then they should be made by people who have some idea of what they’re doing.

  16. £40 cost of mot? Surely a legal reduction of cost even to the point of a free mot at a local council run garage but defiantly not an untested ticket.

  17. I am a mechanic with over 40 years in the trade and in my experience if a car owner isn’t obliged to get a car safety checked in most cases they won’t bother. However a true classic enthusiast will look after his / her vehicle, therefore i feel it is impossible to judge what condition “un-checked” vehicles might be driven in. Possibly a general safety check is all that is needed. What happens if an unsafe vehicle is found to be the reason for a fatal accident !!. Could a person seek to buy an older car purely to have cheap motoring. £40 a year isn’t much to pay for safety, but possibly some exemption could be given to people who can demonstrate a degree of knowledge in car maintenance .

  18. hi I am 55 years old in the trade all my life ,own a jag e type 1966 4.2 2plus2 fully restored with brake ,tyres and cooling upgrades to keep up with modern driving car passes mot first time and I disagree MOT,s are needed ,just fixed an e type with no brakes 6 months mot on it master cylinders failed on owners trip around Scotland

  19. MOT MADNESS , If it’s on the road it should have an MOT , Stood for the winter first sunny day out it goes ,Brakes binding tyres flat spotted ect .Not only risky for driver but what about other people on road & foot path , It seems safty is NOT PART OF MOT’s .

  20. My wife, son and I own cars that are around ’04 to ’55 plate. They are all in top condition as I am a mechanic with almost 50 years in the trade. I’m also an M.O.T tester. I own 3 classic scooters as well. I have all of these tested annually by somebody else, as I have no problem with them being independently examined. I think that if this 40 year rule is to be brought in, then the vehicles should still be tested but with no charge. This seems the most sensible option. It won’t happen though, because it will cost the Govement money.

  21. Surely it is an offence to drive an unroadworthy vehicle on the road whether it is 3 or 40 yrs old and it has an mot or not. The owners of these classic cars must be made to understand this .Maybe signing to certify their understanding might help even if just a little


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