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MG Midget and Sprite Technical - IVA - Radically altered vehicle

Has anyone successfully completed, or knows of someone successfully completing the IVA (previously SVA) test with a spridget?

I have found a few forum threads asking the question, but never anyone saying that they have done it.

I have started to skim through the inspection manual (312 pages) and make notes on what would need modifying/changing to get a spridget to pass, but would love to hear from someone with real experience of the test.


is the IVA test not age related, i.e. anything over 10 years old is exempt?
Jeremy MkIII

Hi Jeremy,

I wish that were the case! As far as I know any vehicle (in the UK) with a V5 is subject to these rules. If you radically alter the vehicle (assessed against a points system) then you need to complete an IVA test, to check that the vehicle is safe and to assign it a new identity.

There are lots of modified midgets out there, I guess some must have completed an IVA.

At which point do you need to declare that you’ve altered a vehicle?
Dave O'Neill 2

I may be wrong but if you are keeping the original shell or using a new heritage shell with old id I didn't think you would need one. It's more aimed at kit cars than modified originals.

T Mason

Tom, what mods/ alterations have you made?
Bill Bretherton

For information

There was muted that a ten year cut off was available, but now any modified car with too many points will need either an IVA or BIVA test.

It's a points based system. An original car has 14 points from the following categories:

Chassis, monocoque bodyshell (body and chassis as one unit) or frame - original or new and unmodified (direct from manufacturer) 5
Suspension (front and back) – original 2
Axles (both) – original 2
Transmission – original 2
Steering assembly – original 2
Engine - original 1

For the car to retain its original identity it must retain 8 points, 5 of which come from the monocoque.

So, if we consider a midget where the shell has been heavily modified, the power and drive train are not original, and both axles and steering have been modified/reengineered. Then it would have 0/14 points.

Dave - I presume the onus is with the owner to submit the car for IVA once it no longer has 8 or more points.

T Mason – I think of you use an original/new shell, and other original/new parts then you can claim the points for them and not require the test. Obviously kit car owners need to complete the test, because they have no registration to retain.

Bill – All of them.

Surely not if the car is already registered as Historic? My BGTV8 is very non-standard and would struggle to make 8 points, but was accepted as a Historic Vehicle ten years ago. I have not tried to conceal the mods - the V5c shows the 3.9 litre engine, and my insurer knows all the detail of the car's specification. The way I understand the rules is that I need to have it MoT tested, but that is all. It doesn't qualify for MoT exemption because it is "Substantially Altered". That's no problem. It sure as eggs isn't going for a one-off vehicle roadworthiness test, whatever that is now called.
Mike Howlett

I think the key to this may be the difference between "substantial" and "radical". Which it is may be open to personal interpretation. I cant see how the shell would be classed as radical even if you had some fibreglass panels, wide arches and a few bits hacked about to suit engine and gearbox mods. Add to that I would guess it still has front stub axles of some sort and rack and pinion steering all of which adds up to 8 points.

T Mason

Would the change on a frogeye from drum brakes to later discs be a problem, straight bolt on mods from a later model of the car and a frequent period mod long before the regs changed.
David Billington


I am pretty much in your boat with the flying Midget. Surely if it is historic then No MoT required? - that's what I have declared anyways.

As ever, I fear the taxman's involvement in this somewhere rather than any concern for safety or unacceptable risk.

I believe if the car is modified and you have the required points for a BIVA test then you are legally obliged to let VOSA know and have the test done. Personally I think its a good idea (except for the need for a Q plate, as there are so many badly converted cars on the road, on the other hand there are many very well modified cars which should pass the basic test easily. I very much doubt that its a revenue based test.

Thanks everyone for your comments.

Mike - Yes that's the way I understand it. I think there is some loop-hole whereby if all the mods were carried out before X year then the car would be exempt from IVA. Not entirely sure though and this wouldn't apply to me anyway.

T Mason - I believe you can make some changes to the Monocoque - weld some brackets on, change the shape of the footwell etc. But you cannot for example modify the bulkheads, or chop out the transmission tunnel to weld in a larger one... This kind of structural modification will definitely lose the 5 points for originality.

David - Brakes don't seem to be considered here. I appreciate what you're saying though. I imagine easily reversible period modifications probably carry some leniency.

Oggers - What is the flying Midget?

J L Heap - you're probably right. I hadn't really intended this thread to be a discussion about whether the IVA is a good or bad thing, rather, what needs doing to get a Midget to pass. I personally don't relish the thought of a Q plate. I can imagine a time in the future when IC cars are no longer allowed on the road, but I also imagine there will be exemptions for historic vehicles and such. A Q plate Midget with a production year of 2019 on the log book...

I would have thought that having a Q plate on a genuine old car would have a disasterous effect on its value.
Mike Howlett

There was a useful thread on the Sebring Sprite website:

Sebring Sprite replica building can involve grafting on a Frogeye rear end (to non MkI Sprite donor shells) made of grp as well as a grp coupe top.

I think on the BBS there has been discussion of how cutting the gearbox crossmember to fit a Ford Type 9 five speed gearbox could be something that starts losing IVA points.

M Wood

Frontline produce their high performance MGB with Mazda engine and gearbox, all new suspension design, different brakes, etc, etc, (price from £88,475 !!!) and still retain the original car's registration. If a commercial company can do this without having to go through an IVA and get a Q-plate, then we haven't much to worry about in my opinion.
Mike Howlett

Mike, how Frontline get away with that is something I have always wondered. On the face of it it should have no chance. If you were a potential buyer and asked I wonder what answer you would get.

T Mason

Not yet convinced an IVA test is required but stand to be corrected:

'You do not need vehicle approval for:

cars and minibuses with 8 passenger seats or less (not including the driver) over 10 years old'

I'm assuming your car has one passenger seat Tom and is over 10 years old?

Extract from Vehicle Approval Exemptions (3rd bullet point)
Jeremy MkIII

Each to their own but I fail to see why you would want to change so much on a road going car. It begs the question why not buy something nearer what you want in the first place.

T Mason

>>If you were a potential buyer and asked I wonder what answer you would get.<< - same as usual, a pack of.

The reason to buy a greatly modified vehicle - to be different, to have a foot in each camp, classic & modern, to be 'more exclusive', to show you can afford it, because you already have a fleet of Bs or other classic cars, ...
Nigel Atkins

Nigel, in my last post I was referring to Tom mods not the Frontline incarnation.

T Mason

Sorry Trev, in that case, I don't know about Tom but I guess it's for similar reasons others restore classics but add on the extra challenge and tests of making something different and getting it all to fit and work.

Like with many restorations of classic, often the fun is in the work not the following ownership or even driving it much.

Nigel Atkins

"I fail to see why you would want to change so much on a road going car. It begs the question why not buy something nearer what you want in the first place"

because I get something that will do 0-60 in around 5 seconds and carry on to 120mph and be raw, exciting and hilarious to drive for a lot less than a more modern, more numb, heavier machine. I couldn't buy what I wanted so I built one.
Rob Armstrong

Rob, I fully get that, but unless I'm mistaken I dont think you have gone anywhere near the lengths Tom appears to want to go to. Changing engine and gearbox and some of the suspension is one thing, but from his comments it appears that Tom wants to chop half the shell about. It sounds like he wants to put a V8 or something similar in it.

T Mason

I suppose this counts as radically altered.


T Mason

Reckon. Though fitting individual seats might get a few points back!

S Holt

Like it Trev!
Old English or Glacier white?
Jeremy MkIII

Thanks everyone for your comments.

I think frontline can avoid the situation because they’re using new, replacement bodyshells, plus some new/original parts such as axles. Years ago I asked Ed.B at their stand at Silverstone and he explained something along those lines but I can’t remember the details now.

M Wood – The way I understand it, cutting out the crossmember to fit a type 9 gearbox would definitely cause the vehicle to require an IVA test. It’s modifying the monocoque in a structural way. Having said that, nobody in their right mind would put themselves through the hassle for such a minor modification. Same situation for the Sebring rep.

Jeremy – I wish this was the case, but I don’t think that’s how it is intended. There’s a discussion on this forum:

where somebody asked VOSA directly. I’ll paste the relevant part of their reply here:

“There is a common misconception that once a vehicle is over ten years old it can be modified without the need for further approvals. Unfortunately, this is not the case. For a modified vehicle, the date of manufacture is taken as the date the vehicle achieves its new approval, following modification. The original date of manufacture becomes invalid once a vehicle is radically altered. Therefore, the "ten year rule" only applies to vehicles that have not been modified. If a vehicle is radically altered, then it will require IVA regardless of its age.”

T Mason – I can think of several reasons why someone might want to modify a classic chassis / monocoque. In my case I enjoy engineering, classic cars, performance cars, machining, fabrication etc. So as a hobby, modifying a classic sports car fits the bill pretty well. With regard to the white midget in the picture, I can’t tell what’s been modified? Looks like they just added a roll cage, wouldn’t need IVA for that.

Thanks Tom,

Wow that 'explanation' from VOSA takes the biscuit.
Their own guidance clearly states that if a car (with less than 8 seats) is over 10 years old then it is exempt. It's there in black and white.

To start altering the manufacture date is not mentioned in the guidance.

And why on earth would anyone apply for approval for an over 10 year old car which had not been modified?

Pure Civil Service gobbledegook!
Jeremy MkIII

This thread was discussed between 26/07/2019 and 16/08/2019

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