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MG MGA - End of The MoT For Most Of Us?

Interesting headline in this month's Safety Fast. The UK Government has commissioned a consultation to examine the exemption of vehicles from the annual MoT that were manufactured before 1 January 1960.

The Government is trying to remove bureaucracy from vehicles that are: "...never or hardly ever used on public highways....."!!

Whilst it will certainly be a relief for most of us - me included, I feel that it is a good thing to have our cars inspected occasionally. Since I, like most of us, do all our own maintenance, it is the only time a professional engineer casts a critical eye over our handywork.

The consultation runs until 26 January 2012. There is a website that invites views to be registered:

Steve Gyles

Personally Steve, I feel that the owner of a collector car is more critical than any professional mechanic when correcting faults on said vehicle.
I think the government must feel the same way.
Mike Parker

Mike, I appreciate what you say. I guess it is things like the rolling road that they use to test braking efficiency that is an important issue. Whilst we may not use our cars that much compared to modern vehicles, brakes failing on the one and only outing of a historic car can still have an equally catastrophic outcome as the same happening on a recent car.

Steve Gyles

When my car is MOT'd the guys doing the test always offer me the chance to go down the pit and have a good look at the underside in a way I can't do at home.

J Bray

I agree Steve - I appreciate the brake test especially - it confirms that the brakes are working equally on both sides - it is not easy to spot a sticky brake cylinder when you are doing a service and not always obvious on the road until it is too late.
Cam Cunningham

Many years ago, our state did away with inspections for cars more than 35 years old. Admittedly our inspections are much less rigorous than what I have heard about your MOT, but I have not seen any major rash of old car collisions due to mechanical defects. An independent assesment of the safety of your car is probably a good idea, but I would rather have it done on my own terms rather than be dictated by some government regulation.

Jeff Schultz

Victoria has Permit Scheme for cars over 25 year old. A one off Roadworthy Certificate inspection (like your MOT inspection)then you are issued with a log book (that you need to record each trip in advance) and special plates with the H to denote historic vehicle. A 45 day log book costs $66 and a 90 day log book is $120 - this compares to around $648 ffor full annual registration. It is a very popular scheme amongst the classic car fraternity.
Mike Ellsmore

An MOT every 45/90 days with special plates and a log book...and that's "very popular"...OK compared to $648 maybe...

I think I like the sound of no MOT and free road tax much better.
N McGurk

Just a guess here, but I suspect the log book is good for 45 travel days. That might be a year for people who don't use the car much, or may have multiple classic cars to split the travel days.
Barney Gaylord

Ahhhh, that makes a lot more sense...
N McGurk

I note that, if implemented, the deregulation will commence 1 Jul 2012. My (last) MoT is due 1 May 2012, as is my insurance. It's almost worth me taking the car off the road (SORN) for those 2 months! It would save me about 70 on the MoT and 2 months insurance. Trouble is I would miss the MGCC event at Silverstone.

Steve Gyles

Dammit! we mark 2 wallahs are going to miss out.
J H Cole

Neil, apologies for my earlier post that wasn't too clear (but Barney got the drift). The link below gives a better explanation.
The roadworthy inspection is a "one off" when you move a car to the club permit system no matter how many years you keep you car on the scheme.
Mike Ellsmore

Your governments are way to meddlesome. The only inspection required here is a ONE time emission test when the car changes hands. Plates are for 5 years at a time for historic plates. If you chose regular plates the emission is bi annual and the plates are annual. If I have a valid VIN plate I can attach it to almost anything and be legal.
The vehicle pictured below is a street legal 62 jeep.
No bureaucrat had to approve the changes. Once a car is 30 years old no one needs to look over your shoulder at all.

R J Brown

Not just MkII JH - my 1600 MkI was registered in May 1960. Steve - I wonder if this will go ahead or not - or is it just a government research exercise?
Cam Cunningham


My hunch is that it will go ahead. There are some fairly prominent Lords and Members of Parliament who are Historic Car owners and in influential positions in the FBHVC!! They have already got rid of the need for Historic cars to register engine changes.

Steve Gyles

A big reason for the proposal is future changes to the scope of the annual test. There is a load of new items to be included from 2012 hardly any of which applies to an MGA. About the only one I can see that could be relevant is an insecure or leaking battery. The cost of a test versus the work done is already out of balance and will be getting worse

The test is slowly getting less and less relevant to old car owners. One idea has been the introduction of a more basic test but this seems to have been discounted. There is of course nothing to stop anyone requesting and paying for a basic roadworthiness test but how many people would bother.

I see the options are an exemption for pre 1920, 1945 or 1960 with the government favourite the pre 1960 date. The trouble with all such dates is that they lead to oddities - the way 1960 cuts the MGA production is an obvious one. As the owner of a 1934 car the present test for this is just about irrelevant. I only do about 600 miles a year and the only thing that really needs doing between tests is to clean and adjust the brakes. It has never failed in ten years. When it comes to my 1959 MGA it is less clear cut and I did get a fail a couple of years ago for rear brake imbalance - I had no idea it was there but it showed on the meter.

So, as far as I am concerned I am all for the abandonment of testing on pre war cars but have mixed feelings about the 1960 date. It is very possible to use a 1950s car as a daily driver and I know people who clock up quite high annual mileages.

Malcolm Asquith


Good analysis.

The date has to cut somewhere. The MGB clan are always on about the Historic Car Tax cut happening in the middle of their production at 1 Jan 1972. I am sure they will ALL be peeved at this one. At least we get 75% (ish) of our cars into the MoT cut.

Steve Gyles

1 Jan 1960 covers my '59 1500 FHC and my '59 Series 2 Land Rover but misses my Morris 1000 Traveller which is a '63. My only concern would be as a buyer: the MOT gives at least some indication of roadworthiness, even if only a snapshot in time. How will the insurers react? I wouldn't put it past them to introduce some sort of requirement. Shane


Valid point. However, MGBs pre 1 Jan 1972 are most sought after, so I would expect the same will happen to pre-1960s cars. I can see our cars making a 'modest to generous' increase in value if this becomes law. I think potential buyers will be delighted at not having to suffer the annual MoT. But I can see them wanting an inspection of some sort before purchase.

Steve Gyles

Hi Steve.How refreshing to hear a sensible,balanced item being discussed instead of some of the more purile rantings elsewhere on this site.I think Shane has hit the nail on the head when he mentions insurers who will undoubtedly want some form of proof that the car is,as they refer to it, " maintained in a roadworthy condition ". I am sure just about all policies demand this.A current MOT cert does at least give some indication of this( I know it is really only relevant on the day it is issued) but if no cert was legally required you can bet that insurers will do their utmost to find some fault with an untested car as a way of not paying out.

Personally,I have no objection to an ongoing MOT requirement( apart from the cost) as common sense would dictate that an independent safety check should be carried out at regular intervals.If there is the slightest doubt over safety issues I would most definitely want to know about it--especially tyres and brakes.OK,a lot of us keenies keep an eagle eye on our cars but not everybody is like this( just read many,many of the commments/queries elswhere about cars that are actually being used.Sometimes you cringe.

We shall see if anything emerges ( maybe even before the masses storm Westminster--it's coming)
M Blencowe

RJ do you suppose that is why they were sent packing back in the 1700's ? Sorry guy's could not resist
gary starr


We did not need tests for the sedan chairs back then!

Steve Gyles

The Quebec gouverment has just introduced a new law that will require inspections for "ANY" vehicule over 8 years old. It must pass this inspection or be taken off the road ....and cannot be re-sold until it is capable of passing the inspection law. I guess we are about to see alot of good salvagable cars, end up in the crusher. After that, the same cars must be inspected,...EVERY YEAR... after that.

This of course will cost the owners more money,each year and improve the tax base,based on the number of cars,now having to be,tuned at the gargae before inspection. How many vintage cars can actually pass a 2012 pollution test.

Will there be any exceptions, at the present time no one knows.
Gordon Harrison

Come to think of it we did get rid of the meddlesom overlords back in 1776 didn't we. Time for revolution in the home isles. Or do as my GGGrandfather James Cunningham Brown did in 1864 when he left Scotland for America.
R J Brown

Back to Steve's original message ...
I tend to think of MOTs along similar lines to prostate examinations - I hate the thought of them, but feel great when they're over and I've been given the all clear!
Robert Sinclair


Going back to your comment about declaring SORN to save on your next MOT. Being of a cynical nature, I wouldn't be surprised if the final rule has a rider to ensure freshly restored vehicles that have been off the road for some time are tested before they are given their first tax disc. To keep it simple they may decide to use the Single Vehicle Approval scheme. I have been involved in these SVAs and they are a nightmare.

If it were me I think I would get that final MoT test just in case.

Maybe I'm just being pessimistic, or maybe they really are out to get us!


P Reardon

I have to bring my car for a test every five or six years. Depending on the inspector (it's a state run thing) it can be easy or a battle of who is the most stubborn.

Last time my car failed on a front shock absorber that had given up the ghost and rear brake imbalance (both fair and correct). When I took it back, I was just asked what I had done. "Fitted a new pair of shock absorbers and adjusted the brakes" was my answer, and the box on the shocks was ticked with no further ado, and the brakes were passed on test.

The previous test, the car failed on a small tear in the soft top (!) and the fact that he didn't like the (original) wiring route from front to back. I realised that answering with a tw@t like that was pointless, so just took it back the next day. Wiring was nodded through, though untouched (and it remained untouched for the recent test), and when the small (1 inch) hood tear was mentioned again, I just insisted on seeing the boss as it had nothing to do with a roadworthiness test. The boss waved it through and told his tester to be sensible.

There is always a human / hormonal element to these things. At least in the UK you can go elsewhere if the tester is a pr@tt, but I still think it's a good idea to have at least a periodical test - it never ceases to amaze me what some people think is acceptable as "maintenance"on their cars. If the car looks a wreck, it will probable get a close look, if it is shining underneath, the inspection will be more superficial.

Apparently "inspections"in France are non existent for classics!
dominic clancy

"France", "Inspections!"?? Just take it in at 1145,with a long lunch hour looming.It'll pass.
M Blencowe

Currently in Ontario you only need a safety check before selling a car, or if it has been left untaxed, before renewing your road tax.
The E-test is only every 2 years, after 7 years old, and exempt before 1988
Art Pearse

In short, I think that this is a bad idea. I suspect that the real reason behind this is a first step in making our cars museum pieces to be trailored to and from meetings.

I think that the MoT is useful even if my car fails more often than I like.

My biggest bugbear is the brake balance which I can't test properly at home. The nearest I can manage is a hard stop on a quiet road and see if I can feel the steering twitch. If it twitches it will definitely fail but even if I can't fell it, it may still throw up an advisory notice.

At home I don't have a proper pit so underbody inspections are not as thorough as I would like.

The garage that I have been using is understanding of the age of the car and looks up the relevent regs if they are unsure.

I don't think that the cost is too much either. How much petrol can we buy over here for 50? - may be about 3/4 tank.

Dan Smithers

I agree with you Dan - I too have a very sympathetic local garage and 50 annually is a small price to pay for peace of mind. Like Robert S - I find it nerve wracking waiting for the result ( imagining expensive repairs) but worth it when it is over!
Cam Cunningham

Hi Cam.Do you remember when there used to be lots of signs at garages around the Liverool area saying "MOTs While You Wait"?
I used to think it should say" MOTs While You Worry"
M Blencowe

Too true MB - I think they still exist. But I remember one I went to one in South Liverpool in 1968 with my Mk1 midget - I waited a few minutes and he said - it looks in good nick - is it OK? Why of course! I replied . He then wrote out the certificate while I waited !
Cam Cunningham

I think he's still in biz.Ders dis place in Berken'ed.Won't go any further.
M Blencowe

This thread was discussed between 03/12/2011 and 09/12/2011

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