Tuesday, October 23Serving the aftermarket

Thousands of classics could return to roads with new MOT rules

New MOT rules concerning classic vehicles could see more than a hundred thousand 40-year-old motors being brought back to use having previously been registered as SORN.

Ahead of the changes being introduced to the MOT on Sunday, 20th May, Kwik Fit, has carried out analysis on the cars affected by one of the major changes to the test rules1.

Kwik Fit’s researchers have found that there are a quarter of a million cars (250,239) in the UK which were first registered between 1960-78. Of these, 116,927 are currently declared as being off road with a Statutory Off Road Notification (SORN). Until now, any car first registered after 1960 would have needed to pass an MOT to be taken on the road, however under the new rules, most cars over 40 years old will no longer need an MOT.

From 20th May, owners of cars over 40 years old will simply have to declare on an annual basis that their car meets the rules for not needing an MOT. Owners of classic MG, Triumph, VW, Ford and Morris cars are going to benefit the most from the rule changes as it is these marques which have the greatest number of 40-58-year-old vehicles currently registered off road. (See table below for top 20.)

Kwik Fit has identified that the single models with the greatest numbers of cars from this era which are currently registered as SORN are the MGB (12,997), the VW Beetle (6,774), the Morris Minor (6,466), the MG Midget (5,651) and the Ford Escort (4,857). There is also a total of over 7,800 Minis from that period when its different guises – including Austin, Morris and Leyland – are combined.

Kwik Fit believes that the decision to remove the need for an MOT for these cars is a sensible one – as long as their owners make regular checks. Eric Smith, MOT scheme manager at Kwik Fit said: “In the main, classic car owners look after their vehicles very carefully and ensure that their pride and joy is in mint condition. However, we would encourage anyone driving a car of this age after it has been off the road for some time on a SORN to make thorough checks. As these older cars don’t tend to do many miles each year, it’s especially important to check tyres as although the tread depth may still be legal, their age may make them dangerous.”

He also added a warning for any motorist who thinks the rule change gives them the chance to ignore any necessary repairs. “If any classic car owner has not been driving their vehicle because it would fail an MOT, the new rules don’t allow them to put it straight back on the road,” he continued. “Although they don’t need to take a test, they must ensure the car’s roadworthy or they could face a fine of up to £2,500 and three penalty points.”

MarqueTotal cars aged 40-58 years old licensed for road useTotal cars aged 40-58 years old registered off road (SORN)Total cars aged 40-58 years oldPercentage of cars aged 40-58 currently registered off road
MG24,81319,73044,54344%
TRIUMPH18,28315,05433,33745%
VOLKSWAGEN8,84312,51321,35659%
FORD11,39811,93523,33351%
MORRIS13,87811,13825,01645%
AUSTIN6,7825,36512,14744%
ROVER4,2044,4018,60551%
JAGUAR7,4993,88711,38634%
RELIANT9621,9312,89367%
LEYLAND6081,9282,53676%
VAUXHALL2,0861,7723,85846%
ROLLS ROYCE1,8801,7453,62548%
MERCEDES2,1711,6873,85844%
LOTUS2,2241,6123,83642%
HILLMAN1,7461,5033,24946%
DAIMLER1,9871,4443,43142%
VOLVO1,3111,0702,38145%
SUNBEAM1,5479322,47938%
WOLSELEY1,0608211,88144%
LAND ROVER6138061,41957%
ALL MANUFACTURERS133,312116,927250,23947%