Department for Transport (DfT) Guidance on Substantial Change of Historic Vehicles.

  1. The Guidance sets out the definition of a Vehicle of Historic Interest (VHI), vehicles which will, from May 2018, be entitled to be exempt from taking a vehicle (MoT) test.
  2. The Guidance reflects the outcome of intensive discussions between the DfT and the Federation of British Historic Vehicle Clubs (FBHVC). FBHVC wishes to express its appreciation of the open and collaborative manner in which the DfT approached these discussions.
  3. In the discussions FBHVC was careful to take account of all possible members of the historic vehicle family.
  4. The Guidance supersedes all previous potential criteria released for discussion by DfT.
  5. The Guidance makes clear that it does not in any way affect DVLA’s registration criteria and processes which remain unchanged.
  6. The Government included motorcycles in the Motor Vehicles (Tests) (Amendment) Regulations 2017. As the Guidance implements the Regulations, DfT could not accept FBHVC’s representations, based upon the requirements of the EU Directive, regarding historic motorcycles, so they are included in the Guidance.
  7. Following STRONG representations by FBHVC, a vehicle may generally be a VHI if relevant changes were undertaken more than 30 years previously. This will be a rolling 30 years and replaces the fixed 1988 date previously proposed by DfT.
  8. Major points of note are:
    1. The process is one of self-declaration.
    2. Owners will only be required to declare their vehicle to be a VHI if they wish to be exempted from an annual MOT Test.
    3. All vehicles will still be able to be tested if their owners wish
    4. The criteria are generic and permit changes made, less than 30 years prior to the declaration, which improve efficiency, safety, preservation or environmental performance.
    5. Those vehicles registered on a Q plate, as kits or built up classics are not entitled to be declared as VHIs until forty years after they were registered.
    6. For motorcycles only the criteria of Q plates, kits and built up classics prevent declaration as a VHI.
  9. The Guidance refers to “a marque or historic vehicle experts”. A list will be published on the website of the Federation of British Historic Vehicle Clubs by 30th April 2018. Vehicle owners wishing to confirm if they may declare their vehicle as a VHI, may choose to contact the appropriate nominee from this list
  10. FBHVC will be explaining the Guidance in full in its first Newsletter of 2018 and as soon as possible on its website at www.fbhvc.co.uk.
  11. Text of the Guidance is at: https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/668274/vehicles-of-historical-interest-substantial-change-guidance.pdf