Madabout Kitcars Forum

Madabout Kitcars Forum (
-   Sammio Builds and discussions (
-   -   Vehicles of Historical Interest (VHI) (

Paul L 24th September 2017 11:57

Vehicles of Historical Interest (VHI)
Way back in September 2016, I started this thread:

Which attracted nothing but this stuff blowing through it. :rolleyes:

However, the Department of Transport have recently issued the results of this consultation.

The long post below is my attempt to clarify the rules as I currently understand them.

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

I’ve started this separate thread after seeing Gary making a reference to the proposal elsewhere.


Originally Posted by lancelot link (Post 90824)
Part of the wording of the proposal to introduce rolling 40 year MOT exemption states that it doesn't apply to cars that have been modified to no longer resemble the original and also a power to weight increase of 15% or more ...the lighter and alternative body means S*mmio's and the like will not gain MOT exemption ..which really is not an issue for me ..who doesnt want their car checked annually for £40 ?

We still fall into the 8 point system , so no issues with that. Cars will still be re-registered as they are now and not subject to an IVA.

The guys who may have more of an issue are my Hot Rod buddies with modified running gear / chassis changes etc... It's been a growing issue for years and every few years or so , DVLA squeeze the hobby .... its an overlooked situation more often than not , but with owners having to tick a modified or not box when re-taxing and MOT stations potentially being prosecuted or penalized if they choose to ignore it ...things could be changing for any unaccepted modified cars built after 1988 .....If anyone is caught out not declaring their cars and claiming MOT exemption , they will be sent to an IVA test ...if you declare it as modified , you can bet your bottom dollar , you will be asked to explain mods I said before , S*mmio-esque builds will be deemed as acceptable and not given MOT exemption , but not put forward for IVA either ...but if you fall into certain categories , I suspect SCS or a similar body will be inspecting the vehicle and some of those will be put forward for IVA...

It's one way of filtering out the awful Rat style rubbish thats been nailed together in recent years , but at the expense of some very well built cars ...

The stupid thing about this ruling is ..if you have , for example , a split screen Minor , you put a later Minor engine in it or a twin carbed MG engine or something ...that mod alone will lose your right to MOT exemption ...if you improve the brakes , suspension and steering to make the car handle better using later BMC parts could be heading for IVA in your very stock looking and upgraded old Minor that's not fair ...

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

Tax Exemption vs. MOT Exemption
The new definition of VHI has come about to allow the harmonisation of tax and MOT exemption rules.
Currently, all Pre 1960 cars are MOT exempt and cars become ‘Road Tax’ exempt on a rolling 40 year basis.
However, in order to set up a rolling 40 year exemption for both tax and MOT a new (EU) rule was needed.
This was to ensure that vehicles that had been “substantially changed” would still require an MOT.
Therefore, from 2018, owners of cars over 40 years old will have two choices:
- Declare their car meets the VHI standard and claim their free road tax without an MOT required.
- Declare their car does not meet the VHI standard and provide an MOT in order to claim their free road tax.
This means that Pre 1960 cars which were previously MOT exempt will now need one if they are not VHI.
Note: There is a ‘Get out of jail free’ card for modifications completed before 1988.

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

I’ve read the rules several times and do not believe that changing the body shell has any influence over VHI status and I think the following quotes from the DfT back this up.

In the interests of clarity we have used in this document and in the proposed legislation the phrase “vehicles of historical interest” rather than the more commonly used term “classic car”.

It is a requirement of EU Directive 2014/45 that vehicles which have been substantially changed “in the technical characteristics of their main components” should not be exempt from roadworthiness testing.

To be considered as a VHI the vehicle must have been first registered over 40 years ago and the following components need to be of a design of which would have been fitted to that vehicle at the time of its manufacture.
- the original unmodified chassis or body shell (including any sub frames) or,
- a new chassis or monocoque bodyshell (including any subframes) of the same specification as the original
- suspension (front and back)
- steering assembly
- all axles
- transmission
- engine

So whilst logically a Classic Car may be defined by what it looks like, a VHI isn’t and clearly the body shell is not listed as a main component, Therefore, I believe that changing it should not exclude a car from the new VHI class for MOT exemption and, as far as I understand it, my Swordfish will be eligible for VHI status when it finally reaches 40 years old. :cool:

Obviously, what is good news for me also covers similar builds in the Sammio, Miglia, A352 & Formosa ranges.

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

15% power to weight increase
Even if you have all the VHI components listed above, there are two other tests your car must pass.

Criterion 1 - If a vehicle has a power to weight ratio of more than 15% in excess of its original design, unless such a modification took place before 1988.

I’ve already raised an objected to this with the DfT on the grounds that regardless of what % is used, car owners would need access to a weight bridge (or similar), plus a rolling road to calculate their current power to weight ratio in order to declare whether their car was under or over this figure.

Note: The onus is being placed on owners to declare the answer and “I don’t know” isn’t an option.

In my case, my engine is pretty much standard apart from a pair of ‘pancake’ air filters, electronic ignition and twin pipe exhausts. Plus my ’Frankenstein Hillbilly’ approach to the build which used large chucks of a cut down Spitfire body shell and was generally so over engineered that it doesn’t actually weigh that much less than a standard Spitfire 1500. :rolleyes:

So I don’t think my Swordfish breaks this ‘Criterion 1’ test and therefore it still counts as a VHI.

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

Criterion 2
This covers any car with a Q plate and any kit cars/reconstructed classic cars on an age related plate, all of which will require an MOT to claim their free road tax.

The first point to note is whilst many people would consider the Sammio, Miglia, A352 & Formosa ranges to be kit cars, they do not fall under DVLA definition of a kit car.

Instead, they are covered by the DVLA section for ‘Radically Altered Vehicles’, where there is a points system in place to allow a car to retain the rights to the original donor car’s registration number. Basically if you score 8 points or more you are fine, but 8 point or less then you are ‘Radically Altered’ and therefore you need to pass BIVA and collect a Q plate which will mean failing ‘Criterion 2’.

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

VHI vs. 8 Point Rule
Nominally, the DVLA 8 point rule is about vehicle identity and the new VHI is about safety for MOT exemptions. Therefore, there appears to be a subtle difference in the wording between the two list of components. E.g. If you change the original engine, you lose 1 DVLA point from the identity linked to the original registration number. However, the VHI component list just talks about an engine ”of a design of which would have been fitted to that vehicle at the time of its manufacture.” This means that the VHI rules are more flexible and would certainly allow a ‘like for like’ engine swap, as this is unlikely to break the ‘Criterion 1’ rule. Whether the VHI rules would also allow you to swap other components with period correct’ replacements remains to be seen.

I’ve asked for clarification from the DfT that my Moto-Lita steering wheel would meet their VHI definition. As, apart from my steering wheel (on the VHI list as part of ‘steering assembly’), my car is a standard Spitfire underneath, so my Swordfish should be 100% VHI compliant. :cool:

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

End of Part 1…

Paul L 24th September 2017 12:00

Vehicles of Historical Interest (VHI): – Part 2

Chassis - DVLA Definition
Now this is the single biggest area to get right in all of this, as both the VHI & DVLA 8 point rule require a starting point of ”original unmodified chassis”.

This is where ACE (Association of Car Enthusiasts) comes in. Unfortunately, this group disbanded after getting fed up of being called scaremongers for predicting these rule changes were coming. Thankfully, there is still a record of the clarification questions they raised with the DVLA.

VOSA have provided the following response to your questions;


Q) What is classed as chassis? Is it purely the outer longitudinal rails or are the crossmembers between these also a part of the chassis?

A) Chassis should be taken to include crossmembers.

Q) We know that cutting or shortening a chassis is classed as modification but is this relative to the vehicle wheelbase i.e. the chassis must remain uncut between the 2 axles but anything forward of front or aft of rear suspension mounts can be removed?

A) Chassis includes the full original length of the longitudinal members including to the front of the front axle and to the rear of the rear axle.

Q) Is it acceptable to remove bodymounts, which contribute no strength to the chassis when changing a body to a different style /make?

A) Yes, providing they are additional to and are not an integral part of the chassis structure.

Q) Is it acceptable to strengthen a chassis by the addition of boxing plates a process that involves turning a 3-sided open chassis rail into a fully enclosed 'box' chassis?

A) Yes, providing the original structure remains unchanged.

Armed with this information, I know that removing the Spitfire bonnet mounting brackets and fitting my replacement Swordfish bonnet mounting brackets did not constitute a modification to the chassis under the DVA rules. This means that I follow both the DVLA and VHI rules to the letter. :cool:

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

Voluntary MOT Option
There is absolutely nothing stopping you taking your MOT exempt VHI for an MOT, or some other form of annual safety check. Although it is not clear if very old cars would be able to pass the current test (which was part of the reason that Pre 1960 cars were exempt in the first place). Also, it is not clear what happens if you fail the MOT, does a failure mean that you can’t claim your free road tax until you have a pass?

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

And finally…
The DfT have provided an email address for comments and feedback on their draft guidelines:

And I would strongly suggest that as many of you as possible ”Speak now, or forever hold your peace”.

Hope that helps,

Paul. :)

Barber 24th September 2017 12:46

Paul, thanks for putting in the effort to get the background data together. This resonates with my research into the JC Midges. The Mk1s, based on triumphs but with a shortened chassis, fell foul of the regulations and require IVA, but the Mk2s, built on unmodified Suzuki SJ chassis are claimed not to.

I used to have an NG TF, tax exempt but requiring MOTs. Like Gary, I didn't have a problem with getting an annual check up for a fee, especially with an older kit (1967 MGB), but the annual tax exemption was, and still is worth having, even if it will be a while away with the Z3s and Suzuki SJs.

lancelot link 24th September 2017 13:26

Thank you for breaking that down Paul ...

I agree with pretty much everything you have put on there ...I really don't think gaining MOT exemption is worth the aggro it could create ...not just for the individual , but the hobby in general ...

It's an interesting proposal ...I do wonder , being a synical old sod , what the bigger agenda is ...where DVLA is hoping this will lead DVLA in their clampdown of our hobby ...

I am so glad our style of car falls into its particular category along with a long history of coachbuilt and special built vehicles for the last century or so .....

The Hot Rod / Hot Hatch gangs will have a harder time with this new ruling ...

I moved away from Hot Rod builds when registering them got harder and harder , as well as donor material drying up and increasing in price as a result .. A sideways step into my other area of great interest seemed to be an obvious 'survival strategory' for me .....I was talking to a Hot Rod mate earlier this week and 2 shops he knows of are already planning on winding down and not taking new commissions as a result of legislation squeeze ...

And yes , ACE was mocked and ridiculed for scaremongering and disbanded as a result ....Kev Rooney , my old mate and a main player in ACE was very helpful in the early S*mmio days helping me make sure the cars were a legitimate design concept and were able to be built with minimum issue ...I valued his opinion some people are wishing they listened a bit harder now ....

I think the Hot Rod section of Ebay is about to get very busy ....

JG 25th September 2017 00:16

I can't help but feel they have made a drafting mistake here;

To be considered as a VHI the vehicle must have been first registered over 40 years ago and the following components need to be of a design of which would have been fitted to that vehicle at the time of its manufacture.
- the original unmodified chassis or body shell (including any sub frames) or,
- a new chassis or monocoque bodyshell (including any subframes) of the same specification as the original

I can only think the intention of the above was to say the chassis AND body shell should be as per original specification. The inclusion of OR in the first bullet point leaves it wide open to interpretation where a car is made up of a separate chassis and body.

For instance, from that you could interpret that you could take an original unmodified 32 Ford body and put a completely new modified chassis under it. You would need to retain all the other original bits and pieces to keep VHI but that's how it reads to me and I guess that is how Paul has interpreted it, but is keeping an unmodified chassis instead of an unmodified body.

Good for us and I'm not going to tell anyone but I think it is an area to watch for further amendments as I'm not convinced.


Mister Towed 25th September 2017 07:20

I think they've just left the word 'monocoque' out of the first bullet point, which would clarify the intent. The second bullet point regarding new replacements, which does include the word monocoque, makes a clear distinction between separate chassis and unitary construction cars, so no, you can't put a Moggie Minor body on a drag-car chassis with a 900hp race engine and avoid the MOT.

I for one will still be presenting my home-built specials to my local MOT chappy for an annual and impartial mechanical inspection, both for safety's sake and because, at £29, it'll be a darn sight cheaper than paying his garage rates to check it over for me.

Paul L 25th September 2017 20:49

JG - Hi John,

I think the draft VHI wording is consistent with the way the DVLA 8 point rule works.

As an original body shell contributes absolutely zero points towards your vehicle's identity. :eek:

I think Gary is right to link this approach to the UK's long history of coach building. :cool:

Cheers, Paul. :)

Mitchelkitman 26th September 2017 11:46

This subject is such a minefield. Does a new name (eg for my car Make Rickman, Model Ranger) mean it is under the radar? as the Rickman hasn't had any changes (but of course the Escort that donated most of its parts 'changed')
What is the MOT tester's involvement with any vehicles he thinks aren't as registered and what are his guidlines/training on identity? When I take my kits for MOT I always take the V5 to avoid any mishaps, but even then when I took my Quantum for its first MOT the tester wanted to enter the details on his computer as 'Ford Kit Car.' Thankfully I managed to stop him, but without the V5 I'd have maybe had an invalid MOT? A minefield, not helped (it would seem) by DVLA changing tack over the years and localised differences as well when the 'local DVLA offices' did the work.

Lucky@LeMans 26th September 2017 21:04

All sounds too complicated to me.
It seems they want to put certain cars into certain categories . What is the pre 1988 modification about, that's a 30 year thing ?
If you had a 40 year old car with a monocoque and fitted an aftermarket sun roof would that mean it was modified and would need an MOT ? The same car that had one fitted pre 1988 would be ok. Who would know if there are several owners since 1988 what was done and when ??

lancelot link 26th September 2017 21:32

Agreed Lucky , as with most of these announcements over the years ...they make the proposal , rough it out , then spend the next 6 months trying to make it work .....Usually , if you read through the whole thing , it contradicts itself half a dozen times ...

Paul L 27th September 2017 06:48

Lucky – It is complicated, which is why people should contact the DfT ASAP with any concerns they have.

These are some quotes from their draft guidance:
” If the keeper of a vehicle of more than forty years old is uncertain about whether the vehicle meets either of the two criteria, then they should seek professional advice. For example, the advice of a qualified mechanic or a historical vehicle expert…
…If you buy a vehicle, we also recommend checking with the previous owner if you can.”

Therefore, the onus is definitely on you to back up your declaration that your car meets the new VHI class for MOT exemptions. So an answers of “I don’t know”, or “I can’t prove it one way or the other” will not back up a VHI declaration and you will require an MOT.

I take all the previous points about getting an MOT anyway, but one concern over on ”Rods ‘n’ Sods” is that is the VHI class could be used/extended to more than the MOT exemption in the future. Either with congestion charging and low emission zones only allowing exemptions for VHI vehicles, not just “old” cars, or with a new tax on “old” cars that are not VHI.

Cheers, Paul. :)

Lucky@LeMans 27th September 2017 18:25

My main concern is that lots of people might be caught out by this and end up with a fine or points or worse. There are plenty of people out there running older cars who don't use the internet / computer and might come unstuck on the technicalities of these new rules. As the posts above suggest , its all very ambiguous.

Paul L 18th December 2017 13:05

Final VHI guidance has just been issued:

The 15% power to weight ratio increase has been dropped completely.

Based on these guidance notes and the original ACE definition of chassis, I am happy that my Swordfish will qualify for VHI status when it finally reaches 40 years old. :cool:

Cheers, Paul. :)

micky1mo 18th December 2017 14:38

This bit is a little worrying:

is a kit conversion, where a kit of new parts is added to an existing vehicle, or old parts are added to a kit of a manufactured body, chassis or monocoque bodyshell changing the general appearance of the vehicle;

To me that reads body conversions!!!!:scared:

Jaguartvr 18th December 2017 16:08

"Monocoque bodyshell including any sub-frames"

As I read it, IVA only if you modify the monocoque or subframes. Body panels do not count as a monocoque.

Paul L 18th December 2017 17:16

Most of the Sammio, Tribute, Miglia and Formosa "kits" are not actually kits per the DVLA definition.
( They define kits as things like Caterhams and Westfields. )

Instead we fall under the "Radically Altered" rules, but because our cars are not radically altered we can retain the original donor car registration and avoid IVA. :cool:

Cheers, Paul. :)

wharfedale 2nd March 2019 15:48

well its nearly MOT time and Iv decided to declair the Spyder a V.H.I.
is there any up to date feedback?

NeilF355 3rd March 2019 12:52

The guidance notes https://assets.publishing.service.go...e-guidance.pdf

In addition if a vehicle (including a motorcycle):

is a kit conversion, where a kit of new parts is added to an existing vehicle, or old parts are added to a kit of a manufactured body, chassis or monocoque bodyshell changing the general appearance of the vehicle;

it will be considered to have been substantially changed and will not be exempt from MOT testing.


However if any of the four above types of vehicle is taxed as an “historic vehicle” and has not been modified during the previous 30 years, it can be considered as a VHI.

I understand this to mean that a body conversion car will only qualify for VHI if it already has a taxation class of historic and the owner has proof that the body conversion was performed more than 30 years ago.

Are there any other views on this?

Has anybody with a body conversion applied for VHI yet?

Paul L 3rd March 2019 13:42

Wharfdale – Are you planning to declare VHI and then not get an MOT?

Is so, one thing to check is your insurance small print.

As my policy requires VHIs to have an MOT to continue the cover.

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

NeilF355 – My donor car is not old enough to quality for VHI yet.

However, I appear to have a different interpretation of the rules to you.

I start here:

You do not need to get an MOT if:
- The vehicle was built or first registered more than 40 years ago
- No ‘substantial changes’ have been made to the vehicle in the last 30 years, for example replacing the chassis, body, axles or engine to change the way the vehicle works

So for a Sammio the change of bodyshell does NOT change the way the vehicle works.

Then I go here:

Where body shell is not listed in the Section 3. ‘Substantial change’ criteria

I note the section you quoted above, but again, that doesn’t apply to Sammio.

As whilst we call them kit cars, the DVLA allows them to keep the donor car registration number not based on the kit car rules, but the rules for “Radically altered vehicles”.

My car has the full 14 DLVA points, so in NOT radically altered and can keep its original registration number.

In terms of “general appearance” my car continues to be a two seater sports car.

I think this refers to kits that would turn a VW Beetle into a Beach Buggy.

Similarly, I consider my build to be a rebody, rather than a body conversion.

Where rebodying is a 100 year old tradition based on Rolls Royce type coach building.

I know the above sounds like splitting hairs on small words and their meanings.

But following the consultation process, I believe room for interpretation was left there on purpose.

Unfortunately, I can’t personally test my interpretation until 2021.

So I will be interested to see how Wharfdale gets on.

Good luck, Paul. :)

Alex 3rd March 2019 15:36

My Formosa is a rebodied Triumph Vitesse which is over 40 years old and is registered as a VHI , tax and MOT exempt so you should not have any issues

All times are GMT +0. The time now is 08:58.

Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.9
Copyright ©2000 - 2020, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.
Copyright Madabout Kitcars 2014