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Old 24th September 2017, 11:00
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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;

Chassis.

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.

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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?

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And finally…
The DfT have provided an email address for comments and feedback on their draft guidelines: Roadworthinesstesting@dft.gsi.gov.uk

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

Hope that helps,

Paul.
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