Beat the MOT Exemption and Protect the Value in Your Classic Car

Despite little support from the classic car community, the government is introducing new MOT rules for cars over 40 years old.

From May 2018, cars built up to 1977 will no longer require an annual inspection, with the exemption rolling on each year to ensure any car over 40 years old is captured by the changes.

With around 197,000 cars built before 1960 already exempt, Government figures suggest that this will be increased to 490,000 as cars such as the Rover SD1, Ford Fiesta and Chrysler Sunbeam are included in the mix.

Despite the lack of requirement for an MOT test, any car taken on the road must be roadworthy and safe. In the absence of an official government test, Great Escape Workshop has launched a Classic Health Check service for owners of classic cars.

The Check looks at safety and structural issues just like a normal MOT, including lights, structural condition, steering, tyres and much more, and provides a professional, independent assessment giving a ‘pass’ or ‘fail’. This can then be used to demonstrate responsible maintenance if required, or target remedial work.

“Whatever your view of the MOT exemption, it’s happening,” explains Graham Eason of Great Escape Workshop. “What isn’t exempted is the owner’s responsibility to ensure their car is safe and road legal. This really translates into a paper trail to prove regular maintenance and checks. Our new Classic Health Check is designed to help owners meet that obligation. It’s uses a test we already run for our own hire cars and is deliberately priced at no more than a MOT.

”Correctly assessing roadworthiness requires specialist equipment. We know that from our own experience with our hire cars. A car that looks safe isn’t necessarily safe. It’s also not enough for owners to argue they’ve checked their cars – insurers and the police won’t accept that as proof of maintenance. The Check provides an independent assessment of a car’s condition, which can be used to target maintenance or prove roadworthiness.”

The new check is available to owners for just £60, takes about an hour, and the price includes collection and return of cars within a 20 mile radius of Great Escape’s Redditch site.

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Phil is a motoring writer for print and web, failed racing driver, car hoarder and banger rally competitor. Nominated for the Headline Auto Rising Star award and a MGMW member, Phil freelances for outlets as diverse as Diesel Car magazine, and Cambridge Magazine, amongst many others. He also maintains a fleet of unloved motors, but spends most of his time driving an old Corvette.