DVLA changes- classic car, prove it

DVLA changes to classic cars. How does this affect you?

A crackdown on the unsuspecting classic car owner seems imminent as Westminster discuss inconsistencies with DVLA changes to classic cars and the way in which they are registered.

If you are a classic car owner then no doubt your vehicle will have its original age-related registration number. Although over the years you may have had to change certain components as part of the expected maintenance of the car.

Well, it would seem that according to the DVLA changes to classic cars and the way they are registered this may not be good enough to satisfy them that your car is indeed a classic! What’s more your pride and joy could wind up with the dreaded Q plate, seriously affecting its value and provenance.  With many classic car owners receiving correspondence from the DVLA targeting their vehicle by demanding evidence of its history to substantiate its classification.

What are the DVLA changes to classic cars?

These enforcements are all to do with alterations made to a vehicle that deems it “non-standard”. Potentially it would seem if your classic car has had replacement parts fitted then it may have to be re-registered as a Q-plate if the DVLA feel it is not original enough, which is clearly opening up the proverbial can of worms. As a classic car enthusiast, you are probably all too aware how difficult it would be to replace certain parts like for like, some components may not even exist anymore, therefore,e leaving the owner with no alternative but to replace with after-market parts.

How do you manage to keep your original plate?

At Heritage, we have researched Government Legislation on this matter. It appears through all the bureaucracy there are three possible options if you are restoring or altering a classic car.

Option 1 – Rebuilt Vehicles

Rebuilt Vehicles: there’s no mention online as to whether this applies to classic, vintage or modern cars (although all three definitions can be open to interpretation) it does say however a rebuilt vehicle can keep its original registration number if you can prove you’ve used:

  • The original unmodified chassis or body-shell
  • A new chassis or monocoque body-shell of the “same specification” as the original

You must also have 2 other major components from the original vehicle on the following list:

  • The suspension (front and Back)
  • Steering assembly
  • Axles (both)
  • Transmission
  • Engine

Option 2 – Radically altered vehicles

Radically altered vehicles: these are vehicles (once again no classification) that have been altered from their original specification, but aren’t kit conversions.

Keeping the original registration number is based on a point system. The more original the vehicle the higher you score deeming your vehicle acceptable to maintain its age related plate. However, you must have the original or new unmodified chassis and monocoque body-shell. 8 points or more allows you to keep your original plate. Take a look at the points system.

  • Chassis, monocoque body shell original or new and unmodified – 5 points
  • Suspension (front and back) original – 2 points
  • Axles (both) original – 2 points
  • Transmission original – 2 points
  • Steering assembly original – 2 points
  • Engine original – 1 point

Option 3- Reconstructed Classic Vehicles

Reconstructed classic vehicles: potentially with the DVLA changes to classic cars they could only allocate an age-related plate if the vehicle meets the criteria below

  • Built from genuine period components from more than one vehicle, all over 25 years old and of the same specification as the original vehicle
  • A true reflection of the marquee
  • Has been inspected by the appropriate vehicle owners’ club for the vehicle type (marque) and confirmed in writing it has been inspected, is a true reflection of the marque and comprises of genuine period components all over 25 years old
  • Disclose manufacturer dates for all major components

The DVLA will then assign an age-related plate but not necessarily for the original year, it will be based on the age of the youngest component used.

So as you can see it gets a little complicated to say the least.

So the DVLA changes to classic cars seems to have started already with them sending out letters randomly to classic car owners asking for justification that their vehicle deserves to keep its original plate, the Federation of British Historic Vehicle Clubs have replied by saying “this would seem to be an inappropriate use of public money” especially when you consider how unclear it is to rectify this matter based on their confusing guidelines. The Vintage Sports-Car Club are now involved as well and are fully aware of the potential implications for the historic car movement in the UK. A representation is intended to be made to the DVLA.

Insure Your Classic Car Today With Heritage

At Heritage, we are classic car specialists. Get the best rates on classic car insurance today with Heritage Car Insurance and get a personalised quote. Alternatively, if you have any further questions, please – call us on: 0121 248 9229.


Note: You will only need to show evidence that your classic is indeed a classic if you receive a letter from the DVLA asking for this information, if you have not been contacted by the DVLA asking for proof then you do not need to take any action.