Testing Times for Classic Cars?

Trouble could be looming on the horizon for UK classic car enthusiasts, it seems.

How? Well, if the rumours are true, and if the EU goes ahead with the alleged proposals, if you make changes to your classic car the components of your vehicle will still have to comply with the standards of the vehicle when it was first registered. Making safety updates to the vehicle would become impossible, or very difficult at least. In turn, the vehicle becomes unlikely to pass road safety tests. This would be a real blow to the UK’s classic car enthusiasts. We’re talking about a nation here in which there are more than 162,000 classic cars on the road. Despite being just 0.6% of the total number of cars on the road, that’s still a fair few.

Classic Cars

At present, although classic cars must pass general road worthiness tests, they don’t have to undergo an MOT. One reason is that classic cars are involved in very few accidents in the UK.  Of course, that’s no excuse to not purchase car insurance for the vehicle.

The other reason is that classic car owners are passionate about their vehicles. The classic car — or even collection of classic cars — is their pride and joy. Owning a classic car is a hobby, so they keep their vehicles in generally good condition anyway.

How does this compare to a country like the UAE?

Well, car consumers there are becoming increasingly enthusiastic about classic cars. In the UAE, there are more than 3,000 classic cars. Enthusiasts have suggested this number may be closer to between 6,000 and 8,000 if we include those which are kept away in private collections or haven’t been officially registered as classic cars.

Classic Cars Testing

Classic Cars Testing

Modification is generally a large part of UAE car culture. People love customising their vehicles. The law permits them to do it. In the case of classic cars, though, these changes must respect the vehicle’s original spirit. Adaptations to the style and look aren’t really a problem, whereas changes that involve performance enhancement, from a legal perspective, are a slightly greyer area.

If you want your car to be granted ‘classic car’ status, it must meet safety standards and be older than 30 years. Depending on its road worthiness, how many kilometres go on the clock each year, and other criteria, your car will go into a different category to other classic cars. This category determines when — or even if — you can take your car out onto the road, and also what types of road you can drive it on.

This has all been thanks to new standards for classic car use in Dubai that, with the approval of the Roads and Transport Authority, the Automobile Touring Club UAE set this year. As a result, it seems that, compared to these possible new changes, UAE classic car owners may have more freedom to enjoy their passion than the UK in the future. But that still has to be within reason, of course.

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