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  • Over 115,000 currently registered off road now free to be driven without test
  • MG and Triumph owners the greatest beneficiaries of new rules

New analysis reveals that this month could see more than a hundred thousand 40-year-old cars being brought back on to the public highway, having been previously registered off road. Ahead of the changes being introduced to the MOT on Sunday, 20th May, Kwik Fit, the UK’s largest MOT tester, has carried out analysis on the cars affected by one of the major changes to the test rules1.

Kwik Fit’s researchers have found that there are a quarter of a million cars (250,239) in the UK which were first registered between 1960-78. Of these, 116,927 are currently declared as being off road with a Statutory Off Road Notification (SORN). Until now, any car first registered after 1960 would have needed to pass an MOT to be taken on the road, however under the new rules, most cars over 40 years old will no longer need an MOT.

From 20th May, owners of cars over 40 years old will simply have to declare on an annual basis that their car meets the rules for not needing an MOT. Owners of classic MG, Triumph, VW, Ford and Morris cars are going to benefit the most from the rule changes as it is these marques which have the greatest number of 40-58-year-old vehicles currently registered off road. (See table below for top 20.)

Kwik Fit has identified that the single models with the greatest numbers of cars from this era which are currently registered as SORN are the MGB (12,997), the VW Beetle (6,774), the Morris Minor (6,466), the MG Midget (5,651) and the Ford Escort (4,857). There is also a total of over 7,800 Minis from that period when its different guises – including Austin, Morris and Leyland – are combined.

Kwik Fit believes that the decision to remove the need for an MOT for these cars is a sensible one – as long as their owners make regular checks. Eric Smith, MOT scheme manager at Kwik Fit said: “In the main, classic car owners look after their vehicles very carefully and ensure that their pride and joy is in mint condition. However, we would encourage anyone driving a car of this age after it has been off the road for some time on a SORN to make thorough checks. As these older cars don’t tend to do many miles each year, it’s especially important to check tyres as although the tread depth may still be legal, their age may make them dangerous.”

He also added a warning for any motorist who thinks the rule change gives them the chance to ignore any necessary repairs. “If any classic car owner has not been driving their vehicle because it would fail an MOT, the new rules don’t allow them to put it straight back on the road,” he continued. “Although they don’t need to take a test, they must ensure the car’s roadworthy or they could face a fine of up to £2,500 and three penalty points.”

Any classic vehicle owner who has any concerns over the condition of their vehicle’s tyres can have them checked at any Kwik Fit centre. Motorists can find their nearest centre at kwik-fit.com. And if they require new tyres before getting back on the road, Kwik Fit has the largest fleet of mobile tyre fitting vehicles in the UK, equipped to fit the widest range of tyres.

For the latest news and updates from Kwik Fit, customers can also follow the company on Twitter at @kwik_fit.

Top 20 manufacturers with cars first registered between 1960 and 1978 registered off road

Marque

Total cars aged 40-58 years old licensed for road use

Total cars aged 40-58 years old registered off road (SORN)

Total cars aged 40-58 years old

Percentage of cars aged 40-58 currently registered off road

MG

24,813

19,730

44,543

44%

TRIUMPH

18,283

15,054

33,337

45%

VOLKSWAGEN

8,843

12,513

21,356

59%

FORD

11,398

11,935

23,333

51%

MORRIS

13,878

11,138

25,016

45%

AUSTIN

6,782

5,365

12,147

44%

ROVER

4,204

4,401

8,605

51%

JAGUAR

7,499

3,887

11,386

34%

RELIANT

962

1,931

2,893

67%

LEYLAND

608

1,928

2,536

76%

VAUXHALL

2,086

1,772

3,858

46%

ROLLS ROYCE

1,880

1,745

3,625

48%

MERCEDES

2,171

1,687

3,858

44%

LOTUS

2,224

1,612

3,836

42%

HILLMAN

1,746

1,503

3,249

46%

DAIMLER

1,987

1,444

3,431

42%

VOLVO

1,311

1,070

2,381

45%

SUNBEAM

1,547

932

2,479

38%

WOLSELEY

1,060

821

1,881

44%

LAND ROVER

613

806

1,419

57%

ALL MANUFACTURERS

133,312

116,927

250,239

47%

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