Lotus Elan

Modifyed Cars and the Law

PostPost by: andyelan » Thu Jan 21, 2010 6:31 pm

Hi Everyone

Anyone interested in how UK law relates to modifyed classic cars (Zetec/Spyder Plus 2s for example) should take a look at "www.the-ace.org.uk"

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PostPost by: Craig Elliott » Thu Jan 21, 2010 7:25 pm

Andy - as you've referred to in another post, I read the article in Octobers "Octane" magazine with interest... As the article says, I wouldn't loose too much sleep over this but the gist is:

- the DVLA introduced a points scoring system about 25 years ago to help assess modified vehicles. To retain the original registration a car needs to score eight points. These are allocated as follows: five points for the chassis or monocoque which must remain unchanged with the exception of body and engine mounts, two points for the original suspension front and back (if one end is modified the score = 0), two points for the original axles (again one end modified = 0 points), two points for the original transmission, two points for the original steering assembly, and one point for the original engine.

- you need to inform the DVLA of any fundamental changes to the car

- Government attention is focusing on what could be seen as tax avoidance where people apparently mis-represent the age of their car to make it tax exempt

- MOT testers are likely to look more closely at modifications to cars to check that it ties up with the DVLA's description. If it doesn't match the DVLA may inspect and if the inspector has doubts about the car's integrity the case will be referred to a Govt approved owner's club which will then assess the car. If they are unhappy the DVLA will withdraw the log book and registration.

- The only way to get the car back on the road is by way of a Minister's Approval Certificate and the BIVA test - i.e. your pre 1971 car will now be a 2010 (or later) model and it will have to meet 2009 regs (e.g. have dual-circuit brakes, high back seats, etc. This test costs £450. In the process you'll have lost your original number plate.

So it's lucky that Lotus Elans are a monocoque-based car only having a subframe supporting the suspension and engine. None the less, the maths are interesting...

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PostPost by: rocket » Thu Jan 21, 2010 8:15 pm

So this would surely mean spyder conversions and quite a few more standard cars are technically illegal?


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PostPost by: Craig Elliott » Thu Jan 21, 2010 8:24 pm

...well I guess it depends on how much modification you have and whether you've told the DVLA about the changes. The subframe doesn't count so unless you'd chopped the monocoque about you'd still get 5 points. The big questions would be around what counts as original - the argument might get difficult if you have the twin wishbone rear suspension, different gear box, engine, brakes, steering etc...

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PostPost by: bcmc33 » Fri Jan 22, 2010 11:22 am

Craig Elliott wrote:the DVLA introduced a points scoring system about 25 years ago to help assess modified vehicles. To retain the original registration a car needs to score eight points. These are allocated as follows: five points for the chassis or monocoque which must remain unchanged with the exception of body and engine mounts, two points for the original suspension front and back (if one end is modified the score = 0), two points for the original axles (again one end modified = 0 points), two points for the original transmission, two points for the original steering assembly, and one point for the original engine.

MOT testers are likely to look more closely at modifications to cars to check that it ties up with the DVLA's description. If it doesn't match the DVLA may inspect and if the inspector has doubts about the car's integrity the case will be referred to a Govt approved owner's club which will then assess the car. If they are unhappy the DVLA will withdraw the log book and registration.

Taking the points sytem into account I thought my car would get 2 points for having the original steering system, but on reflection, the steering wheel is a 26R type therefore, I guess the car gets zero points.

I keep a log of all the work/modifications done to the car and give a copy to my insurance company at the renewal time and get it formally accepted before I pay the premium. I guess it's naive of me to expect the insurance company to advise if the car does not comply with the letter of the law.

I had my normal road car in for MOT yesterday and asked the young, very well informed tester about modified vehicles and he was quite specific - the MOT has no interest in any type of modification done to a vehicle as long as it complies with the safety requirements together with any emissions regulations that applied at the time of manufacture.

So knowing my car has zero points, should I now inform the DVLA :?: :?: :roll: :roll:
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PostPost by: rocket » Fri Jan 22, 2010 1:41 pm

Hello Brian,

No.

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Ian.
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PostPost by: paddy » Fri Jan 22, 2010 2:56 pm

I'm confused as to whether this is concerned with:

a) items that are modified from original; versus

b) items that are to original spec, but replaced/renewed.

I assumed that the regulations were concerned about new vehicles masquerading as historic vehicles (not just avoiding tax, but also avoiding the newer safety/environmental requirements that came in over the years). So, a Ford model T with a new V8, big new rear axle etc would have to comply with new regs and couldn't be passed off as an original T. On that basis, I had assumed that the real concern is (a).

Do we think here that even replacement parts in the sense of (b) cause a problem?

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PostPost by: terryp » Fri Jan 22, 2010 3:03 pm

paddy wrote:I assumed that the regulations were concerned about new vehicles masquerading as historic vehicles (not just avoiding tax, but also avoiding the newer safety/environmental requirements that came in over the years). So, a Ford model T with a new V8, big new rear axle etc would have to comply with new regs and couldn't be passed off as an original T. On that basis, I had assumed that the real concern is (a).


Perhaps a Spyder Zetec Elan +2 ???????

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PostPost by: paddy » Fri Jan 22, 2010 3:38 pm

So yes, I think the "Full Monty" Spyder conversion is bordering on the kind of thing the regs are trying to stop.

However, another question in relation to new parts: would this law tell me that I'm not allowed to fit uprated parts even where these make the car safer than before? Eg replacing knackered dampers?

The full-blown restorations of historic cars that leave virtually no part unchanged (I'm sure there are more than a few Aston owners in parliament) are surely not meant to be covered by this?

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PostPost by: richgilb » Fri Jan 22, 2010 4:18 pm

bcmc33 wrote:
Craig Elliott wrote:So knowing my car has zero points, should I now inform the DVLA :?: :?: :roll: :roll:


Brian, I urge you to let them know and give us a full report so that we can assess our own situations. Community spirit is what it is all about. :mrgreen:
I am now an ex-Elan owner but will drop by from time to time with some suitably inappropriate comments.
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PostPost by: bcmc33 » Fri Jan 22, 2010 4:42 pm

richgilb wrote:Brian, I urge you to let them know and give us a full report so that we can assess our own situations.

It will have to wait until Monday, as I have to make a list of everyones names and e-mail addresses.

So don't worry - I'll get it all done in plenty of time.

Now.........Pelly's Zetec, I wonder how that will fare?? Maybe the German authorities should be advised, as well!!

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PostPost by: paddy » Fri Jan 22, 2010 4:58 pm

So, in respect of "reconstructed classics" the guidelines say:

Vehicles comprising genuine period components of the same specification, all over 25 years old, will be assigned (current series registration mark). The appropriate vehicle enthusiasts club must confirm the authenticity of the components. (a fee may be applicable). Vehicles in this class may display their registration mark in the old black and white format.

So, straightforward replacement of parts is OK, but TTR-style renovation of all suspension components might leave you in a bit of trouble ...

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PostPost by: bcmc33 » Fri Jan 22, 2010 6:17 pm

paddy wrote:Vehicles comprising genuine period components of the same specification, all over 25 years old, will be assigned (current series registration mark). The appropriate vehicle enthusiasts club must confirm the authenticity of the components. (a fee may be applicable). Vehicles in this class may display their registration mark in the old black and white format.

So, straightforward replacement of parts is OK,

The way I read this, even remanufactured parts to the original design would not be acceptable because they are not genuine period components.
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PostPost by: Craig Elliott » Fri Jan 22, 2010 6:32 pm

Brian - I'm not a lawyer but surely you'd get 5 points for having an original monocoque (the SUBFRAME[i] doesn't count)[/i]? Having a lotus elan engine/gearbox would add another 3 and using the original type of steering column/rack is another 2. Clearly the nub of the issue is what "original" means...

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PostPost by: bcmc33 » Fri Jan 22, 2010 7:05 pm

Craig,

I like your thinking, but in mine and in many other cases, the chassis is is a Spyder stressed skin type that went a long way to address the inherent weaknesses of the Lotus chassis.
And also in my case the car started as a type 36 and modified to a type 45. The VIN plate still shows "Type 36".

The gearbox I'm fitting at the moment is a Lotus Maxi 5 speed - maybe I'd get away with that.
Last edited by bcmc33 on Fri Jan 22, 2010 11:22 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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