THE BENEFITS OF CLASSIC CAR OWNERSHIP
Amongst a whole host of benefits associated with owning a classic car, MOT exemption is often cited as a key advantage of driving and owning a classic car. Yes, we are all guilty of finding an MOT a frustrating endeavour when it comes round each year. Yes, we all find the impending costs another frustrating element of British bureaucracy. Yes, it doesn’t necessarily tell us about the full condition of our car. But we must ask, does exemption mean make an exception?
This article focuses specifically on cars that are MOT exempt, delving into the data to establish who out of those with exempt Mercedes-Benz models, continues to MOT their car. We draw on our extensive database of UK and European owners, as well as that of the DVSA and DVLA. The purpose of this article is to emphasise, that whilst you might be exempt from getting an MOT, we firmly advise you continue to do so for your own peace of mind, your service book and the future value of your vehicle.
WHAT IS THE CRITERIA FOR A VEHICLE TO BE EXEMPT FROM AN MOT?
Any vehicle in the United Kingdom that is 40 years old or more, is exempt from both paying Road Tax and having a MOT test passed on its annual anniversary date. This means that classic car owners are not required to meet the same legal safety standards set out by the DVSA and DVLA. An MOT is a basic safety check that takes place on a ramp, advising on key vehicle safety and performance areas to establish its road worthiness.
WHAT DO THE NUMBERS SHOW?
When we contacted the DVLA and DVSA, they advised us that in the period 1st September 2021 to 31stAugust 2022, there were 76,755 class 4 (mainly cars and some three wheelers) vehicles +40 years old submitted for MOT. Details of the numbers that passed were not made available. Of these vehicles, 2.8% were Mercedes-Benz, which totals 2,162 vehicles. They were keen to point out that this does not reflect the total number of 40+ year old Mercedes-Benz class 4 vehicles on the road, as this doesn’t include SORN vehicles or those that those that haven’t put their car forward for an MOT.
From our own database, we have 817 vehicles that are 40+ years old, making them exempt from an MOT. The total number that we have MOT’d this year stands at 15%, approximately 122 Mercedes-Benz models on our database and 5% of the Mercedes-Benz class four models outlined by the DVSA as being submitted for MOT across the UK.
When we asked Insurance specialists, Hagerty, John Mayhead, editor of the Hagerty Price Guide UK advised ‘’as far as Hagerty is concerned, we expect our clients to maintain their cars in a roadworthy condition as the law requires them to do. The MOT is a snapshot of a vehicle at one given day; as enthusiasts we know that maintaining a safe and reliable historic car is a long-term commitment but one that ultimately benefits the owner and any potential future purchaser. Although we don’t track which of our insured vehicles have an MOT, we can see how a comprehensive and regular maintenance record could add value to a car when offered for sale.’’
As you can see there is consensus that an MOT inspection does paint a useful picture about a condition of a vehicle; given the number of exempt vehicles that have been submitted, there is a large pool of people who don’t make any exceptions when it comes to the value and safety of their classic car.
THE IMPORTANCE OF AN MOT:
It’s easy to see why an MOT exemption alleviates one from the stress of an annual inspection and potentially large bill. But should you make the exception when key things might go unnoticed?
An early R107 makes a good example for an MOT exempt vehicle that might be hiding all sorts of structural issues that would be highlighted by our pre-MOT or Vehicle Health Check. We urge owners to continue with the formality of MOTs or equivalent annual checks to ensure the safety of occupants and preservation of a vehicle.
Subtle corrosion highlighted at key areas such as the chassis legs and front quarter panel drainage holes could be signs of extensive corrosion around other areas such as the Bulkhead. Those familiar with the R107 will know that severe corrosion to this area could kill-off an R107 entirely. An annual check over will highlight the areas that require prompt action, preventing danger to the driver and passenger, as well as giving an opportunity to rectify the issues and extend the life of the car. It might be the case that the Bulkhead requires only minor rectification work, rather than a full restoration.
DON’T MAKE AN EXCEPTION:
While there is some benefit to MOT exemption, classic car owners should continue to utilise this or an equivalent inspection to ensure their car is of a certain safe standard. An annual inspection will give you knowledge and understanding of how to maintain your vehicle to the highest possible usable standards that enable enjoyment and future return on investment.
Afterall, a prospective buyer is going to seek reassurance from the vehicle’s history file that certain standards have been adhered to. An MOT is an official record as is an equivalent Vehicle Health Check offered by SLSHOP. Both prove to a prospective buyer that you have stayed in tune with the condition of your vehicle and made all efforts to rectify any issues.
If, you are one of the 76,755 owners who continues to have their vehicle MOT’d, SLSHOP offers a pre-MOT inspection that ensures your vehicle won’t fail its test. This is an essential route to ensure you don’t receive a Fail mark on your vehicle’s history log.
Vehicle Health Check:
This investigation goes well beyond the realms of an MOT check, allowing us to furnish you with a detailed report outlining the condition of your vehicle and any works required through a red, amber and green system of urgency. Anything you chose to have addressed off the back of it will be evidence of the care you have invested in your classic Mercedes-Benz, safeguarding your enjoyment and financial return for years down the road.