It's My Classic helps you to not get caught out by the rules governing MoT testing and tax exemption for Historic Vehicles in the UK.

"You do not need to get an MoT if the vehicle was first registered more than 40 years ago and no ‘substantial changes’ have been made to the vehicle in the last 30 years." (Department for Transport website).

Even if your vehicle no longer legally requires an annual MoT, if it's on a public highway you still have to ensure that it is a roadworthy condition. Failure to do so can result in a hefty fine plus penalty points.

So, the logical starting pioint is your vehicle's age - 40 or over? Good stuff. Move on to the substantial changes bit. That might be more tricky. If you are not an expert on your marque and model, this might call for some research. Thanks the good old www, much of what you need to know is probably available with a little browser digging. Look for details of vehicle specifications (some models might only have had a given feature for a short period), and also those photos of cherished vehicles that many of us like to share. Save all of those as evidence if you think there is even the slightest chance someone might argue with you later on.

If you are still uncertain, the next best stop is the marque-specific clubs. These bodies are an absolute goldmine for specialised knowledge and expertise.

Once you are certain that you meet the standards for MoT exemption, you must complete a V112, Declararation of Exemption from MoT.

You can voluntarily opt to undergo an MoT test. If you are not one of the oily-handed, technically-savvy, do-it-yourself type of historic vehicle owner, this can be a sensible way to ensure that the vehicle you have on the road really is safe enough to be there. After all, we all trust our lives and continuing safety to these wonderful, quirky machines.


If you decide on the MoT route it may be worth talking to the MoT tester and even shopping around, as not all garages these days are as classic-friendly as we might hope. Being blunt about it, some of the equipment used for modern car testing, if inappropriately used, can damage our cherished old dears. The British Federation of Historic Car clubs publishes a list of historic-friendly MoT stations that you might find helpful.


Also talk to your local club and other vintage, veteran or classic owners as to who they would recommend. The one/s suggested to you might not be quite as convenient as popping down to your local garage, but you'll end up with far greater peace of mind by using someone who actually knows their old motors.

You don't need to apply to have your vehicle exempted from MoTs, but you do need to apply for road tax exemption. Thanks to the DVLA, applying for exemption is simple. 

You can apply for cars, vans, motorcycles or tricycles to be exempted from road tax.


Lots of vehicles can qualify for exemption, including HGVs, mobile cranes, steam vehicles, buses, road rollers and more.

Historic picture broken down car

The information here was correct at the time of publishing. Please check with the DVLA for any changes to legislation or guidelines.

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