Death race 2018

Next year, cars built before 1978 won’t need an MOT test. I didn’t know cars built before 1960 were already exempt.

(for the non-UK: MOT test is an annual test to check the car is fit to use and there’s likely to be an equivalent in your country).

Okay, most of those cars are in museums or collections and are either off the road or so cared for that they’d be in good shape anyway. Some, however, are still in regular use by the UK version of hillbillies.

Off the road cars are covered by SORN (standard off-road notification) and I have a Fiesta in the garage in that state. I’m smartening it up but don’t need MOT, tax or insurance for it because it doesn’t go on any public roads. Museums and most collections will be in the same place.

There was a time when cars past a certain age didn’t need to pay road tax. It made sense because those cars’ owner(s) had paid enough tax already. Tiny Blur took it from a floating age-of-car to a fixed point in time because he was, is, and always will be, a money grabbing Socialist shit like all the rest of them. But I digress.

The roadworthiness test is a different matter. I just paid out ‘ouch’ money for new rear brake pads and disks and it’s not even MOT time yet. I like to have the ability to stop. Next I will have to get rear suspension bushes because, well, I got the brakes, might as well get all the other optional extras.

My car is about to turn 13 years old. A car registered in 1978, (40 years old when it comes into force) will not have to be checked to see if it’s safe but mine will. It’s not a question of ‘fair’, it’s a question of ‘how safe is that car driving towards me?’

Now hang on. I know of at least one old Hillman Imp in regular use around here. Other old stuff too. There is an annual old car rally nearby. The place is riddled with cars that do not need a roadworthiness test.

It’s true that by far, most of these old cars are very well looked after but there will always be a few shitty ones on the road.

I absolutely agree with stopping paying road tax on a car that’s already paid thousands.

But a car that isn’t safe to be on the road is a danger to more than its occupants.


My brother had a Capri, the flash bugger, and it was shit. I think it was one of the ones he totalled.

Jensen Interceptor though, that was a good one back when petrol was affordable. It was Mad Max’s choice. I once saw one in a scrapyard and I really wanted that engine.

Now,  I wish I had bought it.

9 thoughts on “Death race 2018

  1. The problem with applying the current MOT test to old cars is that none of them would pass. The emissions test is one example of that, plus a car with drum brakes all round is unlikely to come up to scratch either. A more sensible approach would be to apply the MOT test as it was in 1978 to cars of that age, and make it mandatory. At least that way a reasonable level of roadworthiness would be assured.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. The main culprits here are going to be old and ancient Landrovers. Most British cars were built without dipping the body and chassis in zinc before a very thorough undersealing and anti-rust treatment, hence most old British cars are either piles of rust or museum pieces.

    Landrovers are different. When they were first designed, steel was scarce because of post-war rationing, but aluminium was dirt cheap because of all those now-obsolete war surplus aircraft. So, Landrovers had a steel ladder chassis (replaceable, if you care to spend the time) and an aluminium body sitting atop that chassis. The aluminium pretty much lasts forever, and the rest of the vehicle is either replaceable, easily rust-proofed or so heavy that it takes an age to rot away. Also, it used to be traditional with Landrovers that when you changed their engine oil, you sprayed or painted the used oil onto the underside of the vehicle as extra rust-proofing.

    As a result of this, there are a LOT of truly ancient Landrovers pottering around in country districts. Many struggle to pass MOT tests, especially on emissions; how very nice of the Government to exempt these sheds from the tests.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. The MOT in it’s current form is far too strict. In terms of actual road safety, 90% of it could easily be scrapped or watered down. Ours is probably the most comprehensive test in the world and most of it is unneccessary
    Cars over 40 years old are very difficult to keep on the road. Anyone driving one must have the money, skills, passion and patience to keep it running, so are likely to keep it safe too. A car of that age is not a car, it’s an investment, and one that won’t be around for very long if it isn’t nurtured

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Weaken or remove the requirement for MOT testing of cars 40+ years old ?! ARE THEY FUCKING INSANE?!?! Everyone but everyone smoked in their cars back in 1978 -as we now know killing thousands of wee sleeping babes on the babyseats (not even in a carry cot!). Those 40+ year old cars are CONTAMINATED with the deadliest substance known to man:Nicotine , which has a half life greater than Strontium. Those vintage death traps must be driven to the nearest specialist licensed decontamination firm and destroyed in a safe, controlled, environment.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Mad Max had a Ford Falcon, not a Jensen. An XB-GT coupe, to be precise. ‘The last of the V8 (police) interceptors’

    Always fancied a Jensen Interceptor myself. Still do, in fact. Who cares about fuel costs?


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