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Registration / re-registration of 1970's era military vehicle

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I would be very grateful to any forum members for any thoughts or observations on the following vehicle registration and vehicle tax class issues.


Having been after a Mercedes Unimog 416 for some time, I recently finally acquired one. It was obtained via a Unimog dealer, and as these vehicles are most commonly used in the fields of agriculture, forestry, etc, it was registered in the taxation class "Agricultural machine". Also, having prior to this been imported from Europe, it was put on a ‘Q’-plate in the absence of having the date of manufacture established for registration purposes, though if there was any advantage to this, it could be verified as having been manufactured in 1979 if necessary. The published specifications show the vehicle weight as 3500kg and it has a revenue weight shown as 6500kg.


From what I have read, my intended use of the vehicle – as a military vehicle for display / hobby purposes - indicates to me that I cannot justify the ‘Agricultural machine’ taxation class? I am basing this on the intended use of the vehicle, and not anything to do with using red diesel which I wouldn't begin to consider. So, my question is: what should I have the vehicle registered as, and how do I go about this? I also understand that it cannot be registered in a historic military vehicle class because it would need to be older than 1972/1973? Do I simply phone up the DVLA to arrange for the V5 document to be re-issued explaining my reasons? Will they advise on what taxation class it should be registered?


Secondly, assuming that it is registered as a private HGV or something similar, I understand that it will then need to have an MOT and that road tax will apply. I got the impression that there are specific MOT test categories – ie for cars, for trucks of differing weights, etc, and that I will therefore need to approach a garage that can accommodate a truck of this size. Are there specific MOT classes? Lastly, the vehicle was never fitted with seatbelts. Is this likely to be a problem when it has an MOT? If it has to have seatbelts fitted, is this generally straightforward or not?


Any help on the above would be greatly appreciated..

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You will need to contact DVLA, First to change the tax category to Private HGV, you are right, you cannot legally use a restricted use agricultral machine for private use

if the Unimog can be verified as manufactured 1979, unless it was given a Q plate for other reasons, ie. re built from parts, it may be possible to re register on an age related plate.

Then contact DVSA to arrange for a goods vehicle test as its 6000kg GVW, it does not need seat belts if it can be confirmed as manufactured 1979, belts in trucks were required from 2001. If it has a Tachograph, it may need to be calibrated for a first test, though for private use you are not required to use i

And of course you will need a pre 1999 issued licence to drive it as it is a goods vehicle of 6000kg Gross weight, its too heavy to downrate to under 3500kg GVW.


Edited by Nick Johns
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I have essentially the same situation with Simca SUMB No 17310 which was registered as Agricultural with a declared year of manufacture 1972 (last possible year of manufacture for that type) and had at some point transmuted to historic. It never had a MoT and is 3600 KG empty equipped 5300KG GVW. The options are HGV registration and HGV class A MoT if I can work out the forms to get it plated (needs a ministry plate to do the HGV MoT as nearly the first thing in the HGV test manual is to check the plate!) or (much simpler for our purpose) convert it to a motor caravan in which case a Class IV MoT applies regardless of weight and no plate is needed. See:






I think the alternate PHGV route would need to start with form VTG1:




and for a 3.5 to 7.5 tonne vehicle the HGV test class would be the least expensive. I am not sure however whether the lack of a type approval certificate for pre 1982 vehicles is a barrier to this route, as the form guidance notes imply that it is needed to get a plate without being clear if that is applicable pre 1982 !


I pasted the notes below









Form VTG1

must be used when applying for a test for:

a heavy goods vehicle when a Ministry Plate has not previously been issued

a vehicle previously exempt from testing (eg fire engine, access platform)

an ex-ministry of Defence vehicle

an imported vehicle over one year old

A separate application form must be completed for both vehicle and trailer in a combination. Trailer

applications should be submitted on form VTG2 for first test or form VTG40 for annual test.

If the vehicle is imported from another EC country (excluding Greece and Eire) please also apply to

the Vehicle Certification

Agency for a British type approval certificate under the provisions of EC

Commission Notice (88/C281/08):

Vehicle Certification Agency

1, The Eastgate Of

fice Centre

Eastgate Road,



Tel: 0117 952 4191

If the vehicle is imported from outside the EC, Greece or Eire, contact the vehicle manufacturer to

see if a British type approval certificate is available for the vehicle. All vehicles manufactured af


the 1st October 1982 are subject to British Type Approval. If available, please enclose the certificate

with this application. If a certificate is not available, it is unlikely that the vehicle will comply with the

requirements for plating and testing.

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Nick Johns, g0ozs and snowtracdave..


Many thanks for your responses - very helpful and clears up a lot of the mystery..


snowtracdave - I'd really appreciate the MB address if you are able to find it.. any photos of your 406?


Cheers, Neil

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Will try and look that address out for you tomorrow Neil . There are photo's of both my Mogs in the albums on my info page . The bodywork needs restoration as you can probably imagine - they all rot like there's no tomorrow and it was not quite as described when I bought it , mechanically it's pretty sound and runs nicely but work has been held up for around three years now because the cab has been sat in the yard of a certain local company waiting to be stripped .

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Following up on various leads I managed to get a copy of the original Manufacture Inspection card from Mercedes Benz showing the build date of the Unimog as September 1978 together with an email from them confirming the fact.


On import to the UK recently, the Unimog was registered on a 'Q'-plate. I need to go back to the DVLA to change the registration from 'Agricultural Machine' to 'Private HGV'. While not essential to get an age-related plate, I would like to have changed the registration to do this as well, but seem to remember reading somewhere that once registered on a 'Q'-plate, the vehicle cannot revert to an age-related plate?


Can anyone confirm this?


Many thanks..

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