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FIVA and the definition of a Classic Vehicle

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I just read this report from Heritage Insurance - seem ths Brussels Eurocrats are at it again - not content with trying to ruin deactivated weapons they are now turning the beady eyes on classic and historic vehicles.

[h=2]It appears yet again that FIVA controversy rears its ugly head as UK classic car definition scrutinized.[/h][h=3]The Federation Internationale Vehicle Anciens (FIVA) are currently lobbying for stronger guide lines as to what constitutes as a classic car. Heritage examines the repercussions for the UK enthusiast as the UK classic car definition is under question.[/h]eu-flag-911183_960_720-300x198.jpgTo define what is a classic car is almost impossible. It’s true to say there are certain attributes to be considered but certainly no clear distinctions… or is there? Well according to FIVA President Patrick Rollet, there certainly is. The Brussels based Rollet is calling for what he calls ‘clearer distinctions’ between classic cars or as Rollet suggests ‘cars that are preserved and maintained in a historically correct condition and not used as a means of daily transport’ as opposed to simply ‘old vehicles’

FIVA intend to lobby EU politicians for a clearer definition of historic vehicles or should I say their definition ( not the UK classic car definition )of historic vehicles which would potentially eliminate classic cars with any modifications whether they are purely cosmetic or indeed aid safety. Secondly classic cars are exempt from low emission zones (LEZ) and finally that the ruling is consistent across the EU as a whole.

Now consistency on regulation in the EU is of course a good thing, however, it surely has to be a consistency recognised and agreed by all members of the union and not simply legislated based on one definition.

Here the UK classic car definition has a much wider interpretation of what is to be considered a classic car. This definition already accepts modifications as part and parcel of the ever growing classic car scene, while continuing to also appreciate the many original examples that are proudly displayed at classic car events. Should FIVA get their way, this could change the UK classic car scene significantly as EU law will take precedence over UK law.

[h=2]FIVA’s definition of a historic vehicle.[/h]FIVA’s definition of a historic vehicle is unrealistic. See below what they consider to be a historic vehicle.

A mechanically propelled road vehicle which is:



  • at least 30 years old
  • preserved and maintained in a historically correct condition
  • not used as means of daily transport
  • part of our technical and cultural heritage


This very definition is unattainable and having looked on their very own website not even FIVA can comply based on the illustrated representations.

Just think the consequences could mean tighter restrictions on tax exemption and of course insurance criteria could have to change in order to adhere to ‘EU regulation’. Surly this is pure elitism; classic cars are for everyone from enthusiast to historian and certainly not just for the rich to store away concourse examples in their dehumidified garages or air hangers never to be driven. In the UK the classic car is a form of enjoyment and should be driven, restored and modified in order to enhance that enjoyment, after all something of historic value should be permanently on display for the good of everyone.


See http://www.heritagecarinsurance.co.uk/news/uk-classic-car-definition/?utm_source=Competition+Entry+to+win+%C2%A310%2C000+of+Classic+Car+Prizes&utm_campaign=dcdfb9d50a-Heritage_10k_March_Newsletter_2016&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_b2a575bab8-dcdfb9d50a-212182397

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For me (and I am sure I had to write to MEPs on something similar 3 or 4 years ago) the most serious concern is the conflict between safety and originality - I would take the view that fitting (for example) a rear view camera, blind spot mirrors, reflective tail boards or a reversing light and bleeper are simply the responsible thing to do on a medium truck with limited visibility to the rear, even though it never had them (which was probably OK in the circumstances that original owners used it in the 1960s, but not trying to get to Ashford on the A12 and M25) !


A secondary issue is that if one is constrained to using NOS parts then those which suffer from age related decay (particularly of rubber) may not be safe to use out of the box and equivalent modern parts may be much superior (e.g. modern electrical cables with non perishable insulation). I believe it is a much worse thing morally to take a vehicle on the road knowing it could be safer than it is, than to be slightly non-original. Especially in the case of older military vehicles for which full documentation is available and modern type approval was never done, the argument applicable to modern cars "but you cant modify it or use pattern parts because the software cant be tested with the modified parts" or "you will invalidate the type approval" is hard to sustain as long as modifications can be justified on sound engineering grounds as replacement with a better version of the same thing.


If it comes to the point where it is possible to give input I will make that point again - but my previous experience of writing to the Eastern Region MEPs was that I got stock answers ranging from "That's why we need to leave the EU - sorry I cant do anything while we are in" to "Brussells knows best" from various junior staff members in each of their offices - not really anything constructive or which demonstrated any real understanding or concern.





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Dear All,


One of the most powerful arguments in favour of not interfering with the current arrangements that we have in the UK is that our insurance costs are so low. It is important to remember that a significant proportion of our already low premiums goes towards the overheads of the insurance company and not just our claims.


So if you write to your MP or MEP always point out that your insurance cost for your XYZ vehicle is £XX. This will come as a surprise and is proof that our vehicles are not a problem. We do live in a democracy and it is very important that you write to your MP (even he or she is not to your political choice). If your letter is half reasonable, your MP will forward it onto the Minister in the Department for Transport. A steady flow of well thought out and reasonable letters will have an effect.


Why are we experiencing these unwelcome developments? The problem is that in far flung parts of the EU they do use very old and unsafe vehicles for commercial purposes. Often they are badly modified by fitting a later engine. In the case of taxis, their local authorities are just unable to regulate them as well as can be done in the UK. My local authority insists that taxi are relatively new and they can make it happen.


On the issue of modifications, I agree with all that has been said. It is now 24 years since I fitted a Rolls Royce diesel to that Antar. It still looks and behaves like an Antar. Without this modification it would probably been scrapped years ago. There are probably about two or three petrol Antars left in the world. There is absolutely nothing wrong with modifying a classic vehicle. Of course, there is an important place for a completely original example of a vehicle.



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For some odd reason when I read that article Landrover and MK's crossed my mind:

For a Series Landrover it is hard, if not impossible to find the OE fitment Firestone tyres. You can get look-alike Deestones or you can use later Michelins. But either of these contradict the proposed EU Mandate.


For MK's VOSA stipulated they had to be fitted with under-run bars - fitting these contradicts the proposed EU mandate, not fitting them breaks UK law. If a comms pod is fitted then rigging it as a camper breaks the EU proposals


For either type - fitting Gel batteries for safety and improved performance breaks the mandate.


In short it is almost impossible now to have a historic vehicle in the condition the EU bureaucrats want to specify either because national law imposes safety requirements or simply because OE fitment parts are no longer available.

Couple this to the fiasco over firearms, deacts and replica's and for me there is no other choice but out.


If they changed things so that such proposals could only be drafted by experts in the field and not over zealous morons with personal axes to grind I might reconsider.

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FIVA is indeed the problem here. They are motivated partly by a desire to retain the exclusive aspect of the elite's historic sports and thoroughbred cars...and they have never really liked the riff-raff attached to the hobby.


Added to this, they are perhaps justifiably worried by the prevelance of 'modern' cars that are now slipping through under the 25 years rule and which are often being used to get away with customising and modification.


'Classic & Sportscar' have somehow blamed 'Brussels' too.




FBHVC seem to be resisting.


In Belgium, there are special 'O' plates for 'Oldtimers' and they bring with them the restriction on use for commuting etc. It's not uncommon to see these plates on lowered Golf GTis with the rear passenger area taken up by loudspeakers and they spend much of the weekends doing burn-outs on the industrial estates.


The majority of insurers here will only offer TPO on older vehicles and in order to obtain some F&T cover, I've been forced to accept the SDP only use. I resent it really as I do feel that classics should be used for their original purpose. If I ride a 75 year old motorcycle to work it's because I want to but this may not be true of the 1991 3-Series BMWs and Volvo 760s that I also see with collector plates.


It remains to be seen how anyone expects to define what is 'historically correct' I suspect that we all recognise a historic vehicle if we see one...but we'd all differ on the details.

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