It’s not our first rodeo – we’ve been in this situation asking this same question before! 


There are lots of great reasons to own a stunning classic car. The craftsmanship, fun drive and stares as you drive down the road are just some of them.


Another perk of owning a classic car in the UK is that it might be tax and MOT exempt. The DVLA states that (as of 1st April 2020) – if your vehicle is over 40 years old (was built before 1st January 1980), you can apply to the DVSA to be tax-exempt. 


So Why Forty?


The DVLA has stated that 40 years is the age a car must be before you can apply for these cost-saving exemptions. However, many are puzzled as to how they reached 40 as the magic number. The Federation of British Historic states that a classic is any car over the age of thirty. FIVA, the Fédération International des Véhicules Anciens, their global counterpart, agrees with this 30-year-old figure. The US is even more lenient than that, typically placing the cut-off point to qualify as a classic car at twenty-five years. These vehicles are even eligible for import to the US and are not subject to the Federal safety standard, which applies to all new cars. Individual states have some additional rule; California, for example, uses 25 years as the point at which these classic cars are eligible for license plates specifically for the historic vehicle. Still not convinced? Let’s not forget that in the mid-nineties, cars such as the Mazda Rx-3 or the Alfasud regularly graced the pages of classic car magazines. 


In the past, the UK also agreed that classic cars were those over 25-years-old; this was the case until 1997. The cut-off date was then frozen at 1st January 1973 until 2014, when the rule changed drastically to forty years. 


What Can We Do About It?


You might not know that there is a new petition on the UK government website. The petition asks for the rolling road tax exemption age for a classic car to be lowered by ten years. This reduction would be from the current forty years to thirty.


The petition states that the reason for this change to the exemption is an attempt to enable younger drivers to afford the classic car they may be interested in more easily. Lowering the eligibility to vehicles over 30 years old would automatically reduce the annual running costs for all 1980’s cars.


At the moment, this petition has over 6,200 signatures. This figure is over halfway to the 10,000 signatures it will need to require a government response. It is, however, still a long shot away from the 100,000 signatures it will need to be considered for debate in Parliament. It is sad but true that past experience shows that petitions of a similar nature have evaporated without even a reply from the government.



Have you already signed the petition? What’re your thoughts on reducing the age? We would love to know!