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DVLA unveils the number of classic cars still cruising the roads today

By Mathilda Bartholomew | February 28, 2024

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The term 'classic' applies to cars exceeding 40 years, making them eligible for various benefits as 'historic vehicles,' including exemption from annual MOTs and Vehicle Excise Duty.

DVLA unveils the number of classic cars still cruising the roads today

The revelation of the enduring legacy of classic cars has emerged through official figures. The Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA) data, accurate as of December 15, 2023, discloses that 338,697 vehicles over 40 years old are still in possession of registered owners in the UK. LeaseLoco uncovered these statistics in response to a Freedom of Information request.

Of this vintage collection, approximately one in eight vehicles, totalling 41,217, has been officially declared off the road by their owners through a Statutory Off Road Notification (SORN). This indicates that despite being under ownership, these cars are not currently in use, with many potentially undergoing restoration or being preserved as valuable assets.

The term 'classic' applies to cars exceeding 40 years, making them eligible for various benefits as 'historic vehicles,' including exemption from annual MOTs and Vehicle Excise Duty. It's important to note that road tax exemption comes into effect on the first day of April following the vehicle's 40th year, provided it was registered 40 years before the first of January.

The exemption from MOTs is based on the belief that classic car enthusiasts are dedicated to maintaining their vehicles. The DVLA trusts their commitment to upkeep and the sentimental value attached to these cars, making the annual roadworthiness check unnecessary.

Beyond the MOT and road tax exemptions, cars over 40 years are also spared from emission zone charges, such as London's ULEZ and other Clean Air Zones in Birmingham and Scotland.

Notable classic cars still navigating the roads include 28,311 MGBs, 10,393 Morris Minors, 5,575 Rolls Royce's, and 4,508 Triumph Stags, according to DVLA records.

John Wilmot, CEO of LeaseLoco, remarked on the enduring presence of these classics, highlighting their role in preserving automotive history. He noted, 'Amid the hustle and bustle of modern roads, nearly 300,000 vehicles considered classics are still running more than 40 years after they were first registered, each a testament to enduring craftsmanship and automotive history.

'From the timeless allure of MGBs to the nostalgic charm of Morris Minors and the regal presence of Rolls Royces, these classic cars evoke a sense of nostalgia and admiration. 

'They continue to capture the imagination and enrich our motoring landscape, preserving the legacy of bygone eras for generations to come.'

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