In the UK, classic cars are a common sight on the road, but a new law being proposed by the government could lead to kit versions being seen less frequently. The Road Vehicles Improving Air Quality and Safety act is stating that kit cars need to have stricter emission laws. Classic cars that are over 40 years would be exempt, though it would effect owners of replica vehicles who were looking to place an old engine in a new shell.
Various car enthusiasts have weighed in on the proposal, such as Sir Greg Knight, the chairman of the All Party Parliamentary Historic Vehicles Group. He voiced his opinion to the roads Minister Jesse Norman.
“Classic cars are part of the rich tapestry of recreational pursuits enjoyed in this country by many people. I would want to encourage it, not force people off the road. I put this down to civil servants not appreciating the fact that when people buy replica classic cars they want it to sound and drive like the original. If you’re buying a replica E-type, for example, you’re not going to want to put a Nissan engine in it, are you? A lot of these cars are built by small businesses scattered around the country.”
Richard Stapley, a classic car enthusiast and former Hull City Council worker said “if you find an old car in a barn and want to bring it back to life, you have to mix various parts – old and new. Such vehicles have to get what’s known as Single Vehicle Approval, which is basically a super MOT. That’s to ensure the vehicle has been put together properly and it’s safe…but what the government is proposing now is that vehicles, unless they are true classics or survivors, as I like to call them, must meet current emission laws. For hobby guys like myself, there is simply no way you’re going to get an engine built in the 70s, or earlier, through these tests.”
The concerns of kit car owners are valid because of the potential loss of their vehicles. A recent report from Carbon Brief showed that car emissions are rising in the UK, which explains why the government is taking action. Whether the Road Vehicles Improving Air Quality and Safety act goes through is anyone’s guess at this point, but there are valid arguments on both sides of the debate.