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The MoT Files: Exemption for pre-1960s cars. Do the numbers stack up?

Since November 2012, cars registered before 1960 have been exempt from the annual MoT test. At the time there was much debate over whether this proposal was a good idea, with some arguing that the exemption would allow unrestored and unroadworthy cars onto the road without any checks.

Thankfully, the fears and hysteria over unsafe classics has been found to be largely untrue, with no major accidents or incidents related to a pre-1960 car. In fact, in most cases, classics are in a better condition than the modern ones that have replaced them, with owners out in all weathers checking the condition of the engine, tyres and bodywork.

So, we once again raided the MoT Files to see whether the numbers stack up. These figures are for MoTs conducted between October 2010 and September 2011 and show that it is something that the Government could - on paper at least - justify. There were 55,000 MoTs for cars registered before 1960 in the data we have (out of 24.5m MoT tests) and the overall pass rate for all the years combined was 85.2 per cent.

The pass rate for each year before 1954 is better than the pass rate for 2008 cars in their first test, and the overall pass rate for pre-1960 cars was 85 per cent, better than the 80 per cent for 2010. Looking at it this way, the argument for keeping the test on pre-1960 cars seems about as strong as that for introducing the test on two year old cars.

But - and this is a big one - is that you could argue that without the MoT test there could be almost 10,000 unroadworthy cars on the road and the big danger is that no one will know. Yet, as already stated, there has been no major accidents or incidents involving pre-1960 cars. Obviously, we’ll continue to monitor the numbers to see if this changes, but so far the MoT exemption appears to be working. 

Year of Registration Number of MoT Tests MoT Pass Rate Number of Failures
1893 1 0.0% 1
1895 3 66.7% 1
1896 2 100.0% 0
1897 1 100.0% 0
1898 9 88.9% 1
1899 17 94.1% 1
1900 41 95.1% 2
1901 50 98.0% 1
1902 79 97.5% 2
1903 107 98.1% 2
1904 165 98.8% 2
1905 34 100.0% 0
1906 20 100.0% 0
1907 21 100.0% 0
1908 35 100.0% 0
1909 38 94.7% 2
1910 55 100.0% 0
1911 74 98.6% 1
1912 80 97.5% 2
1913 104 99.0% 1
1914 105 95.2% 5
1915 82 95.1% 4
1916 37 91.9% 3
1917 29 100.0% 0
1918 26 92.3% 2
1919 38 92.1% 3
1920 72 98.6% 1
1921 279 96.4% 10
1922 159 92.5% 12
1923 322 95.3% 15
1924 455 95.6% 20
1925 537 94.0% 32
1926 689 95.6% 30
1927 769 94.1% 45
1928 1032 94.4% 58
1929 1158 94.0% 70
1930 1177 93.0% 82
1931 915 93.1% 63
1932 1219 93.1% 84
1933 1578 92.4% 120
1934 2151 92.0% 173
1935 1886 91.0% 170
1936 1919 90.3% 186
1937 1881 88.6% 215
1938 1343 89.9% 135
1939 877 87.7% 108
1940 193 86.0% 27
1941 125 88.0% 15
1942 531 89.6% 55
1943 411 87.8% 50
1944 371 88.9% 41
1945 192 93.2% 13
1946 634 87.4% 80
1947 864 85.3% 127
1948 1042 85.4% 152
1949 1318 84.7% 202
1950 1352 83.6% 222
1951 1592 82.9% 273
1952 1879 83.1% 318
1953 2461 81.3% 461
1954 2976 81.3% 557
1955 3416 78.7% 726
1956 2846 78.3% 617
1957 3211 77.9% 711
1958 3735 76.5% 877
1959 4691 77.9% 1035
1960 5160 76.6% 1206

  

Pre 1960s Graph

 

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Comments

Roy Craven    on 22 February 2017

Hi, could you advise me what else I need besides insurance, to drive my 1958 car on the road please? Thanks, Roy

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