HomeFeatured VehiclesClassic car owners oppose Britain’s ‘anti-tampering’ proposal

Classic car owners oppose Britain’s ‘anti-tampering’ proposal

Aimed at altering new vehicles, the worry is that rules could be applied to collector cars as well


(Editor’s note: Bob Golfen recently reported on legislative issues impacting car collectors in Arizona and elsewhere. Here’s a report on concerns among the car-collecting community in the UK.)

British collector car insurer Footman James says that 84 percent of its clients recently surveyed are opposed to the British government’s “anti-tampering” proposals. 

“The poll by classic and enthusiast vehicle insurance specialist, Footman James, shows that 84 per cent of the 4,500 respondents are opposed to this proposal, which, if implemented could have a detrimental impact on the UK classic car, motorsport and custom aftermarket industry,” the insurer said in its news release.

“Nearly six months after the planned legislation announcement, the classic car industry is still not clear on what the future has in store for their cars, should they be adapted, updated or ‘tampered with’ as the regulations state. 

“Said Government consultation report entitled, ‘Future of transport regulatory review: modernizing vehicle standards’ was published on 12 November 2021 and it has had the classic vehicle community worried ever since. The goals that the Government describes have the best of intentions, however, it is when you read deeper into the ‘Tackling Tampering’ section that each paragraph and future ‘offense’ could easily be applied to the classic vehicle industry.

“These offences include:

  • Supplying, installing, or advertising a ‘tampering product’ for a vehicle or Non-Road Mobile Machinery (NRMM)
  • Removing, reducing the effectiveness of, or rendering inoperative a system, part or component for a vehicle/NRMM and advertising such services
  • Allowing for use or providing a vehicle or NRMM that has had the operations described in the previous two points performed on it.”

The proposals are being opposed by the Historic & Classic Vehicles Alliance. 

“The proposals by the Government are hopefully in their infancy as they appear somewhat ill-thought-out,” Footman James managing director David Bond is quoted. “The classic vehicle industry not only accounts for less than 1 per cent of vehicle emissions in the UK but also generates £7.2 billion worth of economic activity every year, which is only increasing.

“The offenses described in this report could be applied to all vehicle restoration, modification, and competition preparation services with potential to jeopardize not only the economic benefits we feel from the classic vehicle scene but the immense cultural and historical record that enthusiasts inadvertently look after and display.”

Footman James noted that only 16 percent of those responding to its poll said they agree with the “anti-tampering” proposal.

“I hope the classic vehicle industry comes together, not to beat the Government down on what appear to be good, future-proofing intentions, but to seek greater clarity on what dispensations classic vehicles could be entitled to,” Bond added.

“Much like the MOT and road tax exemption for vehicles over 40 years old, it feels that the Government could consider this cut-off age to ‘anti-tampering’ restrictions.”  

The news release quotes Garry Wilson, chief executive of the HCVA, as saying that while the proposals are aimed at “tampering” with new vehicles, there are “inadvertent ramifications for our sector.”

HCVA is asking that the proposal be modified to exempt classic vehicles, adding that such a change “is supported by a range of members of parliament we have met. 

“However, the point on secondary legislation could be easily missed, possibly allowing a future Secretary of State to make future changes to the bill that could see any exemptions overridden. The HCVA have requested that any future changes to the bill be returned to Parliament to be reviewed and thus enabling any changes to be investigated. This is the key work that we do for the sector and hence why we need support from the industry and owners alike to join us.”

In another development, the Fédération Internationale des Véhicules Anciens has announced signing a memorandum of understanding with the International Committee for the Conservation of the Industrial Heritage to work together to preserve historic vehicles and industrial heritage.

The groups said they will especially work toward projects to spread such historic appreciation among the world’s youth.

Larry Edsall
Larry Edsall
A former daily newspaper sports editor, Larry Edsall spent a dozen years as an editor at AutoWeek magazine before making the transition to writing for the web and becoming the author of more than 15 automotive books. In addition to being founding editor at ClassicCars.com, Larry has written for The New York Times and The Detroit News and was an adjunct honors professor at the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication at Arizona State University.



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