‘MOT’ proposal poses threat to classic cars - claim

Classic vehicles on display at Mooragh Park, Ramsey

Classic vehicles on display at Mooragh Park, Ramsey

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OWNERS of classic cars and motorcycles in the Isle of Man have expressed strong opposition to government plans to introduce periodic vehicle testing.

Member clubs of the newly-formed Federation of Manx Historic Vehicle Clubs also called into question the accuracy of the government’s assertion that ‘about 10 per cent of accidents on the Isle of Man involve vehicles where a mechanical fault contributed to or caused the accident.’

Delegates at a Federation meeting felt the government was solving a problem that didn’t exist and some suspected the whole exercise was really a ‘stealth tax’ with the prospect of more than £200,000 of extra revenue being generated if a 10-year test is introduced.

There is also the question of how historic vehicles are treated if further testing is introduced. Recent changes in the UK make it unnecessary to have MoT tests on pre-1960 vehicles. Members observed it would be ironic that at the very time the UK was discontinuing testing on historic vehicles, the IoM might be introducing it.

Another issue of concern to the owners of historic vehicles is inclusion of ethanol in petrol. This is the subject of an EU directive and while the Federation has no evidence to suspect it will be implemented in the Isle of Man, members want to flag-up their opposition to it now.

Ethanol in petrol degrades in storage. Stored fuel becomes acidic and can attack materials such as zinc-based metals, brass, copper, and lead and tin-coated steel – all traditional materials used in the fuel systems of historic vehicles.

Ethanol in combination with petrol can also attack various types of rubber used for fuel pipes, seals and gaskets and also resins used in fibreglass fuel tanks on classic motor cycles, boats and the iconic, locally manufactured Peel micro-car.

Fibreglass tanks are very vulnerable to damage and can literally turn to jelly.

The federation has been set up to safeguard and promote the future of historic motoring in the island. Since its inception some months ago, local historic car and bike clubs have signed-up. Between them they represent more than 1,000 members who collectively own almost 2,000 vehicles.

Chairman Norman Roper said: ‘The Isle of Man has a unique motoring heritage and it is our aim to help preserve it and promote our interest to future generations. There are many potential threats at the moment that could undermine the future of vintage motoring. We intend to make sure our voice is heard.’ Anyone interested in the Federation can get details at www.fmhvc.org

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