When the Department of Transport announced changes to the MOT in May 2018, many classic car owners were overjoyed with the news that any car over 40 years old would be exempt from the MOT.
Before the changes only cars built before 1960 were exempt, leaving drivers of classic cars built after that date fearing the potential cost of keeping their cherished car on the road.
This relaxing of the rules also means that nearly 300,000 more cars no longer need to pass the MOT, including some true icons of the road.
If your car doesn’t qualify for an exemption, there are lots of MOT test centres to choose from, but if you own one of these iconic cars it no longer has to pass the MOT.
A car famed for its rallying exploits, the Triumph Stag was in production between 1970 and 1977. Styled by Italian designer Giovanni Michelotti and seen as a luxury 2+2 sports car, the Stag was built to compete directly with the Mercedes SL.
Accordingly to the DVLA, there were over 8,200 Stags registered in the UK at the end of 2018.
Austin Healey 3000
The Austin Healey 3000 was in production between 1959 and 1967, changing from being an open sports car to a sports convertible.
It has a long history of competitive racing, appearing at many major circuits including Le Mans and Sebring. The 3000 rallied until 1965, curtailed by the success of the Mini Cooper S.
The epitome of a classic British sports car, the MGB was first introduced by the British Motoring Corporation in 1963 and continued to be in production in various guises until 1980.
A specially tuned MGB won the Grand Touring category in the 1965 Monte Carlo Rally as well as seeing victories at Brands Hatch in the Guards 1000 race in 1965 and at the Nürburgring in 1966 in the Marathon de la Route 84-hour race.
There are still some 18,000 MGBs registered in the UK and there’s been a steady increase in the number of those cars on the road, rather than being declared SORN.
Often referred to as the poor man’s Aston Martin, the Jensen Interceptor is an icon in its own right. Immediately recognisable due to its distinctive shooting brake shape, the Interceptor was designed by Carrozzeria Touring in Italy with the early bodies being built by Vignale.
In 1967, Jensen fitted the Interceptor-based Jensen FF with a four-wheel drive system, making it one of the first production cars to come equipped with four-wheel drive.
Sadly there are fewer than 800 Interceptors left today, making them both highly collectible and expensive to buy should you want to own one of these iconic cars.
Ford Capri MK1 & MK2
Designed by the same man who was involved in the design of the timeless Ford Mustang, the Ford Capri was intended to be the European equivalent.
Later Capris from the 1980s are starting to become very popular on the market, but MKI and MKII models from the late 60s and 70s are now exempt from the MOT.
The fact that there are three times as many Capris declared SORN than on the roads makes them even more collectible and a true cult icon.
Aston Martin DB5
Arguably the most iconic car on this list due to its continued impact on popular culture, the Aston Martin DB5 is quite possibly the most famous car in the world through its appearance in the James Bond film Goldfinger.
Subsequent appearances in films such as The Cannonball Run, Cars 2 and Catch Me If You Can, TV shows like The Man from U.N.C.L.E. and video games such as Grand Theft Auto and Need for Speed have cemented the DB5 as one of the most iconic cars ever made.
Interestingly, the first DB5 prototype used in Goldfinger was stripped of all the gadgetry and sold to a private buyer. It was that version that was driven by Roger Moore in The Cannonball Run. It was stolen in 1997 and is still missing.
There are fewer than 400 DB5s left and all are now exempt from the MOT.
Ford Escort MK1
If you’re looking for a classic car that dominated both commercially and on the track, the Ford Escort MKI is hard to beat.
Introduced in 1967, the Escort was a huge commercial success with over two million produced in just six years, making it the most popular Ford model ever outside the US.
The Ford works team was virtually unbeatable during the late 1960s and early 70s with their greatest victory being in the 1970 London to Mexico World Cup Rally in a MKI Escort driven by the legendary Hannu Mikkola.
Another British cultural icon, the Mini first went into production in 1959 and quickly became hugely popular thanks to its clever layout which allowed 80% of the car’s floor to be used for passengers and their luggage.
Designed by Sir Alec Issigonis, who also designed the Morris Minor and Austin Maxi, the Mini was voted the second-most influential car of the 20th century behind the Ford Model T.
The Mini has one of the most successful racing records of any car, winning three Monte Carlo Rallies, five British Saloon Car Championships, two European Touring Car Championships and over 30 international rallies.
MKI, MKII, MKIII and some MKIV Minis will now be exempt from the MOT.
A predecessor of the 3 Series that has been so acclaimed over the years, the BMW 2002 was a 2.0-litre sports saloon that paved the way for the 2002 Turbo, which became the first turbocharged car that BMW put into production.
The 2002 was raced in competition but didn’t really enjoy much success, other than winning the Nürburgring 24 Hours race in 1970.
The 2002 Turbo is extremely rare now and highly collectible, with only 19 registered in the UK at the end of 2018. If you want to own one, expect to pay at least £80,000 for a good example.
Let’s face it, the VW Golf is a legend. Originally introduced in 1974, the Golf set the standard for small family cars. The successor to another iconic car, the VW Beetle, the first generation Golf was designed by the legendary Giorgetto Giugiaro, named Car Designer of the Century in 1999 and inducted into the Automotive Hall of Fame in 2002.
The original VW Golf can now be driven without an MOT. The MKI Golf GTI will follow suit this year, as it was originally introduced in the UK in 1979.
Think of Mercedes and you immediately think of strength and reliability and the W123 is the personification of this. If you’ve been on holiday to any developing country, you’ve probably taken a taxi ride in a Mercedes W123.
Despite the fact that some are 40 years old, they’re still incredibly reliable, making them an excellent choice if you’re looking for a used classic car. What’s more, earlier models now need no MOT.
Having originally been in production since 1957, some of the original Nuova 500 cars were already exempt from the MOT. However, following the updated rules, all of the original Fiat 500s can now be driven without the need for a valid MOT.
One of the most popular and iconic cars of all time, it helped to mobilise Italy after the Second World War and became the template for every small car that Fiat built.
Ford Fiesta MK1
Speaking of iconic cars, the Ford Fiesta has been a common sight on UK roads since its introduction in 1976 with the MKI. The third best-selling Ford of all time behind the Escort and F-Series, the Fiesta has become the benchmark for small, family hatchbacks.
Introduced as a result of the 1973 oil crisis that saw an increased demand for smaller cars, the Fiesta was the smallest car that Ford had made at that time and its competitors included the Fiat 127, Renault 5, VW Polo and Vauxhall Chevette.
Hailed as Ford’s first globally-successful front-wheel drive car, Ford had produced its one millionth Fiesta by 1979. Each of these million cars is now exempt from the MOT!