DVLA and Modified Cars - Printable Version

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DVLA and Modified Cars - Jamie - 21-06-2018

Good evening.

I have recently bought a rolling Ruby chassis with V5C, but no body shell, engine or gearbox.

The V5C describes it as an Austin saloon with a 790cc engine, first registered in July 1935. There is no mention of the model of the car or the number of seats.

Leaving aside any considerations about originality and the pros and cons of rebuilding it as an original car, my current thoughts for it are:
        Fit a Reliant engine.
        Buildi a Rubyesque two seater
        Possibly move the seats rearwards in the car and construct a longer bonnet and smaller cab
        Style it more like a Lombard coupe
        Fit a removable hard-top roof.

I shall be retaining the original, unaltered chassis, axles, brakes, suspension, steering, seats and some of the original body pieces which come with it eg grille and windscreen.

How would this affect things like MOT exemption and are there any other DVLA related matters that I should consider first, apart from notifying them of the change of engine? I have been reading the DVLA guidelines and seem to be getting myself bogged down in a morass of vague definitions.



RE: DVLA and Modified Cars - Hedd Jones - 22-06-2018


In my mind fitting an engine from a different marque of car, built decades after the chassis straight away means a substantial mod and I would rather hope the MOT exemption would not apply.

RE: DVLA and Modified Cars - fatcatvera - 22-06-2018

Was it a common thing to fit reliant engines to A7 vehicles more than 30 years ago, if so you're fine regarding the engine swap, however it's up to you if you declare MOT required or not. tbh if it was me I would build the car your suggesting on the basis that as far as I'm concerned I'm repairing the car back to the condition it was originally in more than 30 years ago.....though I'm sure this may be seen as controversial!

RE: DVLA and Modified Cars - Stuart Giles - 22-06-2018

If you rebuild the car as something other than a saloon, you will need to go through the DVLA process to get the V5C changed to a two seat sports/whatever. The "rebody" process involves providing photos of the car (or rolling chassis in your case) before -with registration plate visible- and after, with the new body and with registration plate visible. No vehicle inspection should be required.

Unfortunately, a lot of DVLA people aren't too aware of there own (mostly unwritten) rules, but if you can get to speak to someone in their K & R dept. you should be able to get some guidance on this.

RE: DVLA and Modified Cars - Jamie - 22-06-2018


Thanks for your reply. May I ask what the k&r department is at DVLA? I should be quite keen to speak to them as I do not wish to deliberately flout the rules.



RE: DVLA and Modified Cars - Stuart Giles - 22-06-2018

K & R =DVLA Kit & Rebuild section. They tend to start from the premise that the car will need a BIVA inspection. But, if it is only a rebody on an unmodified chassis, only photos should be required, they will also want you to fill in a form 627/1 -this is the generic built up vehicle report form where you state where all the major components of the car come from -obviously, the answer to most questions will be "factory original fitment" for suspension, steering etc. in your case. A Reliant engine & gearbox shouldn't be an issue here.

RE: DVLA and Modified Cars - Geoff101 - 22-06-2018

If you do speak to the DVLA, please could you keep us updated as I am about to collect an abandoned saloon (RP I think) which I have to made a decision about how to restore. I need to start a thread on that...

RE: DVLA and Modified Cars - PaulS - 22-06-2018

Generally if you already have a V5 you should be ok. You can change the engine number and the body on the V5 and still retain it (I wouldn't recommend doing both at the same time).
For people who have no V5 you want your car to be classified as a "reconstructed classic", this means a full vehicle inspection (for an Motorcycle Single Vehicle Approval, MVSA) is NOT required. If you have a mix of modern parts then you would get a Q plate and need an inspection a you have effectively created a new model of car.
You can phone the DVLA and ask them, they may need photos and a letter from the Austin Seven club confirming: chassis, engine, gearbox, axles, suspension and steering are original from a given year. They will then allocate you a new VIN number which you will need to stamp on your car and have a local garage confirm this in writing. You will need to complete form V55/5 which effectively is all the detail that will go on the V5, you need to fill in every weight and dimension.
Pay them £55 and they will allocate an age related plate and your car will be classed as an Historic vehicle 19xx whatever year you give them. The car will be first registered the year you do all of the above.
I am going through this process now. Once you have spoken to DVLA and they class your car as a reconstructed classic they will send a letter with all the detail above and more.

I wasn't expecting to write that much!

RE: DVLA and Modified Cars - Jamie - 23-06-2018

Thank you for the guidance and suggestions. I rang DVLA, as suggested, and spoke to someone in the modified cars department. I have to admit that it was so much easier to get through than ever I had imagined.

I spoke to a very friendly, helpful person and explained that I wish to build a new shell onto an unmodified Austin 7 chassis, retaining the steering, brakes, suspension and axles. I explained that I wished to change the engine to a more modern, larger capacity engine and build a hard-topped shell with a longer bonnet and short, stubby cab, retaining two doors and a roof, as per the original design.

They checked, conferred with a colleague and advised that I should take pictures of everything, as good practice, keep a receipts for the engine to show that it is not stolen, change the engine details on the V5C and that is all.

I did not ask about the implications for not needing an MOT test as, to be honest, I would rather get it checked, if for no other reason than having the brakes measured for balance and "efficiency".

Now...... how about a V8, single-seat, three-wheel conversion with an open top......



RE: DVLA and Modified Cars - Chris KC - 23-06-2018

Much useful advice in this thread, of interest to all I think. Thanks to all who have chipped in.