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DVLA and Change of Body Style
Or find a chassis already registered on a V5C as a 'Tourer'. (I have such a registered SWB rolling chassis here BTW).
Thank you for the really detailed reply, Hedd. 

Regards, Jamie.
I had heard that a certain builder of SS100 replicas had some unhappy customers due to the DVLA withdrawing V5's and issuing Q plates as the cars did not have original chassis but new fabricated ones. i.e. a kit car in their eyes. Of course could just be a story doing the rounds.
As far as the service level provided by the DVLA goes I recently applied for a first registration having no idea of my chassis original reg number, and was issued with a age related number/V5 within 6 weeks of application. All supporting documents I sent in were returned with the V5. 

Paul N-M
I've had nothing but good service from the DVLA recently. All in Lockdown

Recovered V5C's for a couple of vehicles that were on the system, but they came to me with no paperwork. Both returned as applied for, no hassle.

Various vehicles bought and sold, the on line tool for recording change of keeper is top bannana. 

Success on a V765 Application via PWA7C Authentication for my Cup. Returned in 6 weeks, No hassle.

And when I forgot to tax my Traction engine, they didn't fine me!. It is of course exempt from duty.
Your rules there in the UK sound similar to the ones here in NZ where it seems like it is getting harder and harder to get things through. Although there it seems like people attach far more importance to what the paperwork says? Here I am struggling to see if I can even get paperwork for my special. I started it just over 10 years ago and in that time things have changed multiple times it seems.

Part of the problem seems to be no one actually knows what the rules are. It seems a bit like those old choose your own adventure books where you have to make the right choices to navigate through to a happy ending. For modern cars or imports it's all fairly well laid out and clear. There is also good support for people constructing cars like modern sports cars or hot rods.

Pre-war type cars though it is all very murky. The VCC here has some documents that can help. A statement of authenticity and a document you can sign and have witnessed saying you have no paper work for the car. Than it seems like you have to go to LTNZ (our DVLA) and apply to them for them to decide on a case by case basis if they will even allow the car to be entered into the system. You need to do this before the inspection place will even look at your car. The form is a CA03 (

I had never heard of it before until the VIN place told me I needed to do that first. They sent me a copy of what I needed to fill in. Obviously an ancient copy since the instructions told you to send them a check for the processing fee ($184 NZ per hour and they don't say how many hours it takes!) when banks have now done away with cheques. I found the newer version on the LTNZ site. Interestingly if you search for it you only find the link to the document, I can't find anywhere that mentions when you need that document at all. So unless you know it is there you will never find it.

Talking to the VIN places gives varied results. Some seem to know the rules and others not. Ringing the low volume certifiers also varies as apparently they specialise in different types of vehicles. Some are into race cars, most into Hot Rods. The low volume constructors manual (now free online instead of the $200 they used to charge) is good if you are building a car from scratch like a hot rod or race car but not a lot of use for pre war stuff. If you try to take a pre war car through that process they will insist on all sorts of things that are hard to meet: Collapsible steering (although a drag link might count there), burst proof door locks, seat belts, lamps with standards numbers and so on.

The problem is in the wording which is typically something like: "...other than one built or modified before January 1992...". How they apply that seems to vary. If you have an existing vintage car you bolt a blower to that needs low volume certing then the lights are exempt, they just cert the blower. If you are building a vintage special from parts they treat it as a scratch built and will want to cert the whole car so all the modern requirements kick in. So you can't use original lights, or original door locks. And it really comes down to the person doing the cert. The last one I spoke to is a hot rod specialist and he was complaining that the 'vintage car people' were the ones doing dodgy things making the rules tougher for the hot rodders!

It's all a bit of mine field really. And getting harder all the time. Best bet seems to be buy a car already registered and rebody it. LTNZ have no interest in pre-war cars it seems. The low volume people are all about hot rods and modern race cars. The VCC is somewhat helpful but really the whole process isn't as clear as it could be.

I suspect the number of us doing things like this now is so low no one cares anymore. Be interesting to know how many vintage specials are being built these days. Can't be more than a few a year? So low when you talk to people who have done it before it was usually so long ago the rules have changed or the person or place they used is retired, gone or dead! Unfortunately in NZ we don't really have the same vintage car industry you have in the UK. Even finding a testing station who know enough about old cars is getting hard these days. Take it to the wrong place and they'll fail you since their only knowledge is moderns.

I figure by the time my Riley is done the rules will be all different again. Rather than compromise on the build I am making it as period correct as possible. If that means by the time it's done it can never be road legal then so be it, it can be a race car trailered to places.

I am talking to one of the experts in the VCC who is helping me make sure I am doing things the proper way to get my Austin 7 special registered and have all the right papers and so on in place so hopefully that will help and I can get it legally on the road soon. Hopefully I can post it up as a road legal car in the 'What have you done with your Austin 7' thread soon!

Over here the rules are pretty well defined and published, and accessible via the web.

The difficulty is when advice is sought on forums like this, advice offered is often out of date, or plain wrong. Which compounds the problem when the original poster has often not researched the problem via the proper channels and has not read the easily found information.

Over here the DVLA rules have generally remained fairly stable for some time, but there are always nuances and interpretation changes which are pretty fluid sadly. The dubious business of making high end ''vintage'' (sic) cars on newly manufactured chassis buggered the whole job up for everyone when the DVLA finally cottoned on and this is the root cause of many of the fairly recent problems over here.

On another note, and in line with some advice I have given earlier in the thread, I note that there is a bloody awful, though complete Austin 7 2 seat special body currently on the bay of E. Its awfulness I am sure will be reflected in a low sale price. I note that it is in Bromsgrove (its not mine BTW)

If I were hoping of building a special on any sort of chassis that required the body type amending. This would provide a cheap slave body that could be quickly and cheaply mounted on the chassis to mock up a special so as to apply for a body change or perhaps a V765 number recovery (e.g substantially complete). Doing it now means that you can get the paperwork in your hand, before you spend a fortune making your dream car to find you loose the original registration or worse, find that it cannot be registered.
One issue here is that Waka Kotahi (LTNZ) who do all the VINing stuff got slammed in a government report a few years ago for being too lax on things. So the pendulum has now swung too far the other way it seems. I know all the truck certifiers were up in arms a few months ago. When building a car or modifying one it gets very tricky since you end up needing to go the LVVTA route. The Low Volume certification. There are about 40 certifiers in the country and the idea is you go to them and they help you with your build using a comprehensive manual that sets out the rules.

That manual is actually very good BUT is it all written around hot rods or modern cars. If you read it fully, and I have, there is very little mention of vintage/pre-war at all. Lots of exemptions though based on year. So single cable or rod brakes are allowed if the car was originally built before 1952 and you use all original components. That's specifically mentioned. Otherwise you have to have dual circuit brakes.

But it's all the things that don't have exemptions that will bite you depending on how the guy doing the inspection sees it. For example seats. If it is an original body you are fine if the seat and mounts are all original. But what happens with a new body like a special? If they decide the handbook rules apply then you can't bolt the seat to a wooden floor. You have to use 7/16th or 8mm bolts (my 70s MGB only uses 1/4 bolts). There are all sorts of little things like that all the way through that can bite you.

If they deem the car scratch built then you're totally screwed. You have to incorporate all the rules since the date exemptions won't apply. You end up with a modern hot rod. So has to have dual circuit brakes, non burst door locks, collapsible steering, proper seatbelts, modern lights with standards numbers, etc, etc. They do offer lists of accepted suppliers for these things though, mostly hot rod parts suppliers funnily enough. There might be ways around this. You can submit ideas to them (for a fee) to get pre approval. I don't know exactly how that works thought in terms of knowing which rules they apply when they actually certify the car.

This LVVTA certification happens before you go to the normal testing place too to get the actual VIN inspection done. The idea seems to be though with the LVV cert done that second step should be easier. Before you do any of this you have to actually have a VIN so you apply to Waka Kotahi for that first. If the car has no existing paperwork you need to apply to get the new VIN. That's where the papers from the VCC are meant to help I think.

You're right Hedd that comments on forums usually don't help as everyone's situation is different and as you say, often out of date. One of the issues here is even the people who are supposed to know, Waka Kotahi (LTNZ), VINing places, certifiers, VCC and so on, don't seem to know! There is a forum for the LVVTA side of things, not much talk about vintage cars there either unfortunately. But I did find this post from a few years ago where someone asks about the process and even the LVVTA people are saying it's hard to know!

If the whole process hinges around finding the 'right' person to talk to it's all broken.

The best way in NZ is to find a car already registered and in the system, especially if it is already registered as a 'special'. I think you could do whatever you like with that within reason and no one knows or cares.

That is certainly an interesting looking body on eBay.

At a slight tangent to the original question: how are Opals and Pearls described on the logbook? Saloons or tourers?



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