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DVLA reveals just how many classic cars over 40 years of age are still on the road today


  • There’s almost 340,000 ‘classic’ cars still under ownership in Britain right now
  • Of these, one in eight are declared off the road by their registered keepers
  • Cars of this vintage qualify for a variety of exemptions due to their tender ages

How many classic cars have survived the test of time? Official figures now reveal that answer.

Almost 340,000 vehicles over 40 years of age are still owned by registered keepers, according to data held by the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency – but not all of them are technically still on the road.

Of these, around one in eight are declared off the road by keepers.

How many classic cars are still is existence in Britain today? Almost 340k, according to the latest DVLA figures

How many classic cars are still is existence in Britain today? Almost 340k, according to the latest DVLA figures

The volume of classic cars still in ownership in the UK has been uncovered by LeaseLoco.

Responding to a Freedom of Information request from the leasing comparison site, DLVA records (correct to 15 December 2023) show that 338,697 classic cars are still retained by motorists in Britain.

Of these, 12 per cent are not actually being driven on the road by their owners.

To the date the FOI was lodged, some 41,217 classic cars have a Statutory Off Road Notification (SORN) declared by the owner, meaning they’re off the road.

Many of these are likely projects, rebuilds or treasured vehicles that aren’t being used by their keeper in a bid to retain – and inflate – their future value. 

While 338,697 classic cars are still retained by motorists in Britain 12% of these aren't technically on the road

While 338,697 classic cars are still retained by motorists in Britain 12% of these aren’t technically on the road

Cars that are 40 years or older qualify for a number of exemptions, including no VED, MOTs or charges for clean air zones, like London's ULEZ.

Cars that are 40 years or older qualify for a number of exemptions, including no VED, MOTs or charges for clean air zones, like London’s ULEZ. 

While there are various different definitions for what makes a ‘classic’ car, the term is best used to describe motors that exceed 40 years and therefore qualify for a number of ‘historic vehicle’ benefits.

Among these is exemption from annual MOTs and Vehicle and Excise Duty.

However, unlike the MOT exemption, avoiding paying road tax doesn’t happen straight after your vehicle reaches its fourth decade. 

Instead, you have to wait for the first day of April, and then as long as your car was registered 40 years before the first of January you can apply for road tax exemption from thereafter.

As for MOTs, the exemption is due to a general understanding that classic cars are retained by enthusiasts who either carry out maintenance on their vehicles or pay specialists to do so.

Given the affection they have for their cars and the upkeep required to ensure they remain drivable, the DVLA believes this is enough to warrant not putting them through the annual road worthiness check-up.

Cars over 40 years are – importantly – also exempt from emission zone charges, such as the capital’s ULEZ, Birmingham’s Clean Air Zone and the Scottish Low Emission Zone, which is already in place in Glasgow and due to begin charging drivers of older vehicles within weeks in Aberdeen, Dundee and Edinburgh. 

There are reportedly 15,492 MG B Roadsters retained by owners in Britain, and a further 12,829 MG B GT coupes, according to data supplied by the DVLA

There are reportedly 15,492 MG B Roadsters retained by owners in Britain, and a further 12,829 MG B GT coupes, according to data supplied by the DVLA

Among the classic that still on the road today, the DVLA claims there are 28,311 MGBs, 10,393 Morris Minors, 5,575 Rolls Royces and 4,508 Triumph Stags.

John Wilmot, chief executive of LeaseLoco, said: Amid the hustle and bustle of modern roads, nearly 300,000 vehicles considered classics are still running more than 40 years after they were first registered, each a testament to enduring craftsmanship and automotive history.

‘From the timeless allure of MGBs to the nostalgic charm of Morris Minors and the regal presence of Rolls Royces, these classic cars evoke a sense of nostalgia and admiration. 

‘They continue to capture the imagination and enrich our motoring landscape, preserving the legacy of bygone eras for generations to come.’





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