EUROPE SAYS OLD CARS ARE ‘NOT HIS­TORIC’

But the Brits, rep­re­sented by the FBHVC, dis­agree and want FIVA to with­draw its state­ment and re­con­sider…

Classic Car Weekly (UK) - - Front Page - Richard Gunn

The Fédéra­tion In­ter­na­tionale des Véhicules An­ciens (FIVA, the um­brella or­gan­i­sa­tion of his­toric ve­hi­cle clubs) has de­fined what it re­gards as ‘his­toric’. Pres­i­dent Pa­trick Rollett says ‘his­toric ve­hi­cles’ should be... ‘road ve­hi­cles at least 30 years old, main­tained in a his­tor­i­cally cor­rect con­di­tion and not used as a means of daily trans­port...’

The Fed­er­a­tion of Bri­tish His­toric Ve­hi­cles Clubs (FBHVC) has asked FIVA to with­draw the state­ment and to con­sult with mem­bers on the is­sue. Re­ac­tion from the clas­sic car clubs has also been mixed. FIVA is a hugely im­por­tant political lob­by­ing voice in Europe, so this is an im­por­tant de­vel­op­ment.

The Euro­pean body look­ing af­ter the rights of clas­sic car en­thu­si­asts be­lieves many cars – even those over 30 – don’t meet its cri­te­ria as ‘his­toric ve­hi­cles’.

The Fédéra­tion In­ter­na­tionale des

Véhicules An­ciens (FIVA – the Euro­pean um­brella or­gan­i­sa­tion of his­toric ve­hi­cle clubs) has de­fined what it re­gards as an ‘his­toric’ ve­hi­cle. But the nar­row pa­ram­e­ters may ex­clude many ac­cepted clas­sics, deem­ing them just ‘old’ rather than ‘his­toric’ – the lat­ter giv­ing them rights to lower or zero tax­a­tion.

As FIVA lob­bies EU politi­cians to in­tro­duce ex­emp­tions from low emis­sions zones (LEZs), its pres­i­dent Pa­trick Rollett has iden­ti­fied ‘his­toric ve­hi­cles’ as: ‘A me­chan­i­cally-pro­pelled road ve­hi­cle at least 30 years old, pre­served and main­tained in a his­tor­i­cally cor­rect con­di­tion and not used as a means of daily trans­port. Th­ese ve­hi­cles are part of our tech­ni­cal and cul­tural her­itage and should not be lumped to­gether with old, badly main­tained cars that are used as cheap, ev­ery­day trans­port when con­sid­er­ing the prob­lem of ur­ban air pol­lu­tion.’

This state­ment is im­por­tant be­cause if gov­ern­ments and other of­fi­cial and le­gal bod­ies ac­cept what a his­toric ve­hi­cle is for one sit­u­a­tion, it could lead to this be­com­ing the ac­cepted def­i­ni­tion across the board. Thus, noth­ing built af­ter 1986 would cur­rently be re­garded as his­toric. This would split the pro­duc­tion life of some clas­sics, such as the Saab 900 or first gen­er­a­tion Range Rover for ex­am­ple, in

two, de­spite there be­ing few ma­jor dif­fer­ences be­tween pre- and post-cut­off cars. In ad­di­tion, any­body who has mod­i­fied their car could find its his­toric sta­tus de­nied, how­ever old it is, be­cause it’s no longer in ‘cor­rect con­di­tion.’

And us­ing a ve­hi­cle ev­ery­day could also deny it be­ing re­garded as his­toric. Many en­thu­si­asts have pre-1986 clas­sics that have been mod­i­fied to make them more suit­able for reg­u­lar 21st cen­tury driv­ing. Are they to be pe­nalised for safe­ty­con­scious up­grades to their sus­pen­sion and brakes so that the cars can be used and seen more fre­quently (iron­i­cally en­sur­ing more wide­spread ex­po­sure for ‘tech­ni­cal and cul­tural her­itage’)?

FIVA has yet to re­veal how it will closely de­mar­cate and po­lice this def­i­ni­tion, and whether ‘daily trans­port’ might mean pre­cisely that. How­ever, it does seem that the cut-off date of 1986 may have been in­flu­enced by many LEZs tar­get­ing diesel ve­hi­cles, with FIVA stat­ing that, in its view, ‘very few his­toric ve­hi­cles have diesel en­gines’.

The Board of the Fed­er­a­tion of Bri­tish His­toric Ve­hi­cle Clubs has stepped in to calm mem­bers and clas­sics en­thu­si­asts. Ge­off Lan­caster, com­mu­ni­ca­tions di­rec­tor of the fed­er­a­tion said: ‘Th­ese are con­cepts for use in FIVA’s ac­tiv­i­ties and not in­tended to be in­cor­po­rated into Euro­pean Union or any other law. The FBHVC has re­quested FIVA with­draw its press re­lease to give FIVA ex­ec­u­tive time to con­sider their po­si­tion on LEZs in the ap­pro­pri­ate man­ner and with due con­sul­ta­tion with the na­tional fed­er­a­tions.’

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