ONCE upon a time the vehicle log-book was an important document. We were instructed to keep it in a safe place and not to buy a vehicle unless it was available. Later we were informed that possession of the log-book was not. necessarily proof of vehicle ownership. The task of diminishing the importance of this piece of paper-work had begun. Now the Department of the Environment has stated that from 1974 the present form of log-book will be replaced by one which will list only the current owner and not the history of the vehicle as has been the case for countless decades. This is in line with the inability of the bureaucratic mind to resist change for the sake of change, a line of thought which has given us plastic Bank pass-books, plastic driving licences, Giros and catch-names for age-old services, etc.
When Swansea takes over, centralised microfilm will replace hand-written log-book entries and consequently the listing of previous owners will be dropped. This will have repercussions for those buying used cars from dealers and it will also make the pleasant pursuit of tracing the history of a pre-war car very difficult, which it had become with some Councils even before this latest development, if the log-book had at some time been surrendered. The owner or rebuilder of an old car may wish simply to trace its history, famous and titled owners, etc., or he or she may want to contact previous owners in the hope of gleaning useful information. discarded spares, etc. The date of original registration also appears in the log-book and is of obvious use. From early next year, although Swansea centre says information will still be available to people who have a reasonable cause to be given it, we can take it that the opportunity of learning who first registered a car or motel cycle and who were its subsequent owners will virtually be denied us. No doubt the FIVCJC will watch this development. But we regard it as a forlorn hope. This is one more nail in the coffin of enjoyable old-car ownership. Presumably when the new simplified system is instituted it will no longer be compulsory to notify, at our expense in postage, changes of vehicle ownership to the appropriate Council? Which is small consolation for the burying of interesting and important records.