Matters of moment, January 1989

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Disturbing!

The Federation of Historic Vehicle Clubs is watching carefully the EEC regulations which threaten to seriously restrict the use of old cars here by 1992, for, as Lord Montagu of Beaulieu says, “the price of freedom is eternal vigilance”. However, it seems there is another gremlin disturbing to old-car owners.

A club magazine reports that one of its members was stopped, while driving a 1950s classic car of renowned make, by a motorcycle policeman and told to drive it to a Nottingham Police Garage. The story says that here eleven policeman (and a photographer) spent four hours examining the car, finding brakes, steering and screenwiper blades satisfactory; apparently they could not tell leaf-springs from torsion-bars and confused petrol-pipes with brake lines….

They then demanded that the car be taken by transporter to the garage which had serviced it, and next day told this garage that it was not to issue another MoT certificate until the car had been brought on a transporter to the Police Garage. If found satisfactory it would be removed by the same means, and a certificate issued.

We do not know why the car was stopped in the first place, but seeing the name of the driver we doubt if it was for careless driving or a scruffy car. Anyway, this seems an over-strict interpretation of the normal rule that if a car fails its MoT test it can be driven home, as it was driven to the testing station. But it appears the police can adopt the above procedure under Section 53 (1) of the Road Traffic Act, 1972.

What with this, and the forthcoming EEC regulations, which if they do become valid here will drastically reduce the investmentvalue of historic cars and diminish considerably the fun of owning them, we are beginning to wonder whether a brand new car isn’t the better bet — think of the ready source of spares for it at declared prices, available tyres, understanding insurance-brokers and, if you drive circumspectly and have a modicum of luck, maybe no expensive police-checks!