FURTHER to our comments under this heading in the June issue, the DVLC at Swansea has informed us that since the closure of the Local Authority Motor Taxation Offices (LTOs) in March 1978, all registration records are now held centrally by the DVLC. So far, so good. The flaw is that not all records held previously by LTOs were put on this central record, those applying to vehicles which had remained unlicensed for more than a year being destroyed, even when no notification that a vehicle had been scrapped had been made to the taxation authorities. Indeed, it seems that all the older “conventional” vehicle registration documents and licensing records maintained formerly by LTOs have been destroyed by the DVLC, it says with the agreement of the Home Office and the Association of Police Officers. So much for history, which is fortunately seen as important by other Government Departments. . . .
When we asked the DVLC for enlightenment over the make (not the owner) of a racing-car licensed in the 1920s, and pretty obviously scrapped many years ago, a fee of £2 was charged (the old LTO search-fee was 1/- (5p), and when we queried this charge for nil-information, we were told that it was regarded by the DVLC as “a contribution towards the cost involved in making a search of the vehicle register.” One wishes one could earn two quid for thumbing through a card-index, which is presumably how the scrapped registrations are identified — or should be!
We are now trying again, as bona-fide historians (we assume?) in respect of a racing-car still very much in existence and the ownership of which we can quote, but the interim ownership of which is of interest to us. As the car has been licensed since 1976, presumably its licensing records must exist at Swansea and we are waiting with interest Inter if it will be released to us, for research purposes: we are quite willing to pay another two quid for it — W.B. [As we close for press, we can state that the DVLC have refused to disclose this information. Ed.]