Update May 2024

Chap 2 Page 7 Vehicles

Adds the definition of the two types of Historic Vehicles which attract either or both MoT and/or Vehicle Excise exemptions.


Historic Vehicles

MoT testing exemption - vehicles 1st registered more than 40 years ago providing no substantial changes have been made to the vehicle in the last 30 years.(including vehicles previously exempted on the basis of being 1st registered before 1960). Different rules apply to large vehicles.

Vehicle tax exemptions - vehicles constructed more than 40 years ago before 1st January each year or if that date is unknown, vehicles 1st registered 40 years before 8th January each year are exempt vehicle tax from 1st April of that year.

Chap 21 Page 5 Registration Plates

Inserts additional information concerning the fitting of old style (vintage) black and silver/white plates.

The original requirement was that these plates could only be fitted on vehicles 1st REGISTERED before 1st January 1973.

Upon the introduction of the term 'Historic Vehicles' which provided exemptions from the requirement to pay vehicle excise duty the DVLA issued advice to the public that vehicles which met the definition could display vintage number plates.

The definition of Historic Vehicles however applies to vehicles which exceeded 40 years of age which of course brought more and more vehicles 1st registered AFTER 1st January 1973 each year within the definition.

The Road Vehicles (Display of Registration Marks) Regulations 2001 was not amended to allow for this and the date to permit the fitting of vintage plates remained fixed as vehicles 1st registered before 1st January 1973.

The regulations were eventually amended in 2021 to permit vehicles :-

  • which meet the criteria of Historic Vehicle in relation the vehicle excise duty exemption to use these black and white/silver 'vintage' plates providing they were CONSTRUCTED before 1st January 1980, or
  • if they did not meet that definition, they were CONSTRUCTED before 1st January 1973.

When looking at Schedule 2 to the Regulation which details the plate requirements this change is not apparent - reference to the amendment can instead be found at Regulation 18.


Sch2 Part A1 Vehicles registered and replacement registration plates fitted (except to historic vehicles) on or after 01/09/2021 made of retroreflecting material, complies with BS AU 145e.

Sch2 Part 1 Vehicles registered on or after 01/09/2001 and before 01/09/2021 made of retroreflecting material, complies with BS AU 145d.

Sch2 Part 2 Vehicles registered on or after 01/01/1973 and before 01/09/2001 made of reflex-reflecting material, complies with BS AU 145a or comply with Parts 1 or A1 above.

Sch2 Part 3 Vehicles constructed before 01/01/1973 (or constructed before 01/01/1980 if classed as an historic vehicle for vehicle tax purposes*) black and white/silver plates or comply with any of the above parts. * See Chapter 2 Page 7.

Index Pages vi and xvi

Amended to include reference to Historic Vehicles at Chapter 2 Page 7.


Historic Vehicles, 2-7

in the appropriate places