My 1964 Mini Cooper is now exempt from the formality of this yearly inconvenience, yet I chose to subject the little fella to the inspector’s prod. If the majority of old-car owners had been asked about an exemption, I think they would have said: “Nah, stick with the current system.” Safety should never be an option – it ought to be compulsory. So I’m sticking with the old system. The garage owner is too. He’s got loads of interesting bits of kit but pointed at his V8 Ford Pop, straight out of 1977 via the 1954 original. He reckons the plod will pull him over and rightly say it needs an MOT for being modded.
I doubt that many people will go and buy 40 year old cars so they can save £50 a year. In my experience, they need thousands of pounds worth of rebuild work anyway. I won’t go on about the stupidity of all this when we can take a brief look at classics that can do a job – and, no, it won’t include a Series Land Rover.
I tripped across a 1973 Jensen-Healey (below). These usually broke down because of the Lotus engine, then rusted away. I like to think that this one is sorted. It has a current MOT and is just £9450 (or make an offer). If you are after more doors, you could buy a Humber Sceptre (above) – one of those badge-engineered 1971 examples with a year’s MOT and no discernible rust – for £3000. You don’t see many of these – posher than a Ford Cortina 1600E with a 1725cc engine and Rostyle wheels. Something for the old folks like me, then.
So there you have it. Buy an old car because it is different and you like it, not because you get a free pass on the MOT.
Tales from Ruppert’s garage:
Mini Cooper - mileage, 102,171: On the MOT theme of this week’s column, here is the Mini Cooper, which has passed all of its post-rebuild MOTs since 2013 with barely any trouble at all.
Wish I could say I do a load of preparation, but really I don’t. I look at the lights, because those are the easy ones, and I know it isn’t seriously rusty, which is what used to condemn most Minis to a shake of an MOT inspector’s head.
I will, however, do a minor service later in the year – oil, filters and grease some nipples – just for the hell of it.
Lexus IS300 SportCross: John Crawte has been brave and seems to have bought extremely well: “I found the Lexus on an auction site as ‘spares or repair’. It had no MOT, had suffered light frontal damage but the bumper had been replaced.
“I paid £525. It just needed a Xenon headlight (£80) and went through its MOT with only advisories on the rear tyres. Mileage is 160,000, which is nothing for a big, smooth straight six that is fully loaded with air-con, cruise, heated leather seats and sat-nav (all working). Can’t imagine parting with it for some time.”