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Modified classics under fire in UK

Modified classics under fire in UK
Substantial changes by the Department for Transport mean that more classic cars are freed from MoT and road tax in the near future. That’s the good news. The bad news is that another group of classics may become impossible to be driven legally anymore.

What’s the story? From May 20 next year classic cars of 40 years and older will be exempt for the annual MoT and won’t be charged for road tax either. Currently, only vehicles registered before 1960 are MoT exempt so with the new rules the number of roadworthy classics benefitting from no MoT and no road tax will be more than doubled. But that’s not all the DVLA have envisaged.

These rules are applied to completely standard cars as the new legislation also states that vehicles that have been ‘substantially changed’ still are subject to an annual test. The question now is what ‘substantially changed’ exactly means. It is believed that an ‘eight point rule’ on what is original and what not will be made up. One of the themes included in this is the car’s power to weight ratio. A ratio of more than 15% in excess of the car’s original design won’t be allowed, ‘unless’ (there’s always an exception…) ‘such a modification took place before 1988’.

That exception should safeguard most of the historical stuff, but there is no doubt that there will be many others that may fall out. Classic kit cars, custom cars, hot rods, reconstructed classics and plenty of other conversions may get in serious trouble. Not just MGBs with Rover V8s and Mk2 Jags with BMW engines. How about the ‘official’ reconstructions, resurrections and ‘sanction two’ cars by motor manufacturers? We foresee a legal minefield here.

(Words Jeroen Booij, picture Jaguar PR)

Tuesday, 19 September 2017

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Ferrari at 70 - the official celebration

Ferrari at 70 - the official celebration
To be invited to the celebrations for Ferrari’s 70th anniversary in Maranello was one thing, but then to be invited to be a member of the Jury of the Concorso d’Eleganza was something else. As we all know, Enzo Ferrari (1898 – 1988) was the man who gave his name to the production of some of the world’s fastest and most beautiful sports and racing cars ever built. The leading Italian coachbuilders, Carrozeria Touring, Pininfarina, Vignale and Ghia competed to make ever more desirable bodies for these amazing Ferrari chassis. Ferrari’s history is imbued with legendary automobiles of style and performance. It was fitting then that to celebrate the 70th anniversary of the marque established by Il Commendatore, that the automotive world gathered together in Italy to pay tribute to these magnificent masterpieces of engineering.

(Words and photographs James Nicholls)

Monday, 18 September 2017

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Tough to crack car puzzle #167

Tough to crack car puzzle #167
It’s showtime! And you may well see which show this is, too. Main question is: what’s the car in the foreground? Fact is that it is a bit of a show stopper. The base vehicle used to create this one is something not particularly ordinary to start with. And the man who had a hand in this particular specific isn’t exactly unknown either. So which car is clothed by which designer? We love fun facts, so anything else then make and model, year and engine capacity will be rewarded.

We expect that many of you will know this car, so you’ll have to come up with a good answer in order to win our title of PostWarClassic car connoisseur of the week. Let us know when you’re in for that by writing your answer in the box below. First, please do read our rules before you do so (click 'Read more'). Have a good and safe weekend for now. Be careful with the windy weather and be kind to your beloved ones!

Saturday, 16 September 2017

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Maria Callas and her taste in cars

Maria Callas and her taste of cars
Let’s stand still by the great late soprano Maria Callas, who passed away exactly 40 years ago this very weekend. Born in New York City in 1923 to Greek immigrants, she became the star of opera houses around the world before she even was 30. Her talents did the 19th-century bel canto works that had not been performed for decades revive. She also had a stormy personal life, closely watched and exaggerated by the press. Especially after she divorced her husband for the Greek shipping tycoon Aristotle Onassis. Even more when he left her again for the widowed Jackie Kennedy.

She must have been a car girl, too. The two Mercedes Benz 600 Pullmans, bought by her in 1967 to be used to transport her from opera to opera during her European tours, were sold a couple of years ago. But her love for Monaco was reflected in her taste of cars, too. She reputedly owned a Michelotti designed Fiat Shellette (although proof appears to be thin – we couldn’t find any photograph), which has to be one of the ultimate Riviera cruisers. But it was not the only ‘Jolly’ Fiat she was seen in. We came across pictures of her and Onassis and another fantastic Fiat-based beach car. Clearly Multipla based and probably by Carrozzeria Fissore, but feel free to learn us more about the exact type. Oh, there was this one, too. Said to be a Fiat 600 Spiaggina by Savio-Boano and seen here with Onassis driving, Callas in the back and Winston Churchill no less in the passenger seat. Speaking of celebrity use...

(Words editor, picture Pinterest)

Friday, 15 September 2017

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