Over 340,000 vintage cars still thriving in the UK, DVLA reveals

View from above a classic car

How many vintage cars have endured over time? That answer is now revealed by official figures.

Data from the Driver and Vehicle Licencing Agency shows that about 340,000 cars older than 40 are still registered in the names of their registered keepers, however not all of them are actually driven.

Of these, around one in eight are declared off the road by keepers.

LeaseLoco has identified the number of classic cars still in private ownership in the United Kingdom.

In response to the leasing comparison site’s Freedom of Information request, DVLA records (updated as of December 15, 2023) reveal that 338,697 vintage cars are still owned by drivers in the United Kingdom.

Of these, 12 per cent are not actually being driven on the road by their owners.

About 41,217 vintage cars had their owners’ Statutory Off Road Notifications (SORNs) declared, meaning they were off the road, as of the date the FOI was filed.

Many of these are probably restorations, projects, or valuable cars that their owner isn’t using in an effort to hold onto and increase the worth of their future acquisitions.

Although the term “classic” car has several varied meanings, it is most commonly used to refer to vehicles that are older than 40 years and hence eligible for several perks associated with “historic vehicles.”

Among these is exemption from annual MOTs and Vehicle and Excise Duty.

But unlike the MOT exemption, you don’t immediately stop having to pay road tax once your car enters its fourth decade of life.

Alternatively, you must wait until April 1st before applying for a road tax exemption, provided your vehicle was registered 40 years prior to January 1st.

Regarding MOTs, the exclusion stems from the widespread perception that owners of historic cars either maintain their own cars or hire experts to do it for them.

The DVLA feels that this justifies avoiding subjecting them to the yearly road worthiness examination, given their love for their vehicles and the maintenance necessary to keep them roadworthy.

Crucially, vehicles older than 40 years are also free from emission zone levies, including the one in the capital (the ULEZ), the one in Birmingham (the Clean Air Zone), and the Scottish Low Emission Zone (which is currently in effect in Glasgow and will start charging older drivers in Aberdeen, Dundee, and Edinburgh in a few weeks).

According to the DVLA, there are 28,311 MGBs, 10,393 Morris Minors, 5,575 Rolls Royces, and 4,508 Triumph Stags among the classic cars still in use today.

John Wilmot, chief executive of LeaseLoco, said: “Amid the hustle and bustle of modern roads, nearly 300,000 vehicles considered classics are still running more than 40 years after they were first registered, each a testament to enduring craftsmanship and automotive history.

“From the timeless allure of MGBs to the nostalgic charm of Morris Minors and the regal presence of Rolls Royces, these classic cars evoke a sense of nostalgia and admiration.

“They continue to capture the imagination and enrich our motoring landscape, preserving the legacy of bygone eras for generations to come.”

1 thought on “Over 340,000 vintage cars still thriving in the UK, DVLA reveals”

  1. John Roberts

    vintage refers to vehicles made between 1919 and 1930. Anything newer is NOT Vintage. Classic or Historic are correct terms

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