One-in-five classic cars fails an MOT, despite not legally needing valid test certificate

  • One in five classic cars fails an MOT, new data finds
  • Dodge the worst brand with over half of its classics failing to secure valid test certificate
  • Cars over 40 years old are not legally required to have valid MOT

Time 4 weeks ago

One in five classic cars in Britain fails its MOT despite not being legally required to have one, new data has revealed.

Figures obtained via a Freedom of Information request to the DVLA found that 121,204 cars aged over 40 took a voluntary MOT test between January 2019 and June 2021.

Of these, about 20 per cent failed – a total in the region of 25,000 cars.


Vehicles aged 40 or older have not legally required an MOT since May 2018, and are also exempt from paying road tax.

However, owners are still required to keep their vehicles road legal, and failing to do so could result in a fine of up to £2,500 and three penalty points.

The data, which was requested by, found that Dodge had the highest percentage of failures at 55.2 per cent, though this did only relate to 143 tests.

It was closely followed by Austin Morris with 39.3 per cent from 567 tests, and Volkswagen with 31.9 per cent from 19,154 tests.

Jessica Potts, head of marketing at, said: ‘The fact that almost a fifth of classic cars failed voluntary MOT tests highlights the importance of classic car owners carrying out regular checks and keeping on top of maintenance.

‘Even if a classic car covers a limited number of miles each year, it’s not uncommon for potentially dangerous faults to occur.

‘Our advice to classic car owners who aren’t mechanically inclined is to get a voluntary MOT test or vehicle health check carried out annually by a qualified garage for peace of mind.

‘That way, drivers avoid risking fines and penalty points, or even causing an accident.’

Jack Williams's avatar

Jack joined the Car Dealer team in 2021 as a staff writer. He previously worked as a national newspaper journalist for BNPS Press Agency. He has provided news and motoring stories for a number of national publications including The Sun, The Times and The Daily Mirror.

More stories...

Server 51