That's the thorny question which has been thrown up this week by the Association of Car Enthusiasts, who have launched a campaign against plans to bring in new European proposals which would, they claim, make it almost impossible to get a modified motor through an MOT.
The group said this week in a statement on its website: “ACE has always been of the opinion that modifying of vehicles would eventually end by the ability to do so being slowly eroded by small pieces of legislation rather than one single regulation.
"We have unfortunately now been proved correct with a single item before the EC parliament that will prevent any modifying and will, currently, render already modified cars illegal. Without a large effort over the next six weeks this 'proposal' will pass into law very shortly afterwards."
While the proposals, it is being suggested, would exempt classic cars over 30 years old, it could spell disaster for enthusiasts who modify younger cars, and for new car buyers who choose to either up their performance or improve their fuel economy by taking their vehicles to tuning specialists.
A Department for Transport statement responding to the proposals, currently being considered by the European Commission, state: "The Commission proposes to introduce a definition for a roadworthiness test that components of the vehicle must comply with characteristics at the time of first registration. This may prevent most modifications to vehicles without further approval of the vehicle. (this will apply to many components and to all types of vehicle)
“The Commission proposes to change the definition of an Historic Vehicle that may be exempt from periodic testing. This may allow vehicles older than 30 years to be exempt from testing providing the vehicle has been maintained in its original condition, including its appearance.”
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