Vehicles exempt from MOT Testing

A4.1 Exemptions

Detailed legislation on vehicles exempt from the MOT is set out in the Motor Vehicles Test Regulations 1981 regulation 6 (as amended), and in the Road Traffic Act 1988 Section 189.  Examples of vehicles exempted from MOT testing include those manufactured before 1st January 1960, electrically propelled goods vehicles, track laying vehicles, vehicles constructed or adapted to form part of an articulated combination, works trucks, trailers, pedestrian controlled mechanically propelled vehicles and electrically powered pedal cycles.  Legislation also exempts vehicles used in particular ways (e.g.  travelling to and from test) or particular places (e.g.  some islands) from the need to have a valid MOT test certificate.  It should be noted that trailers constructed or adapted for the carriage of goods or burden with an unladen weight of more than 1,020 kg and vehicles forming part of an articulated combination are subject to heavy goods vehicle (HGV) plating and testing.  It should also be noted that even when a vehicle is not required to have a test certificate it must still be maintained in a roadworthy condition.

Cars manufactured before 1st January 1960 are exempt from MOT Testing

some examples of cars manufactured before 1960 are below:

British Salmson, S4 type


British Salmson was a British based manufacturer of cars, from 1934 to 1939. An offshoot of the French Salmson company, it was taken over by local management. After producing war supplies during World War II, it ceased car production, moved to Glasgow, Scotland, and produced printing machinery.


1951 Wolseley 6/80 police car

1951 Wolseley police car

The Wolseley 4/50 and similar 6/80 were Wolseley Motors’ first post-war automobiles. They were put into production in 1948 and were based on the Morris Oxford MO and the Morris Six MS respectively. The 4-cylinder 4/50 used a 1476 cc 50 hp (37 kW; 51 PS) version of the 6/80 engine, while the 6/80 used a 2215 cc 72 hp (54 kW; 73 PS) straight-6 single overhead cam.

The cars featured a round Morris rear end and upright Wolseley grille and were used extensively by the Police at the time – the 6/80 particularly.

These models were built at Morris’s Cowley factory alongside the ‘Oxford’. They were replaced in 1953 and 1954 by the Wolseley 4/44 and 6/90.


1956-1958 Austin A35


Looking very similar to the A30, the A35 was manufactured by the British Motor Corporation (BMC) in 1956, bearing the Austin marque and was also of a monocoque or chassis less construction.  It was launched at the Earls Court Motor Show in October 1956, its “egg shaped” design is credited to Riccardo Burzi the Lancia designer who took over the project.

The car was given an uprated engine of 950cc (the A30 was 830cc the gear box had a remote controlled gear change making changes easier. The front of the car now sported a painted radiator grille and a bigger wraparound windscreen making the cabin airier.  There were five models within the range, a 2 and 4 door saloon type, estate or Countryman type, commercial van type and a pick up version.  Performance for the 2 door saloon was a top speed of 72mph and acceleration of 0 – 60mph in 30 seconds.


A4.2 Dual purpose vehicles

1. A ‘Dual purpose vehicle’ is one that; is constructed or adapted for the carriage of both passenger(s) and goods or burden of any description; and has an unladen weight (ULW) not exceeding 2,040 kg; and which either: a. is so constructed or adapted so that the driving power of the engine, is, or by the use of the appropriate controls can be, transmitted to all the wheels of the vehicle; or b. satisfies the following conditions as to construction: (i) is permanently fitted with a rigid roof, with or without a sliding panel; (ii) the area to the rear of the driver’s seat must: be permanently fitted with at least one row of transverse seats (fixed or folding) for two or more passengers, and those seats must be properly sprung or cushioned and provided with upholstered backrests, attached either to the seats or to a side or the floor of the vehicle; and be lit on each side and at the rear by a window or windows of glass or other transparent material having an aggregate area of not less than 1,850 cm2 on each side and not less than 770 cm2 at the rear; (iii)    the distance between the rearmost part of the steering wheel and the backrests of the row of transverse seats satisfying the requirements specified in the first paragraph of item (b) (ii) (or, if there is more than one such row of seats, the distance between the rearmost part of the steering wheel and the backrests of the rearmost such row) must, when the seats are ready for use, be not less than one third of the distance between the rearmost part of the steering wheel and the rearmost part of the floor of the vehicle.

A4.3 Motor Caravans

A ‘motor caravan’ is “a motor vehicle (not being a living van) which is constructed or adapted for the carriage of passengers and their effects and which contains, as permanently installed equipment, the facilities which are reasonably necessary for enabling the vehicle to provide mobile living accommodation for its users”.  Motor caravans are not classed as goods vehicles for MOT test purposes and are therefore in class 4 or 5 depending on their seating capacity but regardless of their size or weight.

A4.4 Living Vans

A ‘living van’ is “a vehicle, whether mechanically propelled or not, which is used for living accommodation by one or more persons and which is also used for the carriage of goods or burden which are not needed by such one or more persons for the purpose of their residence in the vehicle”.  Living vans are classed as goods vehicles and, depending on their weight, are therefore in either class 4 or 7 within the MOT test scheme or are subject to HGV plating and testing.

A4.5 Play buses

A ‘play bus’ is a motor vehicle which was originally constructed to carry more than 12 passengers but which has been adapted primarily for the carriage of playthings for children.

A4.6 Ambulance

An ‘ambulance’ is a motor vehicle which is specially designed and constructed (and not merely adapted) for carrying, as equipment permanently fixed to the vehicle, equipment used for medical, dental, or other health purposes and is used primarily for the carriage of persons suffering from illness, injury or disability.

A4.7 Tricycles

A ‘motor tricycle’ is a three wheeled vehicle with wheels symmetrically arranged, a maximum speed over 45 km/h, or engine size over 50 cc. Note: If the motor tricycle has an unladen weight not more than 450 kg it is a class 3 test if the unladen weight is more than 450 kg it is a class 4 test.

A4.8 Quadricycles

A ‘light quadricycle’ is a four wheeled vehicle with a maximum unladen weight of 350 kg, max speed of 45 km/h and not over 50 cc for a petrol engine or 4 kW for any other engine or electric motor. A ‘quadricycle’ is a four wheeled vehicle with a maximum unladen weight of 400 kg (550 kg for a goods vehicle) with a max net power of 15 kW.

A4.9 Moped

A ‘moped’ is a vehicle with maximum speed of 45 km/h, not over 50 cc for a petrol engine or 4 kW for any other engine or electric motor.