There is a huge amount of opposition in the Isle of Man to plans by the government to introduce the testing of classic cars and motorcycles. The situation hasn’t been helped by the way that classic cars are treated on the UK mainland where recent amendments do not require cars built before 1960 to have an MOT.
The government on the Isle of Man are also being questioned on their view that around ten per cent of accidents that take place on the island are as a result of there being mechanical problems.
The Federation of Manx Historic Vehicle Clubs has a number of member clubs and delegates at one of their recent meetings were unhappy at the government’s plans. They feel that it is more like a “stealth tax” with a figure of £200,000 of extra income being produced if the plans to introduce a ten-year tax are approved. The delegates felt that it would be ironic if the plans were passed when the UK government were taking a different stance.
Historical vehicle owners were also uneasy about a European Union directive that ethanol be added to petrol in cars in EU countries although there was no indication this was going to be implemented in the Isle of Man. Whilst in storage ethanol contained in petrol will degrade, the fuel will become acidic and could damage the likes of tin-coated steel, lead, copper, brass and zinc-based metals. These materials are all utilised in historic vehicle’s fuel systems.
When ethanol and petrol are mixed together damage can also be caused to rubber that is used on various parts of classic cars such as fuel pipes.
The Federation of Manx Historic Vehicle Clubs was set up to promote and safeguard historic driving on the Isle of Man. It was only created a few months ago but already has in excess of one thousand members who, between them, own approaching two thousand vehicles.
Norman Roper, who is the Chairman of the Federation, stated: ‘The Isle of Man has a unique motoring heritage and it is our aim to help preserve it and promote our interest to future generations. There are many potential threats at the moment that could undermine the future of vintage motoring. We intend to make sure our voice is heard.’