Missing documentation is more common than you might think, and returning classic car to the road without it can be a nightmare. Here’s how it’s done.
Somehow, you have in your garage an old car but not a scrap of documentary evidence to convince the authorities that it exists. That’s fine as far as it goes – it might be a barn find or even a pile of bits, and you’re in no hurry to alert the system to its existence – but one day, when it’s working, it will need a number plate if you’re going to drive it on the road. How are you going to do that?
If it’s a car which has always lived in the UK, the DVLA’s V765 scheme can help you reclaim your car’s registration number. For this, run in conjunction with an impressive tally of car clubs, you need, ideally, the old cardboard logbook.
You don’t have it, of course...
Old MoTs, bills of sale, photographs of the car long ago wearing a number plate; all help with establishing authenticity and, ultimately, the reunification of car and original number.
You don’t have these, either. You don’t even know what its number was.
Right. With luck you will at least have the car’s chassis number, stamped or embossed somewhere on its structure.
A car club or heritage trust might then be able to match these to a registration number, or to a record of the supplying distributor or dealer. There are some pre-DVLA, ex-council records held at the Kithead Trust, too, but success here is by no means guaranteed (London’s records, for example, are particularly sparse) and the Catch 22 is that the Trust really needs the registration number as the starting point. At least you might have enough information by now for an age-related one.
Now, suppose your numberless old car arrived from abroad. To get a suitable age-related number, whether you have just imported your project or you’ve sat on it for years, you fill in a NOVA1 form, as used for any car you’ve imported privately. You include as much information as you can from whatever source: car clubs, period photographs of similar cars, second opinions from marque experts, whatever you think will help your case.
There’s no magic formula, then. But the DVLA and HMRC know that documentary evidence will be different for different projects and will listen sympathetically, so don’t give up. Good luck.
Words: John Simister