Re-shell and DVLA

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George Wilder
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Re: Re-shell and DVLA

Post by George Wilder »

Richard
Several years ago I rebuilt a Mini into a new bodyshell of an existing car. No need to tell the DVLA justt then get it MOTed.

However a coulpe of years later the Mini was hit by another vehicle causing it tobe in insurance company terms written off. The wreck was purchased from the insurance company. The problem then was as you described. I guess this might be the case with your example.
the end they agreed to just do an identiy check.

However if the car being rebuilt with a new body is not subject to any insurance matters the DVLA do not need to be informed .

George
George Wilder
1965 MG MGB Mk1
1995 MG RV8
2005 MG TF 135
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Richard A
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Re: Re-shell and DVLA

Post by Richard A »

Hello George and others.
I'm not sure exactly what it was that you did with your Mini, but obviously it matters not a jot now.... I would guess that the rules may have been different then. They are most certainly different now.

I have made a couple of 'phone calls to check on my facts. It seems that I am correct......

Amongst the many changes, when I bought my new MGB in '64, the chassis number was only rivetted on to a small plate. Removable in seconds.

I suggest that you read the quote from the lady at DVLA with some care as it states quite clearly that using a different body shell/chassis will need a new VIN. To obtain that a few hoops have to be jumped through, but to be safe, and on the right side of the law, one has to jump!
The VIN stamped into the slam plate, and onto the rivetted plate, of my "B", is now: DVLASWA3971925503

For those who may have a problem with this, it seems to me that there are two ways to deal with it; first, ignore it and hope that the problem will disappear, and that it will not be discovered, possibly following an accident that the insurance company might decide to investigate, or following the recovery of a vehicle after it has been stolen. In the latter case, all sorts of "did you buy a stolen car in the first place?" sort of scenario. When it comes to selling, someone who knows how it should be, might turn up. I can think of other possibilities. I guess it might be that there could be a court case for driving an illegal vehicle. The second option is to find out what the regulations were at the time of reconstruction, as "grandfather rights" should apply. If that should fail, contact the DVLA Kits & Rebuilds section at kar@dvla.gov.uk and, without going into too much detail at this stage, ask what you need to do and, maybe, ask what the rules were at the time of change. Be polite and reasonable, if not, you could finish up with a "Q" plate!

When you come to sell the car, there could well be further problems.

Lastly, remember that "ignorance of the law is no excuse".

Keep well All.
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Peter Cresswell
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Re: Re-shell and DVLA

Post by Peter Cresswell »

A bit background to these issues regarding re-shelling an MGB as I see the situation. The Heritage bodyshell has been available for over 30 years now, and in the early days many GTs were rebuilt as Roadsters using a Heritage shell as this was all that was available. It was also quite common that rotten MGBs were re-shelled using a better secondhand shell - the identity tags were of course only fixed on with screws or perhaps pop rivets. The MOT test didn't pick this up as the previous identity could not be checked as the system was all paper based. Log books and identity tags were openly advertised and sold and stolen cars were broken for spares and everything could be passed on. The first big issue came when people started rebuilding high performance versions of low spec cars - Mini Cooper S, Lotus Cortina - and passing them off as the real thing, thus committing fraud.

Then one well known and respected club for vintage cars started issuing chassis plates of their own allowing people to build a car out of spares. At this point the DVLA who I think had tried to bury their head started to take an interest, which became even greater when cars could have historic status and be tax and mot (eventually) exempt.

My understanding of where we are now is that a rotten MGB can be restored using a Heritage shell and it will keep the same identity after the restoration. The DVLA is fine with this and even mentions the use of Heritage shells in its blurb about Historic tax status. The same can happen if a car is written off but salvage is retained by the same owner - it can be rebuilt using a Heritage shell. However if the written off car is sufficiently damaged (Category A or B) you will lose the right to retain the shell and hence lose the identity tags preventing it being re-shelled. As mentioned above the re-build of a GT as a roadster is now not allowed and v.v.

So I think the issues highlighted above stem from cars being written off rather than cars being rotten and restored.

In the early 1980s I had a MK1 RS 2000 and the logbook was marked with 'THIS VEHICLE WAS ASSEMBLED FROM PARTS SOME OR ALL OF WHICH WERE NOT NEW'. As it had an Essex registration quite close to the Tour of Britain RS2000s, I did investigate it a little and found it had been a Ford Motor Company press car and a journalist had crashed it. At the time you could buy 'Ford RS bodyshells fully built with interior - state colour', and this is of course what Ford had done. The only problem was they used an RS1600 shell instead of a RS2000 shell which meant lots of RS2000 parts didn't fit!!
Pete
1969 MGB Roadster
2020 MG HS Exclusive
2007 Mercedes SLK
Plus 34 other cars since 1965
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Richard A
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Re: Re-shell and DVLA

Post by Richard A »

Hello Peter,
An interesting response, especially the early background information, which I expect is correct.

However, that was then and this is now and I think that your "understanding" part does not quite apply to the current situation. Once again, I reckon that what happened in the past is now irrelevant, although you are largely correct in that the car can keep its registration, but as its chassis is different, it MUST have a new VIN number as mentioned before. To my mind that is absolutely logical.

A point that some owners of Heritage bodies may not have noticed, and which is relevant to anyone planning to buy a "B", is that the Heritage body number is stamped onto a small plate that is welded, almost out of sight, on the inner face of the near-side wing in the vicinity of the bonnet support bracket. Especially when buying it will be worth checking if the body has such a plate, or maybe has signs of one having been removed, then check that it has a DVLA VIN number. Make sure that the number has been stamped on as well as having a riveted plate.

I am about to send an email to the helpful lady at the DVLA to ask her to check that my facts are correct, and to advise on which webpage shows the DVLA's accurate information.
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Richard A
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Re: Re-shell and DVLA

Post by Richard A »

I have had a rethink, and rather than send an email I have found what I think is the relevant page of the DVLA website:

https://www.gov.uk/vehicle-registration ... d-vehicles

You will see that one needs to have 8 or more points to keep the registration. The form V627/1 needs to be completed. It is not as difficult as it seems unless it is a motorbike that is being applied for!

So far I have been unable to find the part that mentions the DVLA VIN number, but you can rest assured that that is what is needed as in the, repeated here, message that I received:


As the replacement bodyshell/chassis is of the exact specification as the original, the vehicle can in this case retain its original registration number. . However, the original chassis number cannot be used and the vehicle must be stamped with a DVLA VIN as advised in my letter.

If the replacement was not new and of the same specification as the original, then we would be looking at re-registration of the vehicle under an alternative registration number.

Once confirmation that the DVLA VIN has been stamped has been received, I will be able issue you with a replacement registration certificate (V5C).



As I mentioned before, finding someone/a company qualified and prepared to do the "stamping" was the most frustrating part....... I shall ask the person who did mine if he would be prepared to do more. If so, I'll pass on his company name.
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Richard A
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Re: Re-shell and DVLA

Post by Richard A »

I see that the copy/paste did not work properly. Herewith trying again!


https://www.gov.uk/vehicle-registration ... t-vehicles
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Richard A
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Re: Re-shell and DVLA

Post by Richard A »

Swear word..... failed again, so herewith last part typed out:

/vehicle-registrations/rebuilt-vehicles
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Peter Cresswell
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Re: Re-shell and DVLA

Post by Peter Cresswell »

Having read the links Richard has kindly provided I think there are a number of issues going on here which apply to individual cases rather than just the vehicle identity tags. Reading back up this thread it seems people who had problems started with a substantially damaged car being rebuilt/restored or didn't have a current V5C and were trying to establish the original identity of the car with the DVLA.

Until the very last year of production MGBs didn't have a VIN as we understand it today. They did have a unique number which is common across the BMC/BL range known as the Car Number. They also had a Commission Number from the start of the Mark 2 cars, and just to complete the confusion, they also had a Body Number for a time. I can summarise these here but as they have been dealt with in other threads, I'll provide links to those at the end.

The Car Number - This is a number stamped on a black background plate. The number starts with GHN for 1800cc roadsters and GHD for 1800cc GTs, and is followed by a 6 digit number starting from 101 in 1962 and ending at 523002 in 1980. For Car Numbers from 501001 to 523002 this appeared on the VIN plate. So it is a unique sequential number for the whole production run of 1800cc MGBs. This is the closest to a VIN that nearly all the MGBs/MGCs and V8 GTs had, but it is not an international unique identity for the car and in countries other than the UK there may have been local variations particularly if the car was assembled in a country. This number was used to ensure the correct parts were purchased for a particular car (so it is often referred to as the Chassis Number) and they are recorded in the production records so will appear on a Heritage Certificate. The G has often been translated to a 6 or 9 when the old log books were computerised to V5 documents which causes problems sometimes.

The Commission Number - This is a number stamped onto a silver panel of a plate with a red background. These were used from 1967 onwards (the start of the MGB Mark2) and also start with a G, followed by 23 (for an MGB) followed by N on a Roadster or D on a GT. then there is a 6 digit number followed by a suffix letter depending on where the body was built - F for bodies branch, Coventry; P for Pressed Steel, Swindon or Z for Pressed Steel, Cowley. This number is not the Car Number, as bodies and car assembly took place at different times. This identity was recorded in the production records until April 1971, so if it is known it will appear on a Heritage Certificate.

Chrome Bumper MGBs had an additional plate with an identity starting with the letters MGB for a Roadster or GBD for a GT. This is not a unique number as it was simply a number for a body made at one of the body production plants. The use of these is quite complicated but for here it is important that it is NOT considered to be a unique stamping relating to the Car Number (i.e. the chassis number or the VIN). The use of this tag ceased at the end of the Chrome Bumper production. Heritage now use a body number in a similar way to this and it is simply an identity in the run of MGB Roadster and GT shells they have produced. It's primary function other than for their records, is to allow buyers to confirm a car has been restored using a Heritage body shell.

The other threads where this or similar topics have been discussed in the past are:
Body Tags and Decals:
viewtopic.php?f=3&t=90&p=483&hilit=identity#p483

No vin plate no log book just a build and engine number:
viewtopic.php?f=3&t=359&p=1546&hilit=identity#p1546

In conclusion, if you are trying to establish the identity of an MGB with the DVLA you need to make sure you quote the correct number from the correct body tag or the V5C or you will get them totally confused!! You only need to provide them with the Car Number, as they will not have been given the other numbers attached to the body when the car was built. If you now have a Car Number (=VIN) starting DVLA etc, this will not be recognised an MGB when you come to sell it as it should start with GHN or GHD, and if you try to order the correct parts for the age of the car, it won't be recognised in any of the parts lists either.
Pete
1969 MGB Roadster
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Richard A
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Re: Re-shell and DVLA

Post by Richard A »

Thank you Peter; all very interesting and obviously well researched.

However, I think that the last paragraph is misleading. The new VIN number will be recognised where it matters most, i.e. the DVLA, and it will appear on the V5C. There is no problem with spares, just keep a note of the factory number and quote that when ordering or selling. It is interesting and useful to obtain a Heritage certificate with all the original details.

I guess that one reason for the DVLA to have these rules is to try to stop the illicit goings on mentioned previously, and that, in fact, gives some protection to us when it comes to buying/selling. As I said before, I found the Kits and Rebuilds Department very patient and helpful.

The following is copy/paste directly from the DVLA website:



Vehicle identification number
All vehicles registered in the UK must have a unique, stamped-in vehicle identification number (VIN) and registration number.

Find your VIN
The VIN is usually stamped into the chassis of the vehicle. It may be lost if you rebuild or modify your vehicle.

When you may need a new VIN or registration
If you have a kit car, rebuild, or radically altered vehicle, DVLA will usually have to assess it.

You may be able to keep its original registration number if you can prove the vehicle’s original VIN. If you cannot, you’ll have to apply for a replacement identity number.

DVLA will give you an authorisation letter to get the vehicle stamped with the new VIN if your vehicle passes its assessment.

You then need to register the vehicle - you can only do this when DVLA receives confirmation it’s been stamped with the correct VIN.



In our "new bodyshell" case, they don't seem to bother with the "usually have to assess it", apart from having the correct paperwork.

I would add that if I was unsure if my car was legal or not, I would always have an uneasy feeling when out driving it, just in case something "dramatic" should happen.

I await the next comment....
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Peter Cresswell
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Re: Re-shell and DVLA

Post by Peter Cresswell »

Hi Richard
I don't understand why you have had this problem with the DVLA, when hundreds (if not thousands) of MGBs have been restored using a Heritage Shell without any problems with the DVLA, in the way George Wilder describes above. So that we can offer advice to others and help them avoid any pit falls, I hope you don't mind if I ask a few questions about the case you have highlighted.
1. Was the original car an insurance write off?
2. Did you have a V5C with it?
3. Did you have the Car No., and Commission tags?
4. Was the original car imported damaged from the US, Sweden, Germany, or Australia?
5. Did the modifications you hint at make the resultant car a 'Substantially Modified' car?
6. Was the original contact made with the DVLA to obtain a Registration Number?

I assume it was a Heritage Shell that was used and not another shell restored using Heritage panels.
Pete
Pete
1969 MGB Roadster
2020 MG HS Exclusive
2007 Mercedes SLK
Plus 34 other cars since 1965
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