Q Plate Vehicles
A Q registration plate is given to a vehicle that’s age, identity or service history is unknown. It is often thought to stand for ‘questionable’ or ‘query’, although the real reason that Q is used for these types of car is that the letter cannot be used for regular registrations due to its similarity to a zero.
So, what kind of car gets a Q plate? Q plate cars come in many forms, such as:
- Imported vehicles
A Q plate was originally given to all imported cars, back in the early days of car classifications. Nowadays, it can still apply to imported cars, but usually those that are self-imported and have gaps in service history and documentation
Classic, or antique cars are defined as having historical interest to the point that it becomes collectible, or are at least undeserving of being scrapped. From aesthetics to engine specifications, there are many reasons why someone would want to keep an older car.
Often, vehicles over twenty years old become ‘antiques’, but the definition varies across the world.
Whatever year and make of your classic car, you will need to have the right kind of insurance to cover it.
Modified cars and motorbikes needs specialist insurance because they differ from the factory standard. This means their parts are not likely to all be manufacturer-approved, which therefore carries a higher risk of accident or breakdown. This makes modified vehicle insurance a vital component of ownership.
There are a number of elements that define a vehicle as being ‘modified’. Whether it be an aesthetic change, like a spoiler or alloys, or changes to the engine, any differentiation from the way it was initially bought can make it harder to insure.
Some of the aesthetic modifications that will directly influence your premium are:
- Wheel arches
- Tinted windows
- Side skirts
- Stickers and decals
Changes to the performance of the car include:
Grey Import Cars
A grey import is a car that has been imported from another country through channels other than that of the manufacturer’s preferred system of selling, but that is not EU-approved. This will often apply to American and Japanese cars, whose specifications differ greatly from vehicles purchased in the EU.
Foreign cars are extremely popular in the UK, but there are certain things to keep in mind before buying your grey import. Vehicle standards in the UK differ from Japan, for example, so your imported car will need to have a few changes made to be legal on UK roads. There may be changes required to instruments or lights, and Japanese cars often some without an attached under-seal.
Statutory Off Road Notification (SORN)
If your vehicle is taken off the road for any reason, you will need to apply for a SORN. Having a SORN will mean you do not need to pay road tax or insurance, or have a valid MOT for the period of time it is not on the road. Even if your car is not legally able to be driven,
There are many types of vehicle and many situations that would require a SORN. Some of these include:
- ‘Old bangers’ that are not roadworthy but are intended to be repaired at a later stage
- Project cars like at-home build kits or classic cars that you are modifying or repairing in your spare time
- A vehicle that will not be driven while a family member is away travelling or at university
- A vehicle that you want to scrap
Driving License Codes
In order to drive a particular kind of vehicle, your license must give you the permission to do so. Vehicles are separated into driving license categories, which can be seen on the back of your driving license card (see image right). The information displayed alongside each code indicates which vehicles you may operate and in which capacity. These codes are explained below:
Category B – if you passed your test before 1 January 1997 you can drive a vehicle and trailer combination up to 8250kg maximum authorised mass (MAM)
Category B – if you passed your test on or after 1 January 1997 you can drive vehicles up to 3500kg MAM and a trailer of 750kg
Category B Auto – (same as above but only automatic)
Category BE – a vehicle with a MAM of 3500kg with a trailer