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Swansea asking if Herald has been rebuilt - problems?

Colin Lindsay

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I recently applied for a new V5 for my 1200 Estate that hasn't been on the road since 1977... I rescued it minus engine and badly crushed rear tub / roof and largely rebuilt it between 1997 and 2003, but haven't done anything to it since. It's complete with a replacement engine. I had to inform Swansea of a change of address and just submitted all my V5s in one bunch, and all the others have come back except for this one. It wasn't declared SORN as it was unlicensed, and I was informed by our DVLNI at Coleraine (before they shut up shop and everything went to Swansea) just to keep it that way until I licensed it. Thankfully I still have their letter informing me of this....

However: Swansea have written to me for full details of the car including a separate form that has to be signed by me: has it been rebuilt yes / no?

If I say it has, from the chassis up, I'm concerned that it may affect the car in some way - will I still keep the original VRM or will another be reallocated?

If I say it hasn't.... well it obviously has, but is nowhere near ready for MOT.

Anyone else been through this procedure, and have any info?




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This page may help: https://www.gov.uk/vehicle-registration/radically-altered-vehicles


"DVLA uses a points system to decide what registration number to give a radically altered vehicle.

[To] Keep the original registration number Your vehicle must have 8 or more points from the table below if you want to keep the original registration number. 5 of these points must come from having the original or new and unmodified chassis, monocoque bodyshell or frame.

Part Points

Chassis, monocoque bodyshell (body and chassis as one unit) or frame - original or new and unmodified (direct from manufacturer) 5

Suspension (front and back) - original 2

Axles (both) - original 2

Transmission - original 2

Steering assembly - original 2

Engine - original 1


If your car merely has a different engine, I expect that 8 points will be easily attained.


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John is right, I remember this was a topic on the old forum.


My car was out of MOT and left in my the garage before SORN was introduced. When SORN arrived I wrote to DVLA and asked what to do. I got a letter back saying it wasn't necessary to SORN the car. Once I'd restored it and got an MOT I wrote again to the DVLA. Fortunately the car still had the original engine and no modifications so they simply issued the new form of V5. Presumably you've told them it has a different engine and this has sparked their interest.

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Hello Colin.


I presume TSSC are members of the FBHVC.


They have an excellent liaison department with DVLA and it may be worth dropping their Secretary a couple of lines outlining the above. In fact the department may be able to give you the exact answer you are seeking along with John's helpful reply.


The Secretary can be contacted via secretary@fbhvc.co.uk and their website is www.fbhvc.co.uk


It's just an idea, but worth an email or two.


Good luck.






PS - got your PM, many thanks. 

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"If your car merely has a different engine, I expect that 8 points will be easily attained.



Thanks guys..... I now know what to aim for.... but it's the small print that worries me!

Chassis: original for the most part including main rails but new side outriggers.

Body - new bulkhead floors and one rear wing plus boot side panel. 

Suspension: replacement springs but original wishbones and vertical links

Steering - original but replacement track rod ends, gaiters and mounts

Transmission... gearbox from the spares pile (no idea of original number or if I still have it) diff original with bearings and seals replaced, propshaft original.

Rear axles cleaned and rebuilt with new UJs and bearings.


I don't want any little repairs or replacement parts to eat into the total and maybe lose my local 1967 registration number.

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It is still the original chassis, body, suspension and so on.

Yes, some has undergone repair but if that was not allowed then 50% of the cars on the road would be on Q plates after an accident etc


I sort of had an issue when I built my spitfire. I had 2 chassis that were stripped and primed. One was better than the other, but I really could not remember which came from which car after several years. Ultimately I decided which was which. Of course the better chassis belonged to the car I was rebuilding, not the one that was supplying many parts......(mint bootlid, doors, front bumper and interior. Lots of small stuff too. Shell was shot. )

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I've sent an e-mail to the secretary of the FBHVC - thanks Richard.


The main problem is that a blind man can see the car has been rebuilt - the before and after pics are so drastically different - and I have a fully documented restoration to prove it.... :) I just don't want a Q-plate!

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Stop over thinking!

Do it!




Lol that's me as always..... sitting up at 4am this morning, drinking tea, unable to sleep and wondering where I put all the receipts, original parts and additional photos of the car etc.

Hit me a good slap John and knock some sense into me. 

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New bearings, new panels and welding repairs can't count against the car else we'd ALL be on Q plates!


My car has 4 new wings,  2 new sills and 2 new door skins, there's more new metal than old but, it's still original!



Colin's car:


Chassis and body Original with repairs 5 points

Suspension and rear axels original with replacement bearings. 2 points

Steering - original with replaced bearings. 2 points

Transmission. Not original Null points

Engine Not original Null points


I make that 9 points on John's list. 

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I would disagree.

The transmission and engine are both original type. If it had a type 9 convvesion and a zetec engine likemine, I would agree to the points deduction. But like for like replacement? If it had a BL goldseal engine and box fitted by a franchised dealer back in the day, it would still have a different engine/box fitted.


No, all this much ado about nothing. DVLA and more interested in cars that are built from a V5.

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No Clive, change the engine, loose a point, gold seal or not. That's how the DVLA system works, daft or not. This was chewed over extensively on the old site! :lol:


But as you say Colin is worrying needlessly.


I would have asked them for a new type V5 and then, some time later, tell them I'd changed the engine and get a second new V5. I suspect it would go through without question.

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I've emailed the FBHVC and sent them photos asking for their opinion but no reply after a week.... maybe the TSSC isn't a member?

If you're aware of the rules regarding vehicle disposal - it has to be scrapped by a licensed scrappy, not just cut up and disposed of yourself.... so if I tick the box and sign the form that says it's been rebuilt THEN is someone going to turn round and say: where's your professional qualification to rebuild cars? You don't have one?? Then you've had it, mate....

I don't think I can really claim that it hasn't been rebuilt... rear tub yes (restored before removed from chassis) but the rest?   :)









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Colin, you remind me of my dad, faced with authority he would tell them EVERYTHING, his whole life story, never ended well. My mother was the opposite, only say what you have to, on a need to know basis. Mother was by far the best at getting the result she wanted.


Dad witnessed a traffic accident and thought he should go to the police station, of his own accord and volunteer a statement. Something he said in the statement convinced the police that they could nick him for a minor traffic infringement. He got a summons!


Why tell them YOU rebuilt it? Had it done by a professional years ago, forgot who, lost his invoice. Scrapping a car? A guy took it for me, don't know if he took it to a licensed place.


On Pete's twiddle day I will be giving a lecture on economy with the truth.

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  • 4 weeks later...

Finally, a reply from FBHVC:

Thank you for your email to our Secretary which has been passed to me. I must apologise for a delayed response.


You are correct to be wary of the term ‘rebuilt’ in correspondence with DVLA, it is one of several words and phrases that do tend to have a ‘red rag’ effect on DVLA staff. Our contacts in Policy are aware of the problem, and indeed we are working with them on the general subject of terminology.


I entirely endorse the advice you have been given, you should stress that this car is an original vehicle which has been repaired as necessary whilst retaining as many of the original components as possible. Crucially, it should be stressed that the chassis is original. However, none of this may be necessary!


Contrary to the information you have been given we have previously been informed that DVLA do have access to the NI registration archive although this access is not available to all staff. I am currently awaiting confirmation regarding your car, but unfortunately my inquiry coincided with the holiday period! I will inform you further once I have a response from DVLA.


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  • 2 weeks later...

V5 received from Swansea; no other correspondence attached and they didn't return my photos.

I've scrutinised it very finely and nowhere does it state that it's been reported rebuilt, plus the replacement engine is now listed as the original unit so it all looks very nice and ship-shape.

Worry over.

Now: next crisis please...

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