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Registering a radically altered vehicle

The registration of radically altered vehicles covers vehicles which are substantially altered from their original specification, but which are not kit conversions. In these cases the vehicle components used from the original vehicle will be given a numerical value in order to retain the original registration mark.

Allocating a vehicle registration mark

The vehicle must score eight or more points to retain the original registration mark. If less than eight points are scored or a second-hand or modified chassis or altered monocoque bodyshell is used an Individual Vehicle Approval (IVA), enhanced single vehicle approval (ESVA), single vehicle approval (SVA) or motorcycle single vehicle approval (MSVA) certificate will be required to register the vehicle. A 'Q' prefix registration number will be allocated.

Scoring components

The following values will be allocated to the major components used:

  • chassis or body shell (body and chassis as one unit - monocoque ie direct replacement from the manufacturer) (original or new) = 5 points
  • suspension = 2 points
  • axles = 2 points
  • transmission = 2 points
  • steering assembly = 2 points
  • engine = 1 point

Where there is evidence that two vehicles have been welded together to form one (ie 'cut and shut') a 'Q' mark will be allocated, IVA, ESVA, SVA or MSVA will be required.

Vehicle identification number

This is a legal requirement for all vehicles used on the public highway to carry a vehicle identity number (VIN). This may be lost when a vehicle is substantially rebuilt, particularly in the case of kit vehicles where the chassis or bodyshell may not have been stamped by the manufacturer. In such circumstances the DVLA local office will allocate a replacement VIN. The DVLA local office will issue an authorisation letter and registration will not take effect until the Agency receives confirmation that the vehicle has been stamped with the correct identity.

Registration of vehicles without identity

The following procedures must be followed when making application for the registration and first licensing of a vehicle without identity:

  • you should use your nearest DVLA local office
  • applications from outside a DVLA local office's catchment area will be refused
  • you will be asked to produce documentation confirming your name and address, the link below gives more information
  • you will be asked to produce official receipts from identifiable suppliers for the components used in a rebuild. The authenticity of receipts may be checked. They will be stamped by the DVLA local office before return

All vehicles without identity (VIN and registration mark) will be inspected by DVLA and referred to the police. Applicants who rebuild vehicles and can prove the origins of the components need not be concerned. However, if the police believe a vehicle to be stolen DVLA will refuse to register and it may be impounded.

Be aware

Prospective purchasers of vehicles without identity are advised to exercise caution. If a vehicle is suspected of being stolen both it and the money paid for it may be lost.

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