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The MoT Files: When does a car become a classic?

When does a car become a classic? It's a question that we're asked all the time. Of course, some cars are just born classics - like the Ferrari LaFerrari or anything with an Aston Martin badge.

But what about the metal that's not pure exotica? The insurance industry will sometimes use a cut-off date of 25 years, but we much prefer to look at the MoT data. From the second a car leaves the showroom, it's reliability rate falls away.

However, the point when the MoT pass rates stops falling and starts rising is what we like to call the year of the banger. According to the latest data, that year is 2001. This is the year that has the worst MoT pass rate (50.4%).

After this, cars start to find enthusiastic owners willing to spend some time and money keeping their pride and joy on the road. As always, it's the high-value premium-badged sports cars leading the pack, with the Ferrari 550 Maranello boasting a 91.5% pass rate. The first model with more than 1000 tests under its belt is the Porsche 911 (72.5% pass rate)

Of course, cars that more than 40 years old are no longer required to have an MoT test - although as our data shows there are still plenty of conscientious classic owners getting a professional to check their car is still roadworthy.

Click on the links below to find out how specific models perform in that year:

Vehicle Year Tests Failures Pass Rate
1960 3066 597 80.5%
1961 2955 586 80.2%
1962 2957 618 79.1%
1963 3540 714 79.8%
1964 4443 922 79.2%
1965 5385 1160 78.5%
1966 6082 1364 77.6%
1967 7030 1644 76.6%
1968 7908 1848 76.6%
1969 7649 1899 75.2%
1970 8308 1976 76.2%
1971 26655 6630 75.1%
1972 5406 1312 75.7%
1973 5440 1404 74.2%
1974 3720 929 75.0%
1975 4574 1258 72.5%
1976 4158 1218 70.7%
1977 4502 1296 71.2%
1978 5219 1513 71.0%
1979 5251 1510 71.2%
1980 5023 1464 70.9%
1981 4227 1377 67.4%
1982 4396 1433 67.4%
1983 6182 2020 67.3%
1984 6235 2040 67.3%
1985 7855 2666 66.1%
1986 9696 3299 66.0%
1987 11243 3862 65.6%
1988 14279 5000 65.0%
1989 21487 7557 64.8%
1990 25432 9445 62.9%
1991 27976 10870 61.1%
1992 26730 10441 60.9%
1993 32618 13217 59.5%
1994 42070 17238 59.0%
1995 55514 23472 57.7%
1996 75386 33323 55.8%
1997 114887 52239 54.5%
1998 168284 78806 53.2%
1999 260132 126889 51.2%
2000 393926 193822 50.8%


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