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Top 10: Tax-free cars for 2017

With the Historic Vehicle taxation class for Vehicle Excise Duty on a 40-year rolling system, April 1st sees all vehicles built prior to January 1977 being eligible for ‘free tax’. And as it’s based on date of manufacture rather than registration, a car registered in the first few weeks of ’77 could still be eligible – as long as its owner can prove the build date.

To get your 1976 car reclassified as a Historic Vehicle, you’ll need to contact the DVLA and arrange for its taxation class to be changed. Once that’s done, you’re entitled to VED without paying a penny. So... which of today’s classics launched into the UK in 1976 are now potentially ‘tax-free’ in their earliest guise? We check out ten of our favourites.

By Paul Guinness, Contributor

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Panther Lima

The Lima was the most affordable car ever produced by Panther, a company better known for its hugely expensive J72 and De Ville offerings. It followed the firm’s tradition for classic-looking aesthetics, with an obvious ’30s-style roadster influence, while under the bonnet sat a 2.3-litre Vauxhall four-cylinder engine (complemented by almost all-Vauxhall running gear). The Lima wasn’t cheap in 1976, with its list price of just under £5000 putting it within £400 or so of the V8-engined (and equally ’30s-looking) Morgan Plus 8; but with the Malvern firm quoting a seven-year waiting list, Panther found itself with a steady stream of buyers for its retro-style Lima.

Read our Panther Lima review here

Comments

NickNike    on 6 February 2017

I was talking to an American at a one week conference in London in 1980 who was selling his TR7 as soon as he got back to the US. He said the reliability was so bad, all American owners were trying to sell them. Pity, as it sold like hot cakes in the US to start with.

cheshiredolphin    on 6 February 2017

This car was possibly one of the worst that Renault ever built. The engine sounded like a bacon slicer, the doors were thin and tinny and it wouldn't have pulled the skin of a rice pudding. I bought one new and got rid of it after 5 weeks. Classic? not a word I would use to describe this apology of a car.

KenScotland    on 7 February 2017

I'd almost forgotten my wife's Renault 14. It looked great in silver with black "shading" down the top of the front wing. Plush red upholstery and a "fabric" sun roof that went so far back that our "14" was almost a convertible". It ran well and was the first car we ever took to France on a 3 week touring holiday in 1980.
I was driving a Mazda 323 as my company car at the time and although rugged and practical we both preferred the Renault for its good looks and great drive. Ken, Scotland

b morris    on 8 February 2017

I had a v8 from new . It had a terrific engine but the rest of the car fell to pieces . It leaked through the windscreen and the brakes were useless. My second worst car. The worst was an 1800 morris marina

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