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What constitutes road legalness? (Britain vs. North America)

Ripplin

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Ontario, Canada
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Here's a quote from another thread (about that Calibra; the supposed fastest road legal car in the world) that I figured I'd use to just start a new topic:

qube said:
It's road legal as it passes emission tests and has all the correct lights to allow it on the roads.
It's not something I've really looked into before, but does anyone know what constitutes "road legal" in, say, Britain vs. North America? I know it can vary from region to region, but there must be some specific set rules.

As was also mentioned by qube, proper lights and emission standards are universal, but it seems to me that cars in Europe/Britain/just about anywhere other than North America can be road legal, but look so much cooler. I see the various track day cars (the Caterhams, Radicals, etc...) and think "that looks like it would never be legal here," but yet, they say they all are in Britain.

I'm also thinking about all the old North American Countaches with those big, ugly added-on bumpers, often in black, no matter what color the car itself was. I've also seen pictures of a poor McLaren F1 that had those extra bumpers, plus rectangular headlights. That's just wrong! :p
 
Because of a long lasting kit car industry, it's very easy to make something legal in Britain. I remember a TG or FG ep with some guy that built a car in his kitchen and had to demolish the wall to get it out. And the car was not that legal-like, IIRC.
 
I thought side exhaustst aren't legal in belguim
and some bullbard aren't either
 
mathie said:
I thought side exhaustst aren't legal in belguim
and some bullbard aren't either

I guess Bull bars are illegal across Europe, now.
 
I suppose the rules for large scale manufacturers are pretty much the same in Europe and USA (some differences for sure, like bumbers and emissions etc.)

But UK has separate law for small scale manufacturers (read kit cars, could be wrong but only a maximum build of few hundred a year) and one of builds. They only have to pass the SVA (Single Vehicle Approval) which only looks at some safety issues (and even those are not so concerned with the driver but other road users...). So most of the kit cars etc. that are legal in the UK would probably not be so in the mainland Europe...

And of course there always some funny loopholes, like for instance the side exhausts, they are very much illegal in Finland and yet I know at least two cars which have them and they are fully inspected and legal (dunno how the owners did that?!?!)
 
I know this thread is about N.America and Britain but I would like to contribute to this thread as well :D

In Hong Kong, they are pretty damn strict on the condition of the car... if your car is 7years or older, they make you inspect your car every year for Emissions, Braking, Suspension and basically everything else... I remember on the 7th year of my dads car when my dad took the car to get inspected, he had to change all 4 absorbers, the front foglight covers, brake discs.... according to their laws, no light covers or any windows on the car can be cracked, all the bodyparts must be intact and secured, and if your car meets with a Fender Bender accident but its still drivable, AFAIK, because there are loose parts on your bodywork, you are required to call a tow-truck as driving a car in that condition is illegal.
 
In the UK a Vehicle must take a Ministry of Transport Test after it is 3 years old, below is the failure sheet for my 3 year old Zafira...Damn Headlight allignment

MOT1.jpg
 
andyhui01 said:
I know this thread is about N.America and Britain but I would like to contribute to this thread as well :D
Insight from any country is more than welcome! :) I basically just put North America because that's where I'm from, and Britain because that's where all the good car shows emanate from. Heh heh.

So how do you feel about the regulations in Hong Kong, then? Sounds a bit excessive in some areas, but a good system overall. Much better than in some places. I used to visit Michigan fairly often and the condition of some of the cars I saw was downright frightening! Cars with the bumpers held on by rope, ones with no windows, some with suspension so badly broken it looked like it was driving in water, etc, etc... Not the kind of vehicles you'd want to trail behind for long!

The funniest I saw was one where it seemed like the guy wanted a low rider, but couldn't afford good rims, so he just put the ones he had on backwards! I can't imagine the damage that would cause, seen and unseen. That was one time where I wished I had a camera! :p
 
although I would agree its very strict... but I actually prefer it that way... some of you have been to Hong Kong and if you noticed, they are all very clean, everything is intact, no bumpers tied on by rope and everything.. all the cars are in excellent condition I must say... plus most of the cars are less than 15years old... even the E34 5-series still looks like new :D.... you probably don't know me well but I'm malaysian and when I go back to malaysia, the cars are all in such horrible condition I don't even know how they can be on the road.

and SkylineFreak, this is the sort of test they do in Hong Kong as well... I didin't know they are so strict on that... how the hell the the TG boys 150pound cars, 1500 pound porsches and coupes pass those tests?
 
^ i also prefer having extremely strict emissions and shit like that just like HK. i love how clean all of HK's cars look... just amazing...
 
well I'm pretty sure that for a car to be legally sold in america it has to pass a lot more tests than it does to be sold in europe (we're talking imported cars, cars built in america don't have to pass these). All I know is that the car has to travel across the country from east coast to west coast without having any mechanical issues or something, remember reading about it when lotus said they wanted to sell the elise over there.
 
^^ It's doing 60k or 100k miles without changing anything in the car. And here we have periodic inspections too. In the 4th, 6th, 8th year, and every year after the 8th. If it's a commercial vehicule, it's much more frequent.

not that these prevent seeing some attrocities on the road... :?
 
Anyone know how come they had/have to add those big ugly bumpers to the Countach and other cars when they're sold in North America? 'Safety regulations' just don't sound like a good enough reason to me, as I figure "what's 30 pounds of plastic going to do to make it more safe?" Unless it has a steel bar hidden in there that's welded to the frame or something like that, it's more of an eyesore than anything else.
 
Ripplin said:
Anyone know how come they had/have to add those big ugly bumpers to the Countach and other cars when they're sold in North America? 'Safety regulations' just don't sound like a good enough reason to me, as I figure "what's 30 pounds of plastic going to do to make it more safe?" Unless it has a steel bar hidden in there that's welded to the frame or something like that, it's more of an eyesore than anything else.

I guess you're right. Or something to do with minimum size of the bumper. Can remember correctly.
 
yea... the safety shit is making the cars look uglier nowadays... I'm still pissed off that Car manufacturers stopped using pop up headlights for safety reason :cry:
 
andyhui01 said:
I'm still pissed off that Car manufacturers stopped using pop up headlights for safety reason
Makes me think of the headlights on the new Corvette. Sooooo ugly! In that case, I think it had more to do with them wanting a change, but I think it's a change for the worse. I thought everything about the last generation of Corvette was beautiful, but the new one, without pop-up headlights, looks so bland in the front!
 
andyhui01 said:
and SkylineFreak, this is the sort of test they do in Hong Kong as well... I didin't know they are so strict on that... how the hell the the TG boys 150pound cars, 1500 pound porsches and coupes pass those tests?
This test lasts for 12 months I guess those coupes were coming up for an MOT, I've seen worse on the roads, The Test only means that on that day the car was fit to be on the road, and theres plenty of "Bodgers" that can get a car through. There are a few unscupulous Testers as well which also helps. But also the fines for not having an MOT are laughable, probably a ?20 fine and No points on your licence :shock: . Whereas doing 65 in a 60 zone will give you a ?60 fine and 3 points.
 
In belguim it's about the same as in britain. After 4 years you'll have to let it test every year.
 
Ripplin said:
Anyone know how come they had/have to add those big ugly bumpers to the Countach and other cars when they're sold in North America? 'Safety regulations' just don't sound like a good enough reason to me, as I figure "what's 30 pounds of plastic going to do to make it more safe?" Unless it has a steel bar hidden in there that's welded to the frame or something like that, it's more of an eyesore than anything else.
I'm pretty sure it has something to do with our requirements for 5mph and 3mph collision tests. The car has to escape with minimal damage from hitting another car at 5mph, so they attach those big bumpers. AFAIK cars in the US also have to have at least one active safety device, either an airbag or those automatic seat belts (a few GM cars had those). Most of those kit cars from the UK don't have an airbag, to save weight, so they aren't street legal in the US. There's an exception for Caterhams and Westfields though, because they can be registered as a '67 lotus super seven! :lol:
 
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