NEW rules could mean your car is now worth a small fortune as demand for older models soars.
London motorists are opting for vintage cars to avoid the ULEZ levy, which Mayor Sadiq Khan will extend to all boroughs of the capital next week.
Dealers across the city have seen an increase in sales of pre-1983 engines, which are exempt from the £12.50 charge as they are considered ‘historic vehicles’.
The owner of Duke of London, a Brentford-based classic car dealership, Merlin McCormack, said he’s seen customers opting for cheaper classic cars to avoid the fee, which begins next week.
The dealer called the increase in sales “ironic” because while the cars are exempt from the fee, the older cars are more polluting than their modern counterparts.
He added that ULEZ is now the number one factor when buying a car for most Londoners.
McCormack told that Daily Telegraph: “‘We sell a lot of entry-level classic cars, but also high-end cars.
“A lot of what we sell is very rideable and dates back to the early 80’s [and] Late 70’s and where they are [ULEZ] However, many customers want to buy that as their only London car.”
Resale and auction site Car and Classic currently has a number of classic cars for sale that are exempt from the fee.
These include a 1972 Austin Mini for £20,000, a 1973 Alfa Romeo 2000 for £12,000 and a 1970 Hillman Imp Super for £9,500.
As part of the Incoming Scheme, which aims to reduce the number of polluting vehicles on London’s roads, Transport for London is granting a 40-year window allowing the transport of cars manufactured in the early 1980s.
Gary Short, managing director of Classic Chrome in Mortlake, said most people are unaware that these older cars are also road tax exempt.
The original ULEZ program started in 2019 and back then pre-1979 cars were exempt from the tax, but over time more and more cars will fall under this exemption.
Short said that over the 40-year window, more people are likely to choose older classic cars that are “relatively reliable and can be used regularly,” such as Porsches made before 1983.
David Peter of Mitcham’s Classic Car Company, which manages private collections of classic cars, also said his customers are now considering Ulez when buying cars.
He told the news outlet, “I think people are considering different ways to add a car to their collection.”
“Right now there is increased interest and people are aware that there is in fact a gap.”
The expanded ULEZ scheme, which will cover all 32 London boroughs, starts on August 29th.
A spokesman for the Mayor of London said: “The Mayor has made it clear that the decision to extend the Ultra Low Emission Zone across London was not easy, but necessary to tackle toxic air pollution and the climate crisis.”
“The Mayor and TfL have exempted classic cars from the ULEZ because they are historic vehicles and it is more difficult to adapt them to low emission standards.
“It would be a shame if people took advantage of this exemption and ended up inflating the cost of buying these vehicles for true classic car enthusiasts.”
Thousands of pounds of grants are available to help people trade in their vehicles that are not Ulez compliant.
How to find out if your vehicle meets the Ulez requirements.
In May, research revealed the expanded scheme would cost the capital’s economy £500m.