Don’t put a spoiler on souped-up cars
A potential EU ban on modified cars is not a clever move, argues CJ Hubbard
The motoring world is alight over news that the EU may be about to attempt to ban ALL modified cars.
This proposal, brought to light by the Association of Car Enthusiasts, would potentially impact any and every car fitted with a non-standard part, as it refers explicitly back to the vehicle’s original ‘type approval’.
Now at first you well may be thinking: brilliant! Ban those boy racers and their stupidly loud exhausts!
But the implications are much broader, with the only exemption being suggested for historically significant vehicles – a category that is likely to be tightly defined in order to keep the numbers down.
Hundreds of thousands of cars could be illegal overnight
In other words, this legislation could end up ruling hundreds of thousands of cars illegal because they differ in some way from the condition they left the factory. It would potentially apply to something as simply as a change of alloy wheels or a bit of stuck-on chrome – so anyone who wants to make their pride and joy stand out from the crowd would theoretically be in contravention of the new law.
It would certainly make life very interesting for extensively modified vehicles such as hot rods and track cars.
The key word here is ‘potentially’ at this moment, as we’re still waiting to hear the Department for Transport’s take on all this, and the proposal hasn’t actually made it onto the EU’s books just yet.
In the meantime, here’s why I think any such a proposal is utterly ludicrous and short-sighted.
A huge aftermarket industry supporting modified vehicles
Beyond the obvious ‘variety is the spice of life’ and ‘wouldn’t it be boring if everyone was the same’ kind of arguments – which, as far as I’m concerned, are completely valid in their own right – let’s consider the real implications of this.
There is a huge aftermarket industry supporting modified vehicles – from performance enhancements to cosmetic alterations in physical terms, right through to all those shows and events and even magazines and websites that thrive and survive on our rich and varied car culture.
Banning the vehicles that feed this industry would either wipe out the culture overnight, force it into dusty museums or, even worse, drive it underground where even the most sensible safety-related legislation would no longer be a force.
Taking it more rationally still, it would put hundreds – if not thousands – of businesses out of work as a result, with enormous economic repercussions.
While I understand that the EU may be motivated by safety and emissions concerns, the kind of blanket approach this proposal appears to imply is insane. Modified motoring lovers - let's unite and tell Brussels to keep their hands off our spoilers.
Follow CJ Hubbard on Twitter @ir_427
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