The European Commission has backed down over plans which would have seen owners of classic cars being forced to take them off the road if they had been modified in any way.
Stephen Hammond, the roads minister, secured the deal in Brussels after hearing representations from car enthusiasts.
The Commission had drawn up plans for a “roadworthiness test” directive which would have required all components on a car to conform with those on the vehicle when it was first registered.
According to the EU document the move was justified because “Vehicles of historic interest are supposed to conserve heritage of the époque they have been built”
But it was feared this would create havoc, especially given the number of carmakers who have disappeared over the last 50 years.
This would have hit owners of classic marques, such as Triumph, Wolseley and Sunbeam, which have long since disappeared – making spare parts almost impossible to find as a result.
The agreement means that UK testers will be given greater discretion to assess the roadworthiness of classic cars built after 1960. Historic vehicles built before that date are exempt from the MoT.
Mr Hammond has also persuaded the Commission to drop the requirement for more than one million caravans and trailers to undergo an MoT.
Had the EU pressed ahead with the original proposals it was feared this would cost Britain over £1 billion over five years. The modified version is likely to cost only £18 million.