It’s high time the government explored new laws for vintage cars

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KATMANDU: Old classic cars may not appeal to everyone, but for classic auto enthusiasts, they are an integral part of their hearts and increasingly a part of their way of life.

There are people all over the world who are interested in preserving, restoring and collecting vintage automobiles. Nepal is no exception.

There are also a lot of vintage car enthusiasts in Nepal. Globally, the term “classic” refers to any vehicle over two decades old.

Even now we see older Toyota Land Cruisers, Mitsubishi Pajero, Toyota Corollas, Mercedes and other rare old ones like the Daihatsu Rocky in excellent shape on Nepalese roads.

While the majority of people think these vehicles should be replaced with new ones, old car enthusiasts think otherwise.

The essence of their argument is that, when properly maintained, older cars can outperform newer models, therefore, well-maintained old classics should be valued.

Despite the fact that many enthusiasts keep and exploit their old classics, the government’s tax policy discourages their restoration and street use.

Private, government and public vehicles over 15 years old will be subject to an additional transportation tax. The tax, which will increase each year, is part of the government’s efforts to tackle the valley’s growing air pollution.

This is a fair interpretation because no one who owns an old or classic car uses it regularly. Because these cars are mostly bought and maintained as a hobby or for sentimental value, they are almost usually rarely used. This is therefore considered a welcome gesture by the Indians.

Due to this policy, owners of vintage cars face a significant financial burden in the form of an annual tax.

Let’s look at a Toyota Corolla from the year 1990. The annual tax rate for this car is Rs. 27,000 as of August 2021. The tax on the model of this car, based on the year of its manufacture, is Rs. . 22,950. As a result, the owner is expected to pay around Rs. 50,000 each year as road tax. Every year the rate increases here.

On the other hand, the government plans to ban cars over 20 years old from driving on the valley roads. If this is implemented, it will be the end of the road for admirers of old classics.

Sure, aging gasoline / diesel engines contribute to air pollution, but that’s only half the story. Air pollution is exacerbated by the aging of automobiles with poor engines.

Those with well-maintained engines that are serviced and serviced regularly are not entirely to blame. Therefore, the policy needs to be changed because limiting all 20 year old cars on the basis of a faulty premise is not a smart idea.

Classic and vintage automobiles are not treated the same in other countries than in Nepal, as they have their own set of rules and restrictions.

Cars over 40 are classified as vintage in the UK. All of these vehicles are exempt from the annual road tax and excise duty on vehicles, as well as the annual UK safety test.

Even India has introduced a new set of policies for classic and vintage automobiles. Rather than imposing dos and don’ts on vintage car and two-wheeler owners, the policy aims to protect their freedom and passion.

If you own a vehicle that is 50 years old from the date it was first registered, it is classified as a vintage vehicle under the new policy.

Owners of vintage automobiles will be asked to present the valid insurance policy of the vehicle, an entry invoice if the vehicle is imported and the old registration certificate if the vehicle has previously been registered in India, according to the opinion.

While formulating these policies may not be a top priority for the government right now, the Department of Transportation should give it some thought, as increasing taxes every year would not be the only solution.

This policy, however, is intended to prohibit the use of such vehicles for commercial or regular purposes, but owners are free to use their vintage cars in any way they see fit, such as an occasional show or ride.

This is a fair interpretation because no one who owns an old or classic car uses it regularly. Because these cars are mostly bought and maintained as a hobby or for sentimental value, they are almost generally used infrequently. This is therefore considered a welcome gesture by the Indians.

Back in Nepal, we have no policy regarding classic and vintage cars; in fact, we are way behind India in these policies.

Instead of just raising the tax, the government should explore new laws for vintage and class cars, like India has done.

The government can simply impose a minimum engine test for these vehicles, which will assess their condition and emission level.

Those who pass these tests should be allowed to drive on public roads. Likewise, the government can make electric conversions of these gasoline / diesel cars an option. While this will reduce the value of older cars, it will give them new life rather than limiting their use.

While formulating these policies may not be a top priority for the government right now, the Department of Transportation should give it some thought, as increasing taxes every year would not be the only solution.

Additionally, if fans of vintage classics start to advocate for changes in policies and regulations, it will be a great start to show the direction to the proper authorities and guide them on what can be done better.


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