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MOT Emissions VX1600


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I am prepping my car for an MOT which is a 2000 VX chassis ex race car.

The car is road registered with documentation but never had its first MOT.

Does anyone know what the emission limits are? Is it a visual inspection only?

Ive looked at the MOT handbook and the 6th Letter of the Vin is K, 8th X, 9th C and 10th digit Y.

The engine is not listed and doesn't seem to fit the exemptions listed



Would this car ever of had a Catalytic converter?



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The stumbling block for you appears to be the 10th digit on the vin. If it were W or lower and with the 6th digit K, it would be a smoke test only. My advice, for what it is worth, is to take the car to an MOT centre that understands Caterham cars.  Good luck.


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I used to have a 2002 1.8 8 valve Vauxhall Caterham. 

For many years I had no problems with emissions, the garage I used passed it each year with no comment about the emissions.

I moved to Scotland 7 years ago & the first time I took the car for an MOT the garage failed it because the emissions were ‘way too high’. It turned out the previous garage had been turning a blind eye to the emissions! 

From that point on I had to have the carburettors de-tuned before the MOT & then re-adjusted back to the normal settings afterwards. 

I don’t think any 8 valve Vauxhall cars had a catalytic converter & unfortunately I think the visual smoke test only applies to pre 96 cars (If I’m remembering correctly).

I would agree with Rick. I think your best approach would be to find a sympathetic MOT garage, probably one that’s used to dealing with classic cars & understands carbs. Good luck! I hope you manage to get it sorted.


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Thinking about it. If the car passed initially an sva test there must be some way of legally getting it past an mot. I built a kit car in the past that used a similar pre 95 engine and was registered in 2014.

its like saying all the Beaulieu caterhams are now not road legal?

I will try and get a letter from Caterham.

Also when the v5 comes back im hoping that the emissions level will be shown on there


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It might be worth contacting VOSA. I once took my caterham to Kwikfit for an MOT. The guys were very good even allowing me to twist the headlights so as to get a pass on alignment. However they failed it, not on emissions, but because the fog light went out on full beam. The MOT guidelines were a bit vague on this point and they were quite apologetic for the the fail. I contacted VOSA by email (enquiries@vosa.gsi.gov.uk) and they replied the next day clarifying the matter and confirming it should not be a fail. I then phoned them (03001239000) and they agreed to phoning the garage which they did that same day. This is why I now go to a friendly MOT centre.


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I've recently been through the MOT process with a 1997 1.6K SS (no cat) at a friendly garage which didn't have any experience of kit cars.

My car has a C, R6 and U in the relevant positions of the VIN so only requires a visual smoke test. However, the initial menu presented on the emissions test machine is a year selection which they have to make manually. I can't remember all the options, but mine fell into the 1996-2002 category.

From that point onwards there is no way the car is going to pass because the machine is testing to a level which needs a CAT. The tester was very reluctant to refer to any manuals which might dictate a different procedure, even though I produced the relevant page from the same PDF you linked to in post #1).

In the end I found this link https://www.gov.uk/guidance/mot-inspection-manual-for-private-passenger-and-light-commercial-vehicles/8-nuisance#section-8-2-1 and got acceptance that a pre '75 test was correct: Gaseous emissions


For emissions purposes only you should treat the following as first used before 1 August 1975:

  • kit cars and amateur-built vehicles first used before 1 August 1998
  • Wankel rotary-engined vehicles first used before 1 August 1987
  • Q plated vehicles

In your case, I think this section applies in conjunction with the letter suggested by the link in post #2:

Vehicles exempt from emission limits

Some vehicles may never have been able to meet the MOT limits for CO or HC emissions. The vehicle owner must provide proof of this, such as a letter from the vehicle manufacturer. If the vehicle owner cannot provide proof of this, you must fail the MOT test if the vehicle is not within the emissions limits.

Good luck! I can't help thinking it shouldn't be this hard!

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Ref #7 I used to have to take a works car in to Kwikfit for tyres and while there I often saw people coming in to collect cars after an MOT.  I do not recall ever seeing one pass and the fails were usually for trivial items.  Not saying this was deliberate policy but it did seem unusual.  I would never take a car for MOT to any "national chain" company. 

I used to take my Mini to a local independent garage for its MOT (until it became exempt) and although is cost full fee there were never any issues. I will be taking the 7 there when the restoration is complete

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