New tax proposals prompt Port to go window shopping

| 29 Oct 2012

I awoke this morning to the news that people like me, who have to use a major motorway or two in order to get to work, could soon be paying more for road tax.

Of course, at the moment it is purely one of the proposals being considered, but, should it come into being, then it would provide me with an interesting dilemma.

Over the years I’ve been very happy, almost ecstatic when it has come to the yearly ritual of taxing the Port household vehicles.

Out of the three we have on the road, two of them have usually been eligible for tax exempt status and so clicking the ‘give me my free tax disc’ button on the DVLA website has always been accompanied by a smile.

Recently though, I’ve not done myself any favours on that front.

I could almost forgive the last of our taxable classics – the Austin Mini – because it didn’t cost anything in the first place and then only cost just over £100 for the whole year anyway, thanks to it’s pocket rocket engine.

However, it is the Scimitar GTE that finds itself falling foul of the ‘classics and tax’ situation.

Its 1974 registration means that I have little choice other than to stump up £220 in order to keep it legally on the tarmac and while that is just about bearable considering the fact that it boasts a nice 3-litre V6 under the bonnet and covers 15,000 miles a year, anything more would become a very bitter pill to swallow.

The facts are simple: I live in Berkshire and drive to South West London using a combination of the A4, M4 and M3. Sometimes I even use the M25 (but only on a Friday). Under the new proposals this means that in order to be eligible for the lower rate of road tax, I would have to abandon these roads and stick to the ‘slower’ routes as they have been labeled – not exactly great news for a V6 touring GTE which happily eats up miles and more than holds its own with moderns on the motorway. It wouldn’t be great news for residents of sleepy Berkshire villages either – having my fuel-guzzling estate rumbling past their windows at 6.30 in the morning.

However, there is another possible outcome and one that is much simpler.

Unfortunately, if those proposals do come through, I will be forced to sell the GTE and buy something with tax-exempt status. That could of course still be a Scimitar, but having done so much work on the one I own, I don’t think I’d want to have a different one, even if it was older.

If I had to use the slower routes, then I would probably buy another Land-Rover because the speed wouldn’t matter anyway, but then it would be tax-exempt so I would get frustrated at not being able to make the most of the faster ‘free’ roads!

No, the only option would be for me to buy something completely different, so I may as well get looking now, just in case.

Suggestions for a tax-exempt classic then please.One that can match the ‘get-up-and-go’ of the Scimitar, return at least 25mpg, be as hardy as a Land-Rover and still have that ‘look back and smile’ quality when I park it up.Oh, and it can’t cost more than the Scimitar is worth.

First on the list is my old favourite, the Volvo Amazon estate, but that is ignoring the ‘get-up-and-go’ bit unfortunately.

That is closely followed by the good old Porsche 914… but that means ignoring the ‘can’t cost more than a Scimitar’ bit. Not unless I want a real shed on wheels which means the road tax issue becomes redundant because it will end up on SORN!

Of course, all this is theoretical at the moment, but window shopping is always fun, even if it is the Government’s fault.