I'm currently modifying my Austin A35 - nothing too extreme, compared with what we rodders often see. One of the common changes, which I have done, is to swap the engine from a 948 to a midget 1275. No monocoque modifications are needed, it just bolts straight in. Being fairly diligent regarding legal requirements in March I sent my V5 to the DVLA to notify them that I'd changed the engine on my A35 to a 1275.
As I understood it, from the guidance the DVLA provide, if increasing the engine size you only needed to send details of the new capacity and the engine number - it's only when decreasing the capacity, which may have an impact on the amount of car tax to pay, depending on the age of the vehicle, that you have to provide evidence regarding the new engine size. Regardless of this I provided details of the engine number, capacity, photos of the engine and engine plate, and a copy of the receipt (which included the engine number) - the engine was purchased privately, rather than from a garage.
6 weeks later I received the V5 back, with no change to the details, and a letter stating that I must provide evidence of either:
- a receipt of purchase of the engine from a garage on headed paper (which obviously I can't do, and they would have known this from my covering letter)
- an inspection report from an organisation such as the AA or RAC (I work on the car myself to save money - I'm not going to spend any that could go on the car on effectively nothing)
- an inspection report provided for insurance purposes (?)
- written confirmation from the manufacturer showing the engine number and size (could be tricky)
The other thing questioned was "very few manufacturers produce an engine size of exactly 1275. If your evidence does not provide an accurate engine size it may be rejected".
I subsequently obtained a copy of a garage receipt from the person I bought the engine from (this related to his purchase of the engine from a garage). I found out the bore and stroke of the 1275 engine, and I calculated the capacity as 1273cc. I sent this information, along with a covering letter, to the DVLA.
Today I received a reply, from the same person as before. It was an almost identical letter to the last one, except for the statement: "very few manufacturers produce an engine size of exactly 1273. If your evidence does not provide an accurate engine size it may be rejected"!
So I have provided evidence of my purchase receipt, previous purchase from a garage, photos of the engine, showing the engine number, and a mathematically calculated capacity, but it's still not as good enough for the halfwits from the DVLA. Regarding the engine size I can't imagine what they want now (maybe I should state it to several decimal places).
I have e-mailed a complaint to them, and will let you know how I get on.
The main lesson I've learnt is that these cretins are doing their best to kill off our hobby. I have tried to be diligent and provide, what I would regard, as acceptable and strong evidence of the modification to my vehicle. However, given my experience of dealing with them and their incompetence I would not recommend that anyone informs them of such minor changes to their vehicles.