Matriculation -The importance of putting your car on Spanish plates.

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Last week, Paul and I took our two granddaughters shopping to Lorca shopping centre. We drove there in our 2004 VW Passat. We were going to take the Morris Minor but, decided against it at the last minute. Which as it turned out was a good decision. Paul returned to the car several times to put shopping in the boot, while me and the girls trailed around the shops. On his third visit to the car park, he was astonished to find that the car was not there. Thinking to himself ‘who in their right mind wants to steal an old VW estate?’ until he saw the yellow triangle on the floor Grua (recovery company) had towed the car away. We were horrified. What could be the reason why? Had someone bumped into it? We did not know. Eventually, we found a security guard who rang the number for us and advised us to go to the Local Police station in Lorca, where they wanted to talk to us. (Not Guardia.)

Nervous, we went to the police station, when an officer told us that they had towed it away as they had checked with the DVLA (they do this instantly) and found that the MOT had expired. Therefore, the car was not legal to be driven on the road in Spain. (By three days) However, this is the law applicable to all. The Police were very sympathetic and accommodating and advised us to ‘put the car on Spanish plates.’ Which, is not an easy thing to do with a car stuck in a Police compound. I will update you on developments on what happened with this shortly.

However, the tale does not end there. Last Sunday morning, Paul was on his way to Alicante airport when at 8am he was stopped by a Police roadblock. Again, because he was driving a UK plated car. (This time an MGF) This car was legal, had an up to date Mot, Insurance etc. However, the Police were not happy. Advising, that there was a crackdown on all UK plated cars  with no exceptions. So now we have to matriculate this second vehicle. So be careful out there. The last thing you want is for your treasured classic car to be impounded, but if it does not abide to Spanish law then it will be. For the record, this is the requirements of the law on UK imported cars.

EU law states that when you first move to Spain from another EU country, you must re-register your car onto Spanish plates within 6 months of your arrival. If you are a Spanish Resident, then the time frame allowed is just 30 days and you will have to pay the Matriculation (registration) Taxes of up to 16% of the cars Spanish Fiscal Book Value.

A person automatically assumes ‘Resident Status’ in Spain if they stay here longer than 183 days. It is also illegal for a Spanish resident to drive a non-Spanish registered vehicle too and it’s also illegal for a non-resident to keep a car here for longer than 6 months. Understanding all the technicalities and laws can be a minefield. You will hear many conflicting stories from so called ‘registration experts’ and you won’t know who to trust, what to do or where to go and the ball of confusion can blinker your thoughts. There will always be some people who don’t care what the laws are. That is until they get stopped by the Police or Guardia Civil and asked to produce their documents. And driving an illegal car becomes a huge liability if you are ever involved in an accident and try to make a claim to your insurance company. There are big problems facing anyone who gets caught driving an illegal car in Spain, as they can be impounded by the Police through lack of compliance with Spanish laws and may face a heavy fine too.

Looks like Paul and I are going to be counting the pennies for a while to come yet. So just be careful and abide by the law.

Stars and their Classic Cars

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I thought it may interest members – If I were to do a few pieces on famous stars and their classic cars. So I am starting this off with a touch of glamour-and the wonderful screen siren that was Rita Haworth.

Rita owned a 1941 Lincoln Continental-a luxury car marketed by Lincoln-a division of The Ford Motor Company.

The Lincoln Continental was considered the flagship for this first generation of luxury cars. The 1939-1948 Continental is recognised as a ‘Full Classic’ by the classic car club of America, and is one of the last-built cars to be recognised as such.

Rita Haworth (Born Mararita Camen Cansio) was born in 1918 in Brooklyn New York. She appeared in over 61 films in a career that spanned 37 years. She was very glamorous – and was the top pin up girl for American GI’s in World War 2.

Rita died in 1987 at the age of 68 from Alzheimer’s disease-which back then was a little known disease. Rita’s death to this debilitating disease greatly increased public awareness and paved the way for increased funding into Alzheimer’s research.


I wish I still had my? Part 1

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Over the years Paul has owned quite a few classic cars varying from Morris Minors to an Aston Martin V8. As a teenager Paul wasn’t keen on the new-fangled boy racer cars such as the Ford Mexico, the RS Cosworth or even the Ford Capri. He liked what he considered to be a proper car. (He still does) So when his Dad told him that a work colleague of his was selling a 1934 Austin 16/6 which needed restoring Paul was instantly hooked.

The next day Paul went to view the car. He loved it-and agreed a price with the car’s owner. The only thing was that Paul was only 16 at the time and had just started work-so he didn’t have the cash to buy the car outright. The owner said he wanted £200.00 for it. Paul agreed to pay the full price providing he could pay in instalments of £10 per week. Reluctantly, the owner agreed. ‘Bye ‘eck you drive a hard bargain son.’ The car was his – Paul was thrilled.

At the time Paul lived at home with his parents, so as you can imagine they were not exactly over-joyed at the prospect of having a non-running large ‘classic car’ permanently parked on their drive. (Nothing changes) As time went on and Pauls interests changed. (i.e., Beer and Girls) Sadly, the car was abandoned as the initial euphoria of owning it wore off. Paul did buy a new engine for it that he dismantled from a Chevy V8 1964 Impala.

Sadly, when Paul got married and started a family the car had to go-something he still regrets to this day. Especially when he sees a similar car on the internet or on TV then the proverbial words are ‘that’s just like my Austin!’

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The other car that Paul still wishes he owned and I must admit I totally agree with him on this is the Aston Martin V8. We were at work one day (We worked together) casually looking through Classic car Exchange & Mart. For years I had fancied an E type jag, but the ones I liked were out of our price range. Paul said well how about an Aston Martin then? I thought he was joking so playfully said ‘yes ok then if it has the same area telephone code as we do-then you can have it!’ I never expected that it would but fate was on Paul’s side that day as it did the area code was 01723-I could not believe it- I was dumbstruck.

We went to look at it the same day loved it and we bought it. A beautiful car- built in 1973- and therefore one of just 288 Series 2 built from 1972 through to 1973. It was finished in blue with contrasting Black hide interior.  With a V8- 5 litre engine it was a nightmare on petrol-but definitely a head-turner and a lovely drive.

Unfortunately, when we moved to Spain, we had to sell the car as the saying goes ‘One cannot have everything.’ We have since seen the car up for sale in Ireland at considerably more money than we originally paid. Still that’s life I suppose.

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If you have a story about-the one that got away-please email me


I wish I still had my ………?

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My hubby drives me insane saying ‘I wish I still had my …….so and so car.

So I have decided to write about this on this blog.

Do you have a car that you wish you had kept? I will be starting with the numerous car’s that Paul (hubby) wishes he had not let go (despite many of them rusting away on the driveway). If you have a story about a car you wish you still had- then please email me and we will put it on here.



Alan’s MGB Restoration.

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Alan Foreman (New Membership Committee member) has an exciting new project going on. He has purchased a second MGB- which he has bought unseen and transported door to door (UK-Spain ) at a cost of £550 (Winns Transport-excellent company.)

Alan intends to completely restore the car-and has spent over £3,500 on MG parts. At the end of this month his  friend will start the vital welding of the car.

It will be interesting to watch this restoration in progress-we will keep a close eye on this and keep you informed.



Sybil’s Star Car.

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‘Back in the day’, (early 1980′ s,) we (Ray & I) decided it was necessary for me to change my ‘run around’ car which at that time was a Mini Traveller with grass growing out of the window’s. Nowadays it would be a good classic- (after a bit of body work restoration!)

A friend said he knew of an almost new car coming available. He said it would be a good buy, and that he knew the background of the vehicle.  He explained that the owner was being transferred to Hong Kong with his Company and wished to sell the car.  He had taken it to the local garage and was insulted with the amount of money they offered, knowing full well they would put it on the forecourt and add £2,000 – £2,500 to the price.  He was willing to sell at the price the garage offered.  It was a small BMW 3 series, 1800 automatic, absolutely immaculate and lovely.

It was more than we had anticipated paying, but after a sleepless night, we decided it was a good proposition.  So we bought it.

The only time we had a problem with it, was when our younger son borrowed it.  He had only been gone five minutes when the telephone rang to say he’d had an accident.   Fortunately, all he had done was attempted to change the radio station whilst driving and hit a tree!

I covered many miles in the car, and I loved every minute. It was so easy to drive, and so easy to park. I reckon I could have parked her on a sixpence, especially outside Sainsbury’s (or Tesco’s Chas)

I was delighted with the car which I owned for the next 18 years. One very careful lady owner!

We then decided it was time to change her as it was getting more difficult to get her through the MOT.  Our friend, who had his own garage, stated he could not guarantee how much longer he could get it to the standard required.

Friends had a seventeen-year-old daughter who was learning to drive. We offered them the car, and explained that at her age the insurance would not come cheap,  and although it did have a 12 month MOT, who knew what the next year would bring!  They were not perturbed and said they would be delighted to have the car.

However, when Sarah passed her test, and they checked out the insurance cost,  and soon realised that  a new driver and BMW was not a viable option.  They asked if we would mind if they sold the car and we said ‘not at all’.

They advertised,  a man rang and asked if it was black, the answer being no- it was deep blue – he wanted black.   However 2 weeks later he phoned back and asked ‘was it a dark blue’ and was told ‘yes’.   He came and bought her for £200 which we told our friends to put towards Sarah’s new car.

Sometime later, I was watching Inspector Lynley on TV  and shouted ‘that’s  my car’ as this beautiful dark blue BMW came round the corner- still looking immaculate.   It supposedly crashed, but when we saw the picture of a car on its side, with  the wheels still spinning round (which did not belong to my car) I firmly believe they thought it was too good to crash!!!  But whatever happened, she went out with a bang-and in true style.



Manic Journey from Mojacar to Manchester

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Michael and Wendy Birtwistle sent me this account of a recent journey Michael took between Mojacar and Manchester-as you can see it certainly did not go to plan….



We had decided to return the XK 150s back to Manchester as we are spending the summer there this year, so ferry booked Santander to Portsmouth, for Wendy and I. Then Sod’s law she had to return 2 weeks earlier due to one of the grandchildren being ill. That left me solo for a 1000-mile trip in a 57-year-old car (adventure or what!)

The ferry was booked for Thursday (10th March) so being on my own I thought I would take my time and left on the Tuesday deciding to stop in the Parador at Cuenca. A superb drive up with little traffic and the car running sweetly. Beautiful place to stop, very historic and pretty.

Next overnight was Burgos and again lovely run, mostly light traffic and car was perfect…. lovely hotel and evening meal. Then awakening on the Thursday morning to terrible sleety, snowy weather, so up and off! I was certainly glad the heater worked as the car has been in Mojacar for more than a year and in that time it’s never been needed. I progressed on towards Santander the weather steadily got worse and worse (see pictures!!) I was in convoy with a British registered Mazda MX 5 for a long stretch, at one point he lost control of the vehicle, luckily not hitting anything hard. We met up at the port afterwards both relieved to have got through without incident or getting stuck. The authorities were very professional with snow ploughs and gritters a plenty.

Now, as we all know salt and grit do not go well with an old classic car.  I was not well pleased, but luckily as I neared Santander the weather changed to VERY heavy clean rain so much of the salt was washed away. Arrived at the port relived to board the ferry.

The crossing was ok., if a bit rough but I was just glad to be on my way to Portsmouth (docking at 14:45) I thought the journey was done apart from the last leg Portsmouth to Manchester, 250 miles mostly motorway a five-hour trip with good stops.

Off the boat, through customs/passport control and away, full of fuel looking forward to a pizza with Wendy at our local Italian Resturante…. How wrong can you be!!!!  Approaching M40/M42 junction a truck loaded with animal feedstuffs hit the central barriers and distributed its contents across all the carriageways! So the 5-hour journey turned into 12! With a 7-hour closure of the motorway and no escape….

So it was an adventure I don’t wish to repeat in a hurry. We returned to Mojacar 3 weeks later via the same route in a 1990 XJS without any sort of delay, problems, or bad weather.

Circuit des Remparts, Angouleme

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Maria and Dickie Bird, sent me these photographs from the famous “Circuit des Remparts” race weekend. (France) The weekend normally in September each year includes concourse competitions, an international tourist rally through the picturesque French countryside, as well as a whole day of vintage and classiccar racing around the historic walled circuit in the old town of Angouleme.

ITV and a Classic/Historic Car

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Good day to you all,


Chas Longhurst, our Vice-President and Events co-coordinator has written a review on the trials and tribulations of taking a Classic car to the ITV station. Like all cars driven on the road classic cars need to pass a technical inspection. A number of checks are carried out on the vehicle to make sure that it is safe to drive and road worthy. If your classic has ordinary plates, then it will need to be inspected annually. If it is on historic plates, then the date of inspection depends on the age of the car and can be either 5 or 3 years.


To get historic plates. Firstly, your car need to pass an extensive ITV inspection which is more expensive than a standard ITV. However, ITV inspectors are aware that historic cars can hit the road in their original way, so they only check the basic safety points on the car.


As with many things in Spain, the process is a long drawn out affair. I will look into the process/requirements and post an update here as soon as I find any more information. For now here is Chas experience.


During the middle of February this year I took my Triumph Vitesse for its first ITV inspection. (In my ownership) With Judy’s help we booked an appointment online with the ITV station in Vera.


My Vitesse is on Historic plates, and only needs an ITV every 3 years. (See above) Young Bill kept me company as this was my first visit with a classic car, and I am sure that he would find the experience interesting if not entertaining. Upon entering the tunnel, unlike an ordinary car the Vitesse was not subjected to an emission test, nor seat belt verification. The next step was to compare the commission plate number with the chassis number. (On which it failed) For the life of me, and through lack of knowledge I could not locate the chassis number.


The next stage, was the full external lights inspection. A task in Itself-Full beam, dipped, sidelights, indicators, reversing and brake lights. My car does not have fog lights or hazards but, the inspector did not question this.


Followed, by the brake test, both hand and foot. Fortunately, both these passed by 110% so much so that the car shot off the test roller-backwards-whilst still beeping horn!


Then onto the torture test-the rolling road. This tests the car’s wheel bearings and general tracking. (Which, again the car failed) The rear offside wheel bearing was not up to standard. That was it-my poor car left the testing station with a ‘Not passed with documentation on its failure points.


With a historic car. The ITV station gives you 3 months from the date of failure to re-test without further charge. So six weeks later with two new wheel bearings on the back wheel (Thank you Bill) I also went aimed with a Triumph Vitesse owner’s manual in both English and Spanish, this proved helpful to ascertain the whereabouts of the elusive chassis number-much to the inspector’s satisfaction.


Fantastic-the car passed its ITV on its second inspection. So that’s it for another 3 years.


So if you are taking your Historic/Classic car for an ITV here are a few tips.


1. Make sure the horn works
2. Take original car owner’s manual in case of any query over numbers and their locations
3. If you don’t speak Spanish-take someone with you who does.


Some useful links


ITV stations (Inspección Técnica de Vehículos) in Almeria.

To book an appointment online.;jsessionid=xXUd5ok0UcqrOCsAA0RSMw

Address/Opening Times/ITV stations in Andalucía.

Minor Family Matters.

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Our drive 2015

Paul and I have had a Morris in the family for as far back as I can remember. On our first date Paul turned up in a 1969 green Morris Minor Traveller. I was horrified!There I was dressed up to the nines ready for a ‘posh’ night out. I did not expect to be ‘taken out’ in a midwife or school master’s car as I associated the Minor’s with back then. I wasn’t too impressed (with the car) and my friends, well… they found it highly amusing. However, I soon got used to it. It was fun, different and above all cheap to run. Since then we have had many more.


Our favourite was a maroon one which we part-exchanged for a Ford Sierra. Originally manufactured in 1962, it was sound and still going strong. We went everywhere in it. The kids hated it! They were just at that teenage in-between age so if they misbehaved, their punishment was to be taken to school in the Moggie-or worse Paul would wave at their friends as he passed them whilst the kids would hide down in the back seat, trying to go incognito and praying their friends did not see them. They really did not appreciate their dad driving round and round the roundabout like Mr Bean- ‘You’re so not funny dad!’ was the usual remark.


Nothing Changes


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  Taken outside our (then) house 25 years ago.


Even worse, one day Paul turned up in a Morris Minor van he just had to buy. ‘Oh my God’ the kids declared ‘Dad thinks he’s Postman Pat!’ and to make matters worse he bought a Postman Pat tape and played it full blast from the homemade converted tape machine- stuck together with masking tape. ‘Mum tell him… why can’t we have a proper car… like normal people?’ The van had a ‘custom’ makeover. It had blacked-out port-holes for windows and the interior resembled ‘a tart’s boudoir’ with its pink padded draylon and cushions.


Besides the two we already had Paul found a Morris Minor saloon in Exchange & Mart, only £40.00 a bargain he said. (I wish it were the same nowadays) so by now we were well on our way to having the full set-our own Morris Minor collection. We had plans to move to the coast, so I’m afraid the cars had to go… well most of them. We kept the maroon one which, due to a misunderstanding got scrapped in 1997. (Hubby left it in a friend’s yard, and the scrap man took it away.)


We did not get another one until 2011. This time a complete wreck that (still) needs an extensive restoration. In 2013 Paul bought the Morris Traveller we drive now, bought unseen, it arrived on a transporter from the UK. Fortunately, we are really pleased with it. The only thing is my drive is once again becoming cluttered with Morris Minor’s… some things never change.


Now for the Science.


The Morris Minor first emerged from Alec Issigonis’s sketch pad around 1943 and launched at the 1948 Earls Court Motor Show and quickly became the star attraction in the small car sector; its clean, modern styling and technical ingenuity put it ahead of not just its immediate rivals, but also many larger saloons. The war was won, and people were fed up with years of austerity and rationing. They had enjoyed driving in the Army and were looking for a small (ish) economical car for their families. Issigonis delivered a stylish, roomy car which was affordable to the working class.


The Morris had a monocoque modern body shell, and independent front suspension. Gone were the separate running boards, wings and chassis. Furthermore, Issigonis had purposely designed small wheels for the car giving the car a ‘big car’ look. Lord Nuffield (William Morris) the owner of Morris was not over-keen on Issigonis’s radical design and referred to the Minor (saloon) as ‘a poached egg.’


Initially two versions were available. The two door saloon, and the more expensive ‘convertible’. Followed, by the 4 door saloon which was introduced in 1950, and the Traveller in 1953. The Minor’s versatility was further shown in its light van and pick-up variants, the former being much favoured by the Royal Mail (or the GPO as it was known). The cars were built at Cowley, although production was eventually switched to the Morris Commercial Vehicles site in Birmingham.


Such was the appeal of the Minor that over 1.6 million vehicles were built over its 23 year life-span. Production finally ceased in 1971 with the Traveller and light van being the last Minors built.


The Morris continues to be popular, a contemporary classic, and can often be seen in Television soaps and dramas.