Dutton Kit Cars and their owners

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Did Dutton manufacture and sell complete vehicles?

I think a small number were sold from the "factory" with crossflow engines, but don't quote me on that.

I think John Allen's S1 is factory built but owner registered, not sure the factory did the whole paperwork thing. No others that I know of but Rob may be able to shed some more light as he's been doing 'the dutton thing' a whole lot longer than I have.

Thanks Adrian. Pre-1983, was there a legal barrier to prevent a donor car being heavily modified by an amateur using a Dutton kit, retaining the donor registration number and altering the V5 to show "Dutton" as make?

Edit: 1983 = introduction of Q plate

No idea to be honest as I was into rally cars and hot rods before I bought my first Leggy in 2000. I'll ask around but I think it was just so much more relaxed back then. A lot of older Duttons even retained the donor VIN despite having a new chassis.

Thanks Adrian,

For pre-1983 Duttons, the starting point has to be the V5: if it shows make as Dutton then it's correctly registered, irrespective of whether the registration was issued to the Dutton by the DVLA or if the donor vehicle registration was used. However there is a risk that the DVLA will try and use their interpretation of the legislation to move historical goalposts. 

If they think you are getting away with something then they will move the posts. 

I think a lot of this has been brought about by things totally unrelated to kit cars but has had the 'knock on' effect of catching us up in the process. I must finish reading the proposal, problem is I fall asleep reading babble. I know they targeted a lot of historic hot rods over the last few years and there have been enough kit cars cloned to raise a stink so maybe this is just the easiest solution for them to implement.





n addition if a vehicle (including a motorcycle):
 has been issued with a registration number with a ‘Q’ prefix; or
 is a kit car assembled from components from different makes and model of
vehicle; or
 is a reconstructed classic vehicle as defined by DVLA guidance; or
 is a kit conversion, where a kit of new parts is added to an existing vehicle, or
old parts are added to a kit of a manufactured body, chassis or monocoque
bodyshell changing the general appearance of the vehicle;
it will be considered to have been substantially changed and will not be exempt
from MOT testing.
However if any of the four above types of vehicle is taxed as an “historic vehicle” and
has not been modified during the previous 30 years, it can be considered as a VHI.


I read that as any Dutton that has not been modified since 1988 will qualify as a Vehicle of Historic Interest, therefore MOT and tax exempt.

Edit: assuming it can be taxed as an historic vehicle, Isn't this catch 22?

If the vehicle is on a Q then the simple answer will always be no. Forever will it require MOT and VED.

If it's an age related plate with a date of first registration indicated as pre 1977 then it will probably need to be assessed by 'the inspectors' to find out if it has been modified in the last 30 years. If it ticks all the boxes then VHI is possible. Currently nothing after 1960 is MOT exempt. Add to that the issues with drivetrain and it may be a very long shot indeed. I read it as original fitment engines are allowed... difficult in a car that came with no engine specified or fitted. You may get away with having a 'donor car' compatible engine mod such as a 1600 crossflow to replace a 1300 or 1100 or a 2000 to replace a 1600 pinto but unlikely to work if you fitted a Zetec / Duratec...

Thanks Adrian, reading through it again, as I see it, this is the key sentence:

">However if any of the four above types of vehicle is taxed as an “historic vehicle” and has not been modified during the previous 30 years, it can be considered as a VHI. <"

In May 2018, if your Dutton is 40 years old or older then it can be registered as a VHI, if so it should be exempt from VED but not exempt from the MOT.

Is anyone in a position to contact Tim Dutton to see if Dutton manufactured complete vehicles? This could be a route to MOT exemption.

TWD did a few as complete cars but if the kit was registered as built from new parts then it got a new reg, becoming a vehicle in it's own right, very much like passing the IVA does today, with all new parts you'd get a 67 plate.

It'll be interesting to see how it all develops, one of mine has been registered as Historic under the old rules so I guess i'll be a guinea pig.

Section 3 on the V5C will be the deciding factor. In the special notes most kits are marked as either 'rebuilt - assembled from parts some or all of which were not new' or 'was registered and/or used, declared manufactured ####' If declared new then this would be the date they would go by.

One of the Phaetons is on NI plates and isn't marked as non transferable so that may also be interesting as it's declared as manufactured 1984.

Looking at all my paper work I've got all sorts written in that section. 

The Sierra, which is historic, is just empty, nothing in section 3 at all.

Would have had a new reg then. :) 


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