1. j-j

    j-j Newbie

    Hi all,

    I am about to drive my Trabi home from the seller, a journey of some 1000 miles.

    The car is in good condition and has been well serviced - as far as I can tell!

    I wondered if any of you had any advice for preparing for along journey? I know many of you have done long trips, many much longer than mine.

    What should I take in the way of spare parts for example? And what about spare wheels?

  2. brand

    brand Newbie

    Hey, from where to where?
  3. Steve

    Steve Loyal Comrade

    Fan belt, new spark plugs, spare wheel or tire repair kit and a gallon can of fuel should be all you need, but you never know with a Trabi.
  4. j-j

    j-j Newbie

    Thanks Steve! Those seem like practical things to start with.

    Hey Brand, I’ll be travelling from East Berlin to London on a fairly indirect route.
  5. Steve

    Steve Loyal Comrade

    That's got to be a VERY indirect route to do 1000 miles from Berlin to London.
  6. j-j

    j-j Newbie

    You are quite right Steve!

    I meant kilometres! Yes it would be very indirect.

    Berlin to Calais, 1000km if I avoid the bigger roads. Then the UK bit on the back of a trailer since it's against the law for a UK resident to drive a foreign registered vehicle in the UK. So although I can drive all through Europe, as soon as it gets to the UK it has to be put on a trailer.
  7. Andrew353w

    Andrew353w Newbie

    Intriguing. I'm not sure you've understood the regulations for driving a foreign registered vehicle in the United Kingdom. I'm a U.K. resident (I'm also a British citizen, although I appreciate that not all British residents are British citizens!) and in my time as a mechanic I've driven dozens of foreign registered vehicles, many French & German, a few Dutch and at least one Swiss registered V.W. Golf! A goodly number of my customers were workers from Heathrow Airport, which meant my client base was somewhat "cosmopolitan" to say the least! As I understood the rules, any foreign registered vehicle may be used on U.K. roads for up to 6 months without the need to re-register it. I appreciate things might (might) change after Brexit, but at the moment I think you'll be fine, providing that the car's correctly registered in its home country, has a valid M.O.T. (or the equivalent in the home country) you are qualified to drive it and the car is roadworthy. After all, you might be a British citizen, temporarily living in France for a few years on a work contract, who has popped back to England to visit family and is driving your classic Renault.... I can't see this scenario being illegal in any way.
  8. j-j

    j-j Newbie

    Thanks Andrew,

    Yes lots of people have said that to me and it seems to be a commonly held belief. It's certainly the case for foreign visitors, but unfortunately I can't find any official guidance that says that is true for UK citizens - the only guidance I have found says it only applies to people who are resident outside the UK.

    I have to say I didn't believe it when I first found out, it seemed odd that I could drive across the EU but not in my home country. So I did some digging.

    From part of the DVLA site about importing I found this, and confirmed it by phone with them because it seemed a bit unlikely..:

    UK residents aren’t allowed to use non-UK registered vehicles on UK roads. The only exceptions are if you:

    work in another European Union (EU) member state and use an EU-registered company car temporarily in the UK
    lease an EU-registered car and use this temporarily in the UK

    You can usually use a vehicle displaying non-UK number plates, and not have to tax or register it in the UK, if:

    you’re visiting the UK and don’t plan to live here
    you only use the vehicle up to 6 months in a 12-month period (1 single visit, or several shorter visits adding up to a 6-month period)
    the vehicle is registered and taxed in its home country

    Edit: I realised I should probably include a source for this info and have just found one again so though I would edit this to include it. On page 3 of this PDF with a nice snappy URL..:

    "A UK resident must not drive a vehicle displaying foreign registration number plates in the UK."

    My insurance company also told me the same thing - they are happy to insure me for the trip but can't insure me inside the UK until it's registered here.

    There is a fairly clear PDF from the Police here https://www.staffordshire.police.uk/media/4765/INF38-1-Eng/pdf/INF38-1_Eng.pdf

    All of that said if I'm wrong I would love to be shot down, because it would be so much more convenient for me to be able to drive it home from Dover! I have found it fairly confusing to get clear guidance on because common sense would suggest that you could drive it home at least. Hopefully I've just missed something.

    I did wonder whether it might be ok to drive if it was on its way to its first inspection pre- being registered, similar to driving to a pre-booked MOT appointment when an MOT has elapsed. But I checked that with the DVLA too and they said categorically no.

    I appreciate any input.

    Thanks very much
  9. brand

    brand Newbie

    Good luck on your journey, by the way. I would assume you'd be able to make it to the UK before 23:00 on 29 March 2019.
  10. j-j

    j-j Newbie

    I really hope so! Otherwise who knows what will happen.

    Thanks :)
  11. Andrew353w

    Andrew353w Newbie

    If you need a tow my normal car is a Subaru Forester, equipped with flashing amber lights on the roof, a tow bar and I have an "A" frame & a rear light board, including a number plate. If you want a 4 wheeled tow then PM me if I can help.
  12. j-j

    j-j Newbie

    Thanks Andrew. I may well do exactly that.
  13. Steve

    Steve Loyal Comrade

    When I registered my first Trabi for UK use it still had DDR plates. The sequence of events was to get insurance, most classic car insurers will take just the VIN number for ID until you get UK plates. Then get a UK M.o,T(the testing station will use the VIN plate as ID) if it is younger than 40 years since original reg. when new. If you arrive in UK at a suitable time where you can drive it straight to a pre arranged MoT which could be in Dover or anywhere that same day, and then drive it home afterwards, I can't see that you are breaking the law. Unless of course the MoT produces a failure notice which states the car is too dangerous to drive. So arrange the MoT in your home town if you can get there the same day that you land. Then when insured and MoT'd you have to inform HMRC that you imported the car and get a NOVA declaration from them which decides if any import duty must be paid. After all that, you then get a registration pack from DVLA for importing a used foreign vehicle, join the IFA club UK, and then the club examiner Mel Holley will come and do a report on your car at your request, and then you send his report and all your docs to DVLA with the appropriate fee. If you're lucky you will get your UK reg. first time. It took me 5 weeks to get mine done. Good luck.
    Last edited: Feb 25, 2019
  14. j-j

    j-j Newbie

    Thanks Steve!

    The problem I am having currently is finding an insurer who will insure it for the UK part of the journey. Those that I have spoken to are happy to insure on the VIN in Europe but won't cover driving in the UK because it's not legal.

    I thought the same as you about being able to drive to a pre-arranged MoT test but it's actually not the case for foreign registered cars. I called the DVLA to check this because it seemed so unlikely. I wonder if this is a recent change to the law because so many people think otherwise. It's a pain.

    I spoke to the port authorities and ferry companies who have all said that it won't be legal to drive off the ferry... and they have no-where I can put it onto a trailer Dover-side before customs. Very dull.
  15. Steve

    Steve Loyal Comrade

    Try Adrian Flux insurance and explain to them you want to do. I'm sure they can insure you for the trip and also for the UK side as they will just need your VIN number. Or if you have a friend in the motor trade, maybe they could meet you at Dover and use their trade plates (red and white) to cover you until you get it home.
  16. j-j

    j-j Newbie

    Thanks Steve.

    I've just come off the phone to Adrian Flux who say it's not possible to insure the Trabi to drive in the UK until after it's been registered, and he says that includes it's initial journey home.
    Admiral said a similar thing (although they are happy to cover it for the EU driving).

    Who knew this would be so difficult!

    Unfortunately I don't have any mates who have trade plates (good idea though!).
    I'm going to end up putting it on a trailer at this rate which was a cost I was hoping to avoid to be honest.

    Any other ideas gratefully received. Or indeed any other insurance company suggestions!

  17. Steve

    Steve Loyal Comrade

    Well I am surprised at Adrian Flux because a couple of years ago I did exactly that . I had to drive it to my local MoT place and I certainly wouldn't have done without insurance. I got cover from them after explaining what the situation was and they just took the VIN number which was showing on their cover note to send to DVLA to register and tax it at the same time. Try Footman James, a company recommended by the IFA club UK. Explain exactly what you want to do.
  18. j-j

    j-j Newbie

    Thanks Steve, good recommendation.

    I called Footman James just now, unfortunately they have actually turned me down because I haven't held my license long enough for them, a bit annoying because I'm hardly a boy racer at my age..

    So anyway I didn't even get as far as the driving a foreign vehicle question!
  19. RogerDerSchrauber

    RogerDerSchrauber Premium Member Forum Donor

    Crikey! Pay somebody to bring it home on a flatbed. About a Euro a mile, generally. But you'll save yourself a lot of money in wear and tear on the car.
  20. Steve

    Steve Loyal Comrade

    Been thinking. I would drive the Trabi to the port, Calais or Dunkirk. Leave it somewhere safe. Go home as a foot passenger, then take a car/van with a towbar and a car trailer (beg steal or borrow) and bring the Trabi back on the trailer on a day return ticket. You would only need the trailer for less than a day and that would be all legal (except the steal bit).

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