The National Traction Engine Trust


A recent study into the social, cultural and economic value of the historic vehicle movement undertaken by the Federation of British Historic Vehicle Clubs (FBHVC) shows that activity resulting from interest in historic vehicles is worth at least £4.3 billion annually to the UK economy, supports employment for 28,000 people and yet is responsible for less than 0.25% of traffic.

These headline results were announced on 6 December to members of the All Party Parliamentary Historic Vehicle Group (APPHVG), the press and business leaders at a reception in the House of Lords hosted by Lord Montagu of Beaulieu, President of both FBHVC and APPHVG.

The research underpinning the report was carried out earlier in 2011 in conjunction with the Historic Vehicle Research Institute (HVRI) and is the third time that a team led by Geoff Smith, a Vice President of FBHVC and co-Founder of HVRI, has ‘measured’ the historic vehicle movement.  The last survey, in 2006, had found that the historic vehicle movement was worth £3.2 billion and supported employment for 27,000 people.

Commenting on the latest finding, Geoff said:

“It is encouraging that the economic value of the movement has at least been maintained in real terms despite recent difficult trading conditions, and it is excellent news that 1,000 more people are earning from the movement.  Traders are generally optimistic for the future, with many predicting growth leading to new jobs.  On the down side, many are concerned that the burden of regulations faced by small businesses may stifle this potential growth before it can start.”

The survey showed that the historic vehicle movement in general continues to enjoy a strong following amongst the general public who spend considerable sums on books, magazines, attending events and purchasing historic-vehicle related memorabilia. 

After learning of that survey showed that two-thirds of traders were concerned about potential restrictions on the use of historic vehicles, Mike Penning, Under Secretary of State at the Department for Transport with responsibility for Road Safety, commented:

“I’m pleased to be able to re-assure everyone that there is no intention whatsoever to restrict the use of historic vehicles.  I see them as important to our national heritage and would like to see more of them in use."

Key findings and a PDF of the report can be found at

Please note:

The Federation of British Historic Vehicle Clubs exists to uphold the freedom to use historic vehicles on the road.  It seeks to achieve this by monitoring and, where necessary, influencing UK and European legislation to ensure that nothing is done that would interfere with the basic right to use a properly maintained vehicle on the road without need to destroy its historic integrity by modification.

FBHVC deals directly with UK politicians through the All Party Parliamentary Historic Vehicle Group as well with government departments, including agencies such as DVLA and VOSA.  It operates internationally through its membership of the Fédération Internationale des Véhicules Anciens (FIVA).  FIVA maintains a professional monitoring service in Brussels. 

FBHVC has long enjoyed excellent relationships with government in UK based on the understanding that nothing should be done that would require an old vehicle to perform to a higher standard than that which applied when it was new.  This position, where success is being achieved by cooperation rather than confrontation, results from the work that FBHVC has done over the years to show that the historic vehicle movement is properly organised, professional, responsible and extensive.  The movement plays a significant part in modern society.

FBHVC is managed on a voluntary basis and is funded by subscription from more than 500 membership organisations and museums that have an interest in older vehicles.  FBHVC also has direct support from a number of traders and private individuals who recognise the importance of the work undertaken by FBHVC. 



10 Dec 2011