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Extract from January's MGCC publication - Safety Fast

A test protocol is being formulated for use by the FBHVC's Fuels Committee. Manufacturers of additives will be invited to submit their products to the FBHVC criteria (at their own expense), and Fuels Committee members will also be researching the market to provide data on additives currently on offer. The Committee feels a campaign should be mounted to lobby the Government to consider applying to the EU to extend the date (1st January 2000) by which the supply of leaded petrol at the pumps is to be discontinued, to allow sufficient time for substantive research into an effective additive to replace the lead content. However, it is thought that this approach will meet with little success: many EU members states (e.g. Germany) are actively against the continued supply of leaded fuel.
(2) F.I.V.A.
The FIVA is the international body representing the interests of the historic vehicle movement. The FBHVC is the British member of FIVA. Some months ago the FBHVC voiced its concerns over FIVA members' voting arrangements, which do not reflect comparative underlying membership numbers (see below).

    FIVA has two fundamental functions:
    (1) the organisation of international rallies;
    (2) involvement in European affairs - specifically motoring legislation;

While the first has historically been of interest to only some 1,000 U.K. owners of older vehicles, European affairs affect some 270,000 of us. A disproportionate amount of FIVA's budget is spent on rallies, so that it is questionable whether the FBHVC (i.e., we) are getting value for out contribution. The FBHVC, whose members represent about 50% of all FIVA members, pays 17,000 p.a. for its FIVA membership; that represents 27% of FIVA's total income, but the U.K. enjoys only 10% of the votes.
The FBHVC has voiced its concern over this inequality, and has further suggested amendments to FIVA's statutes to reduce bureaucracy and costs. If at FIVA's general assembly (which by now will have taken place) our concerns are not recognised, the FBHVC is likely to break away from FIVA and, along with Norway, Finland, Sweden and South Africa, form a separate body, with a lobbying facility at Brussels, to concentrate its funds on pursuing matters which are of importance to the large majority of the members of its affiliated clubs.
That said, the FBHVC's new fee structure proposed for next year would result in a four-fold increase in the membership contribution from the M.G. Car Club - so we will be obliged to consider our own position.
Stirring times, indeed!

Members of the M.G. Car Club may remember completing a questionnaire a few months ago for the Federation of British Historic Vehicle Clubs, providing information on our M.G.s and how we use them. Similar questionnaires were sent to other F.B.H.V.C. affiliated clubs for distribution to their respective members, as well as a separate, industry-focussed questionnaire sent for completion by club offices. The survey's full scope was to determine the patterns of ownership of and the employment and economic opportunities provided by historic vehicles. The need to preserve against creeping Euroannying our abilites and rights to continue to use our old vehicles in the way in which we wish to do so, clearly provides the impetus for commissioning the report.
The survey elicited a 15% response - a staggering high proportion, when you consider that some clubs did not send the forms out to individual members; that historic vehicle owners are frequently members of more than one club; and that a questionnaire response rate of around 3% may be considered good. The 15% rate achieved represented some 38,000 vintage, veteran and pre-1977 classic vehicle owners - easily enough to provide a reliable statistical sample.
While an extended research report will be published later, the key findings from our completed questionnaires provide a starting point for understanding the size of historic vehicle movement in terms of its contribution to our economic and social life, and in serving the world wide interest in historic vehicles.

The key findings are:-
1. Over 650,000 vehicles made before 1977 are still in existence.
2. Some 64% (over 420,000) of those vehicles are both roadworthy and licensed.
3. The vehicles are in the hands of over 260,000 owners.
4. 39% (of FBHVC member clubs' members) own one vehicle. 24% own two and 13% three. Over 7% own more than six.
5. Over 36% of owners cover under 1,500 miles annually in (any one of) their old vehicles, while a further 31% cover between 1,500 and 3,000. Thus, under a third of us cover more than 3,000 miles. Only 4% cover in excess of 10,000 miles a year.
6. 33% or historic vehicles are used as regular transport (i.e., more than three times a week).
7. Excluding fuel and insurance, 39% of us spend up to 500 per year per vehicle; a further 40% spend between 500 and 2,000. Average annual expenditure is 800.
8. Average annual fuel cost per vehicle is 420.
9. Average insurance cost per vehicle is 120.
10. There are over 4,000 businesses in the U.K. providing products and services for the historic vehicle owner and others interested in old vehicles.
11. The total gross turnover of these businesses was estimated at 1.6 billion in 1996, of which some 335 million was in exports.
12. The combined monthly readership of the top four historic vehicle magazines is 2.6 million, of which one in five are women.
13. Other industry and activity generated by the movement includes vehicle auctions, tourism, museums and libraries, all of which attract overseas as well as domestic visitors.
14. Over 25,000 people - 85% of them full-time - earn their living providing services and goods to serve those whose interests include historic vehicles.

Footnote - 33,000 members of FBHVC member clubs drive a modern vehicle of the same marque as an historic vehicle they own. I'm willing to bet that M.G. Car Club members represent a significant proportion of that statistic.

The responsibility for FBHVC matters, and keeping our beloved classics "free to use the road" can sometimes be quite arduous. John Watson and Ian Rendle make sure I'm comfortable before the start of this year's London to Brighton Run.

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