‘Heritage vehicles will disappear’


Ian Ashman has some valid points in his recent letter regarding tyre age and usage [routeone/Letters/6 March].

However, as an operator of heritage vehicles, such a limit on tyre age would make a marginal business unprofitable.

I fully appreciate the reasoning behind the current campaign, but it is another sledgehammer to crack a nut. A couple of years ago I rebuilt and restored to COIF standards a 1952 AEC Regal IV.

It required 100×20 cross-ply tyres. Fortunately, a batch had been recently made and a new set was purchased via Big Tyres in Nottingham. At about the same time I bought a new set of 750×20 cross-ply tyres for my 1954 Guy Special.

Both of these buses are incapable of doing much more than 45mph and rarely exceed 400km in a year.

The new tyres bought in 2014 may have been a year old when bought. They then sat in store for at least another year before they were fitted to the buses.

So they’re two years old before they’re fitted. Since 2016 the AEC has been to a few bus rallies prior to getting its COIF in the middle of 2017, and since being fitted with a tacho has done less than 5000km.

Within five years, I’m looking at having to replace a perfectly good set of tyres with a good 10mm of tread just to comply with the law? Much the same criteria apply to the 1954 Guy.

These new tyres are clearly marked as “not to be used on post-1985 vehicles.” A lot of heritage vehicles without power assisted steering are heavy to steer; with radial tyres they are more difficult to steer. It is bad enough trying to get cross-ply tyres, let along having to throw away tyres that are fit for purpose for their limited use.

I would prefer the law take the sensible line of that recently issued by DVSA, that of a tyre management and safety regime.

Regular checking (which all operators should do at their PMI anyway) and making a note of sidewall damage. If all uses are to be lumped together, heritage vehicles will disappear from the roads.

  • Roy Gould, Byeways Vintage Bus Hire, Kent