View Full Version : SVA test, and engines

17-12-00, 08:22 PM
I have decided to build a kit cobra come the new year, but have been confused by a variety of views regarding engine requirements and the SVA testing.

One view is that non-EFI engine will not be permitted after April 2001. Other views from engine builders indicate that provided an engine meets current emission specs then even if the engine is non-efi all will be well.

I had decided on a Dax Cobra with a 4.6 Rover so that will be a new block manufactured 1999 and with Weber carbs. Can anyone refer me to the definitive answer to "Will this be permitted?"

Obviously engine tuners would say that their engine will pass the SVA......

Please help a novice, but keen possible Cobra builder.....


27-12-00, 06:15 PM
Phil, I must say that's something that's worrying me too....I'm building a Ram, and have already bought a ford 302 of indeterminate age, but won't be ready for the SVA 'till about 2002!
If anyone can give us a clue, I'm sure we'd both be grateful.


03-01-01, 06:57 PM
Just a quick note on the SVA emmisions and EFI.

I am in the process of building a RAM SC and ready to purchase my engine, Luckily my local vehicle inspectorate asked me to carry out some electrical maintenance work, so I decided to pick their brains.

On my last visit 3/1/01 I asked about all engines having to be fitted with EFI after april and was told that nothing was changing from the current SVA regulations.

Hope this clears things up a little.

08-01-01, 12:13 PM
An update from our Technical Department

The current legislation will be changing in April.

If you buy and engine, and do not have paperwork to prove the age of the engine, then you will have to conform to the emmissions tests which will probably mean a fuel injection system and modifications to ensure you get through the SVA. If you can prove the age of the engine then you are fine. The engine must be 1984 or earlier.

As of April you will have to prove identity, the best way is the casting number of the block. These are used on a production run, and are date stamped by the manufacturer.

The engine builder should be able to provide this information, if they cannot, then go elsewhere.

Best Regards and I hope this clears things up.


20-01-01, 08:04 PM
LAST EDITED ON 20-Jan-01 AT 09:04 PM (GMT)[p]Hi

I have spoken to a number of people both in the club and at the DVLA and there is lots of ambiguity regarding emissions testing and timescales.

I am doing some more digging and will post the info when I have a definitive answer.

Best Regards


23-01-01, 01:45 PM
Would also be interested to know how I would stand as regards replacing an engine in a Cobra that is already registered..?? - Would this too be a problem after April 2001 or would I be exempt from engine-age proofs..?? - (Am ruminating on installing a big-block at some stage.....)

24-01-01, 07:01 PM
Yes this ones got me worried too. I've got an already SVA'd Cobra that I'm presently removing the 3.5 Rover and swapping for a 4.6. The last thing I want is to send off the 'V5 only to have it 'conviscated' by the DVLA to be told "go and take your SVA test again, sonny !".

I phoned the SVA dep. at Swansea this afternoon, and the woman I spoke with seemed confident that 'just an engine swap' would not be a problem. So to be sure I asked more directly 'so theres absolutely no problem with me replacing my existing engine with a later one of larger capacity then ?' - at which point she hesitated but said that she was pretty sure this would be OK.

I'll think I'll just wait and get the thing taxed for the Summer before I send that 'V5 to Swansea !


PS. any of you lot in Cobra Land put a car through SVA at Southampton ? (never,never,never never again !!!!! agghhh!!!)

24-01-01, 08:53 PM
LAST EDITED ON 24-Jan-01 AT 09:54 PM (GMT)[p]The saga continues......

I have spoken to 4 different SVA centers today and they are all saying more or less the same thing. There is no change to the legislation, only a clarification of the rules.

There has been a grace period from the date of imception of SVA until April this year where you could verbally identify the age of the engine, so I could take my car in and say my engine was pre 1994 and they would only do basic emissions which consists of a visual smoke test. This is infact what happened when I took my GD in for SVA, although I have got a 1971 engine, which I could prove if necessary.

After April this year if you go in and say that your engine is pre 1994 then they will ask for documentation to that effect. Its then up to you or your engine builder to provide the documentation.

The easiest way to provide this is by the casting number on the engine. the casting numbers are production run date specific, for example an engine with casting number 3970010 is a 350 4 bolt mains and was manufacturered in 1969.

If you cannot prove the age of your engine then you will be tested based on a post 1994 engine, and will therefore have to comply with the emissions.

With regard to changing the engine at a later date, I would presume that it is along the same lines as a normal road car, as the SVA is a road readiness test in effect, so if I changed my engine in my BMW, I would have to alert DVLA about the new engine number and that would be that........

Until I came to the next MOT where the MOT station would run the emissions tests. This might be where I could come unstuck.

If you are interested, have a look at the GM site, and look at the ZZ4 bare engine without the cat and injection system. It states that the engine does not comply with the emissions in 50 states or something like that and should only be used on the track.

Anyway, I wait to be shot down in flames and have rambled for far too long.

Best Regards


PS I did ask the DVLA to fax me the current legislation regarding emissions, and am still waiting. If I do receive thm I will scan it in and post here.

25-01-01, 02:11 PM
Just clarifying, we are talking about engines before 1994, not 1984?
What do you think counts as proof? Would you get away with an engine catalogue listing serial numbers by year, or will it have to be DVLA-type documentation?

26-01-01, 10:44 AM
LAST EDITED ON 26-Jan-01 AT 11:45 AM (GMT)[p]If you can prove that the engine is Pre July 1994 the engine will be tested according to August 86 to July 1992 regulations, which mean 1200 parts per million of hydrocarbons at idle, and 3.5% CO.

If the engine is 1994 onwards, the stipulation is 200 hydrocarbons at fast idle, which would potentially be unacheivable without injection and cat.

August 1975 to July 1986 1200 parts per million of hydrocarbons at idle, and 4.5% CO.

Pre august 1975 NO TEST!!!! But you must be able to prove the age of the engine from the 1st April.

My engine in the GD is a 1971 engine, with casting numbers to prove it.

Best Regards


26-01-01, 11:35 AM
So I suppose the only people who are going to be rogered are those building cars using new blocks. For example if I were SVA'ing my '95 4.6 Rover motor I'd have to comply with the 200 ppm hydrocarbon emmission restrictions ! (some hope on an 4-barrel carb & 270 cam !) - I think that the 3.5 on twin SU's made about 650 ppm and ran ok tuned down to 2% CO for the Test. I suppose people who want to use new blocks are going to have to fit an old motor first just to get the car through the SVA !


26-01-01, 11:50 AM
But if you fit an old motor first, when you get round to the MOT, you are going to have to comply with the regs, or are you going to swap your motor out every year for the test??

Then you get into insurance legalities. for example if you have an accident and your engine number does not match with the paperwork, the MOT is void and therefore so is the insurance.

This all needs very careful thought to make sure everything is legal. It is very easy to step over the line without knowing it, and then you are in a real minefield.

Best Regards


26-01-01, 11:56 AM
This is what GM say about all their small block chevys.

The following links will take you to the site.

http://www.gmgoodwrench.com/crate_engine/global/ix_smblk.htm Small Block

http://www.gmgoodwrench.com/crate_engine/global/ix_zz.htm ZZ4

http://www.gmgoodwrench.com/crate_engine/global/ix_350ho.htm 350 HO

The ZZ4 is not intended for marine use, and should only be used in 1973 and earlier pre-emissions street vehicles or any year off road vehicle.

Best Regards


26-01-01, 02:59 PM
Oh, and by the way Ford have a habit of casting blind blocks, which means there are no casting numbers. This is a bit of a pain for some.

Best Regards


26-01-01, 04:36 PM
Just my luck....I've bought a 302 and haven't yet found a casting number, where should I be looking?

26-01-01, 05:18 PM
From what I have been told, the casting number cataogue would be OK.

26-01-01, 06:18 PM
If you were sat on the drivers seat, its on the back left hand corner next to the bell housing point.

Best Regards


26-01-01, 07:14 PM
The point about then getting through MOT is an interesting one. I sucessfully passed my SVA test in January last year. Just to be thorough, I got the car MOT'd at the a local BMW main dealer ; when we got to the emissions part of the test he 'explained' that 'kit cars were exempt' - I wasn't going to argue..

The point I'm making is that the SVA test is always going to be the major obstacle regards geiing on the road. True, the paperwork should be completely legal & I certainly wouldn't want to go driving about with engine numbers which don't match up ! It's always going to be far easier to find a sympathetic MOT tester than it is a friendly SVA inspector !!


27-01-01, 10:12 AM
when I built my dax and put in a new 350 chevy engine I made a silly error when filling in the sva form
where it said date of engine manufacture I put new 1998 I then had a panic attack when I saw the Co figures 0.03 when I new my engine puts out 4.1
so I contacted Swansea who gave me the number of the guy who actually sets the emmissions (he said put in engine design pre 75 so I then contacted realsteel who faxed me the data sheet on the engine and what vehicles/year they were fitted this I took with me to the sva station on April 1st 99 I know the test has changed since then but the mot for kit cars is still visual only (at the moment)

07-02-01, 07:31 PM
I've also been chasing this up I have phoned the Inspeterate and my local Chelmsford test center. They were very helpful. I have bought the latest SVA manual and the latest emissions will be mailed to me this week. The rules are as already stated any thing after August 92 will be tested to current values EFI full cat if the vehicle was listed in the emission publication. If the e vehicle is not listed in the publication August 92 to July 95 then it will be tested to August 86 to July 92 emissions of 3.5% CO. August 1975 to July 86 4.5%CO. It is clear though that engines that the age cannot be proved will be tested as current. The problem is proving the age of the Engine. I bought my Engine parts from RPI and foolishly exchange an 83 rover V8 block for a 92 block. RPI say that it was from a Land Rover L10 MOD engine and the compression ration stamp bears this out. My local SVA center say that a letter on headed paper from a reputable supplier or from the engine manufacturer stating the age of the block will be OK as proof. I have written to RPI asking for this. Peter Jones has aked me to try to write something for Snake Torque on this subject to try to stop all of the confusion, as soon as I have enough facts I will have ago, ( you'r probobly bored sick with Bobs Cob anyway). If any one has any answers on proving the age of the block especially American blocks please let me know rburchel@talk21.com.I will do my best to find out all of the correct emission rules. The details I have read here on this Web site look correct.What I need to find out is what vehicles are listed on the emission publication that will come under current emission values, I really hope mine isn't.

07-02-01, 08:04 PM
I have the HP Books 'How to rebuild your small block Chevy. In it there is a Block Casting identification chart. My block is 3970014 which means it is 68-76 Chevy 350 (2 Bolt mains). I checked with my testing center who said this was sufficient proof. I would be happy to look up anyones number for them.

08-02-01, 10:32 AM
the Bob's Cob articles are excellent, and I'm keenly watching your progress. As for emissions, and Rover engines, people could take a look at the SD1 owners site as they have a list of some of the engine numbers and dates. Its not proof, but might help calm nerves.

09-02-01, 08:51 AM
I have the engine and casting numbers book which I will try and scan in this weekend and post up.

Best Regards


12-02-01, 06:35 PM
I have just recieved a copy of the latest SVA manual updates dated Dec 2000. this is an exact copy of the words used foe establishing the effective date on which the instectorate will test your engine for emmissions.
Note 1: The "effective date" used to determine the criteria applicable is.
The date of manufacture of the vehicle except for an "Amerteur" built vehicle.
(that us)
"Manufactured using parts of a registered vehicle" or a "Rebuilt vehicle" it shall be January imediatly preceding the date ofmanufacture of the vehicles engine, if this date is earlier.
For definition of the above see forward 9( this refers to the start of the manual describing amerteur built)
Evidence of date of manufactue could be for example.
A copy of the donor vehicle registration document
A letter from the manufacturer confiming date of manufacture or production period.
If the production period spans acritical emission boundery, the vehicle will be tested to the later standard.
If the effective date cannot be deterined.
For tests until 31 march 2001, it will be assumed to be between 1st August 1986 and 31 july 1992(ie non cat test).
For tests from 1 April 2001it will be assumed to be after 1 August 1997 ( ie Catalyst emission test)

The test values are
From 1 August 1975-31July 1986 HC 1200 CO 4.5
From 1 August 1986-31July 1992 HC 1200 CO 3.5
From 1 August 1992-31July 1995 HC 1200 CO 3.5
Not listed in emissions
From 1 August 1995- fast idle HC 200 Co 0.5
Not listed in emission
From 1 August 1992-
Listed in emissions publication the relevent Limits

So there you have it if you got an engine block built after 1 August 1992 Pray it comes from Vehicle not listed in the dreaded publication.
Mine is Dec 92 rover V8 I can prove that it came from Land Rover 130 which was fitted with a carb from new. So hopefully it will not have to undergo a catalyst test, I havn't given up hope yet . When I have all the documented evidence I will take to the inspectorate and see what they say wish me luck.

14-02-01, 04:50 PM
Has anyone thought of this one.
I bought a full Jag (1981) donor car to strip down for parts with the reg document. I regested it, ran the car then took it off the road for scraping.
I had the rover v8 ready for my cobra, and regested its engine number on the Jag as if I was changing engins.
The point is, even though the v8 may be a new block it is regested to a 1981 jaguar and its number will be on the reg document as though it was from that age of car.
Would the reg document then be accepted as proof of engine age since it had been issued by the dvla.??????????????????????

any coments Andy

25-02-01, 05:49 PM
Bob, Just sent you some info on Rover. Let me know if you got it.

25-03-01, 01:25 AM

25-03-01, 11:47 AM
Thanks for the information Mal. To answer the original question Its not a good idea to fit an engine that was built after July 1992 unless it can be proved it came from a vehicle that was not on the emissions list. Unless you are prepared to set them up with a cat and Efi.I think all Rover 4.6 engines were fitted with Efi so the Inspectorate will test them to the latest EFi full cat emissions. American engines still seem OK if you can get the supplier to state in writing that it was are build from a pre July 92 block. The big joke is that the inspectorate are not interested in how old the parts in your engine are only the age of the block.So if you can get a 4.6 rover built up using a pre August 92 block then your laughing.

05-04-01, 07:02 PM
Update... I just got this reply to my query...


I refer to your e-mail of 27 February to Vehicle Inspectorate enquiries which I
cannot trace a reply having been given. I apologise for this delay, which
appears to be due to an error.

The age of an engine for a car submitted for SVA can be established eg from
casting marks, provided that credible supporting information is also provided
from either the vehicle manufacturer or a recognised independent authority such
as an owners or enthusiast's club, or possibly a reputable remanufacture/ supply
specialist, and the authentication is given on official notepaper. It is up to
the SVA examiner to assess the likely veracity of any authentication information
provided and accept or refuse it on its merits.

We do not retain a database of this information, so it would be your
responsibility to establish appropriate contacts and gain the necessary
documentation prior to the test. If the documentation/marks does not pin the
date of manufacture down exactly, but gives a time band, then we take the latest
possible date from that band when conducting emissions tests.

I hope this answers your enquiry adequately.

Steve Whitehart
Technical Officer

Steve Whitehart

...We I guess that's it then....

05-04-01, 11:52 PM
TO THEM A PRINT OFF FROM http://www.mortec.com/castnum.htm THEY ARE QUITE

09-04-01, 03:36 PM
I have GD427 clothes, Jag dangly bits & Chevy 350 (1970)rumble. I started building the car in 95 then spent a few years abroad, where I still am. The difference is I now have the Car with me. It is now nearly finished, new SVA bits and all and I will have to take it back to UK for SVA, Shrewsbury hopefully. I have a V5 showing I have owned a Jag 5.3 XJ12 Auto since 94. The V5 shows the Chevy engine on it. What are the basic hoops I need to jump through for SVA? (I Don't need the engineering rules just the documentation side.) Thanks in advance.


09-04-01, 04:57 PM
First you need to write to your local test center or phone them Shrewsbury is 01743 462530 and get them to send you an application form for Single Vehicle approval. Its called would you believe Application For a Ministers Approval Certificate. You then fill it in and then return it to Swansea giving prefered date and first and second choice of test center. Oh yes nearly forgot including 160 quid test fee.

You may need to contact GD for help with filling out the design weight part. I would also talk to them about what they have changed to make the car SVA friendly as you bought yours in 95. Things like height of indicators off the floor are now critical (350mm Minimum to the bottom of the light.

I recomend you invest 26 quid in a SVA manual you can buy it from Swansea ( The vehicle Inspectorate PO box 12 Swansea SA1 1BP or you local test center but make sure its a Dec 2000 edition. Which I believe is the latest version and spells out the changes that started 1st April 2001. Thing like being able to prove the age of your block are now important. Its very easy to follow and I' ve found the people at the test centers very helpful when you need a clarifacion on any point. Good Luck.

09-04-01, 07:40 PM
Thanks Bob. I have made the car SVA compliant (I think) and am awaiting my manual to check. Letter now written aplying for test.
Q. Is it now a legal requirement to have a roll bar?


09-04-01, 08:01 PM
I dont think so. Hawks dont have them and there are plenty of other replicas sold that wouldn't look right with a roll over bar XK140s for example. Could be worth a phone call though.

12-04-01, 07:01 PM
>From what I have been told, the casting number cataogue would be OK.

how can i get hold of one of these for a crossflow out of a Mk2 escort?