I wonder how many readers have seen an old run down finca for sale. As the estate agents would have it “rural location, interesting views, in need of some decoration” when in reality it is middle of nowhere, overlooking a quarry and has foundations only. Some have no doubt been turned into dream homes; others into a nightmare of spiralling costs, bobbins of red tape, no amenities and the buyers feeling that they wish they had never clapped eyes on the pile of rubble

Those with a yen to refurbish an old vehicle no doubt go through the same stages, but the joy of having restored to pristine condition a rusting E-Type Jaguar or Royal Enfield bike must be immense. Neither is for the feint-hearted or those without the means to see it through

Historic vehicles

Occasionally I have been asked to re-register such UK registered refurbs which have presented no particular problems as the vehicles in question were restored to their post production glory. Buying a Spanish registered vehicle to do up ought to be straightforward; ah but remember that here in Spain things may not always be so simple

Vehicles over 30 years old (previously 25) are deemed to be Historic so can be re-registered in the condition in which they were made. No I do not mean an Austin Allegro with built- in rust, oil drinking engine etc. but decent vehicles. So for example if it was made without seat belts or indicators this is no problem; anyway who needs indicators over here?


Of course you may be consider modifications, for example brakes that actually work, but changes from the original spec’ that alter the characteristics of the vehicle could raise eyebrows at the ITV station, so if in doubt check first. It would be a bummer if you spent all of the housekeeping money and your spare time on a refurb’ only to have it fail the ITV because the V6 turbo charged engine with an aluminium head and twin exhausts was not what Ford intended for their Anglia range

Re-registration of a foreign Historic vehicle is normally no problem, often with fewer pitfalls than re-registering a modern counterpart, so what about Historic Spanish vehicles? As the vehicle has always been here its exact specification is recorded on the ITV card along with any permitted modifications. So if it was made with bull-bars (how appropriate) or ran on olive oil, these still need to be extant, therefore any post-build modifications should be checked out first at the ITV station as with imports.


As always, the paperwork is far more important than the vehicle itself. If you have purchased a pile of scrap from an old boy who left it rusting in his donkey shed since he upgraded to a SEAT 600 long ago, you should have no problem as he should be able to hand the documents over to you, but if it is found in a field with no paperwork and the registered keeper long gone, it could be challenging.

The first thing that you should do is have a background check undertaken; this will show details of the last registered keeper. With luck, you may be able to track him down or at least his grandson and receive adequate documents; if not there is no hard and fast law allowing you to have the vehicle registered in your name. This is the way it works: Using the background check a request is made to Trafico for transfer of ownership. Trafico will either allow the transfer or not. Each case is individually examined

The vehicle is then restored to its original condition, passed through the ITV test and registered. In summary, firstly check that you can eventually own it and unless restoring it to its original spec’ verify that any changes are allowed

Good luck, I’m sure it will be worth it in the end