Hotrods in France

Simple question really.

In the UK I was a bit of a hotrodder and had a nasty habit of stuffing V8's into places they should not be. Minis, 2CVs, Ladas, That sort of thing.

I look at the wife's Renault 4L and think it would drive much nicer if it were rear wheel drive and had something with a bit more 'go' under the bonnet. 200bhp would be nice.

Is it possible to do this legally here?

Does the car need to be of vintage age before they stop caring?

So the question is. If I were to turn up at the CT station with a heavily modified car (and a good poker face). what will happen?

Cool, Thanks. I'll have to sort our 4L out with more yellow sometime.

Still available for vehicules de collection

I think you are right to be optimistic, Carl. Just look at the number of yellow headlights running around at night: these were supposed to have been ditched over 15 years ago!

The trick I use is to take my car to my local garagiste - anathema I know to you who do everything yourself - and say to him "Look, I'm very busy this week, can you take my car to the CT for me?" Ask him to change the oil or something as well to make him feel wanted. He'll take it to a CT that he knows and works with ... and it will pass like a letter à la poste.

I paid 800€ for this 'one owner from new' 4L from a retired pig farmer. A lot of spit and polish later and after replacing every single joint in the suspension & steering (less than 200€ for everything) it looked much better.

Oh she loves fast cars Carl but not the sort we can afford. When she bought her Renault 4 second hand many years ago the guys in the garage said "Maggie if you find anything in this car which can't be repaired with an old wire coat hanger all you need to do is fold the car up and put it in the bin!"

She's still looking for a proper Renault 4 with four doors with what she calls the machine gun flap ventilator at the bottom of the windscreen or an R4 van with the goat flap at the top of the tailgate. Sadly for what we would have to pay for such classics of French design we could probably buy a new turbo charged pocket rocket although my experience of my R5 turbo was less than fun.

Boyhood spent reading Hotrod magazine means my sympathies are with you.

If you build it can I go for a spin in it? :-)

I don't think turning up with a harrier jump-jet cunningly disguised as a 4L would make M/Mme contrôle technique very happy.

That is a BRILLIANT idea.... Can I borrow it?

I bet there's a whole special category for tweaked about old vehicles in préfecture rule-book no. 485249 and it says exactly what you can/must do - I'd ask first though, I don't think turning up with a harrier jump-jet cunningly disguised as a 4L would make M/Mme contrôle technique very happy.

You can get it for Saabs from a place on the internet. Bristols I don't know, even less Isotta Fraschini! I think that the utter proliferation of such certification including the need to have certified and officially translated copies of everything was shown up in the light of the VW issue. My UK stockbroker has just had tpo ask for a certified copy of my French tax registration number- another new requirement. No payments may be made now for anything over 1000 euros or is it £s. Therefore if selling your car presumably you must get a bank draft or a cheque and who on earth would let anybody have a car against a cheque? The bank can claw back months into the future if it turns out that the person issuing the cheque was obtaining the money illegally. The recipient would be due no compensation. Correct me if I'm wrong anybody.

100% untrue. A European Certificate of Conformity is a European document and can be acquired from any country. In fact you are supposed to acquire the CoC from the country where the car was first registered although that is not set in stone. VW in England provided the CoC for my Golf which was first registered in Germany. The CoC was exactly the same as that which I could have got from VW in Germany or France and, as all VW CoCs are, was written in German.
CoCs are only available for cars that were built to European specifications after the late 1990s. I don’t know about Saabs but there is an official outlet that can provide certificates for MG owners.

Yes there are three yank tanks in our village and a whole club full of them in a nearby town. You see quite a few souped up cars around. The worst hazards are quads with modified silencers and there appear to be few rules taht are applied to them.

The first five comments all say 'NO' which is how I see things BUT I do keep bumping into modified vehicles.

Renault 5 engines (some turbo charged) find their way into Renault 4's all the time. How is this possible?

I've seen plenty of yank tanks that clearly have the wrong engine installed and yet are legally running around?

So if you want to import a Bristol- there is no Bristol France? Similarly a Saab- Saab does not exist any more. Plenty of others I imagine such as Rover, MG etc.

I take it the wife does not like fast cars then?

A certificate de conformity has to originate from France, no matter where the vehicle is manufactured. So a certificate for an imported BMW, for example, has to be from BMW France.

The guy at the CT station will say no. He may even instruct you too go find a trailer and take it home. If he's particularly conscious of his duty he may call the Gendarmerie Routière in order that they impound the car. If you did it and if my wife could find you, your days would be numbered.

Maybe you can buy a dodgy Cerificate of Conformity from somewhere in Eastern Europe. In some countries all import of second hand cars is completely forbidden. Mind you the Formula 1 team engineers are mostly in the UK so there seems to be a correlation between relative laxity and innovation.

The details of the R4 are on the central database. Any departure from that is a no-no. You are not even allowed different tyre sizes from the manufacturer's specification. It would need to be inspected by the DREAL which would cost you a deal of money and the answer will be no. Don't even try if you enjoy sleeping at night.

No chance at all.