DUBAI // Classic car owners can dust off their tail fins and get behind the wheel following yesterday's launch of a special registration for vintage vehicles.
An unknown number of vehicles are kept in storage because they do not meet today's standards, said Mohammed bin Sulayem, president of the Automobile Touring Club UAE .
But Dubai will now apply international specifications tailored to classic cars, with these standards taking into account safety belts, type of fuel and type of brakes.
To qualify, a vehicle must be more than 30 years old and meet the safety criteria.
The standards were set by the touring club and signed off by the emirate's Roads and Transport Authority.
"If there are modifications, the car must embody the spirit of the original car," said Ahmed Bahrozyan, the chief executive of the RTA's licensing agency.
The classic cars will be classed into six categories.
Those that meet category A's specifications can be driven on all roads and streets, but cannot register more than 10,000 kilometres a year.
Category B is the same, except that cars cannot be driven more than 5,000km a year.
Cars in Category C cannot be driven on Dubai's roadways, while category D vehicles can be driven only in daylight.
"Some cars might not have adequate lighting for the driving here at night, and other cars can't go more than 60kph, which is the minimum speed limit on the highways," Mr Bahrozyan said.
Vehicles in category E can be used on internal and service roads only, while vehicles in category F are purely for display. Vehicles manufactured before 1950 will fall into category B, while those produced between 1950 and 1980 will be in category A.
Cars with wheels made from wood will be included in category F, E or C depending on other aspects of the assessment.
"Vehicles with limited or low speed will be classified either under category C or F," Mr Bahrozyan said.
The cars will be fitted with a special licence plate that is valid for motoring anywhere in the Emirates. An auction of unique licence plate numbers will be held on June 14.
"Owners can have them made to fit the licence plate size and design on the car," Mr Bahrozyan said.
Getting a car on the road will cost Dh850 - Dh420 for vehicle inspection and Dh430 for registration.
Sharjah was the first emirate to license classic cars, but its rules differ from those in Dubai.