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Sweet 2 Eat BakingA UK baking blog featuring cakes, cupcakes, cookies, desserts & more! All had been fine, but trying to register the vehicle in his name with the DVLA had proved somewhat difficult.
The officer himself said that the criminals are so good at faking the documents that he himself had been in the same situation a few years back. They’ve taken the van and all the documents away for further inspection and will be running fingerprint tests on everything.
What’s worse is that we’re still paying for the van as we took out a loan to purchase it, and for what?
I hate posting anything negative, but sometimes life hands us lemons, and in our case blooming catering sized crates of lemons. To make the dough, add all of the dough ingredients in a large bowl, holding back a quarter of the water. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and knead for around 10 minutes, or until smooth and elastic. Place the dough buns onto the prepared baking trays, 6 per tray, allowing room for the buns to double in size, then set aside in a warm place for 40 minutes.
Bake for 10 minutes, and allow to cool in the tray for 5 minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely. For the glacé icing, sift the icing sugar into a large bowl then gradually add around 5 teaspoons of lemon juice to form a thick paste.
Optional: Before serving, slice the buns horizontally and pipe a generous amount of whipped cream into each bun, followed by a thinner layer of jam.
Due to some unfortunate circumstances I had to rearrange my original planned test date and stump up the extra for an out of hours test on a late Friday afternoon, although the cost was considerably more I was at least able to secure a substantial refund from my previous appointment and overall it was still far less than the currently announced cost of an IVA (?450), and hopefully less arduous.
I awoke the morning of the test after a restless nights sleep to a beautiful blue morning sky, the first good omen. So the first thing to do was go and collect the trailer that I had booked some 2 weeks earlier. The problems began, when I arrived to collect the trailer, only to be informed that one of the tailer ramps was missing, lost by the previous customer, great I thought. Now feeling myself becoming agitated I went back into the hire shop and encouraged the sales man to come and have a look for himself, after an hour and a change of all the rear bulbs, and a new lead the lights seemed to be working and I was at last able to set off home.
Buy the time I got home had made a ramp and decided that I would have to remove the front alloys on the car and temporarily replace them with the old donor focus steel wheels, still sitting in the corner of the garden, to get the car on the trailer. Arriving at the now deserted test center just in time, I booked in and was met by my inspector. Next the car was driven onto the ramps and with me in the drivers seat and the car in the air the inspector started his investigation prodding, pulling and checking, while barking instructions ‘full left lock’'handbrake' 'gears' etc, after what seemed like an eternity I was lowered to the ground and asked to move the car forward. This delight was short lived however as he announced my first failure point, the supposedly SVA compliant MEV E-Dash. All the lights signals sequencing and positioning were checked the only area of concern being a kick up on the Dominator Head lights which was my fail number two, but I remained unconcerned as its an easy fix.
Moving on to the all important seat belts and their pickup points, the inspector expressed some concern regarding a small degree of flexing in the role bar.
Now knowing that the car would not pass, I was in a strange way relieved that I would have the opportunity to take the car back home and do a professional job of fixing the other failure issues. Just for good measure while he was rooting around in side the car he informed me that I would receive a failure for the centre mirror not being permanently fixed to the car.
We now entered the next stage and a common cause of failure, the dreaded ‘100mm Ball’ which looks more like a mushroom in truth.
Next was the all important Brake Test which turned out to be quite a lengthy process in comparison to a MOT test. He drove the car round the test centre, parked the car in the mirror assessment box, advised that the mirror vision was good and went to get his noise reading equipment.
Although the car had failed and the light was fading fast I asked the inspector if it would be safe to drive the car home rather than reloading it on to the trailer.
I have to mention that when I explained the circumstances to Stuart with regard to the role bar failure, Stuart did not hesitate, and suggested I return the role bar as soon as possible in order that he could either modify and or replace accordingly. Fortunately the good lady had accompanied me and was going to follow towing the empty trailer ‘just in case’. With the night drawing in, no jacket and a crash helmet on head, a recovery vehicle (the misses) behind, I left the test center for the 60 plus mile drive home. Leaving the test center industrial estate two coppers gave an approving glance from there patrol car while I received wolf whistles and cheers of approval from a group of young lads. Although the car was ready within 2 weeks, due to the rush of builders trying to beat the deadline of change over from SVA to IVA, the earliest I was able to get a retest slot was 5 weeks from my original test. I had take the decision to drive to the test centre for the retest, my confidence heightened following the return drive with no problems, it would also aid in the freeing up of the suspension and steering, thus aiding self centering. The normal procedure for licensing your vehicle following passing the SVA and obtaining your MAC (Ministry Approval Certificate) is to complete a V55 form and post it with all the supporting information, such as Proof of your Identity, MAC, Build Receipts etc, and await to be contacted by your local DVLA office to bring your vehicle in (not allowed to drive it) on a trailer to have a VIN check, (chassis and engine number confirmed) prior to being issued with your registration documentation.
Standing by the car feeling somewhat deflated by my plans being scuppered at the start, a voice rang out “Bring the Car Over”, may be lady luck was going to shine on me today. I had been advised that the retest would only cover the issues that I had failed upon and not the entire car, so I was a little concerned when the inspector requested I drive the car on to the ramp while he inspected underneath. We started with the Style Hoop while he seemed happy with the rigidity and strength of the structure, he expressed concern regarding the 6mm thick flit welded triangular plates used to attach the top seat belt harnesses to the 50mm Dia 3mm thick cross tube.
Next we moved on to the central rear mirror, having bolted it in place under the dash, as suggested by the previous inspector, I was not expecting a problem. The two radius failures were next, both only receiving a cursory glance by the inspector however because I had redesigned the rear light brackets he re-measured all the rear lights positions to insure they were still compliant. The head light position was next up, I had been lucky enough to use my local garages facility to ensure compliance, and although they were correctly set the inspector still hummed and harred about the quality of the lights pattern. Summing up his findings there were two outstanding issues, style hoop seat belt mounts and interior mirror position. He then requested I rectify the side light bulb issue while he undertook another retest and we waited for Head Office to respond on the Mirror and Stuart Mills to get in contact. After another hour had passed, the other kit car builder having passed his retest and received his MAC, the inspector beckoned me over and suggested I park my car in the test lane for safety and come and sit in the waiting room.
Feeling somewhat deflated and hungry I decided to take a walk from the test centre and get something to eat at a local cafe and cheer myself up. I include this summary of some of the key issues and points partly extracted from the MEV Sonic build guide and expanded to include some of my own personal experiences in order to hopefully help and assist other car builders. Virtually any point on the car that can be contacted with a 100mm diameter sphere needs to have radius edges of least 2.5mm. Make sure you can prove by way of a purchase receipt or some other proof that you have used proper brake pipe.


In addition to the two wing mirrors you will need to include a fixed internal mirror, even though it will be useless. Airbags are not permitted, either a suitable rubber steering wheel centre (shore 50 hardness will required) or a collapsible steering wheel boss. Be prepared to re-calibrate your Speedo during the test but if you can double check your calculations using a Sat Nav before your test.
That for Unleaded vehicles that unless the fuel filler is of the correct diameter that a restriction will be required in order to preclude incorrect filling. Ensure all bolts protrude sufficiently, commonly regarded as three threads, into the nylon of the nylock nuts.
All lights except fog and reverse must have the edge of the illuminated surface within 400mm of the outside edge of the wing.
In order to aid your chances of passing the self centering test you may wish to increase the tyre pressure in the front wheels thus reducing the tyres surface contact, if you do decide to do this remember to set the correct pressures before leaving the test centre and driving home. Now with the MAC in hand, it was time to start the administrative registration process Subject to your build and source of components dictates your registration process. First the 'new' an 09 registration, to achieve this everything has to be new, you are however allowed to have one item that is not, but beware if the engine is not new the gearbox must be. Second is the 'age related' route where normally you can show everything is new apart from the single Donor cars items i.e.
The third route is a 'Q' plate, this is where you have used multiple vehicle components rather than a single donor or all new. Rather than submitting your application via post and risk loosing your required proof of identity, driving licence or passport, I would recommend you visit your DVLA office in person and submit your application. I submitted all documentation in person by hand and while there arranged an appointment for the following week to have my VIN and Engine number checked. The following week soon came around and everything went smoothly and within the hour I found myself departing not only with the car on the trailer of course but with a tax disc for 6months + 1week and a letter enabling me to purchase numberplate's. Needless to say on the way home I made a slight detour and purchased a pair of plates that were quickly attached to the car on my arrival home. Nowadays it takes less than a few seconds to access the history of a car or bike and all for less than a few pounds.
I got loads of information in my text check I wasnt expecting and answered the qestions I needed.
Really like how this gives you the option for everything you need right in the palm of your hand. Do you ever feel like sometimes you’re cursed because it just seems it’s one thing after another? They asked for the VIN (Vehicle Identification Number) twice, then asked us to send photos in of the VIN number. If they can fool a traffic police officer that checks these cars and vans on a daily basis, what hope do we have?!
I remember heading to the deli each week with my well earned paper-round wages and indulging in a sticky-fingered iced bun. Stir with your hands or use a dough hook on low, then add the remaining water to form a dough and knead in the bowl for around 4 minutes. Return the dough to the bowl, cover with a damp towel and leave to rise in a warm environment for one hour. I have to confess to having had a variety of long forgotten emotions during the week running up to the test day.
I had struggled to source a suitable car trailer that was both wide enough to take the Sonic and light enough to be towed by the domestic family car.
While they offered me an alternative trailer, I knew I was going to be struggling to tow the weight of this much heavier trailer. I was starting to get a little pushed for time, but it was a very interesting drive to the test center, with Sonic sitting high on the back of the trailer attracting a lot of attention, turned heads and causing people to gawp and smile. After what seemed an age the machine churned out the results PASS with flying colours, the first bit of good news. He explained that he recalled reading in one of the kit car magazines the claim of 'SVA Compliance' and subsequently pointed out that the brake symbol should be illuminated. Although I felt it ridiculous, as I had attempted to comply by fitting a suction cup type central mirror to the flip screen, not that you can see a dam thing out of it except the rear bulk head. Before this he wheeled a strange looking half cone shaped contraption around the vehicle in order to ascertain the floor line i.e. I had predrilled my holes on the balance bar and brought spacers and roll pins in order to lock out the balance bar, but had held of knocking in a roll pin until I was sure that the bar was in the optimum position.
MEV had advised that I fit white stickers to the inside of the rear wheel rims in order that I could see if there was any great difference in the rotation speed caused by the rollers. Having received his approval that all was well with the car and while he wrote up my ‘failure sheet’ I took the opportunity to finally change over the original ford focus front wheels and fit my shiny alloys for the drive home (ensuring I dropped the tyre pressures first), and to call Stuart Mills at MEV and pass on the bad news.
In order to ensure that there is no problems second time round, MEV have also provided me a copy of the structural analysis report associated with the new role bar in case the inspector requires further assurance that the item is fit for purpose.
It was at this point that and while being presented with my failure certificate, I was dropped the final bombshell ’Self Centering Failure’. This was the beginning of a most enjoyable and exhilarating drive home and an awakening to the kind of attention such an unusual car will attract on the public road.
I must say that MEV were very direct in their action and had the Style Hoop modified, re-plastic coated and returned within the week. Its terribly frustrating having a car that is essentially roadworthy but being unable to drive it.
On introducing my self to the inspector, he advised that his next scheduled test had been delayed and therefore he wished to make a start on mine.
I can only assume he was familiarizing himself with the vehicle and gaining confidence in the build prior to getting behind the wheel for the self centering test. He went on to question the strength of the welds and referring to the SVA manual pointed out the typical recommended method, and that he felt it was a much better solution.
This inspector did not like what I'd done at all and expected to see it attached to the top of the dash or flip screen. During this test I was unlucky to have a side light bulb failure, and that it would have to be rectified prior to leaving the test centre.
He inquired whether I had heard back from Stuart Mills regarding the name of the structural engineering firm, and requested I try to contact him again, and advised that he was still awaiting approval from Head Office regarding the mirror position.
After learning that I had still been unable to contact Stuart he advised that he had faxed a copy of the structural report to the Vosa's technical department for consideration and approval and that it may take a while.
On my return to the test centre and a further wait of half an hour the inspector reappeared and again inquired if I had heard from Stuart, I again advised no, he then sat down next to me and somewhat reluctantly handed me a small green A5 piece of paper, my MAC. Even the nuts on the underside of the bonnet may require capping, the cheapest way to do this is to cut a short length of petrol or heater hose, pushed over the nuts. You may well be asked to prove via receipts that everything is new and if you are unable to do this to the DVLA's satisfaction then you will be awarded a 'Q' plate and will not be allowed to apply for an age related plate once you start this process.


Although this registration marking hides the age of the vehicle you cannot transfer a private plate on to the vehicle.
You may need to draw this paragraph to the attention of the DVLA staff member processing your application. The process was harmless enough and thankfully the very nice staff at the DVLA Bangor office where not only very helpful but appeared to be very much on the ball and knowledgeable about kit car registration. The closest comparison that I can draw, would be that of the week running up to now long forgotten educational exams of my teens, the unknown of what lay ahead, the constant thoughts of ‘what have I missed‘ or ‘should I have done that a different way‘ I will even confess to having one or two unsatisfactory nights sleep, with worry running up to 'Test Friday' as I now refer to it. It was also now far to late to start looking for an alternative source, so I decided that I would make a ramp from some suitable timber planking that I had at home. Having removed the car from the trailer and left the engine running as requested in order to warm it up for the emissions test, I was just about to start to replace the steel transport wheels with the ’over inflated alloys’ - self centering in mind, when the SVA inspector walked across and informed me that I was not strictly allowed to change the wheels on the VOSA premises and that he had the right to refuse to test the car, this was not a good start. It was at this stage that the inspector seemed to relax a little and admitted all was well so far, much to my relief and delight. Fortunately Stuart at MEV had pre warned me of this failure possibility and had advised me to purchase a standard laminated light symbol, make up a patch lead and bring my electric drill for a quick fix job in case the inspector picked it up. Having expressed his concern but not failing it on the flexing, we moved on, he then produced what I can only describe as an Archimedes style contraption for measuring the distance from the seat bottom to rear seat belt anchor points. He explained that the suction cup was not considered to be a proper fixing method and that it should be screwed in place in the car.
The car passed the brake test with flying colours, with the inspector committing that the car may even qualify for a pass based on either extreme of the balance bar.
I have to confess at not really caring by this stage, and what certainly didn’t help, as I was to discover later, was that one of the focus donor car tyres was down at 18 psi. Unfortunately I was unable to fully realise the cars potential as I had to allow the misses to take the lead as the trailer lights packed up once again. It is normal practice that your original inspector undertake your retest, however my original inspector had been seconded to their head office technical department for 2 months, but the new inspector seemed a pleasant enough chap. To ensure a pass this time Stuart Mills had very kindly provided me with a copy of the relevant pages from his commissioned structural analysis report on the Sonic 7 covering the Style Hoop design. I explained that even if I had fitted it in either of the two locations you still would have had no rear vision as it would be blocked by the engine cover.
He spent some time pushing, pulling, turning and prodding the assembly and then asked where the lock nuts were ?. Periodically he would brake off from the other retest and ask if I'd heard from Stuart, unfortunately I was reasonably sure Stuart had mentioned he would be out of the office that day - I must have made 10 calls that afternoon, partly in an attempt to pacify the inspector, while he stood over me. Although I stood up shook his hand and thanked him, I felt emotionally drained and void of any elation, and now it being to late to go to the DVLA to get the car registered, I climbed aboard and tried to rekindle a sense of achievement by enjoying the drive home in the car I had built. Capping may therefore be required on some edges, various rubber u sections are available and it is advisable to use trims from the donor such as the boot seal. Its always easy to oversee something simple when you have been so intimately involved in its build, and having someone take a fresh look at your build can be invaluable prior to the Vosa Test. While there you should also be able to arrange an appointment to have the VIN and Engine number checked by a supposedly 'police trained' DVLA official. Soon after, a mobile police vehicle ID van turned up, and it turns out that the van we paid around ?5,000 (around $10,000) had been previously stolen then sold onto us. Enjoy this deliciously fluffy iced sweet bread on its own, or fill with whipped cream and jam.
I just did not want the additional worry of braking down on the way and missing my test slot. Having now hitched the trailer up, with me switching the lights on and off and the salesman at the back checking all was well I was just about to depart when I noticed that one of the forward marker lights was not working, getting out to check that my eyes were not playing tricks on me I soon realised that none of the lights were working and that someone may not have been telling the truth.
Although I protested he instructed me to bring the car over and start the test with the old steel wheels on or run the risk of him refusing to test the car at all.
I decided to be honest with the inspector and explained I had a simple solution with me, but had not really wished to unnecessarily drill a hole in the dash. This was my first real deserter, the horizontal cross bar on the roll bar where the seat belt mounts were located, was effectively too low.
Obviously not wishing to drill a pointless hole in either the dash or flip screen I was left stumped with what to do. Although the car brakes were first class, I was going to have to return so I did not pin out the bar at the time thus receiving failure no 8. The inspector assured me that his new state of the art rollers would account for everything, feeling confident I told him that after calculating the correct wheel circumference, I had double checked the calibration via a sat nav, and that I felt it was spot on. While booking in I was informed that I had arrived early as according to their records I was not due until 2.30pm!
Although I did not offer the document at the outset, I ended up presenting it in an attempt to reassure the inspector that the design was fit for purpose, although he confirmed that in his view the calculations stacked up, he would not give me a pass at this stage and requested I contact Mr Mills and obtain the name of the company that had done the report.
I decided that, although I could just unbolt the mirror and re bolt it on the top of the dash, there was nowhere in the SVA manual that precluded me from doing what I had done, so I dug my heals in, he proceeded to get the manual out and after 20mins of going through it line by line, agreed that there was nothing that precluded me from fixing the mirror under the dash.
I then proceeded to explain not only how I had locked out the bar but how the bias bar functioned within the peddle assembly. He seemed to at least understand my position and agreed that I could on the condition, it was forward facing, fit it to the steering column surround. It was at this stage that the inspector, I think felt a little sympathetic to my plight and told me of another kit car builder who had mounted their mirror under the dash board, thus hiding the screw hole left on its likely removal after gaining an SVA pass. Fortunately the Sonic 7 has a smooth body therefore there isn’t to much to find in the way of unradiused edges, unfortunately this almost creates a challenge for the inspector and before long he had found the first of two problems, the top edge of the center of bonnet, quite how you are going to get your knee or elbow struck in an accident by that edge I don’t know ? The gauntlet was down, following his speed test at 35,40,50,60 and 70 the maximum deviation was only 1 mph. This was not going to plan as I was hoping to finish my retest quickly and take the opportunity to pay a visit to the DVLA offices on the same industrial estate and try and get the car registered and taxed. However he announced that he was still unhappy and would not give me a pass and have to refer the issue to head office at Swansea for approval.
Although I don't confess to be an expert in this area, he did appear to be impressed with my explanation and from that point he stopped being so obstructive, and even started to smile a little while he put the car through the final stages of the retest, even requesting I join him in the vehicle while he undertook the self centreing test, after 3 laps around the test centre, I think he was just enjoying driving the car, the test was complete. While I offered to do it there and then he advise that we move on with the test and see at the end.
While I could have argued with the inspector about fitting longer bolts with packing washers, it being such a major issue regarding safety that I knew that at this point I was not going to get a pass and that I would have to take the car away and rectify the problem. This issue became failure no 3 and 4 as the inspector took the opportunity knowing that the roll bar would require either remaking or major modification to request that I address the flexing issue also. The other failure in this area was the rear light brackets, they would need either radiusing or modifying in order to preclude access of the ball.



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