Noise Cameras & Your ‘Classic’ Car

There has been mumblings of this ‘new’ type of camera being trialed on the UK’s streets since June 2019 when it was first published by the Department Of Transport’s website. So what is it exactly and how will affect the glorious engine note of a classic v8? First we need to look at the reasons behind the noise cameras.

A note on the information that I have found from many different sources. Depending on where you look and what you read the noise level limits are all over the place. Some say 80db others say 72 to 80, one even says 68db. So the lack of documented consistency is worrying.

Why are they being introduced?

The reason it seems is for anti-social behaviour of the typical stereo typical boy (or girl) racers who enjoy the loud exhaust note or the much sort after pop and bang of revving, and if you’re unlucky a flame to cremate your front bumper if you are behind them.

From what I have found out, the actual legal noise limit for road cars is 74 decibels – the equivalent noise of a vacuum cleaner at full pelt or a chain saw.

For non-compliance, it can lead to a £50 on-the-spot fine or as much as £1000, that’s worrying differences. Persistent offenders in ‘extreme cases’ could have their vehicle seized.

Where are they?

Postcode lottery for the initial trials by the looks of it. The scheme is backed by a £300,000 government investment towards efforts to tackle the “social cost” of noise pollution which is estimated to be £10bn annually. (Where do they get these figures from?) Great Yarmouth was chosen to be included in the scheme as ‘Boy racers’ have congregated at Great Yarmouth’s Golden Mile for decades with drivers showing off their souped-up engines into the early hours.

Other locations are Bradford (from October this year), Bristol and Birmingham following along after a competition launched in April. The locations for the new cameras was decided based upon the impact to locals from illegal noisy vehicles, after MPs across the country applied for the cameras to be set up in their area.

I suspect that they will start popping up all over the place soon, maybe portable versions ones for car cruises and car shows?

How do noise cameras work?

The new technology uses a video camera and several microphones which can accurately pinpoint excessively noisy vehicles as they pass by. When the camera hears a vehicle making a noise of 80db, it takes a picture and records the noise level to create a digital package of evidence.

This will then be used to issue a fine — much like a regular traffic camera would for a speeding ticket. An earlier trial in Chelsea in London – a magnet for supercars – saw more than 130 drivers fall foul of the limits in the first 11 days.

What do they look like?

There are varying designs that are getting more sophisticated as time goes on. Some virtually hidden and other more traditional looking. However, unlike the speeding cameras that need to show warning signs and the speed cameras themselves have to be visible usually being marked in yellow, these sound cameras by the looks of it don’t need to follow those rules.

Or you could get something like this that could be slapped on the side of a road in minutes and looks super safe – NOT! Now I’m pretty sure a friendly lorry driver on a narrow road like this one, could cause enough draft to knock it over if they got close to it, and that would be a real shame I’m sure.

I have done a few searches for some ‘official’ signs and there aren’t any I could find, the only pics I did find are these below and I suspect they aren’t official either.

Current UK MOT Rules

In the UK vehicles older than three years must pass an annual MOT test in order to inspect the
roadworthiness of a car or motorcycle. When a vehicle fails an MOT, it is prohibited from being driven on
the public highway, other than to or from the test center if appropriate, until the defect is corrected. The
testing consists of the following:

  • The exhaust system is examined visually for any defects during the MOT test, such as holes in the
    pipes. Although this is an inspection that is undertaken mainly for safety reasons, it does identify
    exhaust systems that may be producing excessive noise due to poor maintenance or simply an old
    exhaust.
  • A subjective assessment is also made as to the effectiveness of the silencer in reducing exhaust
    noise to a level considered to be average for the vehicle.

I personally want to know who decides this ‘average’ limit and what experience do they have to determine that!

Powers

Police Reform Act 2002 and Anti-social Behaviour, Crime and Policing Act 2014
Section 59 of the Police Reform Act 2002 gives the police powers to stop, seize and remove a vehicle if
they have reasonable ground for believing that the motor vehicle is being used on any occasion in a
manner which constitutes careless and inconsiderate driving (as defined by the Road Traffic Act 1988
[18]) or which is causing, or likely to cause, alarm, distress or annoyance to members of the public.
Section 60 allows the relevant Secretary of State to make regulations relating to the removal, retention,
release or disposal of motor vehicles seized in accordance with Section 59.
Following the amendment in Part 1 of Schedule 4 to the Police Reform Act 2002 (powers of community
support officers), Schedule 10 “Powers of Community Support Officers” outlined in Chapter 12 of the
Anti-social Behaviour, Crime and Policing Act 2014 has been modified to provide authorised officers with
additional powers to issue a fixed penalty notice under Section 42 of that Act of contravening or failing to
comply with a construction or use requirement about the use on a road of a motor vehicle in a way that
causes excessive noise.

What are the limits?

There are two parts to this ‘report’ the first being 103 pages from 2019 and part two 70 pages from 2020. A lot of this documentation is technobabble and technicalities. I have better things to do than read all of it thoroughly, so I tried to pick out a couple of relevant parts. But, as the DfT hasn’t updated their pages, all I can do is show what they have. The final report looks to be two years old already with more ‘trials’ taking place from April this year. I haven’t seen any ‘trials’ being removed when it comes to motorists, have you? these are the full documents if you are having trouble sleeping;

Regulation (EU) 540/2014
The noise levels accepted for vehicle type approval are set out in Regulation (EU) 540/2014 [2] for motor
vehicles and Regulation (EU) 168/2013 [3] for motorcycles.
Regulation (EU) 540/2014 which repeals European Directive 70/157/EEC [4], outlines limits on the
sound levels from road vehicle and gives more representative procedures for measuring sound levels
from exhaust systems and silencers. These limits have been tightened through several amendments.
Limit values for eight types of passenger and goods vehicles range from 72 dB(A) to 80 dB(A). These
limits are expected to be again tightened over 10 years. By 2026 the limit for most new passenger cars is
expected to be 68 dB(A) [5].

Road Vehicles (Construction and Use) Regulations 1986
The Road Vehicles (Construction and Use) Regulations 1986 [9], also made under the Road Traffic Act
1972 (as amended) [8], aim to ensure that vehicles used in the UK are built to a high standard. These
Regulations are also used to implement EU Directives.
The following regulations address noise emission controls on road vehicles:

  • Regulation 54 requires equipment such as silencers not to be altered in such way that the noise is
    greater than when it was first manufactured. Replacement silencers for mopeds and motorcycles
  • must comply with certain noise requirements which effectively imply there is no increase in noise
  • emissions compared with the original silencer. In addition, no increase in noise must be caused by
  • poor maintenance.
  • Regulation 55 (for cars) and Regulation 57 (for motorcycles) require new vehicles to be controlled by
    type approval limits.
  • Regulation 97 requires avoidance of excessive noise which includes the behaviour of the driver in
    operating the vehicle including the use of audible warning systems.

There are certain tests that can be performed, stationary or accelerating.

Category M vehicles are ‘Passenger vehicles’, category N vehicles are ‘goods vehicles’.

ISO 362-1:2015 – Measurement of noise emitted by accelerating road vehicles – engineering method. Part 1: M and N categories
ISO 362-1:2015 [11] specifies a method for measuring the noise emitted by road vehicles under typical urban traffic conditions. The test aims to approximate real world part throttle vehicle operation with a weighted average of a wide open throttle test at a target acceleration with a constant speed test. To achieve stable and repeatable test conditions, the procedure requires a Wide Open Throttle (WOT) test and a constant speed test. The WOT test specifies that a target acceleration be achieved. The gear selection for this test is determined by the target acceleration. The constant speed test is undertaken at 50 km/h. These tests are then combined in a weighted average which is a function of the actual acceleration achieved in the WOT test and the Power-to-Mass Ratio. The test track construction and road surface are required to meet the requirements of ISO 10844:2014 [17].

ISO 5130:2007+A1:2012 – Acoustics – Measurements of sound pressure level emitted by stationary road vehicles
ISO 5130:2007+A1:2012 [13] specifies a test procedure for measuring the noise level from road vehicles under stationary conditions. The test method essentially involves holding the vehicle at a set engine speed and measuring the noise level when the throttle is released. The microphone is positioned 0.5m from the exhaust outlet. As specifically stated by the Standard, this procedure is not intended as either a method to check the exhaust sound pressure level when the engine is operated at realistic loads nor a method to check the exhaust sound pressure levels against a general noise limit for categories of road vehicles.
ISO 10844.

  • 75% of the rated engine speed, where the rated engine speed is ≤ 5,000 RPM
  • 3,750 RPM for a rated engine speed 5,000 – 7,500 RPM
  • 50% of the rated engine speed, where the rated engine speed is ≥ 7,500 RPM

It all gets very technical, but to break it down; somebody sets up a sound meter to listen to the noise of the exhaust. At some points these guides even go on to mention the use of “mobile phone apps”, I kid you not. Can you imagine some jobs worth police saying “according to my iPhone 11, your car is loud”. Yeah like that’s gonna hold up in court. Even the report goes on to say that the apps are inaccurate!

Simple Answer For Our Classics….

Most vehicles, including imports and classics aged over 10 years, will not need vehicle approval. Therefore, however loud your classic car or motorcycle is when idling or driving sensibly, it shouldn’t be a cause for concern in areas that feature noise cameras. 

A ‘Classic Car’ definition according to Wikipedia;

A classic car is an older car, typically 25 years or older, though definitions vary. The common theme is of an older car of historical interest to be collectible and tend to be restored rather than scrapped.

So from what I can make out, a 10 year old Honda civic worth £2000 with a frying pan sized exhaust bolted on it is not a classic, sorry.

My Opinion (for what it’s worth)

All this as far as I can see is pointless, the types of people (boy or girl racers) who have these types of exhausts are mostly over ten years old. So somebody in a beautiful Skyline R32 with an exhaust you climb into doesn’t have to worry either.

If you have a hotrod with straight pipes – that seems to be OK as well.

The point is where these police “powers” come into play could be subjective. On one hand stop the noise, but a car over ten years old is fine, as it’s a ‘classic’. So if you have a nicely tuned, Charger, Plymouth, Chevy, Mustang, a blown v8, turbo Porsche or some other classic American muscle, is the police going to know what the car should sound like or not? Cars over forty years old don’t even need an MOT, so they wouldn’t be pulled up on it then either. There are very strong chances that the car in question is older than the person trying to gauge how noisy it is. The contradiction of it’s over ten years old verses it’s ‘too loud’ is a joke.

The only people this legislation will effect will be the new Super or Hyper car owners like a Ferrari, Pagani, Lambo, Aston Martin etc. These cars come from the factory with loud ‘performance’ exhausts as standard because that is what the car needs. Perhaps restricting the noise from the factory in that case would be the answer? Good luck with that at the manufacturers. The owners buy the cars like that and then you fine them for buying that car often without any modifications being made. Besides, if they did get pulled over and given a £50 fine, will they be bothered? Of course not, that would just be the tip for the valet to park the car for them outside the casino. If they drive like an idiot, then they should get their just rewards, you need to be sensible.

The worst type of culprits are the cheaper boy racer cars made to sound loud and intentionally make noise as if to prove something. This type of ‘upgrade’ is done for no other reason than noise. Then yes – these are the idiots that need the fines, for being stupid. Just because it has a very big exhaust, it does NOT improve performance. Formula 1 cars rarely have an exhaust bigger than 3″.

This post was intended to be a quick one stating that sound cameras are being introduced and to beware of them. But, the more I looked into it, the deeper the rabbit hole went. After hours of reading and research, I came up with this; at the end of the day, people should be considerate with their cars, revving up at two in the morning is unacceptable.

Any thoughts on the topic? Let me know.

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Ticket Costs

My last post I mentioned that I would be doing more reviews and I have started that by adding a few more products to the Detailing Menus at the top. I had the option to use a couple of products that I hadn’t actually purchased. This is a first for me as I always by my products with my own money, that way my reviews are totally impartial as I don’t have to please any sponsors because they gave their products to me free.

The first review I did was a sponge that costs £22! Now that’s a lot of money for a sponge regardless of what is called, in this case Ultra Black Sponge made by the very respectable ‘Rag Company’ who make some awesome products. Their latest sponge is a very dense foam with a series of parallel cuts as part of the ergonomic design. The sponge is getting plenty of hype on a few detailing websites as being the next best thing for car wash detailing. Click the image below or here to be taken to my review of this rather unique sponge.

I used the sponge in conjunction with a product made by P & S. Their (new product to me), Absolute Rinseless Wash which is designed to be a just that. Wash the car and dry it off. If you are looking to reduce the amount of water used to clean your pride and joy, then this is for that ‘gap’ between a full wet wash or a totally waterless wash. Again for a full review of their product click here or click the image below.

A little spoiler alert, I only liked one of them!


A couple of years ago I exhibited my car at the Classic Car show at the Birmingham NEC, for the Pride of Ownership category. I enjoyed the show over three days, I meet some great people and also meet a few cheats as well for the voting. As I was with my car I didn’t get to see much of the show itself. I fancied going along this year as a spectator to have a proper look round at the cars and any reason to part with some of my hard earned cash. That was until I looked at the prices! I think somebody is smoking some plant extracts to come up with these prices.

How can they charge this amount? Quite easily so it seems. Yes, I get the insurance, and venue has to be paid for. The vendors will pay even more for their pitches. The cost of food up there is super stupid, (I always took my own for that reason). My question is are we, that being the classic car owners or enthusiasts, being taken for a ride to go to these types of shows? I believe so, and as a result I won’t be going this year sadly or any other years until the prices are more reasonable. The prices shown above are just the cost of the tickets to get in. On top of that the cost to travel there and back, oh plus parking of course which means I have to sell a kidney to fund. I appreciate the cost of living is going up, but now rather than this being a nice day out to look at cars, it becomes a bit of a luxury event. That makes me sad to be honest.

Am I being a bit tight with money or is this a general opinion? I have also noticed a trend for this year’s car shows; the exhibitors are being asked to pay £10 for a ‘ticket’ to attend the show. The public get in free to see the cars! It has to be said that I honestly don’t mind paying a bit for charity from the entrance fee, but without the cars – there is no show. I know a couple of people who have voted with their wallets and not gone to some of the shows this year where high entrance fees are charged. Perhaps charging just a couple of pound for the public and exhibitors is the way to go? What do you think?

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More Reviews Coming

A few months ago I was approached by Jim Jeffrey from a car detailing website called World Of Shine. We got to talking about a topic that was a confusing international problem. We had some good chats and he liked my chart that I had put together in December 2019 and posted on my pages here. This was my big article explaining the actions of various dual action pads and why you need them. The DA colour comparison chart comprises of the big name manufacturers on the DA pad market. Jim asked if he could share my chart with his subscribers to which I agreed. He wrote that article called “pick A Color – Any Color” which was posted here august 7th 2022, where he referenced my chart.

To download my original PDF format of the DA Comparison Chart, click here.

Thanks to my friend over the Pond Jim for giving me a shout out.


Now that the car show season (in the UK) has now all but finished, the next few posts will be focusing on little upgrades, tweaks and a few more reviews. With that in mind, a good friend of mine Craig had just bought a new car for himself, a MK 7 Golf GTI (2.0ltr turbo in fact). He brought the car over for me to have a look at and an excuse for take it for a drive. Once he was here it was a good reason for me to have a little drive (OK thrash) around the relatively deserted roads of my village.

The car looked a bit grubby when we had finished, so we had an impromptu detail session. We got out the snow foam, Absolute Rinseless Wash, spray wax and final quick detailer.

I will be reviewing the new products we used very soon which comprised of a rather expensive sponge, spray bottle and P&S Absolute Rinseless Wash which has been making some good noises around the detailing circuits.

The finished result was pretty good for a day’s work. To do it properly we should have clayed the car first, clean slate removal of old products and layered up the waxes and protection. We didn’t have time for the full process, so we just made sure it looked clean on the way home.

No sooner had he parked up at home, it started to light rain on our hard work, but the beading was good to look at.

The only down side? Craig ate most of the donuts! 😂

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Top 10 Blog

I normally post over a weekend but this post I just couldn’t wait to share with you a link to a website that somebody sent to me. Thanks to Michael S for messaging me. The link was accompanied with some congratulations on “my ranking” which I knew nothing about. Thinking it was a wind up, I checked out the main website and it was proper legit. The website “FeedSpot” home page is noted as being the “Internet’s Largest Human Curated Database of Bloggers and Podcasts“. There is some really interesting stuff on the website and it’s really worth checking out, not just because of my blog reference. A great place to start for anything.

I clicked on the link sent to me, where it took me to a list for the “Top 20 Best Mustang Blogs and Websites“.

The date is noted as September 14th 2022 on their webpage and could be a recent addition.

Scrolling down to number 10 I found my little ol’ blog sitting one place above another great blog I have mentioned many times in the past by Mustang Maniac. After reading the list I also sent a congratulatory message to Adam on his blog appearing in the list as well. Like me he was unaware of the listing, but was also well chuffed he was on the listing.

I know it’s a real niche reading audience thing, I’m fully aware that the list is the team’s opinion, others may not agree and it’s all subjective of course. Many wouldn’t even give my blog a second glance in the scheme of things. But, it has really made me smile and ended my week on a monumental high.

Thank You “FeedSpot

It’s an amazing feeling to be spotted as I’m just one man and his Mustang.

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Glemham Hall (part 2)

I finished yesterday’s post with a modern classic Lambo. I will start this post with a group of photos of the poster I had on my wall as a teenager, the timeless classic Lamborghini Countach, I still love these cars.

Nothing about this car is subtle, it just screams ‘I’m a super car, get out of the way’. Stunning car.

I was starting to get to the club stands with a splattering of the private cars around.

Another car I drooled over was the Magnum Pi (TV series) Ferrari. here was one in a very unusual blue.

The military vehicles was interesting as I was speaking to a guy who was telling me that he used his vehicle as a converted camper van.

The commercial vehicles wasn’t as big as I was expecting it to be. But I loved these Freightliners.

There was some stalls, more like a yard/car boot sale type stuff. There never seems to be any auto jumble specific stuff these days. Perhaps I’m looking in the wrong places. The food stalls were busy and the beer tent was selling well too. There was a stall that was selling some artworks which was an awesome place and the live music was quite good too.

I got back to the car and sat down for a well-earned rest. throughout the afternoon I spoke to a steady stream of lovely people. I left the show a bit earlier than expected as I was low on fuel and the last thing I need was to sit burning what I had left. I had visions of calling the wife to bring a couple of cans of fuel to me so I could get to the fuel station. My journey calculations there and back had been ruined due to the traffic jams.

Why did I let it run low?

Well, when I put the car away for the winter I don’t leave her sitting with a full tank, I run it as low as possible so if the fuel does go stale, I won’t lose a great deal. I use fuel additives and stabilizers even in premium low ethanol fuel, so it should be fine but you never know. At the start of each year when the car comes out to play, I fill a Jerry can up with fresh fuel to top her up and start on a good footing.

A great day’s car show and a little sad it was the last of the year. I got the car home and gave her a little wipe down before putting her away. I will give her a winter coat of wax and cover all the chrome with something to protect it.

It’s been a great summer of car shows and from what I can remember, all of them have been a sunny days. Let’s hope it continues for the next year shows too. There may be a an unexpected car show, but I don’t have anything planned in my calendar, yet.

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Glemham Hall (part 1)

Last Sunday saw perhaps my last car show of the year at Glemham Hall. This show was an hour away going the extra miles on going on the main roads, or across country for forty five minutes with ten miles less. The weather was sunny and I had already packed the suncream just in case it was to get as hot as the weather men predicted. I set the Sat Nav to go the scenic route in order to save some time as I got up a little later than I had planned.

I was enjoying my trip down the country roads until three cars arrived at a massive rate of miles an hour to my rear bumper which I didn’t appreciate. The lead car being a white Porshe 911, second was an old school mini with a big exhaust the size of a dustbin, and a I think it was a 355 Ferrari. The Porshe made a big deal overtake dropping umpteen gears giving it the large. The mini risked a lot as we were coming to a corner, trying to prove he was a man. The mini went passed sounding rather lame with the big exhaust smoking under full power. The Ferrari had a bit of sense and didn’t try to overtake. Just after the corner there was a road closed sign and the idiotic Porshe and mini driver were turning around at a junction to go back the way we had all just come from. I could see the Porshe driver was in his forties and obviously in possession of a small man sausage, trying to prove that his balls were bigger than his manhood to the others. The mini driver younger in his twenties I would say was going to need a replacement engine shortly with the amount of blue smoke coming from it and that made me happy. As I indicated and slowed to do the same maneuver the Ferrari decided that he could nip up the inside of me and catch his friends up. So three ‘boys’ with a combined IQ of my shoe size sped off into the distance. I made a point to look for them at the car show to express my concern over their dangerous driving. Unfortunately I didn’t see them there, shame!

I prompted my co-pilot Tom(Tom) to do a detour and obliged to get me on the main roads again at the cost of adding another fifteen minutes on top of the journey and burning more fuel. Eventually I got to the village where a mile or so out there was a traffic jam with a sign to say expect delays due to the car show. Epic, I was now in traffic, hot weather and drinking fuel like a drunken pirate drinking beer on shore leave.

Just under an hour later I pulled into the driveway to the show only to be directed by a marshal on a straight bit of track who was stopping the cars. “Go straight down, but don’t go fast because of the dust”. I thought he was winding me up to be honest. ‘Don’t go fast’, the chance would be a fine thing. where the track was loose and dusty I wouldn’t go to fast for fear of flicking up whatever all over the paintjob on my car.

It was such a popular show that the allocated spaces for each year had already filled up. The rest of us later arrivals were asked what year we were then directing us to another area. I swear they were making it up as they went along. They did try and park us up per decade of manufacture.

I got out had a drink and set about wiping of the dust from the car. The show was split into four sections; private entries, car clubs, military and commercial. Throughout the day I took nearly three hundred photos, but I cut it down to two hundred. This half being this post where I walked around the private entries.

The show was packed out in every direction.

I spotted a couple of TR7’s one with a v8 which would have been named a TR8, but I didn’t see any badges for it. Perhaps it was a retro fitted v8? Then the nice example in gold.