I was up at about 05:30 to get ready for the test. Not me of course; the car. A final check over that all was ready, IVA trim in place, paperwork for the test in a plastic wallet, along with my insurance cover note and a printed copy of my appointment at the VOSA test centre in case I was stopped by the police for having no plates. Actually, that was quite a lot.
I had a drive of about 20 miles to the test centre, once I had slightly detoured to fill up – part of the test is a weigh-in which requires the full wet weight of the car and driver to be measured. The forecast was for heavy showers, and it did not disappoint. It was less than ideal for my first drive in the car, worried as I was about it hanging together, let alone the nerves for the test, attempting to bed in the brakes, and the wet roads. I made it though, just 10 minutes before the 08:00 start.
After a short wait the examiner, David, introduced himself and we got the car out of the rain and into the building. I quickly removed the doors and roof to aid getting in and out. David was great – throughout the four hour test he explained the reason for each of the tests and what he was looking for as a pass or a fail. He was pragmatic and helpful, and we spent a fair amount of the test swapping car stories as well as discussing the car.
First up was emissions and speedo. The speedo read 2 – 3 mph under the speed of the rollers, perfect. Emissions were also fine. Next we went over the car with the tall cone and the two smaller domes representing a knee, head and eyeball – see the DVSA guide to get a pass for how these are used and some great tips on what the examiner is looking for during the test.
Up on the ramp next for an inspection under the car and a check of the wiring. Here, David picked up one of my flexible hoses wasn’t fully tightened. He gave me 5 minutes to nip it up and made a note – hopefully this would not mean a fail and re-test. It was quite surreal sitting in the car, 8 feet in the air, being asked to turn the steering lock to lock.
Back down on the ground, it was the weigh-in, two wheels at a time, with me in and out of the car. Then a brake test which was eventful. We pushed the car onto the rollers and there was a loud clunk as the sump hit the metal plate hiding the motors for the rollers. David tried to run the test of the front brakes, but enough weight was resting on the sump that the reading was off. Fair play to David, he got hold of an adjustable spanner, removed the plate over the motors and re-ran the test, getting an accurate reading in the process. These guys are great.
We did the noise level test at the end of the garage with the exhaust pointing outside to minimise the resonance of the building while staying dry, before heading out with the half hood on to check the rear visibility.
Finally, the test was over and David let me know the car had passed. He disappeared off into the office to prepare the certificate, while I punched the air a few times, relieved the test was over and now relishing the prospect of a slightly longer route home, although the rain continued to fall. Suddenly I realised I really had finished. There was nothing left that I had to do on the build. No further tweaks or cable ties or bolts to torque before I could drive this thing.
Once home, I immediately collected the paperwork together, wrote a cheque and send it all off to Swansea. The long wait for the registration number had begun.