The Drive Home From SVA

After passing SVA I had the opportunity to legally drive the car home as I had arranged insurance as a backup plan in the event there was a problem with the trailer. My Dad had kindly offered to tow me to the test since my road car does not have a tow bar and I didn’t fancy driving a completely untested car to SVA along two motorways. Any breakdown would have been very expensive both in terms of motorway recovery and missed SVA test.

On the way home though it was different - the roads were quiet and I didn’t have to be home for any particular time. I still didn’t fancy driving on the motorway but once clear of the M77 and onto the old A77 we offloaded the car in a lay-by and I drove it the rest of the way home. Probably the most memorable car journey of my life to date... The car sounded like a world war 2 Spitfire and to say it was turning heads was an understatement. I didn’t go crazy on this, its first drive, but you could immediately tell that it was quick. It somehow didn’t seem as fast due to the lack of squat under acceleration but when you looked at the speedometer it was leaping up 20MPH at a time under even the lightest of throttle. Even in 5th gear, which is a 0.833:1 overdrive on the RV8, it was capable of throwing me back in my seat under acceleration. I remember now why I spent so long trying to squeeze a V8 into such a small car... ;-)


The Single Vehicle Approval Test!

Well, who would believe it - I passed my SVA test at the first attempt today.

The test started well with the speedometer test after which the tester proclaimed that it was the most accurate speedometer he had ever tested. Actual and indicated speeds matched exactly at 35, 40, 50 and 60 MPH and indicated read just 1 MPH over at 70MPH. Given that you must not under-read the speed, this was a bit close for comfort but I’m not complaining!

Next part of the test was up on the ramp with me sitting in the car and the tester examining the underside and suspension/brakes while I operated the controls. This was pretty nerve-wracking as he took ages and was extremely thorough. I was sure he would find something he didn’t like but he said it was all good...

Next were the tests for all the exterior and interior projections and seat belt mountings etc. He also tested the various lights and tell-tales. I had to show him some photos of my seatbelt mounts as it is no longer possible to see them in situ. I also opened the bonnet and allowed him to check that everything was as it should be. I showed him receipts for the braided fuel hose I used under the bonnet. Again everything was fine at which point we adjourned for half an hour for some breakfast while the tester caught up with a few phone calls and had a cup of tea. This was only possible because we were way ahead of schedule by this point due to the fact that the details of my car were obviously within spec and did not require detailed measurement.

After the break we did the rather detailed brake test and this was once again pretty nerve-wracking as you don’t actually know until later whether all is well or not. This is because the numerous readings are all fed into a computer which calculates the braking bias under various brake pedal loadings, taking into account forward weight transfer, to ensure that under no circumstances will the rear brakes lock up before the front. I found out later that it passed with room to spare. I also found out that my laden weight estimates of 500Kg + 500Kg (front and rear axle) were a bit close for comfort at 407.64 and 496.36 respectively. Unladen weight (still with full tank of fuel) was 754Kg and without fuel (40 litres) would be close to 715Kg. It’s a heavy ‘Seven’ for sure but it has the grunt to make up for it... ;-)

Third to last test was the noise test where both sides of the car showed a noise level of 98.6dB at 3000 RPM. The limit is 101dB so it was well within limits.

Second last test was a quick spin around the building to the mirror test area where angles of visibility are assessed. At the same time the examiner is looking for a “degree of self-centering” from the steering wheel. Both tests passed without any issues.

Final test was the emissions test where my engine was initially running at a high 9% CO with the limit being just 4.5%. A half turn on the mixture jet had this down to 0.18% with HC level of 245ppm (limit 1200ppm). The other bank was a much more optimum 2.76% CO with 303ppm HC.  Probably worth picking up a gas tester and carb balancer to keep these in check.

Loaded the car back onto the trailer we had brought it on and went to collect my MAC certificate. All in all a very successful test with only a couple of advisories to cut down the length of my tail light bolts to avoid puncturing the fuel tank in a rear end shunt and some adjustment needed on the handbrake cable following the brake test. The inspector was a top bloke and was always happy to explain what he was looking for at each stage. This was especially useful to a friend of mine who had come along to observe in advance of his own SVA test in a couple of weeks time.