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Are Classic Cars Exempt From Latest Restrictions in France?

The world continues to combat pollution, with new laws and regulations being introduced to prevent the highest polluting cars off the roads and out of city centers. 

Since the summer of 2021,  diesel vehicles produced in 2006 and after are not allowed to drive in Paris during the day.

According to the article ZFE : une première dérogation pour les anciennes (a first exemption for the old ones) the vehicles not labeled with the Crit’Air 4 and 5 are excluded from driving in the city of Paris. In the same source the following are the scheduled times for such vehicles:

  • Cars, motorcycles, and utility vehicles: 8 a.m. and 8 p.m., Monday to Friday except public holidays
  • Trucks, buses, and coaches: every day from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m.

Cars over 30 years old and driver’s with a gray collection card are not affected by the new rule.

This is a big win for the French Federation of Vintage Vehicles (FFVE) whose argument is that cars over thirty years old are only 1% to use a diesel engine; they run fifteen times less than the average for the entire vehicle fleet and they only represent 0.5% of the stock of the top eleven metropolises interested in setting up a low-emission mobility zone. 

This is great news for classic car owners with vehicles 30 years and older, as they are exempt from any new restrictions whose registration certificate bears the word “collection”. 

With the new ruling, classic car collectors can feel confident when purchasing vintage vehicles to preserve the old timers. 

According to our import partner Guillaume Janvre, “In France, for the moment, you can drive either classic vehicles and new vehicles without any problems. Just in Paris and other big towns you may be restricted depending on the age of your vehicle."

Guilluame adds, "With classic ones you do “what you want” (noise / pollution etc….) – that’s the fact today. You can drive on the Champs-Elysée without any problems. The status of classic cars is protected by the Fédération Française des Véhicules d’Epoque - FFVE. For new vehicles and vehicles less than 30 years old, you just have to pay a lump sum taxes when you want to register your vehicle (link to the age of vehicle). This tax is linked to pollution rate (ecological MALUS) and is confirmed by the WLTP.

Driving a classic car in Paris is a luxury classic car owners continue to enjoy.

Here are the top ten most popular cars from 2020 to France:

  1. Ford Mustang
  2. Chevrolet Corvette
  3. VW Bus
  4. Porsche 911
  5. Mercedes-Benz 500SL
  6. Chevrolet G20
  7. Jaguar XJS
  8. Volkswagen Karmann-Ghia
  9. Ford F100
  10. Ford Thunderbird