Building a 356 replica for IVA

Building a 356 replica for IVA

What is the IVA?
The IVA is a test to determine whether your vehicle meets the necessary UK and Europe-wide regulations when it comes to design, construction, safety and security.

The question is, do you need to have the IVA test?
The short answer is ‘YES’ – The main reason ‘No IVA No Insurance’. Add to the fact that if you get caught in a car that’s registered illegally it's a £5k fine and up to two years in prison. So, it’s not worth the risk and as we have said before with our help and tips the IVA shouldn’t be something to worry about.

IVA Costs
The current IVA cost is £450+VAT to test and then if a re-inspection is required each visit is a further £90+VAT
(As at: 27/02/2020)

IVA Documentation and further help
The full specification of IVA requirements can be found here in a comprehensive document. If you have any detailed questions, please have a look here as the documentation is comprehensive and fairly easy to read.

Many Speedster and Coupe Owners have already gone through the IVA Process and fortunately there are some good on-line resources to show how people have addressed some common problems. Please have a look on the following forum:

When IVA type approval is given, a Certificate of Conformity (COC) is created which confirms the vehicle’s technical attributes.

As your Speedster Clinic Car will be built from a kit, then you will need to get an IVA test carried out by your local DVSA (Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency) test facility. You can find your nearest one here

Many people put their new builds through a MOT test first to check the electrics, steering alignment and braking efficiency. This is not a requirement to take the test as once completed your car will be classed as ‘NEW’ and won’t need a MOT for the next 3 years (Bonus). Many people take it for a MOT just to check they haven’t made any silly mistakes that may cause them to fail the test. Other than that, you will just need insurance to drive it to the pre-arranged IVA test.

It will then be thoroughly inspected and, assuming it passes, you can then obtain either a new current registration (if your car is built from all-new components, with the exception of one component which can be ‘refurbished’), an age-related plate based on the age of the donor car, or a Q plate if it’s made from a number of different parts of ‘indeterminate origin’. Please see the following section on the website about registering your vehicle for the road (add hyperlink to separate area that covers this)

Things to consider when getting your car ready

As a guide to help our customers build an IVA compliant car we have spoken to customers that have been through the process with a Speedster Clinic car and through the work we have carried out on customer cars we have come up with some guidance specific to getting your Speedster Clinic 356 through the IVA test. As the IVA is a once only test we recommend that there are some items that will make your car more authentic to an original that you should only fit after you have gone through the test

All Cars

  • Chassis Identification - Chassis number to be 17 characters long and stamped on the r/h side of chassis or permanently fixed (welded not riveted). Chassis plate must be fixed in a visible position with the manufacturers details and must have chassis number stamped on. If you use a standard VW Beetle chassis, the Beetle Chassis number is acceptable, this also helps with retaining an age related number plate. Leave the original Beetle Chassis number but the 17 digit number will be provided by Speedster Clinic to meet IVA requirements.
  • Inner Door handles – The reproduction door handles will not pass an IVA test and the handles will either need to be covered with rubber to ensure there are no sharp edges.
    Building a 356 replica for IVA

  • Door pulls - Are NOT a requirement for IVA - So don't fit them.

  • Window Winder Handles – Do not fit these but just fit the escutcheon with a series of washers to hold it on with a countersunk screw so it is flush with top of the escutcheon. As an alternative to manual window winders Speedster Clinic offers an electric window kit that no longer required Window winders, the electric window switches will need to be mounted so they meet the IVA specifications.

  • Speedometer - As the beetle suspension is rear wheel drive and the speedo is mechanically run from the front wheels, you will need a calibration certificate to prove the speedo reeds accurately. This service can be carried out by sending off your speedometer to a specialist with details of your Wheel / Tyre size and they will return the speedometer to you with a certificate that will need to be provided at the IVA test.
    One Such company that provides this service is Speedy Cables and the details of what you need to do is on their Website – Cost for Calibration is From £85.
  • Fuel Filler & Tank – The fuel tank Fuel tank must be earthed with a separate lead other than the fuel gauge earth. Make sure that the fuel tank is full for the test to prove that the fuel gauge works. An external fuel filler needs to be fitted as under the bonnet ones are not allowed. Three options exist to comply here all fuel fillers need to be lockable but do not need to be tethered as they used to be:
    • Through the bonnet – IVA compliant solutions can be installed like the one below, however the finned cap shown will not pass the test and will need to be replaced by a cap that has no sharp edges and locks
      Building a 356 replica for IVA
    • 356C style Filler – The 356C had an external filler flap with a hidden fuel filler, this sort of solution is IVA complaint but would need to be constructed or adapted from another recessed fuel tank solution.
      Building a 356 replica for IVA
    • External Flush filler – An aftermarket flush style filler can also be used connected to a 1960’s Beetle Fuel Tank
      Building a 356 replica for IVA
  • Headlights – Need to be E marked and need to be 500mm minimum to to the bottom or the beam cut-off line on the glass so ultra-low front suspension will mean you will fail, other than that normal MOT headlight standards are required. In addition, you will need to add some rubber around the light mounting tab protect sharp edges Front headlight mounting brackets where the chrome surround bolts to the body, super glue a piece of rubber trim around the edge. Beetle lights should be OK. There are special rules associated with American lights and the set-up and alignment, but they can be used.
    Building a 356 replica for IVA     
  • Day Time Running Lights – Day time running lights are required that come on with ignition and a cockpit warning light needs to determine these lights are on. The best way of adhering to the standards is to purchase a Day Time Running Light Module from one of the Kit car component Manufacturers such as Car Builder Solutions, they sell a simple module that ensures your day time running lights come on and go off in accordance with the IVA rules.
    For positioning of the daytime running lights then if you have USA spec beetle head lights then you can use the indicator bulb mounting under the outer sloped glass lens to mount a white light emitting bulb for this function.  Minimum height is 250mm for these lights.
    If you use the USA Spec headlights, the indicator bulb can be replaced with a clear white bulb to act as your running lights
    You cannot fit them behind the horn grill space as they have to be visible from 20 degrees.

  • Brakes – Normal MOT standards apply, and we recommend getting the brakes including the handbrake checked on a MOT roller before the IVA to ensure they are working and balanced correctly.

  • Brake Fluid Level Indicator & Test Capability - The Brake test light needs to indicate when the fluid level has dropped below the fill level and test the lamp functionality when pressed.
  • Brake Fluid Reservoir – The Brake fluid type DOT4 needs to be marked on a sticker next to the brake fluid reservoir.
    Building a 356 replica for IVA
  • Fuel & Brake Lines - Fuel & brake flexible hoses need to show markings, or certificates of compliance need to be provided at the test. All rigid pipes must be clipped at a minimum of 300mm centres, cable ties cannot be used.

  • Handbrake Lever – The handbrake lever needs to have a sleeve over the hand grip to increase the end radius fitting an aftermarket grip can solve this problem as per the one in the picture below.The beetle handbrake cable ends also need to be covered in some way, so they are not sharp. This can be achieved by fitting drilled out corks over the cable ends these can then be hidden under the standard beetle handbrake gaiter.

    We don't believe the standard beetle handbrake gaiter would be good enough cover to pass as we have heard that people have failed on this in the past

    Here are some possible handbrake sleeves that should pass:
    Building a 356 replica for IVA

    Billet aluminum handbrake handle cover

    Black handbrake grip

    Genuine VW handbrake grip Ivory

  • Emissions - Many people worry about the emissions part of the test as no original Air-cooled VW engine would ever pass modern day emissions. People worry that IVA test expects you to be like a new car, the best you can do is make sure emissions are done on a MOT C02 meter before IVA and pass. The emissions only have to be relevant to those for the year of manufacture of the donor chassis, so make sure you get a certification of the year your car was manufactured (Original V5 document) and include it in the submitted paperwork. The best way to improve emissions on an air-cooled engine is to utilise a Modern ECU and Fuel injection if you do not make the required standard. Further Reading on these Forum threads:
  • Exhaust Noise - Exhaust decibels ned to be below 99db at 75% throttle where maximum throttle on an air-cooled engine is 5000 RPM – You may need to pack the exhaust with extra baffle material to achieve this with a sports exhaust.

  • Rear Reflectors – Reflectors need to be mounted vertical and at right angles to the axis of the car. If you are running replica 356 rear reflectors on your car then you must cover the edges to ensure there are no ‘sharp edges’. People have used bike inner tubes like an elastic band to stretch over them to achieve compliance
    Building a 356 replica for IVA
  • Rear Lights – These lights need to be E marked and Teardrop rear lights may need internal adjustment / partitioning to stop light bleeding from the brake-light/ side-lights section to indicator section.
  • Rear fog and reversing light – These must be E Marked & fitted, and they need to be mounted above the bumper at a minimum height of 250mm. There are some fog lights that ‘claim’ to be IVA compliant but if in doubt in terms of the sharp edges then add some rubber trim around the edge of the light body to comply. The rear fog light should only come on with main lights. You can buy integrated rear fog and reversing lights as in the picture below from suppliers like car builder solutions, in the picture this will simply be mounted below the Number plate but the sharp edges on this bracket will need to be covered to meet the Radius requirements. To get the fog light operation to work as per specified by IVA you can buy a specific module from car builder solutions that ensures correct operation with regard to when they can come on in relation to the other lights.
    Building a 356 replica for IVA

  • Hazard Warning Light – Must be fitted and the internal tell-tale lights to indicate these are operating must be visible from drivers’ position. If you use a hazard switch without a light you must have 2 separate indicator lights on the dash (clocks). Otherwise you can get away with 1 on the dash (clocks).     
  • Side Marker Indicators – These must be fitted to the front wings at a minimum height of 250mm.
    Building a 356 replica for IVA

  • Wing Mirrors - The nearside / driver side mirror needs to fold.  The mirrors must provide good rear visibility, be adjustable, and break away on impact. You need to have wing mirrors on both sides and you must be able to adjust the offside mirror from the Drivers seat. These mirrors are available cheaply from car spares providers like Car Builder Solutions.

    Here is an example of an IVA compliant mirror (Not the nicest looking but gets you through)

  •  Seats – Seats need to be of a rigid structure and it is best to use second hand seats from a production car (MGB or MX5 seats are popular choices) or aftermarket seats. The seats also must have a head restraint fitted. The seats must be securely fitted to the floor with spreader plates to ensure the seats do not come adrift under excessive force, on the Speedster Clinic deluxe chassis then these can be fitted to the raised seat mounting area (See below) .  The seats also cannot foul the seat belt when slid back to its furthest position – it is simple to put a stop bolt in the runner to prevent this from happening.

  • Seat Belts – 3-point inertia reel seatbelts must be fitted. The Seatbelt mounting points should be secured and re-enforced; original beetle points in the chassis are OK for beetle based cars, and for those with a Speedster Clinic deluxe chassis then lower seatbelt points are built into the chassis. Upper Seatbelt points have to meet a minimum height from the base of the seat and will need to be above the driver’s & passengers shoulder level, this can be achieved by making an extension bracket from the upper seat belt mounting on the chassis / sub-chassis, but this has to be robust and bolted in place securely to achieve the right height and meet the exterior projections specifications. The top seatbelt mount also must be spaced out, so they can pivot effectively, this can be achieved with washers. Certified seatbelt bolts must be used to secure the seatbelts.
    Building a 356 replica for IVA

  • Steering Wheel – Steering wheels should be padded and avoid the risk of chest injuries under impact. A standard late model (1302/03) Beetle Steering wheel is acceptable with the addition of some padding across the centre. Using this steering wheel also has the advantage in that it has a collapsible zone and therefore meeting the collapsible steering column requirement. The steering wheel needs to be self-centring at 10mph – if you keep the stock VW beam use torsion beam spacers(Caster Shims) in the bottom beam to push it forward if you lower it and you will need longer bolts to match.
    Building a 356 replica for IVA

  • Interior Sharp Edges – Must all be radiused so that there are no sharp edges, and everything has an edge radius of at least 2.5mm or greater with exception of gear level and pedals.

  • Exterior Sharp Edges – Must all be radiused so that there are no sharp edges, and everything has an edge radius of at least 2.5mm.

  • Indicator Stalk and Dash Switches – Must all be labelled to indicate function.

  • Wheel Clearance - Make sure wheels don’t touch body work or brake callipers/drum.

Speedster Specific Elements

  • Windscreen & Windscreen Wipers / Washers Speedster – On a Speedster you do not have to fit a windscreen to pass the IVA test, and if you don’t as we recommend then you also do not need to fit windscreen wipers, washers or demist systems.
  • Rear View Mirror – This does not need to be fitted if there is no windscreen but if it is fitted then it must have rubber trim around edge or be an IVA compliant one from a supplier.

Coupe Specific Items

  • Windscreen & Windscreen Wipers / Washers - For a Speedster Clinic Coupe you need to fit a Laminated Glass windscreen that is E marked in accordance with EU specifications; these windscreens can be purchased from genuine 356 parts providers. These original windscreens fit the Speedster Clinic Coupe bodies for both Pre-A (Bent window) and 356 A styles. 2 Speed Windscreen wipers need to be fitted (Mini available new from many sources) and they must be configured to park to left if your car is RHD, and to the right for LHD cars. Washer jets also need to be fitted and these need to be the smooth type to meet exterior projection specification.
    Building a 356 replica for IVA
    There also needs to be a defrost capability for the front screen. The original Beetle hot air defrost solution is not compliant with the IVA and therefore all standard beetle heating tubes and levers should be removed. Two options are available to meet the IVA defrost requirements:
    • A heated front screen can be fitted (about £100 more expensive than a normal screen)
    • An auxiliary heater such as an Eberspacher or Webasto can be fitted but it needs to hook up to the Demist vents so that it clears the screen effectively. This installation also needs to be carried out by a certified installer and proof of this needs to provided at the IVA test.
  • Door & Rear Quarter Windows – The door glass and rear quarter windows need to be made from E Marked Toughened glass and marked in accordance with EU specifications.
  • Rear View Mirror – Must be fitted and must have rubber trim around edge or be an IVA compliant one from a supplier.
  • Rear Windscreen – Must be fitted but does not have to be E marked.

DO Not fit these items before the IVA test

  • DO NOT FIT - Bonnet handle.
  • DO NOT FIT – Spare Wheel
  • DO NOT FIT - Dash grab handle or the door pull handles.
  • DO NOT FIT - Wood rim or banjo steering wheel
  • DO NOT FIT- Outside hood latch blocks, centre block is fine behind mirror. (Speedster)
  • DO NOT FIT - Hood. (Speedster)
  • DO NOT FIT - Heater slides-, leave carpet uncut i.e. cover outlet.
  • DO NOT FIT - Back-seat, it’s just a parcel shelf.
  • DO NOT FIT - Switches beyond the 127mm (5") line from edge of steering wheel.
    Any switches fitted within this area are ignored for the test
  • DO NOT install the wind-up windows mech's or handles and glass runners. Temp fill door top gap with packing
  • DO NOT FIT - Front Fog Lights – Not required but if you do fit them then you must only be able to be operated when the headlight beam is dipped and you have to have a dash tell-tale light to say that they are on.

Once you are ready for your IVA test, you are legally allowed to drive you car to the IVA test - but make sure you have car insurance also.

Other Considerations Depending on Build Choices

  • Roll Cage - If you are fitting a Roll Cage to your project you need to ensure padding is used to cover it. FIA fire proof padding which is quite expensive needs to be used to be IVA. The padding then needs to be secured using tie wraps, zipped sleeves to cover all parts of the Roll Cage that could come into contact with a driver or passenger
  • Remove horn grills at front or cover each fin with protective rubber gasket
  • Age of chassis proof needs to be taken to the test centre. This can be either original engines V5, official letter from VW confirming age or letter from the VW owners club confirming age.
  • If re-tested, make changes to parts required only. Do not change anything else until you have the completed IVA pass certificate. Examiners can fail it if alterations are seen that do not comply.

(These hints and tips are by no means a guide to passing you IVA test 100%, but should go a long way to stop you failing on silly items)

Much of these points were taken from a post made on the DDK forum found HERE
Thanks to Richard Maxwell


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