The Individual Vehicle Approval does indeed, matter. Without passing this test (as you probably already know) you will be unable to legally drive your car on the public road. All unregistered kit cars, and in some cases incorrectly registered kit cars need to pass this test in order to be eligible for registration and use on public roads.
By their nature, kit cars tend to be unique and therefore cannot all be categorised under the same type approval. They must be tested individually to gain Individual Vehicle Approval (IVA). Two different people could take identical kits and build them into cars. One could end up a thorough and professional build, and the other could be a death trap with spikes mounted on the dashboard – without inspection, there is nothing to prevent potentially dangerous cars entering service on the public roads.
Opinions on the test vary from person to person, but we as a company fully endorse the IVA system, purely because of the safety implications raised in building a car.
It’s rare for a car to sail cleanly through IVA, though we have been delighted on the occasions it happens. We usually advise all builders to expect a fail at the first attempt and be handed a list of rectification work needed, the size of which determines how successful the test went. A list of five small jobs to sort on a Saturday (such as adding radius to a sharpe edge) before a re-test can be considered a success, in our opinion. An IVA test is much, much more complex than say, an MOT test.
Above all, kit cars have a special place in our hearts, aswell as our workshop. Southways Automotive only exists because of enthusiasm towards these cars.