My love for oldtimers

I wanted to write an article about my passion, the oldtimers. Surely it will find a lot of readers who share my love. A few important aspects summarized here, because old and youngtimers are a common sight when german car lovers meet and can be driven by any license holder. But what if the desired vehicle is not an opel ascona, but a unimog or a lanz bulldog??

The car is still the german's favorite child in times of digitalization. This is especially true for old sheet metal, because germany loves oldtimers. No wonder: old cars usually have a more manageable technology, can be maintained even by laymen. And they can be driven with a normal driver's license. However, there is also another group of people: for them, "normal" cars are not interesting. Your enthusiast vehicles are called humvee, unimog, bulldog or B12, weigh "a little" more, are perhaps quite slow, or simply not a car in the traditional sense. Anyone interested in such vehicles has to do more preparatory work than just buy a suitable vehicle. The following article explains exactly what this means.

1. The thing with the weight

Admittedly, berlin's streets are sometimes adventurously narrow even for normal cars. Nevertheless, even in the german capital there are contemporaries who like nothing better than to take their sunday drives in a huge humvee, the universal mule of the U.S. Army, or the universal motorized vehicle, or UNIMOG for short. In principle, this is not a problem, because in terms of operation, such large vehicles do not really differ from passenger cars – but in another detail: the permissible total weight. This poses several challenges for interested parties:
in principle, the normal class B driver's license only allows you to drive cars with a gross vehicle weight rating of up to 3.5 tons – which covers heavy sedans as well as small vans. Humvee, unimog and co. But in all variants have a much higher total weight and may therefore not simply be moved on public roads with the B-driver's license. However, there are two options:

1. Unloading

2. Truck driving license

The off-loading is the more cost-efficient variant: in the process, tuv, dekra and co. A reduction in the permissible total weight can be requested. The engineers then certify that the vehicle weighs less than the permitted 3.5 tons without any further technical modifications. However, there are several drawbacks:

– the payload is reduced by the value of the discharge. That means, the empty weight can only be exceeded by a smaller factor, the payload becomes lower

– the new registered weight must not be less than 125% of the empty weight. In plain language: unloading only works with vehicles that are not too heavy

in addition, a new type plate must be applied for from the manufacturer and then the relevant licensing authority must also give its blessing. But: the weight reduction not only allows driving with a license, but also affects the vehicle tax: above 3.5 tons, the truck tax automatically applies, along with additional surcharges, which are staggered according to emission and driving noise classes. If unloaded, the whole thing falls away, humvee and co. Will be taxed like normal cars – unless they are eligible for an H license plate anyway because of their age.

This makes the off-loading the alternative for all enthusiasts who only want to use their coarse vehicle for occasional trips. The other way is to enroll in an appropriate driving school and make the truck driving license. So the vehicle can be moved without any restrictions with full weight. However: it will cost well over a thousand euros in berlin. In addition, then the full truck tax must be paid.

2. Machiavellian tractor chugging

Quite a few adults from berlin played with tractor models during their childhood. Others were infected with the "tractor virus" while on vacation in the countryside. Germany has a comparatively lively scene dedicated to the care and driving of old agricultural machinery. But of course, here too the german official horse whinnies. To make a long story short: in the matter of tractors, there are exactly two and a half different variants and possibilities, depending on the vehicle model itself:

– machines that can be moved with the normal B-driver's license

– machines for which a T-driver's license is required

– machines that do not have to be registered

sounds confusing: in principle, the class B driver's license also includes the class L license – without the need for a tractor test. With the normal B, tractors can be driven, which can not drive faster than 40 kilometers per hour. But of course there is a catch: this tractor is also not allowed to have a total weight of more than 3.5 tons. This leaves the old small tractors like the holder B12 or the rough series of the lanz bulldog. However: if you are really only interested in old tractors, you can get behind the wheel and start driving without any additional effort.
As soon as the tractor is faster and/or heavier, another driving license is required, the class T license. These also cost around a thousand euros, but allow the owner to drive practically anything between a small tractor and a huge MB-trac.

But germany would not be the land of laws if there were not another exception: among agricultural machines there are still so-called single-axle tractors. These are "half tractors", because they consist only of an engine, a rigid steering rod and two driven wheels. In the early days, these machines were very popular on small farms in the berlin area, because various tools such as a plow or a mower, but also a trailer could be attached to the single-axle tractor. And the latter then turns the single-axle tractor into a fully-fledged vehicle that can be driven on the road – under certain circumstances:
such single-axle tractors with hanger also need a B-class driving license, but do not have to be registered. It is sufficient to carry the operating license – but only if the vehicle is used for so-called air journeys, in short for agricultural and forestry journeys, where the reason for the journey is work, not spab.

In plain language, this means that anyone who owns a bungartz FK8, for example, and would like to use it to take a green waste cut from his laube in zehlendorf to the BSR recycling yard in hegauer weg, can do so without any problems. However, if he wants to make a sunday trip to the berlin countryside with the unregistered, same vehicle, he is acting against the law, because that would not be an air-trip.

3. Darling, i'll buy a tank

While the previous vehicles were at least halay civilian in nature and could be classified as "cars" even for laymen, there is a much smaller group of enthusiasts for whom the state makes things even more difficult. Namely, the one that is interested in decommissioned military coarse equipment.

In short: it is no longer possible in germany to register a demilitarized tank on a private person's vehicle. This is regulated in §19 paragraph 2a of the stvzo. This states: "the operating permit for vehicles which, according to their design, are intended specifically for military or police purposes, as well as for purposes of fire protection and disaster control, remains valid only as long as the vehicles are registered or used for the federal armed forces, the federal police, the police, the fire department or disaster control."

A few years ago, a collector of exotic vehicles had registered a tank in koln and moved it with the driver's license F (full- and half-tracked vehicles). The legislators didn't like that at all and so they inserted the above-mentioned paragraph.

But even without registration, a private tank would be an expensive pleasure: it must be extensively demilitarized. This includes among other things

– disablement and seizure of cannons

– thinning out the armor in prescribed places (cutting it out and closing the hole with a sheet of metal)

a tank is just no normal vehicle, but moves already on the area of the war weapons control law. And even without a cannon, such a vehicle could still do a lot of damage – without the police having an antidote, how do you stop such a colossus?? For this very reason, holes have to be cut in the armor. In addition, a special driver's license is required for this purpose.

The bottom line is that the verdict is devastating for those interested: a berlin resident was allowed to own a demilitarized tank, but it was practically impossible to drive it on the street.


Lovers of exotic things always have a hard time in germany, but fans of unusual sheet metal are no exception. The good news, however, is that in almost all cases, german law makes it possible to enjoy oneself – but whether this really feels pleasurable in view of the costs is another matter.

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