Not long ago, seeing a car that was a few decades old still driving around on the road was a completely normal sight. Many younger boys and girls received an ‘old banger’ as their first means of getting around town. These days, however, things like emissions concerns, safety improvements and more accessible financing have pushed old cars off our roads.
Modern cars are not only safer and more comfortable to drive, but also cheaper to maintain. So it makes sense for the average citizen to turn away from an older model car. The downside is that many iconic and unique cars that were once a common sight are now disappearing.
This has made some of them very rare, with as little as a dozen models still left.
The Chevette was manufactured in the UK between 1975 and 1984. It was Vauxhall’s attempt at the “T-Car,” a style of compact family car that could be seen in the Opel Kadett, Chevrolet Chevette and Isuzu Gemini. Many special models were released, including a Jubilee version in 1977 for the Queen’s Silver Jubilee.
Perhaps coolest of them all was the Chevette Blackwatch, with its black and silver paint, flared wheel arches, red graphics and Blackwatch written on the nose and front door. Today, a mere 10 examples of the vehicle remain.
This family hatchback was developed by Chrysler’s Europe division and was sold from 1978 to 1987. It was a small and simple car with similar styling to the Volkswagen Golfs of the time. Entry-level models had a tiny 1118cc engine that was only capable of propelling the Horizon to a maximum of 91mph. Only 12 examples remain today.
The Finnish-built 90 was manufactured between 1984 and 1987, giving it a particularly short lifespan to begin with. The included comforts were generous for the time, including remote door mirrors, heated seats, velour upholstery and headlight wipers. Today, one would be lucky to find any of the 13 examples still remaining on Britain’s roads.
Rover 200 Coupe
Before being unveiled at the Paris Motor Show in 1992, the Rover 200 was codenamed “project Tomcat.” The Turbo Coupe that was introduced at the same time as the standard model is still the fastest production car Rover ever made. It was quite stylish for the time, which makes one question why only 13 models are left today.
When first launched in 1988, the Montego sold under both the Austin and MG brand before being sold only as an MG, subsequently phasing out the Austin brand. The estate version was competitively priced and achieved decent sales in both the UK and France. Only 14 examples are left of the Montego sedan today.
Released in 1975, this family compact Hyundai was South Korea’s first foray into mass-production of cars. Yet, only 14 are left today.
For those who grew up seeing these cars on the road, it can be sad to see them disappear. That said, the cycle will continue and our roads may not see some great classic cars anymore, but rest assured they’ll be safer for everyone.