1980s cars an endangered species

May 14, 2013 | By | In News

Cars from the 80s are some of the rarest on the roads today, with many in danger of disappearing completely, according to research carried out by HonestJohn.co.uk.

Its list of the top 20 fastest disappearing family cars makes for interesting reading, as many were firm favourites after their market introduction over three decades ago.

Indeed, the Ford Cortina reigned as Britain’s best-selling car between 1973 and 1980. Despite this, and a brief stint as the hero car on the TV show ‘Life on Mars’, there are now just 5,411 registered in the UK, from over four million built.

However, it is the Austin Allegro that has disappeared the quickest. From a production run of 640,000 just 291 remain, or just 0.05 per cent.

Even the venerable Austin Metro isn’t safe. Despite gaining celebrity status when it was used by Princess Diana at her wedding, and later becoming the BSM’s choice of learner driver car, there are just 823 officially surviving examples in the UK, from a production run that extended to 1.5million between 1981-1991.

Further models that are threatened with extinction include the Ford Sierra and Ferrari Daytona-aping Rover SD1.

A number of factors have contributed to the decline of popular 80s cars, including a lack of mechanical reliability and the controversial scrappage scheme introduced under the Labour government.

Keith Adams, editor of Honest John Classics, said: “This list of endangered cars is fascinating – pretty much all of them littered the UK roads as recently as 10 years ago and now you’ll be lucky to spot them at a classic car meeting. The low survival rate for these models is shocking. 1980s cars are particularly vulnerable – because their passage into popular classic status is yet to happen and their disappearance has been hastened by needless scrappage and artificially low market values in recent years.”

The decline in numbers of these family cars is in stark contrast with the number of remaining sports cars from earlier decades, thanks to steady values and their ‘classic car’ designation. For instance 38 per cent of all Lotus Elans sold are still on the road, along with nearly 20 per cent of Aston Martin DB5s and DB6s.

Of course, some 80s cars are still going strong. Watch a video of our Ford Fiesta XR2 take on its contemporary, the brand new Fiesta ST.

If you’ve got a soft spot for 80’s motors, you can browse our classifieds here.

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