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Survival of the Classics

Survival of the Classics

10 October 2013

A study, carried out by, revealed that with some makes/models of cars produced in the UK throughout the 1980s, only a couple hundred could remain.

So what was actually happening? Some believe that design innovation for the commercial car had started to become stagnated in the ‘80s but cars were still getting sold. This meant here wasn’t a huge push to try new things and improve on the old, if it’s not broke, don’t fix it eh?

In the UK, the 1980s saw millions of cars being manufactured under somewhat relaxed quality control regulations, and although this meant average and already-seen commercial vehicles were being produced, ‘classic car’ designs were still relying on old and loved specifications.

Delayed Reaction

What all this means in today’s car market is that 1980s commercial vehicles are heading to scrap yards at a faster rate than any other generation of automobile and the classic cars produced in this era are all the rarer.

In some cases, such as the Austin Allegro, only 0.05% of the original amount of cars produced remain on the roads. It’s believed that around 642,000 Allergos were built between 1973 and 1982 yet only around 291 remain.

Cars that were manufactured in the 1980s are yet to enter their passage of popular classic status today and this, along with other factors such as low market values and needless scrapping, means at present the survival rate that is truly shocking.

Editor of Honest John Classics Keith Adams commented: ‘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.

Despite a number of cars from this era facing vulnerability and close extinction, the true classic cars of the decade seemed to have overcome the trend of the disappearing motors, proving that quality really does prevail. See the examples below:
Top 10 classic survivors by model

1. Lotus Elan (pre 1995 model) 38% remaining

2. Triumph Stag 25% remaining

3. Reliant Scimitar and SS1 21% remaining

4. Aston Martin V8 21% remaining

5. Lotus Europa 20% remaining

6. Aston Martin DB5 19% remaining

7. Aston Martin DB6 18% remaining

8. Daimler SP250 Dart 17% remaining

9. Aston Martin DBS 15% remaining

10. Triumph TRS 13% remaining

Classic car ‘marques’ milestones at Stoneleigh Park Country Festival

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