The 2009 scrappage scheme was aimed at boosting new car sales in the depths of the recession, and almost certainly at getting old, polluting cars off the road.
With the release of the full list of 392,227 cars scrapped in return for a £2,000 discount off a new car, both aims appear to have been met.
But another consequence, at least for those of us who love some of the increasingly rare “modern” classics from the 70s to the 90s, was the loss of some of the best-loved cars of our youth.
Some of these may not be classics in the sense of an E-Type, but even that now revered superstar could be bought at rock bottom prices at a similar stage of its life – so we took a look at some of the cars sacrificed that someone, somewhere would have loved, restored and cherished into old age.
Remember that all these cars were crushed while in possession of a current MoT certificate so, while they were highly unlikely to be in mint condition, neither were they complete wrecks.
Datsun 280ZX Targa: Produced between 1980 and 1983, the targa version of the luxury grand tourer is now a pretty rare motor, with only 31 manual versions left in the UK, only 10 of which are on the road. One recent example sold for nearly £7,000, and this sharp, long-nosed Japanese classic is sure to appreciate in value as more fall by the wayside over the years.
Renault 5 GT Turbo: A legend of the hot hatch era, the lightweight GT Turbo was a pocket rocket that hit 60mph in just 7.5 seconds on its way to a slightly scary 125mph – all from a 1397cc engine.
Car magazine described an “exhilarating drive” and the infamous “turbo lag” surely had a little to do with that as the power kicked in suddenly, propelling Le Car past most things in its sight at the time.
There are still more than 400 of these appreciating modern classics on the road in the UK, but it’s still a shame one more has been lost.
Talbot Samba Cabriolet: The owner of this Samba soft-top joins Jeremy Clarkson in sending the little Anglo-French supermini to the scrapheap – but at least this one wasn’t catapulted into a wall at 164mph as the Top Gear host did in his 2009 DVD Duel. Shame on them both as not only was the Samba Cabrio one of the prettiest little things around in the mid 80s, but there are now just five left taxed and running on UK roads.
Honda Beat: How could you scrap a Honda Beat? It’s like kicking a puppy. The cute little roadster, a tiny 660cc Kei-car built to meet Japan’s tax and insurance regulations, gave go-kart handling and zippy performance from a restricted 64bhp engine.
With scaled-down supercar looks, the Beat was never officially sold in the UK, and only about 100 were ever imported privately between 1991 and 1995, making them a rare sight today. A little rarer now.
Vauxhall Chevette: About 415,000 Chevettes were sold in Britain between 1975 and 1984, yet rust and low values mean just 250 are taxed and MoTd on our roads today. Vauxhall got this smart-handling little hatchback on the road a year before Ford launched the Fiesta, and its spirit lives on in the Corsa today. An average example wouldn’t be worth the £2,000 scrappage payment, but A1 condition standard cars can fetch £5000, with rarer HS rally models going for £12,000 plus. Chevettes are definitely worth saving.
Ford Sierra XR4x4: An Audi Quattro for the masses – the XR4x4 combined superb grip with sprightly performance in the proven Sierra package, and all for a fraction of the price of the German rally king.
The 2.8 litre V6 wasn’t quite as quick as it was in the Capri, but the 150bhp was enough to make the Sierra a sporting family car for all seasons.
Only about 335 Xr4x4s are left on British roads, with another 1,000 or so declared off the road.
Fiat Uno Turbo i.e.: In direct competition with the Renault 5 GT Turbo and Peugeot 205 1.9 GTi, Fiat’s souped up Uno held its own in the hot hatch division of the mid 1980s, with a 1.4-litre engine producing 105bhp and 0-60mph in 8.3 seconds. Rumour has it that the Uno was easily tuned, producing electric performance but slightly hairy traction.
Interiors weren’t up to the standard of its French rivals, and rust saw most of them corrode long ago. Which is all the more reason to hope that remaining 30-plus on the road are in safe hands.
BMW 2002: The forerunner of the all-conquering 3-series, the BMW 2002 is an elegant sporting saloon produced by the Bavarians between 1968 and 1975. The forward-sloping nose gave the car an aggressive ultra-modern aspect, while the circular rear lights always remind this writer of the more humble Simca 1000.
Without a doubt these important cars, which chart the evolution of the small family BMW into the class-leader it is today, are well worth saving.
Ford Capri II 3000 Ghia: By 1974, with 1.2 million cars sold, the Capri was a grown up sporting GT, and now came with a larger cabin and a hatchback rear end with the introduction of the mark II.
This 3000 Ghia would have been a range-topping model and, according to howmanyleft, just nine taxed and tested examples remain in the UK. So if these figures are to be believed, the government’s scrappage scheme was responsible for a 10 per cent drop in road legal examples of this 70s British icon.
This is just a handful of some of the more modern classics among hundreds of perfectly good cars from the 50s to the 90s culled in the scrappage carnage that cost the government £400 million.
Other highlights, or lowlights, were 11 Fiat X1/9s, more than 130 MGBs and 50-plus Midgets, 34 Porsche 924s and even a Porsche 928, more than 80 Morris Minors, a Reliant Scimitar, a Corvette, a TVR, Spitfires, Heralds, a Stag, a Lotus Eclat…you get the picture.
If you want to see the full list, read it and weep.