Thursday, 18 January 2018

Here yesteryear, gone tomorrow ...

Now, I'm a 90's kid, so it's nice to see a resurgence of things that I grew up with, such as Blind Date, Nokia reissues, and of course, the revival of the much loved Tamagotchi. It's a shame that the same cannot be said for the cars of this, which are heading the same way as the dinosaurs from that famous 1993 film... 


New research from Honest John Classics shows that the cars we grew up with, that our mums and dads drove us around in, are dying out. To give you an idea, 2613 Rover 400s were taken off the road in 2016 – that's just over a fifth of the total number left. At this rate of decreased use, they will all be gone in five years.

It's a similar story for the Vauxhall Cavalier and the Citroen Saxo. Once beloved of sales reps everywhere, just over 10% of 1990s Cavaliers have been scrapped. While the Saxo, which defined modified motoring for the Max Power generation saw 2505 destroyed – almost a quarter of the total left!

Not even the youngest cars from the 'dot-com' decade are safe. The Ford Focus changed car design forever when it was launched in 1998, but examples are vanishing at the rate of 25% a year – meaning, if they continue to disappear at the current rate, there will be no 1990s Mk1 Focuses left in just four years. It's a similar story for the Ford KA, with 29% of examples disappearing every 12 months.

"Many people think of a classic car as an MGB or and E-type Jag, but the reality is that there's a huge amount of interest in cars from the 1990s. I'm not talking about the supercars that adorned posters on bedroom walls, I'm thinking about the cars that we grew up with. The cars that our dads had – that took us to school, to the cinema, on holiday. These cars were part of our lives every single day – and now they're nearly all gone," said editor of Honest John Classics, Keith Moody.


"The startling survival rates of the cars that you used to see on every street and at every service station means that demand for them is starting to outstrip supply. And while we've seen a lot of 1990s nostalgia in the past few years, with everything from Britpop to Blind Date making a comeback, it's shocking that the cars from this decade in automotive history are on the brink of extinction."

But why are many of the cars our dads used to drive on the endangered species' list? There are several reasons, but one of the biggest is that 2009-10 scrapage scheme. Here, the Government encouraged people to trade-in cars more than ten years old for £2000 off a new car – a discount that you could've got by haggling. In total, 392,227 future classics were taken off the road because of the scrapage scheme.



When does a car become a classic?

While some turn their nose up at 1990s 'bangers', such as the Ford Mondeo and the Vauxhall Cavalier, by saying that they will never be proper classics, research from Honest John Classics shows this simply isn't the case.

Honest John researchers looked at the most recent MoT data to find out when a car made the transformation from cheap runabout to cherished family member. Analysing the data, they were able to see when the rate of cars failing their annual roadworthiness test stopped declining and started to rise again. 

"This is the point at which a car crosses over from a banger that gets run into the ground to something that is appreciated and that the owner wants to invest both time and money in. This is the decisive moment – this is the point where values stop falling and prices start rising," says Keith Moody. 

Currently, cars from the year 2000 have the worst MoT pass rate with just over half failing. After this point, the figure improves for older cars as they find their way into he hands of enthusiastic owners. In fact, cars from 1993 have a better pass rate than cars from 2005, with 56.5% passing the annual roadworthiness test compared to 55.3%. A fact that underlines 1990s cars as emerging classics.

"Petrolheads in their 30s and 40s grew up with these 1990s cars. They learnt to drive in them. They went on family holidays in them. They are the next-generation of classic cars – and they're being bought by enthusiasts who want to be reminded of their connection to times, people, and places who might no longer be with them," adds Keith Moody.

The best selling cars from 25 years ago

A quarter of a century ago, the Mk5 Ford Escort was Britain's best-selling car. It sold 122,002 units that year – but now there are just about 460 of those left on the road. That's a survival rate of 0.37%. It's a similar story with the Mk3 Fiesta, which was second in the best-sellers list with 110,449 finding new homes in 1993. Now just 435 of those are still on the road – a survival rate of 0.39%. In fact, non of the best selling cars from 1993 have a survival rate of more than 1% – that means 99% have been crushed.


Maybe it's time to do your bit for the classic car scene of the future, and start nurturing these soon-to-be-forgotten models! And if any of you want to try your hand at writing an Essential Buyer's Guide to one of these future classics, then get in touch, as we'd love to do our bit to help preserve classic cars! – Siân