Good riddance . . . or good investments? Britain’s direst cars of the 70s and 80s are now some of the most endangered models on the road

The Morris Ital is the car most at risk of becoming extinct - says there are just 35 UK registered versions of the last Morris built in the country
  • Once popular models like the Austin Metro, Morris Marina and Ford Sierra could soon disappear from our roads
  • Morris Ital is first on the endangered list – just 35 were registered in 2015 
  • One Austin that isn’t near extinction is John Lennon’s 1956 Princess limo – it goes under the hammer in September estimated to raised £265k 
  • The Festival of the Unexceptional pitted 75 forgotten cars of yesteryear against each other last weekend – see the gallery below

By Rob Hull For Thisismoney.Co.Uk  and Lucy Crossley For MailOnline

They might have been derided by many, but some of Britain’s most notorious cars of the 1970s and 80s could now back in demand due to their increasing rarity.

Motors such as the Austin Metro, Morris Marina and Ford Sierra, that once dominated Britain’s streets and driveways until relatively recently are now on the verge of extinction.

That’s according to classic car insurance specialist ClassicLine, which has kickstarted a campaign to save a number of cars that were once responsible for transporting a nation.

The insurer has reviewed data to identify which mainstream models from the 1970s and 80s are on the verge of disappearing – comparing the number registered on the road today with how many were originally produced and how they have declined over the last decade.

Endangered: The Ford Sierra is on the ‘near extinction’ list provided by ClassicLine insurance, which claims less than 1% of the cars built are registered in the UK today

Among the list of once ubiquitous models featuring in the insurer’s ‘Save our Classics’ bid are cars that many Britons will have fond memories of, though there are some that we’d have happily forgotten until now.

Topping the list as the most endangered of all is the last Morris to ever be produced – the Ital.

According to the ClassicLine, just 35 examples of the car built between 1980 and 1984 are registered in the UK today – that represents 0.2 per cent of the total built in Cowley and Longbridge and an 81 per cent decline in roadworthy models since 2005.

Also joining the youngest Morris is a selection of more identifiable cars, including the Austin Metro, Ford Cortina and Vauxhall Victor.

And there are even concerns for mainstream models of a later generation, with the Ford Sierra, built from 1982 to 1994, being the focus of worry.

According to, more than 64,000 Sierras have disappeared off our roads in the last 10 years, with less than one per cent of the total built remaining today.


Morris Ital (1980-1984) 175,276 185 35 99.98
Austin Maxi (1969-1981) 472,098 318 140 99.97
Austin Allegro (1973-1982) 642,340 543 170 99.97
Vauxhall Chevette (1975-1984) 416,058 765 202 99.95
Hillman Avenger (1970-1981) 638,631 291 215 99.97
Morris Marina (1971-1980) 809,612 550 273 99.97
Austin Metro (1980-1991) 1,518,932 8395 464 99.97
Vauxhall Victor (1961-1978) 827,159 1050 828 99.9
Ford Sierra (1982-1993) 3,470,524 67817 3350 99.9
Ford Cortina (1962-1982) 4,154,902 4967 3580 99.91


The Morris Ital is the car most at risk of becoming extinct – says there are just 35 UK registered versions of the last Morris built in the country

Of the 800,000 Vauxhall Victors built, just over 800 remain in the UK, ClassicLine said

Ian Fray, managing director of the classic car insurer said: ‘Once common 1970’s and 80’s cars are disappearing at an alarming rate and this new list is evidence that a serious extinction crisis is mounting.

‘Tens of thousands of Itals were built during the 1980s, they are a proud part of our British manufacturing heritage so it is very sad to hear that so few now remain.

The Austin Allegro, built from 1973 to 1982, is also in decline. There were 543 registered in the UK in 2005, but just over 150 a decade later

Some 1.5m Austin Metros were built. Last year, just 464 were reportedly registered in the UK

The Ford Cortina is an icon of a generation with an incredible racing heritage. But even this legend is under threat, according to the classic car insurance provider

Many old cars that could have gone on to become treasured classics were wiped out by the £300million vehicle scrappage scheme brought in after the financial crisis to help boost the slump in new car sales.

It ran from May 2009 to March 2010 and gave motorists who traded in their old cars a £2,000 discount on a brand new car and applied to all vehicles registered before 31 August 1999.

The Government and car industry claimed the scheme encouraged people to drive newer more environmentally friendly cars, but critics argued that it took a huge chunk of potential minor classics off the road and the environmental cost of making a new car was greater than that of driving an older less efficient one.

Mr Fray said: ‘It is a tragedy that such huge numbers of these cars have been lost in the last decade. Through our new campaign we aim to raise awareness and support for the plight of these once common and much loved British classics that are being recklessly driven to extinction.’

The new Save our Classics campaign, launched earlier this month, encourages the preservation of British classic cars and has called for a number of incentives such as reducing the current UK road tax exemption from 40 years to 30 years to help enthusiasts maintain the dwindling stock.

The insurer is now encouraging people to post pictures on its site of any of the endangered cars.

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