There’s a campaign afoot, ‘Save Our Classics’, that’s aiming for the preservation of cars that were once common on the roads of Britain. Here are the top ten endangered species, and good reasons why we shouldn’t mourn them. Well, most of them.
The reason most of these aren’t around any more is that back when they were built, the body panels were pressed out of tissue paper and cuckoo spit, and dissolved on the transporter if it rained on the way to the dealers.
1/ Morris Ital
This was just plain awful. It was a revamped Morris Marina (see 6/), which in turn was largely a Morris Minor with a bigger engine and worse handling.
2/ Austin Maxi
I have no idea, much, about why this car was never very popular from launch and is even less so now.
3/ Austin Allegro
Know, unaffectionately, at the ‘All Aggro.’ Look carefully at the curves in the glass, and then speculate what happened to the windows in even a minor shunt. My mate Kev had the screen on his break for no reason while he was driving innocently along. The original versions had a square steering wheel.
4/ Vauxhall Chevette
I always had a bit of a soft spot for these. The HS was quite a tarmac ripper.
5/ Hillman Avenger
This actually made it over the Pond, where it was sold as the Plymouth Cricket. Last one I saw was in Sri Lanka many moons ago.
6/ Morris Marina
See Morris Ital above. What a heap.
7/ Austin Metro
Bloody awful follow up to the original Mini. Back in 1982 I was looking for a company car. I ended up with a Nissan, which had an overhead cam engine, and a cabin big enough for five adults. The same priced Metro had a nasty 1300 pushrod engine that could trace its roots back to the 1940s, where it appeared in the Morris Minor, and a cabin best suited to hobbits.
8/ Vauxhall Victor
My father had an early estate version like this one, but in butterscotch yellow. The chrome trim used to get torn off in carwashes.
9/ Ford Sierra
A sad loss. When it first came out, people looked at it and went, ‘What the hell is that?’ Subject to untrue reports they had a tendency to burst into flames if tailended.
10/ Ford Cortina
Went through four incarnations in its 20 year life, putting on weight all the time. I had a really nice Mk IV Ghia.