Some popular cars that were a mainstay on Britain’s roads in the 1980s and 1990s are extremely close to extinction, according to new research.
Models including the Lada Riva, Alfa Romeo 146 and Fiat Uno – all of which were stalwarts in the eighties and nineties – are starting to dwindle, Driver and Vehicle Licencing Agency stats suggest.
Here’s a rundown of the 10 models identified as being most at risk of disappearing in the next 12 months…
Ar-Riva-derci: We could soon be saying goodbye to the Lada Riva. It might have been fairly popular back in the ’80s, but just 49 examples are in existence today
The list of cars in ‘terminal decline’ has been revealed by Retro Cars magazine, which collated data from the DVLA to produce the list.
According to the figures, the most endangered car of the 1980s and 1990s is the Lada Riva.
At its height in the late 1980s, Britons were buying around 30,000 examples of the Russian brand’s most popular model.
Back then, a new one Riva would set buyers back around £3,000, making it an affordable – if not the most desirable to be seen in – car for families.
However, wind the clocks forward to the end of 2019 (when the research was conducted) and there are just 49 Rivas known to be surviving in the UK.
That makes it a rarer sight than many supercars on today’s roads.
The 10 popular ’80s and ’90s car due to disappear in the UK
The top 10 list has been provided by Retro Car magazine. The figure for each model is the number remaining, according to DVLA stats.
1. Lada Riva – 49 examples
2. Alfa Romeo 146 – 89 examples
3. Fiat Uno – 218 examples
4. Renault 21 – 221 examples
5. Vauxhall Carlton – 270 examples
6. Citroen BX – 286 examples
7. Nissan Bluebird – 324 examples
8. Volvo 440 – 407 examples
9. Peugeot 309 – 409 examples
10. Rover 800 – 468 examples
The Alfa Romeo 146 – and the 145 hatchback sister car – were a small (and not always reliable) offering from the Italian car maker in the mid-’90s. Just 89 are said to be registered in the UK
The Fiat Uno was once a very popular small car in the late 1980s and early ’90s. Just 218 are owned in the UK at the end of 2019, Retro Cars claims
Slightly more upmarket but no less at risk is the Alfa Romeo 146.
The boxy saloon, produced from the mid-’90s to 2000, is second on the endangered automotive list from its era.
A mere 89 are left on the road in the UK, according to DVLA stats.
More commonly seen cars from the era are also in grave danger, though, with cars that were once in the UK’s top 10 seller lists having disappeared almost completely.
Among them are the last remaining 468 Rover 800s, 409 Peugeot 309s, 324 Nissan Bluebirds, 286 Citroen BXs and 218 Fiat Unos.
French saloons, like the 21 pictured – were all the rage in their day. Not so much anymore, with only 221 with registered UK owners
Not to be confused with the Lotus-tuned Carlton, the standard family saloon wasn’t much to shout about. Some 270 examples are apparently still in UK ownership, surprisingly
While this list is predominantly made up of relatively shoddy motors, the Citroen BX (especially Turbo examples) are hugely collectible these days. Retro Cars states there are 206 in the UK at the moment
The vanishing act is causing problems for those who would like to buy into the next generation of everyday classic cars and is particularly hitting younger car enthusiasts.
Craig Cheetham, editor at Retro Cars magazine, said models from this generation are becoming increasingly popular with younger drivers who want to embrace the era, making it vital for prime examples to be well retained.
The supply of cars is a lot worse than it is or was for classics of an earlier vintage
Craig Cheetham, editor at Retro Cars
He added: ‘The supply of cars is a lot worse than it is or was for classics of an earlier vintage thanks to a generational shift in society, which has seen a car become as much of a disposable asset as a washing machine.
‘In the eighties and nineties the days of ‘make good and mend’ turned into ‘finance and replace’, not helped by the scrappage scheme launched in 2009, and in the future the everyday cars of this era will be far less common than classic MGBs or Triumphs.
‘Indeed, in many cases they already are.
‘That’s why it’s essential that the good ones get saved.’
Fancy a blast from the past in the Nissan Bluebird? There aren’t many to choose from now, with 324 examples nearing the scrapyard
It was not ever earmarked as the most collectible Volvo ever, but the 440 is starting to run thin. In fact, there are fewer than its namesake in existence (407)
We could only manage to track down a picture of a Peugeot 309 in GTi spec – and we’re not apologising for this. Some 409 examples in total are still in use (or SORN) in the UK
The Rover 800 rounds-out the top 10 popular models from the ’80s and ’90s that are in terminal decline. Just over half its namesake (468 examples) are still in UK ownership
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