Currently reading: Cars with only one example left on the road in the UK
These endling cars are the rarest you'll see on Britain's roads, and they're a surprisingly disparate bunch
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7 mins read
7 April 2017

How many Ford Fiestas do you see every day? How about Mercedes-Benz E-Classes? Boring, isn't it?

We enthusiasts love to see a rarity, even if it is a car that decades ago was just as common as those aforementioned motors. 

In fact, there are quite a few endling cars in the UK: ones that are simply too old or too unloved to have a contingent left, or are rare luxuries.

The latest Government data on this, which our story is based upon, was published in September 2015, so who knows, there may be more, and some on here may have now met their maker, surrounded by washing machines and wire bedframes.

Note – these are cars licenced to be on the road, so not including cars with a Statutory Off Road Notice (SORN) in place.

Alfa Romeo 90 (1984-1987)

This executive saloon is definitely among the less well-loved Alfa Romeos. Based on the prettier, smaller, but ageing Alfetta, it lasted five years before being replaced by the 164. Today, just one is left, in range-topping Quadrifoglio Oro (Gold Cloverleaf) trim, which came with a trip computer, powered steering, central locking, metallic paint and a digital instrument panel as standard.

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Aston Martin DB1 (1948-1950)

“It’s called the 2-Litre Sports!,” we hear you cry. Yes, you’re right, but the DVSA isn’t. Anyhow, this two-seat roadster, the first built under David Brown’s saving ownership of the famed British firm, is powered by a straight-four, and just fifteen were built.

Audi RS6 Plus (2004)

This run-out edition of the C4-generation A6 was even more powerful, with its 4.2-litre V8 getting an increased power output of 469bhp over the standard car’s 450, courtesy of Cosworth. Interestingly, it was only available in Avant estate form.

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Austin Montego Countryman (1984-1988)

The Montego saloon is still surprisingly well represented on our roads, with 57 examples still registered. The Countryman estate, however, is alone – sort of. There are still 26 wearing Rover badges.

BMW 1500 (1962-1964)

The first of the ‘New Class’ BMW saloons, the nippy 1500 executive was powered by an 80hp four-cylinder petrol engine. It’s an important car, setting the styling trend that has been omnipresent throughout the life of its successor, the 5 Series.

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BMW 1802 (1971-1975)

Unfortunately, the DVSA’s data doesn’t specify whether the sole remaining 1802 – a variant of the original 2 Series with a 1.8-litre four-cylinder petrol engine – is the two-door saloon or three-door Touring hatchback.

Chrysler 2-Litre (1970-1982)

This large saloon, more commonly known as the 180, was also sold as a Chrysler-Simca and, after the PSA Group’s takeover of its maker, a Talbot. Yes, it was bad, but hey, its successor, the Tagora was worse.

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Chrysler Hunter (1976-1979)

Another Chrysler. Well, shall we just call it a Rootes Group car? The Hunter is probably the most badge-engineered car in history, having been sold at various points throughout its life under the Chrysler, Dodge, Hillman, Paykan, Singer and Sunbeam marques, and with each of those having a plethora of names, too.

Daihatsu F20 (1977-1984)

This rather sweet mini 4x4 off-roader had a 1.6-litre petrol engine, and thankfully for its makers’ sales representatives, it was called the Taft (Tough Almighty Four-wheel-drive Transport) rather than what it was called in Australia, the… erm… Scat.

Datsun 2000 (1967-1970)

With a 135hp 1.6-litre petrol engine, this two-seat MG B-rivalling roadster has a simple beauty about it. Effectively, a mid-life update of the 1600, the 2000 was eventually replaced by the awesome 240Z coupé.

Datsun Micra (1983-1984)

You still see the odd K10-generation Micra bumbling around, but only one of them has a Datsun badge alongside a Nissan one. The same goes for the Prairie MPV.

Datsun 240K-GT Skyline (1977-1981)

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There have been many, many version of the Skyline since the name was first used in 1957 (exactly how many depends upon who you ask). With a top speed of 116mph and awesome looks, this coupé must be an awesome sight. Let’s just hope it’s not finished in factory brown.

Holden Maloo (2004-2007)

Someone somewhere (we’re hoping they’re an Aussie) decided a Vauxhall Monaro wouldn’t scratch their GM itch, and instead imported a Maloo ute halfway around the world – a pick-up truck with a 6.0-litre V8 engine, no less.

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Infiniti I30 (1998-2004)

You couldn’t buy an Infiniti through official channels in the UK until 2009, but back in 2001 one Briton imported this luxurious version of the Nissan Maxima. This bland saloon has a petrol V6 and an automatic gearbox – and is a post-facelift version – the original I30 received complaints for looking too similar to the Maxima.

Jaguar XJ12 LWB (1972-1973)

Of the original 754 examples built, just one remains on our roads, this being the long-wheelbase version of the Series 1 XJ saloon. Powered by a 5.3-litre petrol V12, it certainly is a beauty – and it should go pretty well, too.

Lada 1600 (1975-2005)

There is a sole 1600 – of which the age is not known - spluttering about in Blighty. Advertised as ‘easily mistaken for expensive’, this Soviet beauty was powered by a 1.5-litre four-cylinder petrol and had a four-speed manual gearbox.

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Lancia Trevi (1980-1984)

This saloon was derived from the Beta, with Lancia updating the mechanicals and ruining the looks – especially inside, where it had a dashboard described by Autocar’s Andrew Frankel as “looking like it had an awful necrotising disease that was slowly eating its way through the fascia”. Back when we tested the Trevi in 1981, we praised its handling and engine, but disliked its poor ergonomics and fuel economy.

Mazda 1500 and Mazda 1800 (1966-1973)

Designed by Giorgetto Giugario, this executive saloon, also sold as the Luce, was sold under these two names, with one example each being on the road in the UK. Unfortunately, the Mazda’s 1.5-litre and 1.8-litre four-cylinder petrol engines gave sluggish performance.

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Mazda 616 (1970-1978)

Also known as the Capella, the fetching 616 was available as a two-door coupé or a four-door saloon. Depending on the version, it was powered by a four-cylinder petrol unit or a 1.4-litre Wankel rotary motor.

Mia L (2011-2013)

The Mia was a £10,500 French-designed-and-built electric car with a 13hp, 18kWh lithium iron phosphate battery, giving a top speed of a whacking 62mph and a range of 56 miles between charges. Mia went bankrupt after three years. Wonder why?

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Moskvitch 408 and 412 (1964-1976)

FSO, Skoda, Lada, Moskvitch, Zastava... cars that emerged from behind the Iron Curtain and were made not from iron but maybe partly from recycled curtains. There’s also a sole example of the 408 saloon and one of its better-equipped stablemate, the 412 (pictured), which had a more powerful 1.5-litre petrol engine and better standard kit.

Nissan President (1990-2002)

This luxury limousine was never officially sold in the UK, instead being aimed at the Japanese and American markets. Sadly, it’s the JS short-wheelbase model, which is closely related to the US-only Infiniti Q45, but it’ll still look appropriately regal and have a purring V8 under its bonnet. A lovely curio, this one.

Oldsmobile Delmont (1965-1970)

This utterly awesome-looking – both from the front and the back - American fastback had a 5.4-litre V8 and a creamy interior. Probably a creamy ride, too.

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Peugeot 204 Cabriolet (1965-1976)

Autocar commended this cute little 2+2 French convertible for having lively performance, positive accurate steering and easily manageable controls. It was a rival to the Triumph 1300: we know which we’d rather have on our driveway - how about you?

Pontiac Executive (1966-1970)

Another sprawling piece of Americana that somehow rolled all the way from Detroit, only to get wedged between two flint cottages in a Yorkshire village (maybe). Available as either a four-door saloon or estate or a two-door coupé, the Executive wasn't particularly fast, despite having a petrol V8 under the hood.

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Reliant Fox (1983-1990)

One of the finest vehicles to ever come out Tamworth (most of them didn't have four wheels), although it certainly wasn’t foxy.

Renault 5 Gordini (1976-1982)

One of the original hot hatches, the predecessor to the 5 Turbo was known as the Alpine outside of Britain. It was equipped with a 1.4-litre petrol engine developing 92bhp, around double that of the regular 1.1-litre-engined 5.

Seat Málaga (1985-1992)

This Giugario-designed four-door saloon is the predecessor to the VW Group-developed Córdoba, and was based on the original Seat Ibiza hatchback, itself derived from the questionable Fiat Ritmo. The Málaga was available with a 1.2 or 1.5-litre petrol or a 1.7-litre diesel engine.

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Skoda MB (1964-1969)

We have a feeling this one might be a member of Skoda’s historic fleet, having first been registered in the UK in 2000. A small, rear-engined family saloon, the MB was the predecessor to the Octavia, but nowhere near as good. It was available with a 1.0-litre (1000) or a 1.1-litre (1100) petrol engine.

Subaru 282 Estate (1979-1989)

This four-wheel-drive estate was an ex-dealership demonstrator, and was fully restored by an enthusiast in 2015, being sold for £10,000. Also called the Leone, it was also available as a saloon and as the Brat pick-up truck.

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Toyota 2000GT (1967-1979)

Just 351 examples of this utterly beautiful fastback were built, and are now worth around £1 million in mint condition. With a 150bhp, 2.0-litre petrol engine, a five-speed manual gearbox and rear-wheel drive, it held its own against contemporary Porsche 911s, all while looking immeasurably cooler.

Toyota Vista (1998-2003)

Being first registered in 2000, we’re guessing the UK’s sole Vista saloon is this fifth-generation model. Related to the Camry, it was a petrol-only model and claimed to use the first all-new Camry platform since 1982.

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UMM (?)

No, that’s not us trying to work out what car this is, that’s its actual name. Portugal’s only car manufacturer, UMM (União Metalo-Mecânica) makes bizarrely angular, rugged 4x4s that are diesel-powered with separate low and high-ratio gearboxes. It has used a very wide variety of engines sourced from car makers such as BMW and Pegueot, but sadly the DVSA does not specify which model is in the UK.

Volkswagen TL (1965-1973)

This fastback coupé, a derivative of the Type 3 saloon, replaced the Notchback model and was powered by a 1.6-litre petrol flat-four.

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bowsersheepdog 15 April 2017

Roam alone

Ah, the Hillman Hunter. takes me back to the days when DL meant De Luxe rather than a base model with a diesel engine. the Toyota 200GT is gorgeous, obviously, but some there are some less well-remembered lookers among this list.

The smooth flanks of that Peugeot 204 are wonderful, and I'm not really into convertibles in a big way. The Mazda 616 and 1500 were very stylish cars, and the VW Type 3 was handsome in fastback form, even though I prefer the estate myself.

I liked Montego estates too, although I never got to have a shot in one. Montegos puzzled me. I drove a Maestro quite often, and had occasional goes in Montegos, and could never understand why Montegos felt so much heavier at the front end, despite having power steering which the Maestro didn't. The Montego just wasn't as responsive turning in sharply. I'd still love to have a go in an MG Maestro Turbo.

Tornadorot 12 April 2017

VW "TL"

Pretty sure there are still quite a few VW 1600TL fastbacks taxed in the UK (although maybe not so many of the Brazillian version pictured). VW 411 or 412 fastbacks, on the other hand...
HoChi 12 April 2017

VW 'TL'

The VW TL in the photo is the Brazilian version, nose is from the 412 and the rear side window has a different shape, tail lights different too....