RAC Cars News


Say Goodbye To The Montego, Maestro and Allegro

By raccars Published

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A number of cars that were huge favourites in Britain during the 1970s and 80s face extinction in the next few years. From being some of those decades' best sellers, they are now not yet old enough to qualify for classic status and are falling victim to the UK's scrappage scheme.

These popular, go-to family cars of the past are remembered fondly by millions of Britons, but the once familiar names, Montego, Maestro, Allegro, Maxi and Marina are increasingly obscure to younger motorists. These cars used to dominate Britain's roads but, because of their practical, everyday character, haven't become the target of enthusiasts and restorers in the same way as classic sports cars of the era.

A recent survey has shown that cars from the 1980s have not displayed the longevity of cars from earlier decades, with the ratio of cars remaining to cars produced in any particular model, lower than older vehicles. As an example, only 0.045% of Austin Allegro models ever built remain on the road. 642,340 Allegros were built from 1973-1982, with just 291 of those in current use.

Similarly there remain only 296 examples of the Austin Montego, 121 Austin Princesses, 369 Hillman Avengers, 1,057 Vauxhall Vivas, 674 Morris Marinas, 401 Austin Maxis, 174 Morris Itals and 310 Rover SD1s. Even the hugely popular Austin Metro, supposed successor to the Mini, car of choice of the one-time Lady Diana Spencer and favourite learner driver vehicle of BSM instructors countrywide, is becoming a rare breed, with fewer than 2,000 models still in existence.

Another cult name is the Ford Cortina which, despite being the UK's favourite motor from 1973-1980 and boasting a star turn in TV series 'Life on Mars', is suffering. It was in production from 1962-1982 to the tune of 4.15 million models, of which only 5,411 or 1.13% are in use today. The MGs 100 and 1300, The Austin Maestro, Vauxhall Chevette, Austin Ambassador, Hillman Imp, Rover 200 and Triumph Acclaim, are also in danger of extinction unless buyers of future classics start buying them up. The 20th most endangered model of the era is the Ford Sierra, with 0.44% or 15,282 remaining, out of 3.47 million sold between 1982-1993.

While plenty of other Eighties cultural fads have become newly trendy, such as fashion, music and food, somehow hipsters have failed to exploit the rich style seam of the era's family cars, which many would say have their own clumsy, retro beauty.

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