THE FRIDAY STORY: How the mighty have fallen

By just-auto.com editorial team | 1 September 2006

British Leyland's 1971-1980 Morris Marina has become the rarest car on Britain's roads, closely followed by the Ford Cortina (1976-1982), Reuters reported, citing enthusiast magazine Auto Express.

Just 745 of about 807,500 cars made are still on the road, making Ferraris and Porsches look positively common for car spotters, the report said.

"Catching a glimpse of the Marina today is very rare -- you'd never imagine that it was regularly the third or fourth best-selling car in Britain throughout the 70s," the magazine said in its latest issue.

Auto Express looked at cars from the 1970s, 80s and 90s that once sold in massive numbers but which are now rarities.

Using data from the government vehicle licensing agency and a formula that levelled the playing field for different vintage cars, the magazine came up with the top 10 of once-common vehicles which are now rarely seen.

At number two was the Ford Cortina Mark IV/V (1976-1982) of which just 2,101 remain working against over one million made while at number three was the Renault 18 - 317 left out of 131,241 imported into the country.

In contrast, the first generation Nissan Micra, along with the Mark III/IV Ford Granada (1985-1994) and the Mark I Volkswagen Golf (1974-1983) were all deemed to be among the best survivors with a high proportion still operating, Reuters said.

The top 10 lesser-spotted once-popular models:
- Morris Marina (1971-1980)
- Ford Cortina Mark IV/V (1976-1982)
- Renault 18 (1979-1986)
- Renault 5 (1972-1983)
- Skoda Estelle (1977-1992)
- Vauxhall Cavalier Mark III (1981-1989)
- Austin/Rover Metro (1980-1994)
- Austin/Rover Montego (1984-1995)
- Austin/Rover Maestro (1983-1995)
- Fiat Uno (1983-1989)

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