Almost five years ago to the day, the UK’s ‘Scrappage Scheme’ came to an end – that meant an end to the destruction of 10-year old plus cars which were, for the most part, among the best examples on the road.
Sadly, many of the cars that left our streets in 2009-2010 were among the better cared for examples, as people who could generally afford to buy brand new cars with a Government incentive were also the type of owners who could afford to look after their old car, maintain it properly and keep it in good condition.
Not everyone, I acknowledge, is like me. Only once in my life have I scrapped a car, and it was a gut-wrenching experience – even ‘too far gone’, I believed that there could maybe have been a way to save it. RIP, HJA 567V. Indeed, many more pragmatic, practical folk would simply look at the economics and decide that, yes, it made sense to buy a new car.
In total, 392,227 cars were scrapped under the 2009/10 scheme. Sadly, while some were no doubt shockers, a large number were well-maintained examples of cars that, at the time, were pretty ordinary but are now on the cusp of classic recognition.
I was thinking about this the other day as, ever since I read David Morgan’s excellent ‘Raise a glass to…’ piece on the K-Series-engined Rover Metro, which has just turned 25, I have been thinking a) about buying one and b) about how rare they are these days.
A quick look at the ‘How Many Left’ website, though, revealed some startling statistics. In the autumn of 2008, there were 20,387 Rover Metros still registered. Today, there are a mere 2,038. That’s an attrition rate of over 90 per cent in less than six years.
Why? Well, if we consider that the vast majority of Metros on the road in 2008 were not cherished cars but in daily use, the likelihood is that those with wealthier owners may well have been scrapped. Indeed, I rescued one such car in 2010 – a pre-K-Series Metro 1.0 Clubman which was chopped in at my local Vauxhall dealership, but where the Sales Manager had put the customer into an ex-demo rather than a new car, thus avoiding the Scrappage Scheme paperwork. It would still have been crushed, though, had it not been for a friend who worked at a neighbouring industrial estate spotting it and tipping me the wink… I was given 24 hours to collect it!
Lovely, isn’t it? And to think that the owner’s intention was to scrap it. At the time, a G-reg Metro was pretty worthless (if I recall, I gave £200 for it in the end) but, today, you’d have to ask that £2,000 question a little more carefully. Okay, so a 35,000-mile Clubman, no matter how nice, probably won’t go for £2k, but a Metro GTi, on the other hand… and that was a banger in 2009 as well.
The difficulty, though, is finding them. With over 90 per cent of Rover Metros having left this world since the start of 2009, the numbers for other workaday Rovers such as 200s, 400s, 600s and 800s are also in steep decline, not helped by the Scrappage Scheme cherry-picking the best well before their time…
If you can find a good example of any of the above (and, as a footnote, where have all the 600s gone?), keep it. Demand is already starting to exceed supply, as I found out when searching for a Metro. Did I find a good one? Well, that’s a story for a different day – and I have a 200 and a brace of 800s already!