Scrappage: killed by greed

Robert Leitch

Triumph Mayflower: an innocent victim of Scrappage
Triumph Mayflower: an innocent victim of Scrappage

If you don’t want to know how BMW and their Dealers regard their corporate heritage, look away now…

My letter:

BMW (UK) Limited
Ellesfield Avenue
RG12 8TA

For the attention of Mr. Tim Abbott – Managing Director

Dear Sirs,

This morning I was in conversation with a member of staff at Crossflags in Dumfries, when I spotted a Triumph Mayflower in the furthest corner of their premises. I made mention of this and was told that it was ‘a sad tale’. The car had been traded in for a new MINI under the Scrappage Scheme and, as disposal of scrappage cars is dealt with centrally by BMW UK, the Dealer has no control over its fate.

It had a look at the car – not a concours example, and the Mayflower was not remembered as a high point in Triumph’s distinguished oeuvre. However, there is something wrong when a very rare car which is roadworthy after 58 years is condemned to enforced destruction.

I know that this is down to its owner’s financially-based decision and is no fault of BMW or their Dealer. Nevertheless, being innocently complicit in what is possibly the oldest and rarest scrappage trade-in is scarcely a feather in the cap of the custodian of two of the greatest surviving names in British motoring history.

I also note that BMW own the Triumph name, a company founded by Siegfried Bettmann from Nuremberg in the 1880s, and the oldest and most successful previous example of an Anglo-German automotive enterprise.

There is surely still an opportunity to turn a rather sad story into a bit of ‘feel-good” publicity. There must be museums and enthusiasts clubs who would happily take care of this rare and rather charming car.

I eagerly await your response on this matter.

Yours faithfully
Robert Leitch

BMW’s first response:

BMW Customer Service
(01 344) 426565
(01 344) 480545
September 29, 2009
Triumph Mayflower

Dear Mr Leitch
Thank you for your letter dated September 19, 2009 addressed to Mr. Abbott.

Your letter has been passed to me as I am responsible for the investigation and response to all customer-related queries of this nature. I am currently investigating the issue you have raised and when I have completed my enquiries I will be in a position to offer you a further response.

In closing, l am sorry you have had cause to contact us under such circumstances and would like to thank you for bringing your concerns to our notice.

Yours sincerely

Jonny Combe
Customer Service Manager

Received today:

BMW's Mayflower Scrappage response
BMW's Mayflower Scrappage response

I am put in mind of the response of Ayatollah Khalkhali, the hanging judge of the Iranian revolution in relation to the sentence served on Amir-Abbas Hoveida, former Prime Minister of Iran under the Shah:

Stories of his cruelty were legion. One of his first victims was Amir-Abbas Hoveida, the Shah’s Prime Minister for eight years. After sentence had been passed, pleas for clemency poured in from all over the world and it was said that Khalkhali was told by telephone to stay the execution. Khalkhali replied that he would go and see what was happening. He then went to Hoveida and either shot him himself or instructed a minion to do the deed. “I’m sorry,” he told the person at the other end of the telephone, “the sentence has already been carried out”.’

Scrappage: Triumph Mayflower. 1951- 2009. Requiescat in Pace.
Scrappage: Triumph Mayflower. 1951- 2009. Requiescat in Pace.
Keith Adams


  1. I have had info recently that an Aston Martin DB7, a Bentley Continental and a variety of Italian classics vis Maserati and so on have fallen foul of the American scrappage system too.

  2. Yet another example of the failure of this idiotic and short sighted scheme. That Mayflower, whilst perhaps not the most desirable of classics, surely deserved to survive after 58 years, and still looks presentable in those photos.

    We can hardly blame the owner for wanting to cash in on the scheme, but surely someone down the line would have stopped for a second and thought ‘hang on, this hardly deserves to be scrapped?’ The dealer, sales persons, mechanics, and the scrap man all had the chance to stop and say ‘hold on’ but didn’t.

    The response of BMW is also rather disappointing but then, as long as they are selling Maxis, why should they care?

  3. I can’t believe this -there aren’t enough Anglo-Saxon swear words to describe the materialistic twit who committed this crime! What next? IKEA offering a Scrappage Scheme on an antique Chippendale chair against a Billy CD rack!

  4. Sad story, but at least it was traded in for a British-built car and not a horrible little Korean grot box.

    Seen lots of similar sad sights at the Kia Dealer opposite me:

    Triumph Spitfire Mk3
    Mini Clubman estate
    Hillman Hunter
    Riley 1500


  5. I notice that ‘someone’, whether it be the original owner or, dare I say it, perhaps an employee of the Dealership, has seen it fit to relieve the Mayflower of its registration number – probably worth around £800 or more in itself. I notice that all of the Pre ’63 cars scrappaged so far have failed to retain their original numberplates when sent to the crusher…

    Oh, and it was traded in for a German car that just happens to be built in Britain.

  6. What a disgrace -the cretin who committed this to destruction makes my blood boil! Furthermore, as was said in past posts, the Reg. No. would be worth the larger percentage of the 2k blood money required. SHAME ON YOU!

  7. I can’t believe there’s no clause in the regulations to prevent this kind of thing happening. Didn’t anyone foresee it in advance?

  8. This why the USA scheme would not allow the trade-in of vehicles over 25 years old. I believe that, in thge USA, all states allow vehicles 25 or more years old to be registered as ‘antique’ or ‘historic’ vehicles, whereby they pay lower registration fees, car taxes and are usually not required to pass the equivalent of your MOT. This made it easier to put in such a limit.

    Yes, in the USA some low-milege cars of interest and some ‘exotics’ (like Corvettes) were traded in, but I suspect that many of those vehicles were in need of extensive and expensive repairs to make them able to pass their next MOT and were really worth less that the scheme trade-in values. I suspect some were ones that went thorugh floods or were in serious accidents but where that was not reported to the insurance companies.

    I wonder too how many tradedin vehicles had phoney and backdated papers from their owners and how many dealers played with the paperwork to qualify a car even if it really didn’t. You also had other requirements like only cars that got less than 18 MPG were eligible for trade in. If there were additional requirements like a minimium mileage or some review process to make sure interesting cars were not traded in, then you would have many get really ticked off and say the Government was running their lives.

    One interesting side affect of the USA program was the raising of millions in additional sales taxes, badly needed at this time.

  9. This makes me sad. A classic car destroyed on a whim to buy a 0.5 series.

    BMW, a company who have shown themselves time and time again to not care about heritage (cf. Rover, Williams engines, Sauber F1 team) but about short-term profits could have stepped in to have saved this car, and placed it in a museum in Nuremberg, Bavaria or Oxford.

    It survived 58 years only to be destroyed to obtain a fashion accessory.

    An extreme analogy, but I am reminded of the Buddhas of Bamyan, which stood since the 6th Century, or the partial destruction of the Parthenon in 1832.

    Oh – and the 0.5 series is not British. It is a German car that happens to be built (at the moment…) in a factory in Oxford.

    I have heard tales of a mint condition (full service history, all belts changed regularly) Alfa GTV destroyed for a Kia Cee’d…

  10. One of my Neighbour’s Daughters convinced her old Dad to give up driving and had him chop in his mint ’91 VW Golf against a MINI Convertible for her. She is not short of cash, just greedy. Like greedy BMW who charge > £75 to look round the factory in Leipzig. Porsche just up the road is free!

    What a sad nation of greedy wasters we have become.

  11. Hopefully, next year the political career of Peter Mendelson, the father of this evil Scrappage Scheme, will very likely to be scrapped as well!

  12. Hopefully, next year the nuLabour Government, the guardians of this evil Scrappage Scheme, will very likely to be scrapped as well!

  13. there’s one like this in Glasgow transport museum, maybe they could benefit from the spares if the scrapyard was kind enough! then again few tenners in scrap metal would be lost, and add-up transport up north… still it could be nice if all the scrapped treasures- which were roadworthy- would help maintain museum cars as some ( like this one in glasgow ) look a bit tired.Just an idea, maybe some small print will prevent this but still worth mentionning…

  14. Perhaps your local newspaper would be interested in this sad story? Always worth a shot at pitching it to them…might just make a few people think before they take advantage of the scheme themselves.

  15. A little perspective here please. The facts are at the beginning of this year Nissan in Sunderland was on short term working, MINI had dropped a shift at Cowley and Honda in Swindon had effectively mothballed the plant. The scrappage programmes introduced by all European Governments, not just Britain has resulted in all these plants being back to full production. Its sad to see a rare car scrapped. Even sadder I suspect if workers in these factories are unable to put food on their families tables.

  16. Sorry, also forgot to say given the choice of tooling round the lowlands of Scatland in a brand new MINI Cooper or a clapped out Triumph, I know which one I would choose!

  17. The most likely situation is that someone has inherited the car from a deceased relative and without even considering to attempt to sell the car because it’s too much hassle has gone the quick and easy route to get £2000 off a new car. As somebody else has already commented the dealer (and it isn’t limited to BMW ) has obviously cottoned onto the fact that they can make up their £1000 of the discount on the reg no so it’s win win all round except for the mobile piece of history which even if not in concourse condition can’t be beyond saving due to the fact it has to be MOT’d .I fear for all the Rovers which have resale values lower than their servicing costs which will be traded in the moment their is a whiff of HGF (My soon to be ex wifes Rover 75 which I bought new in 1999 being a very good case in point)

  18. @Paul
    OK, how about the job losses that will result in this loonatic schemes existance? Those in serviceing and repairing older cars, and in the second hand car trade? All these areas have been hit by this, and chances are this will result in more losses than would otherwise have been. Simple fact is with cheap credit we have been overspending big time, and buying too many new cars for years. The Car industry has as a result been overproducing to feed a demand fueled on cheap rediliy avaiable credit. The only sustainable way out is to let the banks fall back on sustainable growth, ditto the car makers (in fact we have so many we should really shut all the factories down) and use up the cars we have, and not scrap them. More jobs in repair and serviceng would be created to take the place of those in the factories, and they would be sustaiable with no cost to the tax payer. Oh and those who find they are now strugling with dept are just as much part of the problem as the banks.

  19. I agree with our transatlantic friend, and feel the scheme should also have a maximum age of eligible vehicle as well as a minimum age. Certainly anything that fits the Historic Vehicle category should be exempt from the scheme.
    The irony is that BMW only produce cars that are actually ordered, so they have controlled their costs at Cowley by using agency staff to increase production when required, and laying them off like they did last Christmas when times are hard. The MINI is still selling, and I don’t believe the scrappage makes such an appreciable difference to their sales volumes.
    The Government has scored a terrible own goal with this scheme and as others say, smaller independent garages who carry out repairs and servicing to older cars and going to find their workloads reducing and possiby going out of business. Mind you, it has generated more VAT for the chancellor on the sales of new cars so ultimately they are one of the greatest beneficiaries of this scheme

  20. I think the scheme is fantastic. Fantastic if you are not made of money, have a 10 year old + car and can get money off a new model. I cannot believe how stupid some people are though. Why why why would you trade in a classic under this scheme? I think there should be some rules around this issue.

  21. I know Jonny Combe (The BMW Customer Service guy) his sister is one of my best friends. I can assure you he has received a substantial B*****ing from your’s truly.

  22. I heard about that on (a great website detailing cars in every film going). It’s a sad story. I’m 16 and have loved classic and exotic cars my entire life, and this is a disgrace what has happened. Furthermore, the scheme is not entirley cost-effective, people trade in good, reliable cars for new, ugly Korean imports. The cars traded in could be sold to poorer people, rather than crushed and turned into new ones, causing harm to the environment. Although many classic cars will be forever preserved and cared for, it’s a shame to see something like this happen. It hasn’t entirley taken off in the U.S. either. Anyone on Facebook should join the ‘Mini Scrappage Scheme Petition’ which is a large group dedicated to get the delears to stop crushing classic Minis, and other classic (or soon-to-be classic) cars in general. Can’t wait till this scheme is over.

  23. Classic cars are not just appreciated by car fans, but people who enjoy classical design, old fashions and unique features. There’s a reason why so many (usually smart) people, young & old own these cars and attend classic cars shows. I can’t stand people who think new cars are better than older ones. You’re all so boring…

  24. Ok, in the early fifties British cars used the same designs from the 30’s, and it was really the American cars that looked and drove like rock n’ roll. cars that are over 25 years need to be looked after, especially cars over 50 years old. If you’re reading this and do not like cars, or know nothing about them, do not post anything here. Real car fans appreciate classics, too.

  25. WTF? Shitmonkey… Leo never said that, you did. Plus many older cars full of chrome and large engines had to stop being made because the world has changed. Economies and countries have changed. If there was enough raw materials and oil to go around, then cool classic styles would come back. In fact they already have, look at the ’08 Challenger and ’09 Camaro.

  26. I know Rob Baker (the guy who wrote that stuff earlier in this thread) his uncle is my brother’s sister in law’s step half brother. He’s talking rubbish because Jonny has gone on to scrap many other fine motors and hasn’t shown any remorse. Some b*llocking you gave you Rob.

  27. No, I’m not even sure it is possible for my Uncle to be his brother’s sister in law’s step half brother? I work with Jonny and he’s a lovely guy and it was the Government who insisted those cars go to the scrapper and the owners who signed them over. The manufacturers could do nothing about it, despite us trying.

    I’m still going to give Jonny a kicking though, just because I’m bigger than him. I’m also better at shooting than him, but that’s another story…

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