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Classics killed by scrappage

At last, the truth is out. The UK’s so-called scrappage scheme may have been a blessing for hard-up drivers wanting a new car. You can bet dealers in the fancy franchised showrooms welcomed it, too. But it also prematurely ‘killed’ tens of thousands of old cars that would be, by now, considered classics. A just-published list of the models traded in during 2009 and 2010 in return for savings on new cars included Porsches, Jaguar XJ6s, classic Minis and even a Morgan roadster.

First, to refresh your memories. The Government introduced the scrappage scheme as a way to lift the car industry from the depths of recession. Car sales in 2009 were on track to fall by a third. The scheme offered £1000 of taxpayers’ money to private buyers of new cars, while motor manufacturers added £1000 discount. The only catch was that, to get the cash,  buyers had to trade in a car that was at least 10 years old.

They had to have owned the trade-in for at least a year and it needed to be driveable, with a valid MoT certificate. The Government spent £390m on the scheme, which saw 392,227 vehicles traded in. All were scrapped.

Now, more than four years after the scheme ended, an official list of the trade-ins is published. And it’s enough to make any car fan weep. True, many of the cars were workaday Toyotas and Fords that only die-hard enthusiasts for those makes will miss. But, to pick just one example from many, a delve through the ‘L’ section turns up a Lancia Integrale HF and also a Fulvia.

Later there are MGB roadsters and GTs aplenty, along with 3 MG Maestros. Move to the ‘P’ section to find at least 3 Peugeot 205 GTis – a car highly prized when new and now firmly established as a valued classic. Another to mourn is a Renault Clio Williams, another classic fast hatchback.

There are also 2 Rover 2000 saloons – a classic from the marque’s 1960s heydays – plus 2 Saab 96s and a 99.

Finally, reach the ‘V’ section and there are 3 VW Corrado G60s and over 30 Golf GTis.

We can thank the Freedom of Information Act 2000 for the list. It’s truly tragic that so many fine cars met their end prematurely. And in some cases, we’re puzzled and disappointed by what their owners must have been thinking.

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Take the Morgan (pictured above). The cheapest one currently advertised on Autoweb.co.uk is priced at a cool £31,990. And, hunting across the Web, the cheapest we found anywhere was still £18,950. In 2009-10, prices for the marque wouldn’t have been that different, so that even a tatty one would have raised much more than the £2000 offered. And the same must have been true for those Lancias and the MGBs, too.

If there is comfort, it is for current owners of classics, who’ll recognise that the scarcer their cars are, the greater their value will be. All the same; a pity.

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