Hooniverse Asks: What Once Common Car Do You Think is Now Completely Extinct?

There are only about 26,000 polar bears in existence right now, and many in the scientific community think that they are in danger of going extinct within the next 100 years. That would be a major bummer—especially if you are a polar bear—but in fact the polar bear is a fairly recent addition to the genus, arriving only about 150,000 years ago. Ursidae as a whole are thought to go back millions of years. What is it they say — live fast, die young, leave a good-looking corpse?
Cars are like bears. They’re big, sometimes dangerous, and some are gone before you even know it. That’s just what we’re interested in today—cars that seem to have gone extinct on the road. I don’t mean ancient iron like Duesenbergs or Hispano Suizas, I mean regular cars that you’d still expect to see every now and then.
 When was the last time you saw a Renault Le Car trundling down the street? Or how about Korean-sourced ’80s Pontiac Le Mans? Maybe these, and others like them, have seen their time come and go? What do you think, are there any cars that you can think of that while once common, might now be totally gone?
Image: MomentCar

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74 responses to “Hooniverse Asks: What Once Common Car Do You Think is Now Completely Extinct?”

  1. Wayne Moyer Avatar
    Wayne Moyer

    The old Ford Escorts used to be everywhere. I saw one the other day at a Sheetz and I was tempted to grab a picture of it because of it’s rarity.

    1. neight428 Avatar

      Or rarer still, the 80’s version of sporty, applied thereon…

      1. Wayne Moyer Avatar
        Wayne Moyer

        You might as well start to find a EXP.

        1. Wayne Moyer Avatar
          Wayne Moyer

          That was a thing?! Why don’t I remember that.

          1. P161911 Avatar

            I think total sales were less than 50k. Never common to start with, i think that I remember one girl in high school having one circa 1990.

          2. 0A5599 Avatar

            Kenny Bernstein drove a LN7-bodied funny car in the early 80’s.

          3. JayP Avatar

            Remove 2 seats, make it a 2 seater while also making it heavier.
            Ford… 80’s style.

          4. 0A5599 Avatar

            You left out the part about unobtainium TRX tires.

    2. segxr7 Avatar

      One of these just moved into my neighborhood! I see it driving around every few days.
      I was shocked– it must have been garaged all its life or recently came up from the south, because there is no way it would have survived Pittsburgh all this time. Between the rust and annual inspections, pretty much everything pre-2000 is extinct here. Pre-2005 for Hyundai/Kia and Mazda.

    3. LeaksOil Avatar

      Good call. Interestingly enough, I can think of at least two families that had multiple Escorts in various trim levels in their households.

    4. Harry Callahan Avatar
      Harry Callahan

      Back in 1989 I drove a roll-back wrecker in Milwaukee. Seems EVERY DAY I would pick up at least one of these due to a no-start situation, and take it to Heiser Ford. Right behind the front wheels, up behind the rocker panels, is a lovely north-south open slot about 10 inches long…a perfect place to attach towing J-Hooks. I could have one on the bed in about 3 minutes flat.

  2. GTXcellent Avatar

    The dream machine of just about every girl I knew back in high school – just try to think about the last time you actually saw one?

    1. Wayne Moyer Avatar
      Wayne Moyer

      It has been years.

      1. JayP Avatar

        Yeah… the v6 was good for 160hp?
        and the quad4 was 180? Good numbers for the time.

      2. AnamDuine Avatar

        Good friend in HS had a bright red GTU in the early 90s. That was a quick car with a pretty nice interior at the time. Spent a night in it waiting for Van Halen tickets to go on sale at the box office. The fatal flaw seemed to be the ECU. I think he had to replace it more than once, maybe three times.

    2. JayP Avatar

      I walked the dog past a white Corsica Wednesday… looked good.

    3. LeaksOil Avatar

      On a similar note, this pic reminded me of the old Caviliers that used to be a dime a dozen back in the day. (Pic from internet. My folks at one time had a Z24 Cav like this one pictured).

  3. Jofes2 Avatar

    Not too long ago, the Volvo 340/360 was standard in most parking lots. Now, I don’t think I’ve seen one for almost a year. 240’s and 740’s are still going strong, though.

    1. Sjalabais Avatar

      True! Two years ago, a driver was 4-800€ on the continent. Now they’ve almost dropped off the face of the earth.

    2. LeaksOil Avatar

      Never seen one before in my life, didn’t know such a thing even existed.

      1. Vairship Avatar

        It was in a sense the last DAF passenger car: developed as the DAF 77, but DAF’s passenger car division was sold to VOLVO before it launched. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Volvo_300_Series

    1. 0A5599 Avatar

      I’ve seen one or two recently. Also, a Pinto. I haven’t seen a Chevette in years, though.

      1. Vairship Avatar

        There’s a Chevette within a few blocks of me, still on the road. A Gremlin a bit farther away, as is a Pinto. And I saw a Toyota Tercel! But the Cimarron unfortunately seems to have disappeared now. And the guy that owns the AMC Eagle seems to have gotten rid of his first-gen Subaru Leone wagon. Lack of rust allows all sorts of cars to last way past their use-by date.

    2. JayP Avatar

      There’s one down the street from me Doesn’t move very often.

    3. gerberbaby Avatar

      we have an omni in our town I see it every couple of weeks, even in the winter. cant figure out how it has survived. Door latches aren’t even broken.

  4. bbob Avatar

    Here in Norway, i would say the Ford Sierra and first gen Kia Sportage.
    They used to be everywhere, but i haven’t seen one i years.

    1. dukeisduke Avatar

      One of my neighbors has one, and it’s still in decent shape.

      1. Hatchtopia Avatar

        There are a surprising number still around me too.

  5. neight428 Avatar

    There has to be love (or an extremely rare confluence of conditions) involved to keep a machine going for more than 20 years, give or take. Past a certain point, the economics just get punishing. My noinee will be perhaps the least loved vehicle of the 80’s. http://barnfinds.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/03/citation1-e1457017361831.jpg

    1. Elliott Avatar

      In actuality, I saw a guy drving an X-11 model in alsmost this same color last week! It looked to be in fair/slightly beat up condition as well! 🙂

      1. CraigSu Avatar

        The X-11 model was the one saving grace of the Citation offerings. Unfortunately, my father’s company car wasn’t an X-11.

    2. dukeisduke Avatar

      As awful as they were, I have a certain weird fondness for them. I remember going to the Chevy dealer to see them, on the day it launched (April something, 1979).
      They sold 800,000 of them in the first model year, and it was Motor Trend‘s Car of the Year.

    3. Sjalabais Avatar

      I see the license plate holder has taken responsibility in sucking up decay. Taking one for the team?

      1. dead_elvis, inc. Avatar
        dead_elvis, inc.

        Sacrificial anode

    4. salguod Avatar

      My grandfather bought one new in 1980, a fridge white 4 door with the Iron Duke and a 4 speed stick and red interior. Dad brought it from him a few years later. It’s the car I learned to drive a stick on.
      Ours was less than terrible. Lots of recalls but not too many break downs. Dad always swore that there was something about how ours was screwed together that made it faster than most. It did feel reasonably quick, but I didn’t exactly have much exposure to genuinely quick cars. I liked it well enough.

  6. Harry Callahan Avatar
    Harry Callahan

    Simple. All the cars that were engineered and sold to be disposable. They served their purpose, and have now assumed their rightful place within the metallurgical elements of your refrigerator.
    Examples include all 1980’s era small cars: Cavalier, Sunbird, Escort, Topaz, Tempo, Colt, Omni/Horizon, Tercel, Sentra, Civic, Rabbit, Yugo, Excel, oh…and Cimmaron! The kind of cars you were given at an airport rental counter–those cars.

  7. caltemus Avatar

    The chevy celebrity
    I used to see them and their platform mates everywhere as a kid; I havent seen a celebrity in years. There are still a few elderly-owned ciera’s and celebrity’s around, but the chevys must have all been disposed of

    1. Sjalabais Avatar

      Whoever did that should definitely stay out of the limelight, for fear of punishment.

    2. Vairship Avatar

      There’s a beautiful Buick Celebrity near one of the dog parks here, looks identical (including condition) to this one: https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/7/7e/82-88_Buick_Century_Estate_Wagon.jpg/1920px-82-88_Buick_Century_Estate_Wagon.jpg

  8. 0A5599 Avatar

    If seeing at least two or three a day during the 90’s counts as common, then BMW 850. Once the exclusive territory of business executives, now most are owned by mechanics who were tossed the keys when they quoted the repair estimate.

    1. P161911 Avatar

      I saw one broke down in the middle of the road a couple of weeks ago.

  9. Alff Avatar

    From my wish list of cars…
    Rover P6
    All Alfas that are not Spiders or 164s
    First and second generation Capri
    First generation Ford Fiesta
    Judging from the rapid decline in number available, I expect S1 through S3 Jaguar XJ Sedan to join this list in the next few years.

  10. Lokki Avatar

    2.8 Million Chevettes made over 12 years. Now? Statistically zero if not true zero.

    1. Sjalabais Avatar

      Total number of Volvo 240 and 260 models made between 1974-1993: 2,862,573.
      Much the same number, very different outcome longevity-wise.

  11. oldcarjunkie Avatar

    In Canada they sold a pile of Hyundai Ponys. They are almost completely gone. https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/5a48e16db799d889e6ae98fd5ed693f28827e9dd73af482533b00f5e6030a20c.jpg

    1. Alff Avatar

      Each one was a pile unto itself.

      1. Daniel Spin Avatar
        Daniel Spin

        June 10th, 2016, I was at a local car show in Laval, QC. I took one photo.

        Hyundai Pony

        1. Vairship Avatar

          That’s just a Volvo 340 in disguise 😉 http://www.roadsmile.com/images/volvo-340_red_15.jpg

  12. Alff Avatar

    Colonnade coupes

  13. HDS Avatar

    Growing up in the early 80s in Honduras all the taxis seemed to be Isuzu Bellets. I have not seen a single one literally in decades.
    VW Beetles where also common back then but I don’t seem to see them everyday.

  14. P161911 Avatar

    Went to the Pull-apart yard late last year. Didn’t see a single BMW E30! That was a first. they used to always have 5-15.

    1. Manxman Avatar

      Had a 318i. Nice handling, good mpg, fit and finish above average. Used to see me coming and going in Austin, TX in the late 80’s. But, alas, no more.

    1. Rover 1 Avatar
      Rover 1

      At one time they made up more than 60% of ALL the cars on the planet.

    1. Harry Callahan Avatar
      Harry Callahan

      They were such good looking POSs!

    2. Lokki Avatar

      Vega? Very seriously, probably 1978. They came and disappeared like a plague of locusts between the failing engines and the rust. Of course I’m not counting the ones that they cloaked in Monza skins so that they could pass among the public without causing loathing.

  15. Professor Bananahot Avatar
    Professor Bananahot

    First-gen probes or their MX-6 buddies seem all but gone, even in Texas.

  16. LeaksOil Avatar

    Hahah, wow, amazing timing on the article. I sold tires on a Plymouth Sundance yesterday. When was the last time you saw one of those? When I was a kid, my aunt had one and the variants of them were everywhere.
    Seriously. I was amazed there is still one out there in good enough shape they felt it was worth a whole new set of tires for!

    1. Harry Callahan Avatar
      Harry Callahan

      One of those ovoid rarities parks right outside my office window every day. CA of course…..Here is a pic I snapped just now….:

  17. Michael Mitchell Avatar
    Michael Mitchell

    Wayne Moyer beat me to it – apparently they made – I dunno.. A MILLION OF THESE https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/f6e90c2736b52e720cec789ab4854bd98176bbb60310bd936aeb34f113ca062a.jpg

  18. sunbeammadd Avatar

    In the 1980s the Ford Telstar/Mazda 626 twins were a common sight downunder. I don’t think I’ve seen one in at least 10 years.
    Ditto the Adelaide-built Mitsubishi Colt.

  19. salguod Avatar

    80s AMC / Renaults. Fuego and Encore / Alliance.

  20. Fuhrman16 Avatar

    Oddly enough in my area, it’s 90’s Buicks, particularly the seventh gen (92-99) Lesabres. Back in high school, these were a staple of every parking lot. Every family seemed to have one, we certainly did. Now ten years later, they’ve all seem to have vanished. Other cars that were popular at the time, like 90’s Chevy pickups and Pontiac Gran Prix/Ams are still quite a common sight, but the Buicks are all gone.

  21. Matt Reynolds Avatar
    Matt Reynolds

    Around Louisville, the air cooled Beetle. It’s weird seeing people treat them like a collector’s item.

  22. MattC Avatar

    Dodge Daytona
    Ford Escort
    Any K body

  23. Rover 1 Avatar
    Rover 1

    These used to be the biggest selling car in the UK and NZ, and big sellers in Australia and as the Taunus in Europe.
    Pretty much all gone.

  24. AlexG55 Avatar

    For British people, https://www.howmanyleft.co.uk will tell you *exactly* how many of a given make and model of car are still registered in the UK.

    1. outback_ute Avatar

      I got a top 10 “most endangered” list from 2015, the Austin Metro stood out with over 1.5 million built and 464 “left”. 99.97% gone!

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