06.03.10: The cars that should never have been crushed

Time 7:14 am, March 7, 2010

escort-cosworthBY NOW we all know how scrappage works; we take our ‘useless’, rusty old banger in and get £2,000 off a shiny, clean, brand new motor.

At least that’s how it’s meant to work, but some people have a very different idea of what constitutes an ‘old banger’.

Having spoken to dealers in the North East this week, one thing every person has told us is that they have seen a car scrapped that they wished hadn’t been under the scheme.

The problem is, a certificate of destruction is required to get the government’s contribution, so dealers’ hands are tied if they want to save a classic car from the crusher and the owner wants it gone.

Paul Cook from Tees Valley Mitsubishi told us he was disappointed to see low mileage Corollas being destroyed when they’re such reliable, economical cars.

And some of the motors that were destroyed were much more than just useful runabouts. A salesman at an Evans Halshaw dealership told us of a 1995 Renault Clio Williams that was scrapped, arguably one of the finest hot hatches ever made.


He also knew of an Escort Cosworth, belonging to a gentleman whose wife ‘used it to go down the shops’ that was going to be traded in for a scrappage discount at a Yorkshire BMW dealership.

Luckily, the Escort was more valuable than the £2,000 discount on offer, and was saved. That really would have been a crime to send to the scrapheap!

A salesman at Lookers VW Darlington took an immaculate VW Golf GTi Mk2 in against a new Golf S. He considered buying the Mk2 GTi himself for £2,000, but since Volkswagen was offering a £3,250 scrappage discount on the Golf S, the GTi was destroyed.

Morris Minors, pristine Mk1 Astras, and even a BMW 3.0 CSL have been scrapped under the government scheme. But there’s a flipside to every story and with the news that some cars are escaping their fate maybe we’ll see some of these ‘scrapped’ classics on the road once again, whether legal or otherwise…

No one doubts that the scheme was paramount in propping up the industry last year, but a bit more flexibility in the rules could have helped.

Perhaps a scrap vito where dealers could send customers away for being stupid when they rocked up in a car too good for the crusher?

John Slavin

James Baggott's avatar

James is the founder and editor-in-chief of Car Dealer Magazine, and CEO of parent company Baize Group. James has been a motoring journalist for more than 20 years writing about cars and the car industry.

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