Cars don’t seem to have a lot in common with dinosaurs and dodos, but it’s easy to see the connection between ancient animals and these classic automobiles. Every one of them is extinct!
Just like the Loch Ness Monster, the Hillman Imp is the stuff of Scottish legend. When it was put into production in 1963, it became the first Scottish motor vehicle produced in 35 years. More than 440,000 of the cute little cars were created over more than a decade to compete with the popular Mini. But the Mini won the battle, and Hillman shut up shop in 1976.
Today around 900 of the Imps remain and many of these are enjoying retirement off road in the Glasgow Riverside Museum.
It was only introduced in the ‘80s, but just a few short decades later, the Austin Ambassador is already a dying breed. In 1982 the vehicle was meant to succeed the Princess. Its updated interior and hatchback design, which the Princess lacked, should have been a recipe for success, but some argue that its wedge-shaped design didn’t do enough to separate itself from its predecessor.
The angled exterior looked dated very quickly and just 43,427 were built over two years, representing less than a quarter of the numbers of the Princess. Today around 80 Ambassadors are thought to remain.
Renault/AMC Alliance Convertible
The Renault/AMC Alliance Convertible is another ‘80s relic that disappeared almost as quickly as it arrived. This topless 1987 K-car clone was intended to build on the four-year history of the Alliance, but it instead signaled its end. Many motorists complained that it was as poorly built as the oft slighted French vehicles of the time, with a lack of power and reliability.
Tens of thousands of the convertibles were built in Wisconsin, but in 2009 insurance group Hagerty declared it extinct when none of the cars turned up on their books. However, it seems there’s a handful still hanging around, including one that was sold in Fort Lauderdale in late 2012.
Image via Flickr by dave_7
The Cord L-29 earned its place in the history books as the first front-wheel-drive vehicle ever sold to the U.S. market. It was also the first passenger vehicle to utilize Herbert C. Snow’s X-braced frame. However, the Great Depression spelled the end of this revolutionary automobile. Its price tag in excess of $3,000 was hefty at the time, and its massive 4,700 pound weight hindered its performance. The Cord L-29 ceased production in 1932, just three years after its launch.
Just 4,400 Cord L-29′s were ever sold, and as the years have worn on, it’s difficult to guess how many have survived. Many of those still in existence are unlikely to be roadworthy after all this time. Yet they continue to be popular amongst car enthusiasts. A 1929 Cord L-29 Special Hayes Coupe sold for $2.4 million in 2012.
Some of these cars are so stylish and unique that it’s hard to determine exactly why they’re a part of automotive history rather than our motoring present. Yet others were so flawed it’s easy to see why they went the way of the dinosaurs. Which is your favorite?