Old or gold? UK cars oldest they have ever been

Published:  17 September, 2020

Britain’s car parc is the oldest it has ever been new figures show, with the number of cars over 13 years old tripling in 25 years, a fact that is likely to keep independent garages busy well into the 2020s and beyond.

Data from the DVLA and Department for Transport (DfT), collated by newly launched classic car website www.retromotor.co.uk, shows that in 2019 there were 6.086 million cars over 13 years old in the UK, approximately one in five of all vehicles on the road. 25 years earlier, in 1994, there were only 1.329 million cars of a similar age.

In 1994, 6.3% of cars were over 13 years old, accounting for one in 20 cars. In 2019, 19.1%, or just under one in five were over 13 years old, despite scrappage schemes and market-led incentives to get people into newer and more environmentally friendly cars.

Meanwhile, the average age of all cars on UK roads has increased from 6.7 years in 1994 to 8.3 years in 2019.

Retro Motor founder Richard Aucock said that despite the increase in the average age, older cars today are not the environmental disasters of yore: “You have to remember that a 13-year old car in 1994 was an early Eighties model with extremely high emissions and no catalytic converters, whereas cars from the mid-2000s were already starting to meet new Euro emissions legislation.

“In addition, there’s been a huge boom in the popularity of modern classics in recent years, which means that models from the Eighties and Nineties in particular have developed into collectors’ items.”

Richard added: “Throw into the mix the much-improved build quality of cars from this era and it’s easy to see why many of them remain loved and cherished by enthusiasts, rather than just be used as old bangers.”

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