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Endangered species: UK’s ten rarest cars

  1. Rarity. Both a unicorn from My Little Pony, and something that gets classic car enthusiasts in a bit of a froth. Take the Ferrari 250 Spyder. Chris Evans parted with £5.6m for one, simply because just 56 were built. OK, and because it’s lip-bitingly beautiful.

    Thing is, there are some slightly more ordinary cars that lay claim to being a far more unusual sight on Britain’s roads than the oh-so-common 250. In fact, according to data provided by the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders, there are some cars of which just a single example remains on our damp little island.

    Click on to see the nation’s rarest cars. And if you spot one, exercise extreme admiration from a safe distance.


    Wait, what? Isn’t that a Renault? Actually no. But also yes. In 1959, Alfa Romeo built the little French saloon under license in its Portello factory. Alas, there were no performance mods, but it got go-faster Alfa badges.

  3. 1980 FERRARI 208

    We generally put the scarcity of Eighties supercars down to incompetent Yuppies spinning them into Canary Wharf. But this 2.0-litre version of the 208 got one of the smallest V8s ever produced, making a miserly 155bhp. Nowhere near enough to brag about on the trading floor, yah.

  4. 1978 FSO POLONEZ

    One of the main issues with the Polonez was that it was built to crash. See, in 1978 it was the only Eastern European car capable of passing American tests, which required lots of something we call passive safety. Otherwise known as immense crumpliness in the non-people regions. Also looked like misery.

  5. 1980 LANCIA TREVI

    The reason we’ve chosen a picture of the dash is twofold. Because it is 1) mental and 2) considerably more interesting than the outside, which looks like it was designed on a cigarette packet - possibly from cigarette packets - during a cigarette break. Twin-cam engine, though. But 72 per cent of the Trevi’s weight sat on its front wheels. What’s Italian for understeer? Oh yeah - TREVI.


    Britian’s one and only Mistral is owned by celebrity chef and renowned car-frother James Martin. It’s a good thing, this - built between 1963 and 1970, the Mistral got the twin-spark, twin-cam six pot from the company’s 250F racer.

  7. 1968 MAZDA R100

    R is for Rotary, and 100 is for 100bhp, which is what the compact Wankel-engined coupe put through its rear wheels. It even went racing, winning its first outing at the Grand Prix of Singapore, then finishing fifth and sixth at the Spa 24 behind four 911s. Pretty too, no?

  8. 1982 MITSUBISHI COLT 1400

    In the seventies, Japanese carmakers sent thousands of little superminis over to Britain to pick up any crumbs left by Volkswagen, which was taking great bites out of the market with the Golf. This barely got a nibble, even though there was a turbo version.

  9. 1982 SUBARU 700

    This thing should’ve flown out of showrooms - the 36bhp Kei car was powered by a two-pot 665cc engine, with the option of a 34bhp engine designed for terrible fuel. Wait, no - actually it sounds rubbish. Hilariously, you could spec four-wheel drive as well as a Turbo.


    Listen carefully and you’ll hear our American readers saying “Naw dawg, that’s a Chevy Cavalier”. Actually, dawg, it’s a very pixelate Toyota. To get around some trade regulations, Toyota offered to upgrade and modify Cavaliers and sell them under license. Unsurprisingly, they were better than the General’s.

    Still think it’s a Chevy? Watch the ad here


    This is literally the best Yugo could do - they even said so on period advertising. “This is the best Yugo ever”, read one promo piece. Despite its appalling looks, it’s actually quite good underneath. Engineers from the company borrowed Fiat facilities and an old Tipo, then created this restyle, which had a staggering a 0.32cd drag coefficient. That’s the same as a 2005 BMW M3.

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