Several years ago, there was a large reward posted for evidence that the Ivory Billed Woodpecker was not extinct, as was previously thought.
Strangely, the classic car world has yet to respond in like fashion for evidence that breeding pairs of Plymouth Crickets or Mercury Bobcats are still out there.
We’re not offering a reward but – for what it’s worth – here’s the Hagerty Insurance list of some of our favourite threatened, endangered and extinct cars:
1. 1975-80 Chevrolet Monza: The Monza, based on the infamous Chevy Vega, might well have been the most attractive GM car of the mid-1970s. More than 300,000 were built, and although the styling was a high-quality job, build quality wasn’t any better than anything else of the era, which may explain the extreme scarcity of survivors.
2. 1971-76 Mercury Capri: The Capri was Ford of Europe’s answer to the Mustang. Like the Mustang, it was built on rather ordinary sedan underpinnings but the result was handsome, well made and, in the case of the V-6 powered cars, fast. It was quite popular in the early 1970s, selling more than 100,000 units in its first two years. Where they all went is anyone’s guess.
3. 1984 Plymouth Voyager (Dodge Caravan): Introduced in 1983, Chrysler’s original was powered by a carbureted 2.2-liter four-cylinder engine making just 96 horsepower. Chrysler’s reinvention of the station wagon relegated that very category to “endangered” within a decade. Despite its massive sales, we’re not sure if a single collector-grade example exists outside of Chrysler’s own museum.
4. 1984-1985 Ford EXP Turbo: The basic idea was simple: Take an Escort coupe, rip out the back seats to make it a “sporty” two-seater. The problem was that the EXP weighed 200 pounds more than the already pathetically slow Escort. It took two years to remedy the issue by giving the EXP an optional turbocharged 1.6-liter that made 120 horsepower. But the car was priced at nearly $10,000, making it more expensive than a Mustang GT 5.0
5. 1975-81 Volkswagen Scirocco: The VW Scirocco was a replacement for the popular VW Karmann-Ghia. The VW Rabbit-based, front-wheel drive, water-cooled car had angular styling, courtesy of Italdesign and Giorgetto Giugiaro. As rust-prone as anything of the era, the first-generation has thinned almost to extinction, particularly those first-year cars with pretty chrome bumpers and funky plaid seats.