We Americans love to buy new cars. In fact, we’re buying more of them now than ever before. But with the influx of all those Ford F-150s, crossovers, compact crossovers, luxury compact-crossovers, premium compact crossovers, soft-roading crossovers, and the Toyota Camry, we’re shipping our older cars out to the scrap yard, and with them goes a part of history.
With each incoming automotive trend, we tend to lose touch with an older one. A few years ago, virtually every family had a station wagon, which was replaced by a minivan, which was replaced by an SUV, which was likely replaced by a crossover. Sure, RAV4s and CR-Vs are hot-sellers now, but in a decade or so, they’ll fall out of favor and be replaced by whatever compact electric autonopod is all the rage then.
We know that there are plenty of people out there who will disagree with this list, who will say “Hey, I just saw one of those last week,” or “My aunt still has one of those in mint condition.” Maybe you live in a dry climate where the tin worm isn’t as prevalent (you lucky devil), or maybe you’re one of the ones still fighting the good fight. But these 10 cars used to be everywhere, and by age, obsolescence, or engineering fault, are now in real danger of going extinct.
1. 1980-1992 Mercedes-Benz S-Class
2. 1994-2004 Chevrolet S-10
When it was introduced for 1994, the second-generation S10 was a major styling leap forward for Chevrolet. Not only did they look good, but they proved their mettle as solid little work trucks, and were sold by the millions. Unfortunately, two decades of hard work mean that outside of dry, temperate climates, surviving examples of these compact pickups are rusty, high-mileage, and all but used up.
3. 1997-2001 Cadillac Catera
4. 1995-2005 Ford Taurus Wagon
5. 1991-1995 Honda Civic
6. 1995-2001 Audi A4
7. 1979-1994 Subaru Leone Wagon
The second- and third-generation Leone was the car that really broke Subaru in America. With its rugged construction, comfortable interior, and all-wheel drive system, the Leone – especially the wagon model – quickly became the go-to car for thousands of families in climates with harsh winter weather, and planted the seeds for Subaru’s loyal fan base today. Unfortunately, all that under-treated Japanese steel didn’t do great in climates where they salt the roads; as a result, most surviving Leones suffer from pretty severe rust issues. Those that avoided body rot can fetch surprisingly high prices for a decades-old Japanese car.
8. 1988-1996 BMW E34 5 Series
9. 1993-2004 Dodge Intrepid
10. 2000-2005 Kia Rio
When it was introduced, the Rio had the dubious honor of being the cheapest new car in America. It showed too; terrible build quality, a lackluster engine, and reliability issues made it a rolling punchline at worst, and a disposable car at best. First-generation Rios used to be a relatively common sight in cities and college towns, but they’re disappearing quick – which is convenient for Kia, as the automaker keeps getting better by the year.