Production cars with no known surviving examples

Perusing the “most interesting car you saw today” thread over in the MPSIMS forum, I got to wondering – what cars are literally impossible for someone to see today, because there are none left? I’m sure there were lots of one-off prototypes and concept cars that were destroyed and never went into production, but for sake of limiting the discussion let’s focus on cars that were actually produced and sold to the public.

Many car companies have some sort of corporate museum where they preserve one of every model they made over the decades, so I’m guessing it might be pretty hard to find any cars from the modern era where there are literally none left, although there are probably some that you would have to go to a museum to see. But I’m guessing if you go back to the pre-war era, before people started seeing old cars as collectable and worth preserving, there were some that didn’t survive.

We’re mostly going to find crappy cars which never had love but were cheap.
My example’s would be the Chevy Chevette & Citation.

I had an 83 Citation, I would be shocked if there are any left outside of a junkyard in the desert. A crappy car with no redeeming value.

Believe it or not, as recently as three years ago someone spotted a pristine 1986 Chevette diesel at a car show.

heh, prepare to be shocked:

this one sold for almost $6,000: No Reserve: 1981 Chevrolet Citation X-11 4-Speed for sale on BaT Auctions - sold for $5,950 on May 16, 2018 (Lot #9,666) | Bring a Trailer

and believe it or not, people are preserving various old pieces of junk. there is now a series of car shows (Radwood) built around pedestrian '80s and '90s vehicles instead of pristine and rare classics.

keep in mind that even for how crappy those cars were, they still sold by the hundreds of thousands every year. Odds are good that some have survived until today. Heck, a couple of years ago we had a car show at work, and a fan club called the “Pinto Stampede” attended and brought a few dozen Pintos of various years and body styles.

And before someone mentions the Vega, I actually saw an orange Vega “Kammback” Wagon being driven in Grass Valley, California, a little over a year ago. So even some of those survived dispute their reputation for crappiness. Like the post above says, they actually sold quite a lot of them, at least before people started to realize how bad they were.

That does not surprise me. I’ve heard that some collect the cars of their youth, so cars from the 1980s or 1990s are the right age.

I gave my folk’s Mercury Tracer wagon to some friends in desperate need of a car.
I look for it when I am driving, and I have never seen another one on the street out here.

I had one of those too. I’ve driven some underwhelming cars. But recent enough I expect many are still being used as everyday cars.

I am shocked a Citation could get $6000. That was my temp car after I wrecked by 77 Camaro. Paid $500 and a year later sold it for $500. Fixed several things wrong with it, but it was still an ugly crappy 80s car.

Yeah - you guys underestimate how much junk is out there. I recall one time a while back I was at Volo for a Corvair show, and I decided to look for the cheapest car for sale. As I recall, there was a really clean Pacer, and some K-car - if not a Citation, a Valiant or some other piece of junk.

Used to take my Corvair to “Orphan” car shows - for retired makes. Remember how some of the allure disappeared when marques like Olds went under.

I’d be shocked if there were any car made in any substantial numbers of which there was not a single extant model. The most likely would be some short-lived make - possibly European.

Shows threatened, endangered, and extinct cars, which were produced in numbers greater than 10,000, based on what Hagerty Insurance insures.


  1. 1980 DODGE ST. REGIS
  2. 1985-86 CHRYSLER LASER XE
  4. 1983-86 ISUZU IMPULSE

The UK has a searchable website run privately that lets you look up car models and see how many are left on the road (with valid registrations & inspections). It was mentioned on a very old episode of Top Gear in a bit that was very similar to the OP’s question, how many old, but plain car models are still around?

Here’s how many Vauxhall Chevettes of various types are left:

Living in the desert I see pretty much any car made in my lifetime - although I haven’t seen a Yugo or a Le Car yet (at least so I’ve noticed). I’m most likely to notice the oddball AMC cars - Gremlins and Pacers.

WHoa there - my first car was a 71 Valiant (obviously before K cars) with the slant 6 engine. Yeah it was boring, but it was cheap and reliable. Might still be out there running somewhere…

Depends, in the North East the Valiants tended to rust out, but that Slant 6 engine seemed like it would run forever. I had the Barracuda with the Slant 6. When I junked it it had around 270k on the engine. Really amazing engine for a gas engine. Not performance, but endurance.

I guess it all depends. I was a kid in the '80s and I can’t see myself wanting much of anything from the era. exceptions would be anything where “go-fast” parts are easy to come by. something like an '80s Fairmont, Thunderbird, Cougar, etc. which were on the Fox platform and thus share a lot of parts with the contemporary Mustang.

You’re thinking too recent. There were hundreds of car companies in the early part of the 20th century. You are probably going to find examples among them, particularly if you consider models, rather than just makes.

Some of these won’t be crappy cars, but very limited production. The reason a lot of early car companies went bust was by making a very high end car that practically nobody could afford.

That’s a fascinating source. I figured if people came up with any examples, it would be cars “produced” in the single or double digits. I thought about poking around in my books listing obscure brass-age cars to see what I could dig up but that’s not really what the OP is looking for. I’m surprised to find some decent candidates among cars produced in the thousands.

It does appear that at least one of their cars is not quite extinct even if it is close. Here is an ad for a 1984 Isuzu Impulse.

I’d be shocked if there is no one out there with a Plymouth Laser still running. It was a K-car, so most of the parts are going to be readily available and it was interesting for its time (decent looking and somewhat fast in its day), so someone had to like one enough to keep one around for a while. I suspect I won’t ever see a Dodge St. Regis or Alliance convertible again though.

My wife had a RENAULT/AMC ALLIANCE and it started falling apart at 40k miles . It was a total piece of crap. Many of those cars did not make it to 50k miles. I knew a guy who had one and it broke down a lot . Finally when it broke down the last time he gave it away for free to the people who lived where it broke down, he did not know them.

Apparently, Hagerty insures ‘collectible’ cars. I would guess that a lot of owners of Impulses or Lasers wouldn’t be looking to pay the premium they likely charge.

But the ‘extinct’ rating does probably mean there aren’t a lot daily drivers of those brands out there either.