1. 1980-1992 Mercedes-Benz S-Class
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.
Of course, new trends aren’t the only factor that makes an older car disappear. Luxury cars often have a longer life because the first owner or two will likely take great care of the car, then it will become more neglected as time goes on. That’s why in most parts of the country, you’re still likely to see an ’80s-era Cadillac or Mercedes still fighting the good fight. A lesser car, like a Plymouth or Datsun of similar vintage? Probably not so much.
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.
Just five years ago, the mighty W126 S-Class was everywhere. There are still a few grinding it out as daily drivers today, but that number seems to be shrinking weekly. The second-generation S-Class is in that twilight phase where the surviving beaters are going off to the scrap yard, and the nice ones are beginning to be scooped up by collectors. Next year, the newest of Mercedes’s long-serving flagship will officially be classified as a classic car. From then on, you’ll be more likely to see these at a car show than in the grocery store parking lot.
10 Cars You Never See on the Road Anymore