Home » What Formerly Common Cars Have Completely Vanished?

What Formerly Common Cars Have Completely Vanished?

Aa Dodge Intrepid
ADVERTISEMENT

It’s been quite an experience watching my daughter grapple with the impermanence of life. When a store closes it’s possibly a minor disappointment to me, but to her it’s almost cataclysmic. She’s only been fully conscious of the world around her for a few years and so, generally speaking, all that was there is still there, and when it isn’t it’s a big deal.

She just feels so much and, you know, maybe she’s right. Maybe I’m too inured to the fluctuations of life. Perhaps I’d be better off also feeling that much.

Vidframe Min Top
Vidframe Min Bottom

One area where I probably feel the shifting of time most is in the slow disappearance of cars that were once ubiquitous. Where have all the Cavalier Z24s gone? Or, for that matter, where the hell are all the old Dodge Intrepids?

While Chrysler’s attempt at making a front-wheel drive competitor to the Toyota Camry and Honda Accord never quite had the same draw, falling short even of the Ford Taurus, the almost-a-Lamborghini 1st generation was fairly common when I was a youth. But now? It’s an occasion when you see one at a stoplight, on par with spying a falling star.

2g Dodge Interipd

ADVERTISEMENT

Even the 2nd generation car, which was on sale until 2005, is a rare spot.

So, in that vein, SWG has suggested you all help us come up with more examples of once-common cars that have given way to a rusty grave or to being recycled into something more desirable.

Share on facebook
Facebook
Share on whatsapp
WhatsApp
Share on twitter
Twitter
Share on linkedin
LinkedIn
Share on reddit
Reddit
Subscribe
Notify of
264 Comments
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
ColoradoFX4
ColoradoFX4
2 months ago

This one is very specific to my area, but 3rd gen Subaru Leones (Loyales) used to be everywhere, and now I find myself actually noticing the things whenever I actually see one.

Vetatur Fumare
Vetatur Fumare
2 months ago

Mitsubishi Galants. All nine (!) generations.

Aaron
Aaron
2 months ago

7 & 8th Gen Pontiac Grand Prix and 4 & 5th Gen Pontiac Grand Am. Our local Pontiac/GMC dealer was one of the highest volume dealers of any brand in the area, so there were always a disproportionately high volume of Pontiacs in my town. Unfortunately, many a reckless high schooler and buy here/pay here dealership put these workhorses through their paces and they ultimately succumb to Midwest winters and owner neglect.

ShinyMetalAsp
ShinyMetalAsp
2 months ago

K-Cars have all rusted into some layer of sedimentary iron and cheap plastic, or they’ve all gone to some far-flung corner of the world and are being driven by people wearing tee shirts that that were made up for losing super bowl teams.

LactoseTheIntolerant
LactoseTheIntolerant
2 months ago
Reply to  ShinyMetalAsp

Especially the 80s/90s Chrysler Minivans: Plymouth Voyager, Dodge Caravan, and Chrysler Town & Country.

Those things were EVERYWHERE!

OnlyFlans
OnlyFlans
2 months ago

The Scion xB…gone. The darlings of taxi fleets and 55+ yr old AARP members, they were everywhere, until they weren’t. My guess is the taxi fleets ran them into the ground and the elderly still keep them around “just because” even though their kids took the keys away long ago.

CRG
CRG
2 months ago
Reply to  OnlyFlans

We had a great 5-speed, but rust along the A-pillar (hidden) was what made us give it up. Terrific car, if spartan.

OrigamiSensei
OrigamiSensei
2 months ago

The Saturn SL/SC/SW series (I drove an SL2 for 16 years) have pretty much reached the end of their normal service life and are rapidly disappearing. They were good transportation appliances, but nobody cares enough about them to preserve them.

The F--kshambolic Cretinoid Harvey Park
The F--kshambolic Cretinoid Harvey Park
2 months ago
Reply to  OrigamiSensei
Red865
Red865
2 months ago
Reply to  OrigamiSensei

Here in TN, they were still everywhere until just a couple of yrs ago…about the same time my son’s got clipped/totaled by a lane changing dump truck. Air bags actually still worked. He was very disappointed that he couldn’t find another one to replace it. Has a Mazada 3 now and loves it.

Red865
Red865
2 months ago
Reply to  Red865

Forgot to add, one of our neighbors has not one, but two red Saturn Sky’s. They drive both??

Drew
Drew
2 months ago

The Neon was hanging on around here pretty well until a few years back, then suddenly gone. I couldn’t tell you when I last saw one, and it felt really sudden.

D M
D M
2 months ago

I rarely see any Chevy Cavaliers where I live.

Sid Bridge
Sid Bridge
2 months ago

Ford Tempo/Mercury Topaz. And the Chevy Caprice.

Tim Connors
Tim Connors
2 months ago
Reply to  Sid Bridge

Caprice I will see, in part because they seem popular to modify. Tempo/Topaz? It has been years since I’ve seen one of those.

Slow Joe Crow
Slow Joe Crow
2 months ago

Since we semi-seriously play “slug bug” I have noticed that the VW New Beetle population is dwindling as age and A4 platform issues that result in expensive repairs are taking them off the road.
Vanagons are also less common, apparently supplanted by a wave of grey import HiAce and Delica vans along with the more usual Sprinters.

VanGuy
VanGuy
2 months ago
Reply to  Slow Joe Crow

I very rarely see Bugs anymore in Pennsylvania. Weirdly, on the blue moons where I see one, it feels like they have a 50% chance of having the god-awful eyelashes.

Fuzzyweis
Fuzzyweis
2 months ago

I would say most of the mid 90s-early 2000s Chryslers, like they were made of cardboard and tinfoil. Even here in the car-perserving south, it is rare to see a Neon/Avenger/Stratus/Intrepid/Caliber, and they built millions of them.

Like I see plenty of Escorts and Cavaliers, Buicks and Pontiacs of various generations, but the Dodge lineup from that time seems to have just gone poof.

I guess if the trade in Nitro that David Tracy reviewed is any evidence they just get beat into oblivion.

Citrus
Citrus
2 months ago

I know I’m going to discover a neighbor owns one after typing this, but I genuinely can’t remember the last time I saw a Buick LeSabre. They used to be the official car of people who were retiring and wanted something “nice” but didn’t want anything TOO nice because then their neighbors might talk. But damn if I can remember the last time I saw one – or any GM H-body cars, beyond a single mid-90s Pontiac Bonneville that lives down the street from me.

Slow Joe Crow
Slow Joe Crow
2 months ago
Reply to  Citrus

It depends on the neighborhood, I see a few early 2000s LeSabres or Park Avenues every day, not counting the one in our driveway. I think a combination of minimal rust and an elderly demographic make them common in Central Oregon.

VanGuy
VanGuy
2 months ago
Reply to  Slow Joe Crow

I feel the same. “Common”? Hell no, but I definitely see them here and there, still.

The 3800 is peak “the engine will still run when the rest is a pile of rust”, right?
(Which tracks when my sibling’s needed its transmission to be replaced.)

Mike Fresh, Toomp and Hop
Mike Fresh, Toomp and Hop
2 months ago
Reply to  Citrus

Come to Houston and visit MLK on a Sunday, you will find a lot of them there.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kJAGRWJFg4c

Clark B
Clark B
2 months ago

Let’s see, I’m 30 years old and have lived in the KY/southern Indiana area my whole life. I’ll limit it to cars that were everywhere when I was growing up. Ford Tauruses (jelly bean and facelift), Dodge Neons, Cavaliers (I still see them regularly, just not as common), Pontiac Sunfires (again I still see them fairly often), Ford Escorts, Saturns of any sort, Pontiac Grand Ams, 90s Mustangs (sorry don’t know the official model designation here), Chrysler Sebrings…I’ll stop myself there.

GreatFallsGreen
GreatFallsGreen
2 months ago

1st gen Scion tCs. It came out when I was in high school and immensely popular among fellow youths of the time, which also likely explains why they’re so sparse now despite selling ~300k of them. It outsold the 1st gen xB nearly every year yet I see more of the xBs still around.

While not completely vanished, 4th gen Chrysler vans (pre-Stow-n-Go so 01-04) seemed to fade out more quickly than the 3rd gens, to the point they seem to be about equal in commonality now. I don’t know if that’s due to DCX-era quality and cost-cutting, or if it was from lower market share as by then everyone else adopted the same minivan format, namely Honda. Even 2nd gen Windstars seem to be as common.

2010-12 Ford Fusions have faded out more quickly than Escapes of the era seem to have. But I attribute to Fusions likely having a higher share of fleet sales than the Escape did.

Also – the first 2 gens of Mazda 6 faded out pretty quickly. I’m in the south so can’t just be rust, and there are 3s are still around. Unless that can be attributed to production, the 6s being from MI and the 3, Japan.

Next Friday
Next Friday
2 months ago

Ford Probe. Pontiac 6000

Brockstar
Brockstar
2 months ago

One of my neighbors has a family member who drives a near-mint 2nd gen gold Chrysler Concord. I don’t see it often, but when I do I get excited.

The F--kshambolic Cretinoid Harvey Park
The F--kshambolic Cretinoid Harvey Park
2 months ago
Reply to  Brockstar

The Sebring was pretty common, too, and I can’t remembered the last time I saw one.

Shop-Teacher
Shop-Teacher
2 months ago

Pontiac Grand Ams. I swear here in Chicagoland, they used to be like every 7th car. The last time I one, was a teenage kid running around my town in a rusted out Grand Am with a stack of train horns bolted to the roof. That’s been a few years. Before that it had been quite some time since I had seen another.

Jack Trade
Jack Trade
2 months ago
Reply to  Shop-Teacher

Esp. the late 80s/early 90s model. A friend’s divorced dad who lived in Bensenville had a coupe back then, b/c divorced dad. I want to say he wore a Members Only jacket too, but I could be idealizing him…

Shop-Teacher
Shop-Teacher
2 months ago
Reply to  Jack Trade

I think EVERY suburban dad had a Members only jacket in the late 80’s/early 90’s, divorced or not. My dad sure did.

I teach within spitting distance of Benenville, BTW.

Jack Trade
Jack Trade
2 months ago
Reply to  Shop-Teacher

It seemed like a very classic Chicago suburbs kinda place; not John Hughes-land, but down to earth midwest at its best. I was in college and he’d sometimes take us out for pizza. I recall the backseat on those coupes to be reasonably spacious.

Shop-Teacher
Shop-Teacher
2 months ago
Reply to  Jack Trade

Yeah, that describes it well.

Although a lot of Bensenville has since been gobbled up by O’Hare expansions, and expressways to feed in and out of O’Hare. The only junkyard in the area, the one with the infamous local commercials you may remember, Victory Auto Wreckers, just shut down in November for another expressway coming through.

Jack Trade
Jack Trade
2 months ago
Reply to  Shop-Teacher

OH NO! Now how will I know if my old car is worth money!?!

Shop-Teacher
Shop-Teacher
2 months ago
Reply to  Jack Trade

Right!?!

Tbird
Tbird
2 months ago

Gen X here:

GM A bodies of any flavor – the world was saturated with them
K-cars
GM G body coupes
Pontiac Grand Am – these were everywhere
Taurus/Sable
Tempo/Topaz

WalmartTech
WalmartTech
2 months ago
Reply to  Tbird

Now are we talking about the FWD A body GMs of the mid 80s to mid 90s or the RWD A Body GMs of the late 70s to early 80s?

Tbird
Tbird
2 months ago
Reply to  WalmartTech

Primarily FWD A bodies. Celebrity/Ciera/Century/6000 were everywhere in the ’80s. I think everyone’s mom drove one when I grew up.

Last edited 2 months ago by Tbird
WalmartTech
WalmartTech
2 months ago
Reply to  Tbird

My family had an 89 celebrity that we bought in the early 00s and had all the way until 2009 when dad won a brand new Silverado RCSB through his work.

Jack Trade
Jack Trade
2 months ago
Reply to  Tbird

The first car I ever drove was my mom’s Celebrity wagon!

Tbird
Tbird
2 months ago
Reply to  Jack Trade

We had a Mercury Colony Park I learned to drive on. You don’t see those old wagons anymore either.

ToyotaTaxPayer
ToyotaTaxPayer
2 months ago

Regular cab s10s with the 4.3. They were everywhere in the 80s and 90s. I loved mine. Based on how I drive it, I imagine quite a few ended up in the junk yard victim of a front heavy, strong engine, rwd setup. I could do donuts on slightly wet pavement just by hitting the gas hard.

Torque
Torque
2 months ago

In MN, seeing nearly ANY car that is +20 years old is super rare.
There Is someone that must live near me that is rocking a red 1992? Mercury Capri that always makes me smile.
In fact seeing Any car +20 years old that looks to have been taken care of, makes me smile.
I always get excited and if my kids are with me I say “oh my gosh thats a 1988 Chevy Berretta! I haven’t seen one of those on the road in easily +25 years!!!…”
to which they sadly reply…
“We know papa, we dont care…”
Of course while this is sad, it barely dampens my own enthusiasm.
I do the same thing when my wife is in the car and she’ll often smile too.
He’ll I say pretty much the same thing to myself even when I’m driving alone!
I (almost) like seeing old cars that appear to be daily drivers bc most affordable cars are driven and used up and thrown away within 20 years which Is understandable given it is still rare (less tha 10% of all cars make it past 200k miles; avg. of 12.5k miles per year…). So there typically no practical reason to keep a regular dd car around that long. vs. a desirable/fun car like a 911 or classic muscle car… though I Love seeing those driven usually outside of winter

Tim Connors
Tim Connors
2 months ago
Reply to  Torque

Also in Minnesota, someone in my area drives a perfectly clean Toyota Trecel from like ’96. I see a Ferarri more often than a Trecel.

Jack Trade
Jack Trade
2 months ago
Reply to  Torque

I constantly annoy passengers doing just that, and then launching into detailed histories and fun facts about the model. I’m fine to ride with until that point.

Torque
Torque
2 months ago
Reply to  Jack Trade

Are you my ling lost brother!?! (automotive at least); I 100% do the same thing!

Jack Trade
Jack Trade
2 months ago
Reply to  Torque

Oh, I’m the worst. I often go into Doug DeMuro style detail about stuff only I find interesting.

“Did you know the Beretta didn’t have traditional control stalks? It had buttons, then knobs, on the side of the gauge pod instead!”

Eye rolls ensue.

Freelivin1327
Freelivin1327
2 months ago
Reply to  Jack Trade

Yeah, but that’s when the fun starts!

Torque
Torque
2 months ago
Reply to  Freelivin1327

Re: “that’s when the fun starts”

True!

Though it’s when you can share with a fellow Enthusiast is when its really the best or a budding enthusiast
OR
sharing with someone that is naturally curious, these are the people that get excited learning nearly everything new (or at least quite a broad spread of topics).

Along those lines whst I <3 the most are unique or at least unique to what I know of design/engineering solutions.

Like the East – West leaf spring suspension system used on Corvettes for decades, or torsion beam suspensions, or the 2CV suspension or the innovative DS or Tatra T77, T87, T97 or (despite its faults) the Mazda rotory wankel.

Switching to planes: The "flying football" Otto Celera" (500 and 800), Eclipse 500 (1st use of friction stir welding in an airplane), Republic RC-3 (Seabee) use of a true exoskeleton construction. Pretty much All of Rutan's desigs; Aeronotics are fun because I think there is more divergence in designs even more than in motorcycles or bicycles…

Freelivin1327
Freelivin1327
2 months ago
Reply to  Torque

Yeah, it’s better sharing it w/ an enthusiast…that’s why I read/comment here and w/ friends since my wife doesn’t have much interest

AlterId
AlterId
2 months ago

The Beretta & Corsica duo used to be around a lot, but I guess 30+ years take a toll, even around here where there’s little snow or salt. And given the numbers and the durability of them, there aren’t a whole lot of Town Cars from 1990 and on, although still more than their front-drive DeVille competitor.

The World of Vee
The World of Vee
2 months ago

You got the answer right the first time, it’s the Cavalier/Sunfire twins. Growing up in upstate NY pretty much EVERYONE got one as their first car or hand me down. I haven’t seen one in years. Where did they go? I see more Pontiac Vibes and Toyota Matrix’s here in NYC than those.

Where are they??!

Dug Deep
Dug Deep
2 months ago

A coworker has one and for years we’ve been telling him to take better care of himself

Torque
Torque
2 months ago

I saw a blue Pontiac Sunfire 98? on the road a few days ago and couldn’t believe it as it has probably been +20 years ago since I last saw one on the road

EXL500
EXL500
2 months ago
Reply to  Torque

There’s one in our condo parking lot, in excellent condition.

Citrus
Citrus
2 months ago

I mean teenagers aren’t exactly EASY on cars, so each round of one being a first car took a huge swath out of the rotation.

Ben
Ben
2 months ago

I still see Sunfires every so often, but that was my first car so I’m a bit hyper-aware of them compared to most people.

Cheats McCheats
Cheats McCheats
2 months ago

I don’t remember the last time I saw a Dodge Magnum actually.

VanGuy
VanGuy
2 months ago

There was one of those in my apartment parking lot in college in 2016 or so that I admired.
Those are considered “sleeper cars”, right?

But yeah, I don’t know if I’ve seen more than a couple since then.

IanGTCS
IanGTCS
2 months ago

I live in southern Ontario. Pretty much anything pre 2000 has disappeared and stuff from before about 2007 is pretty thin on the ground.

Isaac
Isaac
2 months ago

Jelly bean Ford Taurus’s

Torque
Torque
2 months ago
Reply to  Isaac

Any Taurus’

VanGuy
VanGuy
2 months ago
Reply to  Torque

Really? Not even the later generation that was every other cop car before the newer Explorers?

Torque
Torque
2 months ago
Reply to  VanGuy

That’s a good point (@VanGuy) I’m sure I have to have seen “new” Taurus’ around in fact my MIL has one. Other than hers I can’t recall seeing them around but it could be that they are still new enough, common enough (to be around) And common enough that they don’t register on my brain

Clark B
Clark B
2 months ago
Reply to  Isaac

For which we can only be thankful.

264
0
Would love your thoughts, please comment.x
()
x