Bon Accord

It’s funny how a couple of pictures can turn into something of moderate substance. This old Honda Accord was parked in the middle of the city at the weekend – I’d seen it a few times before, however the fact I happened to have a communications device capable of taking semi-respectable pictures to hand was but mere coincidence. You probably don’t believe me, I know.

I don't even remember seeing these around when they were new

Anyway, this is definitely the kind of old car I like. Until very recently I used to brag about not being interested in anything made before 1963, but of late I’ve noticed I won’t bat an eyelid at anything made before the first Star Wars movie came out. I would like to think that this is because I’m getting older and so my taste in vehicles is similarly maturing, but the grim truth is that I am nothing short of the automotive equivalent of a hipster. Minus the black-rimmed specs, Converse shoes and infertility-inducing trousers, you’ll understand.

A couple of things made the Accord stand out. The first is that it turns out one of these Accords used to be my wife’s family car back in Japan. She didn’t remember what her parents used to drive either until she saw it and the shape jogged her memory. The second is that it is in utterly stunning condition. I didn’t get a chance to look at the mileage, but it has all the hallmarks of something that belongs to someone who bought it brand-new back in nineteen eighty oatcake and has kept it in a garage ever since, taking it to the supermarket once a week, the car wash once a month, and Rothesay once a year. This is, of course, all pure conjecture.

This historic Honda did set my mind wondering about what kind of price such a car would command nowadays. It occupies perhaps a rather odd niche in the market, in that it is old enough to be of oddity value, but not revered enough (or used in motor sport enough to be desired for spare parts) to command the kind of money say, a Peugeot 205 of similar vintage would fetch. Anything over forty years or so of age is going to command a premium no matter what it is, but cars younger than I am tend to last longer and as such aren’t guaranteed ‘classic’ status quite yet. Perhaps the government’s scrappage scheme (remember that) from a year or two back might redress the balance, though.

By the time this has been taken off the road I'll have stopped eating chocolate biscuits

Curious as to the value of something old but not memorable, I went onto eBay and had a hunt for old Accords. Sure enough, there was one even older than this up for sale at a high but not excessive price – although the auction has still to run its course and as such does not at the time of writing reflect the true value of the machine. What was of much more interest, though, was that the Honda’s owner claimed his or her car was one of only two still in existence in the UK. Before I’d even had a chance to question the validity of such a claim, the seller backed up their assertion by directing the reader to a website by the name of http://www.howmanyleft.co.uk. This is a site that, unsurprisingly given its name, trawls the DVLA database to give you stats on how many specimens of a particular vehicle are still on the road. So nerdy, but oh so fascinating.

The excitement of looking to see how many Fiat Regatas remain running on the road, or how many Maestros motor on, faded pretty fast. Actually, I lie, it didn’t. I’m writing the end of this article quickly so I can go and find out how many Peugeot 505 saloons are left out there. And then I’m going to check up on the Talbot Sambas. But I digress. The point I wanted to make is that I’ve decided to use ‘car extinctions’ to set my life targets. So from now on, rather than judging appropriate timings by age, income or attendant life events, I’m going to aim to have everything done by the time the last of a certain variant of automobile has been taken off the road. I want to buy a house before the last Hyundai Stellar has made its final journey, but I’d better be quick as there are 21 left and decreasing. If my wife and I choose to have kids, they’ve got to come before all the Montego estates have been scrapped. With 46 still out there, that gives me a little longer. As for getting a Senior Lectureship or Readership, I’d like to have that in place while at least one of the R32 Nissan Skylines continues to prowl the streets – because I want to buy it. And last but not least, above all I need to make sure I’ve died before the final remaining Citroen DS is deleted from the DVLA computers.

*as usual, if the car pictured belongs to you and you object to it, then just drop a wee email to l j m abo n @  ao l.  com (removing the spaces) and I’ll sort it for you. Thanks!

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