Until 1pm yesterday, this 1997 Toyota Camry V6 was worth up to £7,000. It's a relatively unremarkable example of a car that didn't sell in huge numbers in the UK.
Just under 124,000 miles on the clock. Two owners from new. Some peeling paint lacquer. A short MOT. National Trust sticker on the windscreen. That kind of thing.
Today, it's not worth anything like £7,000. In fact, it's worth little more than the equivalent of a mortgage payment – which is what I paid the owner of the past 20 years.
Yes, I've added another car to the PetrolBlog fleet, but that's a story for another day.
The point is, cars like this Toyota Camry V6 are being scrapped, recycled and inhumanly killed on a daily basis. Owners who may have cared for their vehicles for years, even decades, are being encouraged to turn them in for something new, lured by the promise of huge scrappage discounts.
Shiny scrappy people
The previous owner of my Toyota Camry could have driven into a Citroën dealer and received a scrappage discount of between £3,000 and £7,000 for a new panel van, or £1,600 and £6,400 for a new car. Alternatively, up to £6,000 is available on selected Mazda models, if you agree to your car being “scrapped and removed from the road”.
Even Toyota, a company that prides itself on building long-lasting cars capable of intergalactic miles, is offering up to £2,500 when you scrap an old car and buy a new Aygo or Yaris. Imagine driving into a Toyota dealer in a Camry V6 and driving away in a mid-range Yaris.
There are scrappage deals everywhere. You just need to have owned the car for a minimum of three to six months, depending on the manufacturer.
“The days are getting shorter. So why not brighten them up with a shiny new SUV?” asks Vauxhall, in one of the most desperate scrappage subheadings you're likely to see. Seriously, a torch would be more sensible than a ‘shiny new SUV’, and you won't be locked into a lengthy PCP deal.
That's the thing about these scrappage discounts – some people fail to see the bigger picture. Sure, the up-front discounts look tantalising, but what about the monthly payments and the catastrophic depreciation? Most cars eligible for scrappage are free of finance and at the very bottom of the depreciation curve – some are going up in value.
Baby think twice
Clearly, PetrolBlog is never going to be a fan of schemes that remove old and interesting cars from the road in the name of charmless crossovers and soulless SUVs. However, there is genuine merit in the removal of cars that are emitting more smoke than a vaping office worker on their tea break, and hanging on to an MOT certificate by their bald tyres.
It's just that scrapping cars like this Toyota Camry V6 – which might have years of life to give – is both wasteful and shortsighted. Fortunately, the seller wasn't going to let that happen his car. He actually expressed a dislike of PCP schemes and SUVs.
His replacement for the Camry V6 was a thoroughly modern take on a similar theme: a 2014 Lexus IS 300h.
To borrow some advice from Celine Dion, if you're contemplating a scrappage scheme, think twice before you roll those dice. Is three years of maintenance on a car you know and love a fair exchange for 36 monthly payments on compact crossover? Not buying on PCP? Consider the depreciation on that ‘shiny new SUV’.
Cars like my Toyota Camry V6 should not be scrapped. Everything still works. It has been serviced every year without fail. And the engine is smoother than a sewing machine on a bed of velvet. It could even trigger the selling of the W123...
Things might change. There's just enough time to enjoy the car before the next MOT looms into view in January, so a Vauxhall Grandmaster Flash (or whatever it's called) might seem like a serious prospect by then.
Until then, the purchase of the Camry V6 is the realisation of a long-held dream. Let's not allow the scourge of scrappage to be a nightmare for old and interesting cars.