Sports and Classic Cars

The History of the Hot Hatch and the Inevitable Slide of the Endangered Species

At Wizard Sports and Classics, we know a thing or two about Hot Hatchbacks – We’ve sold (and do sell) a lot of them. So what is the market for Hot Hatches all about, where did it come from and what drives the demand? Well, make yourself a cup of tea and sit down…

The Astra / Escort / Focus / Golf sized market segment has always been hotly contested – this is (or was / has been) the largest market sector with the most lucrative sales up for grabs, so the cars have to be reliable and dependable, whilst being affordable and attractive to buyers.

Stable transport for the whole nation, the affordable hatch back still has a very special place in our hearts.

These are cars of necessity, that are practical and spacious and as much part of the British family as the 2 and a quarter children and dog…

Volkswagen first introduced us to the ‘Hot Hatch’ back in 1975, being the first manufacturer to take the idea of making a day to day car a little bit quick. Since then, every manufacturer has produced a hot version derived from it’s dependable family hatchback. It just goes with the territory.

The Market for Hatchback Cars in Britain – How it works

Our beloved hatchbacks would traditionally be available as 3 or 5 door body styles with the following variants

  1. The one with the small petrol engine
  2. The one with the big petrol engine
  3. The one with a slow diesel engine
  4. The one with a quick petrol engine
  5. The one with a VERY quick petrol engine

It’s a tried and tested formula has worked as a rough marketing plan for years, and it goes like this:

  1. Build a car that almost everybody will buy
    (knowing that 85% of buyers will choose the dull, middle of the road model that are the most cost effective to produce)
  2. Take the car rallying / touring car racing
    (so Dads and Car Mum’s everywhere will see that the car is cool, fast and capable)
  3. Build a ridiculously fast one with huge insurance premiums for lunatics
    (so the slightly quicker one with a few badges and sports seats will sell in droves)
  4. Rinse and repeat

The net result of this hatchback strategy is a car that’s widely sold in huge numbers and therefore instantly disposable. Being so numerous and affordable means these cars are much less likely candidates to be bought and stored in air conditioned garages future investments, in the same way you don’t go and buy the wrist watch you always dreamed of from Argos – it’s just not that market.

Most Warm Hatchbacks hatchbacks are destined to live a fairly predictable life that will involve care and attention for the first 30,000 miles, followed by a string of gradually more neglectful owners.

The inevitable end point for a Warm Hatchback is to wind up on eBay for five hundred quid, listed as ‘spares of repair’ showing a lifetime of trolley dings, 150,000 miles and no service history.

(That is of course if the car makes it to old age without having first been stolen, wrapped around a tree, or both.)

Vauxhall Astra SXI for sale
Spares or Repair No Warranty Given or Implied Service History lost during house move. Honestly we don’t make this up, we wrote the blog and THEN looked on eBay for a suitable image to illustrate the point!

As values plunge and odometer readings climb, less and less of these Warm Hatchbacks are lovingly cared for and adored. Think of it like an animal moving from Numerous to Endangered to Critically Endangered and then finally Extinct. It’s a slow decline.

The Market for Classic Cars in Britain – How it works

Now, the way the classic car market works is that just a few short years before a given car becomes Extinct, people start to realise that

A) You don’t see many of those anymore

B) they were actually quite fun cars in the first place and most importantly…

C) I used to have one when I was young, free and single back when all I did was work at McDonalds, listen to Jungle Music on cassette tapes in the car and chase girls and drive around having care free adventures

You can replace the words ‘McDonalds’, ‘Jungle Music’ and ‘Cassette Tapes’ with whatever suits you depending on the era, but that pretty much explains 95% of the drive behind the entire classic car movement. (It definitely explains the market for the MG B).

At the point this realisation happens, all the sub 50,000 mile cars are suddenly bought and restored, leaving only the 143,000 mile, no service history examples left.

It’s at this point that we can FINALLY introduce the car you see here, because now that you’ve read a potted history of British Hatchbacks, Endangered Cars and How The Classic Car Market Works, you’ll understand the full scope of what we have here.

Finally getting to the point… The car Vauxhall Astra SRI we have for sale

This is a Vauxhall Astra SXi with just 5,000 miles on the clock. It should have followed the same path that every Warm Hatchback has trodden since the beginning of time, but we are glad to tell you that it has a full service history and has never been stolen or wrapped around a tree.

What we have here is a time warp, a slice of the past that’s ready for you to climb in, switch your favourite song on the stereo and relive the heady days of youth.

We believe this is the lowest mileage Vauxhall Astra SXi in the world, and the only investment grade Warm Hatch that we are aware of.

If you are interested in buying this slice of motoring history, please get in touch…

Although if you’re planning on losing the service history, adding 139,000 miles  ignoring the service schedule and / or wrapping it around a tree, you’re twenty years too late.