July 8, 2023 | Kaddy Gibson

Three Cars On The Verge Of Extinction

New cars are always replacing old ones. Some old cars, like the Datsun Z, mange to extend their lifetime and become highly coveted by collectors who seek to restore them. Rare old cars, like the Bugatti Type 57, are lucky enough to spend the rest of their days in a museum, on displaying for adoring masses. But for most vehicles, extinction is a slow, quiet process that ends in the scrap yard. Check out three cars that are nearing their final days on the road.

Subaru GL

Subaru GLShutterstock

When Subaru was first making a name for itself on the American car market, they came out with the GL. The GL was available as a hatchback, sedan, or station wagon and was equipped with a water-cooled flat-four engine. This little car was ahead of its time and could also come with AWD, which was usually only available in trucks. Subaru started to gain a fanbase with the GL, but it was discontinued in 1994 when the manufacturer began introducing a wider range of vehicles to the market. The GL is a durable and efficient car but they’re elusive on used car listings. In recent years, only five GLs have been listed, signaling their impending extinction in the near future.

Merkur XR4Ti

Merkur XR4TiMotor Trend

The Merkur XR4Ti was an experiment that didn’t quite take off. Ford had hoped that they could enter the European car market with the XR4Ti and compete against luxury vehicles from manufacturers like BMW and Saab. The XR4Ti was appealing and featured a streamlined exterior, distinctive double-bladed spoiler, and a comfortable, leather-trimmed interior. It was equipped with a turbocharged I4 engine that generated 170 horsepower. The car should have been a success, but it couldn’t compete with the bestselling Town Car and Mercury Sable. The XR4Ti only spent five years on the market and less than three of these rare vehicles appear on used car listings each year.

Alfa Romeo 164

Alfa Romeo 164Shutterstock

Intended to compete with hot rods from Audi, BMW, and Mercedes-Benz, the Alfa Romeo 164 should have been a showstopper on the American car market. The 164 exemplified all of the best aspects of Alfa Romeo style, including a luxurious interior, attractive aerodynamic exterior, and an I4 fuel injection engine that featured twin camshafts. It was also available with a turbocharged I4 or Busso V6 engine. Despite its beautiful design and great performance, the 164 was a flop in the US. In the 1994 and 1995 production years, less than 800 of these cars were sold. Because of this poor showing, Alfa Romeo left the American car market and the 164 faded into the recesses of public memory. Only three or four of these cars show up on listings each year, and they’ll be completely obsolete in a decade or two.


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