Hibernating Cars: Taking cars off the road with SORN for winter

As the weather turns sour, it’s quite common for certain creatures to fly south for the winter, or owners of certain pets to prepare themselves for their beloved friends to have a lengthy snooze. While you may not think of a car going into hibernation, for some owners of high-power, high-value or highly scarce vehicles, there’s no chance they’ll want to take their car out past October, and likely not again until March or April.

If you’ve got a car that’s not being driven for six months of the year, you might wonder why you’re continuing to shell out on insurance and road tax. It’s for this reason that many owners also decide to SORN these cars during the winter and save themselves a few pennies in the process. Like pet owners, these cars are often stored safely in the winter, but instead of a fridge for your tortoise, it’s a garage for your classic car. 

Thanks to the amazing stats at HowManyLeft.co.uk, we’re able to find out which cars are most likely to be hibernated by their owners. When looking at the list of registered vehicles, which includes SORN data from the last quarter of Q4 onwards, you might notice the ‘hibernation snake’, as we’ve decided to call it – this is where the numbers of registered and SORNed vehicles rise and fall across the course of the year, creating a snake-like graphic on the graph (as shown below).


So let’s have a look through the list and see which cars you’re less likely to find on the roads when the nights get longer and the roads get wetter.

If you’re looking at hibernating your current car but have a tired old banger filling the only space in the garage, or perhaps you’re looking to boost your deposit for a classic that you’ve been eyeing up for a while, by calling Scrap Car Comparison you can get the very best price for your old car. With a nationwide network of both scrap and salvage specialists at our fingertips, we’re guaranteed to find you the very best price, no matter the condition of your car – and we’ll even come and collect it for free direct from your doorstep. Get started today and find out just how much your car could be worth.

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Caterham – 600

Let’s start with one of the cars you’d expect to find on this list – the Caterham. Picture the scene: it’s early December, you’re heading out for a nice Sunday roast down the pub where your table is booked for 1:30, and you’ve decided to take the Caterham out. By the time you’ve finished your desert and stuck around for one more drink (and maybe a couple of racks of pool), it’s dark outside. And probably raining. What you absolutely don’t want in that situation is to be in a car with a power-to-weight ratio comparable to a McLaren F1. Or one without a roof. For that reason, there’s no surprise to see that around 600 Caterhams are put to bed over the winter each year.

Caterham driving on a race track

TVR – 1200

TVR, or Trevors, as they’re affectionately known (dating back to their founding by proud Lancastrian Trevor Wilkinson), are one of the most common cars to enter hibernation each year. In fact, if you were to look at any model of TVR on HowManyLeft, you’ll notice that every single entry features the typical ‘hibernation snake’. TVRs are known for their power, coupled with their lack of weight, making them ideal for driving around perfect country lanes on a beautiful summer evening. What they’re not great for, though, is driving through standing water with reduced visibility. Still, with TVR reliability, or lack thereof, being somewhat legendary, you’re still likely to be spending plenty of time with it in the winter within the confines of your garage.

TVR parked on a hilltop road

Rolls Royce – 500

Now, this might come as a shock to some, as the Rolls Royce is the antithesis of the likes of Caterham and TVR that we’ve already spoken about. However, there are approximately 500 of the luxury cars that go into hiding each year. Why? Well, we’ve been racking our brains here at Scrap Car Comparison and we’ve come up with the following suggestion – their owners are mimicking the natural world in their own way by migrating somewhere warmer for Christmas. If you’re not going to be in the country, why bother paying for insurance or road tax? 

Close up of Rolls Royce badge and bonnet ornament

Jaguar – 6000

Big cats are not often known for their hibernation, and for the most part, there aren’t that many Jaguars that get SORNed in the winter, particularly when you look at the context of just how many Jaaaags currently drive around British roads – over 385,000 at the time of writing. However, even if the percentage of Jaguars that do get tucked away in winter is pretty small, there are still around 6000 that do each year. Delving deeper into individual models doesn’t seem to answer any questions either, as there seems to be a fairly even split across the Jaguar range. That being said, however, if we had an E-type, one of the most iconic classic cars in all of motoring and a regular car to be SORNed over the winter, we’d absolutely be tucking it away and only bringing it out to play in the summer – driving down to the ferry for a road trip to the south of France, before coming home and tucking it away again.

Jaguar parked

Motorcycles – A LOT.

We could have broken this down into the various makes, but with each of the major players racking up anywhere between 8,000 and 12,000 a piece, this list would have just been full of two-wheelers. Unsurprisingly the most common motorcycles to be tucked away are Kawasaki, Yamaha, Suzuki and Ducati – although Honda jumps in under the radar with close to 15,000 SORNed between Q3 and Q4. We say under the radar because, thanks to the sheer number of Honda cars on the road (1.3 million), their hibernation snake is near enough flat. It’s more than understandable that someone would want to tuck their Fireblade, Ninja, R1 or GSX1000 away in the winter – riding a sports bike is very much a sunny afternoon jaunt,  and definitely not something we’d be wanting to do on a cold, wet, miserable Saturday in January. And with Ducatis being basically the Ferraris of the bike world, you’re definitely not going to want to be dropping one of those…

Motorcycle parked on a quay in front of a sunset. A man is sat next to it

Ferrari – 1500

That brings us neatly onto the Prancing Horse. The pride of Maranello, some people have even been known to put their beloved Ferraris in garages that more resemble museums than a traditional car storage unit. Just look at how precious Chris Evans was about his 250 California when James May came to visit on Top Gear back in the day… Not everyone has the bank account of Chris Evans, though, and for some the idea of taking their Ferrari out on anything other than the perfect day would result in being admitted on insanity claims. It’s a shame as for us mere mortals we only get to see these beauties on a rare occasion – but maybe that just adds to the allure and makes those summer sightings all the more special.

Close up of rear Ferrari badge

Find the best price for your car with Scrap Car Comparison

If you’ve recently SORNed your car, but not because it’s started to rain, then you may be wondering whether it’s actually going to make it back on the road at any point at all. If there is any doubt in your mind, why not cash in earlier and use Scrap Car Comparison to find you the very best price possible for your car. No matter the condition it’s in, through our network of scrap and salvage dealers we are never too far from an unbeatable quote, and with collection agents in all four corners of the country, we’ll even sort out a free collection on top. Get started today by using our quick and easy online quote generator and find out just how much your old car could be worth.

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