Drivers told their ‘off-the-road’ cars could be worth a hidden fortune

8 Feb, 2024

Owners of off-the-road vehicles have been told that they could be sitting on a hidden fortune, as a new study has found that the UK’s SORN’d cars are worth a staggering £11.2 billion.

The research, compiled by Carwow, has combined Department for Transport and internal valuation data to reveal the untapped resale potential of cars declared SORN (Statutory Off Road Notification). This declaration tells the DVLA that the car won’t be used on the road.

It says there are now over three million cars with a SORN declaration in the UK, with an average value of around £3,264, equating to billions of pounds worth of off-the-road vehicles nationwide.

SORN’d cars range from worn-out rust buckets in need of repair to high-worth classics tucked away to preserve their value.

But, Carwow says that the average scrap value is just £275, meaning that even if every registered SORN car was only worthy of being scrapped, owners would still rake in a substantial £945 million.

Therefore, rather than leaving them on the driveway, owners of these vehicles could sell them on to get a cash boost during the financially challenging January period.

Latest figures from the DVLA show that just over a tenth of the UK’s licensed cars currently have a SORN declaration, a whopping 30% increase since 2018.

Northern Ireland has a higher proportion of SORN vehicles than any other UK country, with 22% of licensed cars here classified as SORN in 2023, a huge 51% jump over the same five-year period.

Estimated SORN value per region:


SORN cars

Est. value










Northern Ireland



United Kingdom total



Overall, Northern Ireland has 219 off-the-road cars for every 1,000 licensed in the country. That means Northern Irish owners are the most likely to keep a registered SORN vehicle which translates to an estimated value of £740 million.

Comparatively, England demonstrates the lowest ratio, with just 90 SORNs for every 1,000 licensed cars.

However, with over 2.4 million off-the-road cars, England’s vehicle owners are still sitting on an estimated value of £8.1 billion, making up a massive 72% of the UK total.

Paul Barker, motoring expert at Carwow, said: “Looking at these numbers, it’s shocking to see the hidden value held in these out-of-use cars. If you’ve got one of these vehicles sitting idle in your garage, you might want to consider the opportunities available to you.

“Recent industry data shows that certain cars from the noughties have doubled in price. For example, a 2004 Vauxhall Corsa could be worth 94.4% more today than it was in 2019. So, it could pay to use a free online valuation calculator to check what your car is really worth.

“At Carwow, we have a specialist team for vehicles that are a little more unusual, such as classic and vintage cars. This team is available to help if the valuation doesn’t meet expectations or if we are unable to provide a value at the point of listing.

“With over three million SORN vehicles in the UK valued at more than £10.9 billion, these off-the-road cars hold a big opportunity for owners.

“The average value of one of these cars could also help towards a larger financial goal. It could be the chance for a fresh start, a new opportunity, or even just a little extra cash.”

More information can be found on the Carwow website.