The UK’s Most Memorable Car Pongs

The UK’s most memorable car pongs have been captured in a new air freshener for drivers.


Named ‘Old Car Smell’, the scent is based on the results of a social media campaign launched by Channel 4 Car SOS, in partnership with insurance brokers Carole Nash.


Made up of the ten most unforgettable odours from life behind the wheel, the fragrance is designed to give a real ‘lived-in feel’ for classic car lovers who use modern cars for their day-to-day motoring.


The scent of old leather was found to be the most enduring aroma and was mentioned by nearly half (49 per cent) of participants, who reminisced about “burnt legs on hot seats” caused by “weekend runs to the coast in the summer”.

Top 10 Scents

Based on the hundreds of suggestions collated via social media, the nation’s top ten most unforgettable motoring scents are:

1.    Old leather

2.    Engine Oil/Castrol

3.    Petrol

4.    Warm Vinyl / Plastic

5.    Pipe Smoke / Cigarette Ash

6.    Musty Carpet

7.    Burnt Dust

8.    80s Vanilla / Orange Air freshener

9.    Damp

10.  Wood


While the smells of engine oil and petrol proved to be popular, the sickly scents of 80s air fresheners have a lasting place in the nation’s hearts.

Ford Escort

The air freshener proved to be particularly evocative for one respondent who said: “A Feu Orange traffic light air freshener – the sort where you prick the back of the clear bubble with a pin. That mixed with some 4 star petrol and a hint of WD 40. It was my old Mk 2 Escort to a tee!”


Dawn Holmes, from the Classic vehicle division of Carole Nash, said: “We’ve been overwhelmed by the response and interest in helping us to create the ultimate ‘Old Car Smell’ and are delighted with the final fragrance. One sniff of this really does transport you to motoring from decades past, and we sincerely hope that it sparks the imagination of classic car enthusiasts everywhere.”