The sun never sets on the British Empire. Due to centuries of colonial break-away that once true apophthegm is today but a memory. Much like that island nation’s global global conquests, their auto industry has also diminished to the point where you might think the sun is setting on car production in Great Britain.
But that doesn’t mean there aren’t plenty of fine British makes out there today – even if they aren’t making them any more. Another English maxim was British built is better built, and while that’s of questionable accuracy, there’s no doubt that British cars and trucks enjoy a healthy and vibrant following. As a matter of fact, you can see just how endeared owners of British cars are at next Sunday’s Queen’s English Car Show in Van Nuys California.
Jaaags, Morgans, MGBs, Triumphs and more will represent at the show, and of course everyone will have a favorite. What I want to know today, is which one is yours? Out of all the British car makers – from shed-bound one-offs to regal Rolls Royces, which purveyor of iffy electrics and diabolically insufficient oil sealing still manages to overcome those foibles and find a place in your heart? Where it proceeds to drip Castrol.
Image source: [Productioncars.com]
Hooniverse Asks – What's Your Favorite British Car Maker?
87 responses to “Hooniverse Asks – What's Your Favorite British Car Maker?”
Also in the Austin Marina the same electrics from Joe Lucas, fine british steel….. And the rest is historyLoading…
I actually knew someone in college who owned an Austin Marina sedan (British Leyland felt that the Morris name was not good for sales in the US). Terrible car. The Marina only lasted two years in the US – 1973 and 1974. His was the latter, with big impact bumpers.
<img src="http://www.aronline.co.uk/images/ado28austin_01.jpg" width=500>Loading…
Yep. I will never, ever sink so low as to defend the Marina. It was terrible and should be wiped out.
In Aus you could get it with a straight six, twice as big as the 1750 cc we had here….
Bet that was fun.Loading…
If you look at the Marina coupe, notice how short the doors are. British Leyland was too cheap to tool up a new set of doors, so they just used the sedan doors without modification. Not only does it spoil the looks, it must have made climbing into the back seat a lot of fun.Loading…
Ford for giving us the Escort Mk1Loading…
Jensen is the first that comes to mind becuase the Interceptor is probably my favorite British car. It combines the appeal of British old world class and American muscle. Someday I would like to own one but until then I will settle with desktop wallpapers and dreams. Here's a nice looking example with some hideous wheels-
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Old Jaguar before being bought out several times ranks up there as well.Loading…
Late sixties Mustang hood scoop FTW!Loading…
Crap, you can't edit after replies are posted. And yes, it probably is an add on, now all it needs are rear louvres and a hood tach. Here's the fixed image:
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The inappropriate wheel/car ratio in that pic is off the charts.Loading…
British Leyland, of course. There's nothing like being shadowed by an Austin Marina. Just ask James May and Richard Hammond.Loading…
My favorite British automaker is Indian.
If you limit this to surving British automakers, the list is quite short. Ariel is probably my favorite, although I've always been intrigued by Ginetta.Loading…
Rover. Without any question or shadow of a doubt, yet I'm really not quite sure why. Probably sentimentality
But they also built these:
<img src="http://images.westendclassics.co.uk/stock/Roverp5barden.JPG" width=400>
<img src="http://www.harderfaster.net/images/uploads/thumb_853ed8c62f7741235a495a38cca63c6a.jpg" width=400>
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The P5B "Coupe". The first time an English car (the Rover P5) had ever been re-invented halfway through its production life just to make it look cooler. Chopping a few inches from the pillars and dropping the roof made for an incredibly raffish car for English streets.
The P6 3500. Seriously, I know they had shitloads of things wrong with them, but this was clever stuff for the sixties, and a aradigm shift from what Ford and Vauxhall were putting out at the time. Compare this to a Zephyr or a Vauxhall Victor.Loading…
Ran out of space with all my ridiculous Rover Big-Upping.
The SD1 Vitesse. Again, built really, really badly in the early years. But looked magnificent thanks to "borrowed" styling. They were used by the police for Royal Protection duties; there were loads of other cars they could have chosen but the Vitesse stayed in that role for years.
Then there was the research they carried out in Gas-Turbine power. Yeah, it proved to be a total dead end, but at least they had a try.
Oh, and thanks, you guys, for that 215 V8.Loading…
I guess if you get into the technicalities, that apparently everyone is noting, than there are none.
However, I will rock the choice of TVR. Sure, technically, they are defunct, but we are not discussing technicalities here. I just think they are cool.
There is still one, even if they use BMW engines, MORGAN!
Still built the old fashion way.
<img src="http://www.corbisimages.com/images/67/90322ECE-AFDD-4260-8E32-988E77E5FA3C/IA001454.jpg" width="500/">
I'm pretty sure this is the factory, not a restoration shop.
<img src="http://www.corbisimages.com/images/67/1413B32D-88C0-4BA8-84A3-C3BE6746CC17/IA001103.jpg" width="500/">
Is that a jar of Lucas electrical some over there on the shelf?Loading…
Yup. Came here for the Morgan. Leaving satisfied.Loading…
Just looking at those photos makes me want to change careers.Loading…
Since the Jensen Interceptor has already been named, let me take this opportunity to remind all good Hoons that the AC Cobra would not have been possible without the AC Ace.
<img src="http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/d/db/AC_Ace.jpg" width=500>Loading…
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Alldays & Onions, for the delightful name and extensive company history (founded in 1650), but in the spirit of all things British shouldn't this question be about our favourite maker instead?
Edit: They're still around, doing business as Alldays Peacock. Curiously they're now claiming to go back to 1625. Also, since 2005 they've been owned by a German company, the Witt Group.
Varley-Woods from around 1920. Created by an interesting pair of guys. Mr. Varley was a playboy businessman. Mr. Woods was an adventurer. Their short-lived car-building enterprise included borrowing to the limit, skipping out on bills, staying one step ahead of bailiffs, and cleaning every movable thing out of their factory at midnight just before the creditors arrived. Mr. Varley ended his days living in poverty in a small cottage. Mr. Woods was eaten by a lion in Africa.
<img src="http://www.localhistory.scit.wlv.ac.uk/Museum/Transport/Cars/varleywoods.jpg" width=400>Loading…
Rover should have done the same at Longbridge plant before closure… put everything on a big lorry and hide it.Loading…
Something along these lines, perhaps?Loading…
Kindly wash your mouth out with soap and water!Loading…
Too soon? If it helps, I drove a Longbridge car to work today.Loading…
It's OK, the vast majority of the UK are well over it. Only a few of us are still spitting feathers over PhoeBASTARDnix and their evil money harvesting conducts…Loading…
As much as I love Triumph motorcycles (technically a different company for most of their life) and the Triumph Spitfire, my vote could only be for the quintessential British marque that first made a car nut out of me as a kid: Austin Healey. Nothing but nothing tugs at my innards like a big Healey (but no 2-tone paint, please!)
Seconded! My wife and I are trying to pry a 1960 3000 of this very color (but with white coves) from the garage of its current owner. They are fantastic cars! Unbelievably fun to drive. A car so fun that it makes people in other cars smile when they see it.Loading…
My older brother owned a 1960 3000 Mark I for a couple of years in the '70s. Nice car in good shape – metallic BRG, factory hardtop, and Marchal driving lamps. Delightful car, but it really needed an owner who was more mechanically adept and sympathetic. He was ultimately defeated by the gods of SU and Lucas, and sold it off for a Mustang.Loading…
Actually saw a big Healey on the road Saturday. I'm pretty sure it wasn't the Sebring replica. A few minutes later in a different part of town I saw a Jaguar XK-1?0 (I'm not up enough on Jags to tell a 120, 140, and 150 apart without reading the emblems.)Loading…
My father owned a Mk. 2, Black with red alcoves. He really knew my mom was the woman for him when she had no problem driving it while he was under the dash holding the wires together. Or when she didn't mind being stranded on the interstate in Connecticut because the electric fuel pump died…again.Loading…
I got 3 favorites: TVR, McLaren, Jensen
Favorite car is McLaren F1, even if it was twitchy tailhappy bastard as someone once commented (Clarkson?).
I should think this isn't to difficult of a jump for anyone…
Does Lola count?
<img src="http://i275.photobucket.com/albums/jj288/red_boy_morthonis/Ford-GT40_1966_1600x1200_wallpaper_.jpg" border="0" alt="Ford-GT40 1966(front) Pictures, Images and Photos"/>
That's not a Lola!
THIS is a Lola.
<img src="http://farm5.static.flickr.com/4146/4995561183_1bb986f9f6.jpg" width="500" height="337" alt="66 usrrc bridgehampton 200 jerry grant lola t70" />Loading…
You can't fool me – Lola is a dude.Loading…
How is Aston Martin not on this list yet?
My second choice, would you believe, after Rover.
But my love affair started to peter out when they launched the DB7. I don't really know why. The V8 Oscar India above, and the Virage Vantage V8 were their peak for me.Loading…
Someone has already mentioned Humber, so my second choice is Jowett!
Squire sports car from the late '30s. Only ten built and very expensive new – a real cost-no-object project. Just look at the rakish lines – makes a Morgan look like a truck, doesn't it? http://www.ultimatecarpage.com/car/2102/Squire-15…
<img src="http://www.ultimatecarpage.com/images/large/2102/Squire-1500-Vanden-Plas-Sports-Tourer_1.jpg" width=500>
You can't go wrong with a Rover.
To be honest, British cars in general don't tickle my pickle. The closest answer I could give is Ford of England. They produced a lot of cars I really dig (GT40, Cortina, RWD Escorts, RS200, etc).
for, among other things,
– pursuing the World Land Speed Record with such fervour that they went broke and lost their independence.
– building the first British car to win a Grand Prix.
– becoming a force in rallying after the war against the odds, culminating in taking the WRC the same year the brand was killed off.
– building awesome cars like the Tiger and the 3 Litre Super Sports.
– providing me with a huge amount of fun over the years
Don't forget that Sunbeam beat Lotus AND Porsche to take the Index of Efficiency at Le Mans!Loading…
Oh, yes of course.
There were also the 1970, 71 and 72 British Touring Car Championship titles won by the privateer George Bevan team with their Sunbeam Imp. Built basically in George's backyard with almost no factory support (due to Chrysler budget cuts) they used the same car – or its shell at least – for all three winning seasons to beat all the factory teams. No team, factory or private, has repeated this feat since.Loading…
You mean England made OTHER cars?!?!?
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Not very many in proportion but yes, yes they did.Loading…
No, break it to him gently: Just say they also made a few MGCs and MGB GT V8s. We'll work up to the MG RV8 and see how that goes before bringing up anything else. Baby steps.Loading…
I've a soft spot for MGs… but that's actually a bruise.
F is the first letter I thought of.
I thought you had all the bases covered when I saw Morgan, TVR and Ariel in the earlier comments.
But we cannot forget Caterham, defenders of the faith.
And Lotus, who I will continue to believe in.
First car I remember is the Red & Black Ranchero in our driveway(Didn't Run)
Second Car I remember was a lovely dark blue BMW Bavaria (Didn't Run)
Third car was a 1972 Triumph Stag.(Didn't Run), but it was my favorite to play in. I got it when I turned 17 and spent all summer making it run again. Gorgeous exhaust note, sublime handling, and it was a convertible with a T-top roll bar. Also the lovely dark blue, with colored matched alloys, 5(?) speed stick shift with electric overdrive. Driving home late one night from my girlfriends house I heard a loud snapping BANG and watched all the gauges fall down. I coasted over to a pull of on I-93 right before exit 12. I tried everything I could think of to get it started again and nothing worked. Turned out the timing chain had snapped driving a piston into a valve. About two years later it was still sitting on my driveway while I was looking for an engine for it. The neighbors were pissed, it was time for the Stag to stop lowering the property values and find another owner. A Dark Blue Triumph Stag with color matched alloys is my Eleanor, I miss that car, nothing I have owned since has brought me so much pleasure as driving lazily down South Shore(of Mass) roads late at night, girlfriend sitting to my right, breathing in the crisp saline air perfumed with the scent of pine listening to the 3 litre V8 wind up and emit it's gloriously angelic sound.
Wait, you got a Stag to run?Loading…
Of the 9 British cars that I remember tickled my fancy before, three of those were XJs, and five are Jaguars.
So, yeah, Jaaag! Even if this one is getting kinda old and out-of-breath.
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I'd say Bentley, but it's really the Bentley Boys I appreciate. More to the point, I just like saying Woolf Barnato – it's my own personal Max Power, should I ever apply for a name change.
So I'll cheat and say British Leyland, for having built the Rovers, Jaaaags, and Triumphs I want (and by making them just rubbish enough that I can potentially afford one).
Part of me thinks that the H16 is -the- definitive piece of post-war British automotive engineering, so all hail the faintly ridiculous BRM H16.
<img src="http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/3/3d/BRM_H16_engine.jpg" width="500">
I would like, however, to give a shout out to ERA for featuring heavily in old-timey Grand Prix footage from the late 1930s. Charming British commentators support ERA and you should too!
<img src="http://www.ultimatecarpage.com/images/large/3378/ERA-R11B–Humphrey-_1.jpg" width="500">
This car was called "Humphrey" and I adore it.
Such a photogenic car that Markie Mark 2
I can't post a pic to save my life today.Loading…
What did you expect? Sounds like it turned out as well as any other example of BL badge engineering.
Sure they are in administration and probably going the way of the Dodo, but damn. Bespoke everything, built to order and specifics of each customer. Happily telling the motoring press to stuff it and never giving interviews or test drives. Badge snobbery to the extreme, and so very…British.
to me the most important british car is the original mini, the majority of the modern cars take things from it, aside from being a fashon statement (in the best case), it was really techincally important.
but my favorite is lotus… if only i could afford an elan or an elite…
<img src="http://www.examiner.com/images/blog/EXID6882/images/63_Lotus_EliteMNY.jpg" width="500/">
don't know if i fit inside that, but i would love to try
Late to this party, but I would never own a British Car, ever again. You see, I owned one for a very brief time. It was a 1986 Jaguar XJ6, finished in Dark Blue with Grey Hides. When I bought her, she had 76,000 miles, and paid $13,500 for her in 1992. Yes she was lovely, and could waft over the freeway at 80.
However, there were things lurking just under that voluptuous sheet metal. First, the Automatic Transmission needed to be re-built. I thought it was a GM Turbohydramatic unit, but come to find out, it was a Borg Warner unit, and $4,000 later, it finally worked. Then the paint started to have "Crows Feet" appear all over the Bonnet and the Boot lids, as well as the roof. The final straw was the rear end began to whine excessively. I sold it shortly thereafter without addressing the whining, or the paint. I didn't lose a lot of money on that sale, but it was enough to keep me from ever going British again.
Don't get me started on German cars, as I owned two, and I will never own another.
The word you're looking for is tw*t.
Leith, Huddart & Co. built the finest British car, the 1936 Leidart V8.
I've heard good things about Victoria from local MG owners.
There is a duopoly in the world of Alfa mail-order parts houses as well. Fortunately I have no complaints with the quality of their service and both seem to be staffed with Alfisti, so knowledge abounds. Both are pretty expensive but I suppose that's to be expected.