It’s St George’s day, so what better time to have a look at some of the best British cars. “Wait, St George’s day is just for England!” I hear you shout. And you are right. But these cars were made in England by British engineers. So why not use today as an excuse to celebrate our fantastic motoring heritage. Once a powerhouse of the auto industry, there are fewer British car manufacturers operating today. But the amazing cars designed and built by British engineers will always stand the test of time. Here’s our pick for the five best cars.
The world’s fastest production car when launched back in 1998, the McLaren F1 is the greatest supercar ever made in Britain, and quite possibly the world. Top speed of 243 mph (rev limiter removed), not only is the car fantastically fast, but it’s also a joy to drive. Designed by Gordon Murray and backed by McLaren chief Ron Dennis, just 106 were manufactured between 1992 and 1998.
One of the most popular British cars ever built, the Austin Seven was to the UK market what the Ford Model T was to the USA. It’s design proved so popular, other companies licensed its design to produce their own cars, including the first ever BMW, the BMW Dixi. The first race car built by Bruce McLaren used the Austin Seven as its basis.
Quite possibly the coolest car ever built in Britain, the Jaguar E-Type redefined what cars could look like when launched in 1961. No car quite sums up the sea change in the sixties from cold conservatism to swagger and style. There have been many pretenders to the throne but none can compare with the original and best.
The DB5 is perhaps the only car that could outshine James Bond. At first, Aston Martin didn’t want the Bond producers to use the car, refusing to donate one to production. Luckily for them, the producers bought one themselves and turned the car into a global sensation, sending sales of the car through the roof. Away from Bond, the DB5 continues to be a British icon that symbolises the beauty of British engineering.
We couldn’t talk about iconic British cars without mentioning the Mini. We’ve gone for the original Mini Cooper as our choice, although any of the British made Mini’s could find a place on this list. Small and quirky, the distinctive shape and style made the car a cultural icon that the British people can be proud of.
Here in the UK, we are blessed to have a rich history of cars designed and made by British engineers. The five chosen are just some of the best, and we could easily have replaced all five choices with an alternative fantastic British car. Let us know which cars you would have chosen in your top five.
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The Cars from the Designs of the Year awards: A look at the best cars from this year’s Designs of the year exhibit at the Design Museum, London.
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McLaren F1-01 https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/9/97/Silver_McLaren_F1_with_prototype_mirrors.jpg
McLaren F1-02 https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/6/60/Fina_McLaren_F1_GTR.jpg
Austin Seven 001 https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/2/22/1929_Austin_7_-_Flickr_-_111_Emergency.jpg
Austin Seven 002 https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/a/af/Austin_Seven_65_Nippy_2-Seater_Sport_1933.jpg
Jaguar E Type 001 https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/9/9a/1963_Jaguar_XK-E_Roadster.jpg
Jaguar E Type 002 https://farm8.staticflickr.com/7465/15265099694_cc05f6b5f1_o.jpg
Aston Martin DB5 001 https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/5/53/Aston_Martin_DB5.jpg
Aston Martin DB5 002 https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/1/16/DB5-2.jpg
Austin Mini Cooper 001 https://farm4.staticflickr.com/3568/3511131833_c5fcca68dc_o.jpg
Austin Mini Cooper 002 http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/d/d5/63AustinCooperS.JPG