Famous British Cars
Britain is one of the most advanced industrial nations in the world, yet its once-famous automotive industry has declined in recent years. One major reason for this has been the rise of competition from overseas, especially from countries like Japan, South Korea, and China which have a distinct advantage when it comes to producing cars due to their lower labor costs.
The decline of the British automotive industry has been exacerbated by a number of other factors, including the rise of environmental concerns that have led to stringent new car fuel efficiency standards. Additionally, many older British vehicles rely on traditional internal combustion engines, which have now become the focus of much anti-pollution campaigning.
Nevertheless, the British car industry remains proud of its rich heritage and there are still a number of well-known and respected car marques that can boast a loyal following amongst consumers. Some of these brands are still going strong and others have been reincarnated in the form of modern electric cars and SUVs.
A few of these manufacturers have had a troubled history, but even the most unsuccessful automakers can sometimes make a comeback if they put their mind to it. Founded in 1905, Invicta went through a couple of different incarnations before resurfacing as a manufacturer of sports cars. Its cars have a reputation for speed and handling that made them popular with racers.
Jaguar, founded in 1926, is another name that has enjoyed a lot of success over the years, producing many models that are considered classics today. From the iconic Jaguar E-Type to the modern Jaguar F-Type, the brand is synonymous with luxury and style.
Some of the lesser known names on this list of famous British cars are the Austin Princess and the Morris Minor, both of which reached a million production marks. The latter, designed by Alec Issigonis, was also the first British car to sell a million units when it reached this milestone in 1961.
Several of the brands on this list have benefitted from a little Italian flair, with designs by such luminaries as Pininfarina and Michelotti being used on BMC (Austin) cars like the ADO8 range and later models from Wolseley, Morris, Riley, and MG. The Jaguar Mark II and the Triumph Herald were also influenced by Italian design houses.
Despite a few setbacks, the remaining UK automakers have been able to find their niche in the market. In the supermini sector, for example, BMC’s Mini remained popular well past its twentieth anniversary and successor organization British Leyland was quick to introduce an updated model in 1980 with the new Austin Metro, which adopted a hatchback bodystyle. General Motors followed suit in the same year with the rebadged Opel Manta as the Vauxhall Viva, and Ford’s own entry into this segment of the market was the Fiesta.