The British car industry has had its fair share of ups and down. Yet as undesirable as some cars have been, particularly in the electronics and drivetrain department, many redeemed themselves with exquisite craftsmanship, smooth handling and finely tuned exhausts.
So let’s consider 5 of Britain’s best motors, which are more memorable today, than when first released.
Shown above, today’s Phantom and convertibles are impressive, but only time will tell if they’re legends compared to the Silver Cloud. The debut of the 6.2-litre V8 engine was surprisingly quiet, so surprising, a US advertising slogan read “at 60mph the loudest noise in the Silver Cloud is the sound of the electric clock” – reiterating the cars desirability and comfort. The Silver Cloud is now a favourite amongst wedding parties.
This is the model famous for its appearances as James Bond’s personal car, but even without all the 007 gadgets, the DB5 is still a fantastic motor. Its 4-litre, 282bhp raced to a top speed of 143mph, which wasn’t bad for 1963 and its 8.1 second 0-60mph was also reasonably modest. Production gave way to the DB6 and although the celebrity status attached to this motoring classic makes finding and affording one difficult, that’s not to say it isn’t worth it the effort.
New Mini Coopers are somewhat dwarfed by just about anything on four wheels – except for the legend it’s based upon. The Mini was perfect for first time drivers, swapping parts was a doddle and fairly cheap to do. The history of the Mini’s creation is particularly baffling; back in 1959 Sir Alec Issigonis ‘accidently’ created the Mini, when his was ordered to create a fuel-efficient car – only if all accidents turned out this successful!
For many enthusiasts, not only is this car British, it is the British car. The Jaguar E-Type is to Britain what the Ferrari F50 is to Italy – it’s regarded as the most important car to ever come out of Britain. And with its gorgeous styling and 150mph engine, who could disagree?
Any dedicated list to British motoring couldn’t be complete without the Defender. This is the British equivalent to America’s Jeep – albeit preferred and more desirable. Between 1948 and 1985, Series I, II and III Rovers were rugged and sparse, often matching the terrain they crossed. The success of the Defender has continued to current day and with solid rumours of a face-lifted model in 2013, the iconic Defender is likely to live on, for many years to come.