RAC Cars News


Best British Cars Ever

By raccars Published

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An Autocar magazine survey asking participants to nominate the best ever British cars has put the iconic Mini at the top of the list. The funky supermini is favourite not only for its performance and style but also for what it represents for popular culture and the car industry in Britain during a certain period.

To be included on the list, cars could be from a British owned company, such as Austin, Bristol or Morgan, or could be from names such as Rolls-Royce or Bentley, which may now be foreign owned but have traditionally been based in Britain. The Renault Megane 225, for example, may not sound very British but was completely built by British engineers, Ricardo.

With a rich motorsport history to draw upon, some interesting and largely forgotten names came up, including the Lotus Sunbeam, Avenger Tiger, Ginetta G40R and Vauxhall Chevette HSR.

In news that will be welcomed by the beleaguered manufacturer, Lotus was shown to be the most popular British auto maker by taking up eight spots in the top 100 list. It was closely followed by Jaguar and Ford, on equal pegging with six entrants in the top 100, while Aston Martin logged five.

The Sir Alec Issigonis designed original Mini gave way to the McLaren F1 road car in second place, while the iconic Jaguar E-Type came third. Among the more exotic names on the list were a surprising number of practical, every day vehicles, such as the Honda Civic, Nissan Juke and the Nissan Qashqai.

Survey participants chose the Ford Escort Mexico as their tenth best British car ever, followed by the TVR Griffith in ninth place, the Aston Martin DB5 in eighth, the Jaguar XJ220 in seventh, the McLaren P1 sixth, the Yamaha MOTIV.e a surprising fifth, the Range Rover in fourth place, Jaguar E-Type third, the McLaren F1 as runner up and the original Mini in first place.

The Mini's Britishness was not only due to the location of its design or manufacture but also the values it espoused - it was innovative, affordable and known as the people's car.

Also this week, it turns out that British cars are more likely to pass an MOT first time than French or German models. 24.5 million vehicles were analysed, to show a number of British vehicles in the list of top ten vehicles most likely to pass the MOT at the first try, with the British built Hondas Jazz and CRV taking the two top spots. Another British car, the Land Rover Freelander, took the fourth spot and the Toyota Auris from Derbyshire was sixth.

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