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Best of British - Classics

By raccars Published

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Among the great symbols of Britain's past glories – the Beatles, the steam engine, the JCB – our classic cars demand special reverence.

Aston Martin DB5

From 1965, this grand tourer is synonymous with another symbol of Britishness, James Bond. While standard versions did without the ejector seat and revolving numberplate, they did come with an inline six, 280bhp engine and a lightweight, finely sculpted aluminium body.

Austin Healey 3000 Mk III

Also from the mid-Sixties, the Healey was one of a generation of affordable British sports cars that post dated WWII. An integral part of the UK motoring industry's success in those days, many were exported to the US. The original Healey was launched in 1959 and developed a fine motorsporting career by the time its third generation version arrived.

Bentley Continental GT Speed

2013's new Continental GT Speed is simultaneously brutish and civilised. Its awesome 616bhp is supplied by a 6.0 litre, 12 cylinder engine, allied to an eight-speed automatic gearbox, which will power it from 0-60mph in four seconds, on the way to a 205mph top speed.

BMC Mini

The original Mini, from 1959, was a thoroughly groundbreaking vehicle that came to embody the spirit of the swinging Sixties. From the start, it took the world by storm and has remained in production ever since, albeit subject to changes of ownership and design along the way. Its box-shape and rear-mounted engine brought fun motoring to the mass market and went on to make it one of the most influential vehicles ever made.

Jaguar E-Type 3.8

Another Sixties classic, the E-Type has both style and substance and is regularly deemed the most beautiful car ever. Beneath that supple, curvy skin, the E-Type boasts power and performance that, altogether, make it the ultimate driving machine.

Land Rover Defender 90

1983's workhorse/fashion accessory can literally go anywhere and inspired a whole market segment of SUVs. Previously strictly a utilitarian, agricultural vehicle, the Defender can now be found cruising down Kensington High Street as often as mudplugging through a farmer's field.

Lotus/Caterham Seven

This featherlight sports car has been going since 1957, first made by Lotus then by Caterham and was legendarily quick in its day. The Seven is still available as a kit car in addition to turnkey.

McLaren P1

The successor of the famous F1, the P1 is proof that niche sports manufacturing is alive and well. It's hard to work out what sort of roads would be suitable for this 903bhp hybrid, but with a limited production run of 375 units, costing £866,000 each, not many of us will get to find out.

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