RAC Cars News


Most memorable British concepts

By raccars Published

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Britain has always been at the forefront of automotive innovation - the Tardis-like Mini, the super agile Jaguar E-Type and the superlatively powerful but stable McLaren F1, are all very different icons of British automotive imagination and engineering superiority. However, some of the greatest automotive ideas were destined to remain prototypes, concepts or design studies and never escalated to production status, sadly.

Jaguar C-X75

Revealed at 2010's Paris Motor Show, the C-X75 was created to commemorate the brand's 75th anniversary. Its bold hybrid electric powertrain featured an electric motor at each wheel, fuelled by a couple of diesel micro turbines. Cue oohs and aahs from the crowd. In 2011, Jaguar scheduled a 250 model production run, powered instead by a 900bhp four cylinder 1.6 litre turbo and super charged engine, promising a 220mph top speed. By December 2012, the exciting project had been cancelled, apparently as a result of the global economic crisis.

Rover Jet 1

In 1950 Rover decided to apply its jet engine development experience to cars. Based on the firm's P4 75 Cyclops, the Jet 1 was the first turbine engine powered car in the world, preceding by 12 years the Chrysler Turbine. The car offered 100bhp, an 85mph top speed and a very smooth ride in return for a wince inducing 6mpg. Rover churned out a number of turbine powered vehicles, even entering them into the Le Mans 24Hr, before giving up on the idea in 1965.

Aston Martin Bulldog

Deliberately styled in the form of a paper aeroplane, the Bulldog was a car way ahead of its time. Digital instruments and a reversing camera maybe commonplace now, but in 1979 drew gasps. The car generated in the region of 700bhp thanks to a twin turbo 5.3 litre V8, allegedly capable of 237mph. Aston Martin announced a 25 model production run but never actually made it past the prototype, which was auctioned off for some £130,000.


Making its debut in 1985 at the Frankfurt Motor Show, the EX-E was supposed to offer a British equivalent to the Ferrari 308. A super light kerb weight and an ultra low drag coefficient of 0.24 were achieved with an adhesive bonded modular subframe in aluminium and composite body panelling. Power came from the MG Metro 6R4 rallyer's 3 litre V6, tweaked to produce 250bhp and driven via a five speed manual gearbox. MG claimed a sub-5.0 second 0-60mph time and a 170mph top speed for the EX-E but the car's 'too exciting to keep secret' marketing guff proved apocryphal - in fact the EX-E never made it anywhere near the public domain.

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