RAC Cars News


The Cars That Made Britain Great

By raccars Published

E-Type Jaguar

New Channel Five series features celebrities talking about their favourite British-made cars.

A new car show has started on Channel 5. The Cars That Made Britain Great is narrated by Rufus Hound and started on September 2nd. It is being shown on Fridays at 8pm and features celebrity petrol heads such as Boyzone’s Shane Lyne and former cricketer Phil Tufnell talking about their favourite British cars.

These include the Austin Healy 3000, Aston Martins, the MGB, Jaguars, the Ford Capri, and various Lotus models to name but a few.

Looking back at the British 'greats'

Other antics featured in the show include a scuba diving Lotus Esprit and a drifting Rolls-Royce. The series also offers an insight into car advertising of the past, such as a 1969 ad for the Ford Capri, featuring a plummy-voiced narrator, a driver wearing a bow tie and three women passengers adorned with big hats and feather boas.

This memory is sure to raise a smile amongst people who remember the Capri as rather more of a poor man’s Mustang which was made in Dagenham to give ‘wide boys’ something to drive. It secured its place in television history as Del Boy Trotter's ride of choice.

The series also features discussion of E-type Jaguars, as well as the Lotus Europa and its much-derided rear end.

The most appealing cars

Episode three sees racing car driver and fashion model Jodie Kidd praising the E-type and indicating that it is still as appealing now as it was when it was introduced in 1961. Kidd believes that the car is the most visually appealing ever created.

The show, which will be aired on Friday, September 16, also features former cricket international Phil Tufnell and petrol head Jonny Smith appraising the Lotus Europa and the Ford Capri.

Episode two, first shown on September 9, features celebrities sharing their stories of their first time driving on the open road. Television presenter Matthew Wright remembers how he had a ‘pre-loved’ Austin 1300 which broke down on the very morning that he bought it.

David James, the former England international goalkeeper, recalls his first drive in his Ford Escort XR3i, remembering how he was constantly afraid of it breaking down.

Catch up on cars

Episode one is still available for viewing and features Vicki Butler Henderson taking the Austin Healy 3000 MkIII out for a drive and clearly enthralled with it as she hits the open road. The show also revels in the DB5's curves, whilst discussing the Triumph Stag’s failings. Was its V8 engine really two Dolomite units sellotaped together?

The first show of the series also features a racing driver testing the MGB at the Snetterton Race Circuit. Some of the series’ interviews go beyond the norm for a car show. Former Deputy Prime Minister John Prescott, for example, is featured waxing lyrical as he talks about the Lotus.

What's your favourite?

What is your favourite British car of all time? A Discovery Channel survey of 2,000 UK drivers looked at the best cars ever produced and eight out of the top ten were British made, indicating the passion British drivers feel for homemade cars.

Aston Martin made no less than four appearances in the top ten, whilst Rolls-Royce made two.

At number ten was the Aston Martin Vanquish, followed by the luxurious Rolls-Royce Phantom at number nine, the Aston Martin V8 Vantage in eighth place, the Aston Martin DB9 in seventh, and the Rolls-Royce Silver Ghost in sixth.

Fifth place was given to the best-performing Aston Martin, the DB5, whilst the fourth position was taken up by the charming yet unassuming Volkswagen Beetle.

There is no doubt that the Porsche 911 has withstood the test of time, making it a worthy winner of the number three spot, and many people will not be surprised that the true British great, the Mini, came in at number two.

Which car was thought to deserve the number one spot? The Jaguar E-Type was the ultimate and perhaps inevitable winner. Do you agree?

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