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British Classic Cars


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British Classic Cars

Top 10: All-Time British Cars Thomas Bey October 19, 2008 Share Tweet 0 Shares British car ownership has never been a wise venture for the faint of heart, short of temper or light of wallet. Yet as dodgy as some British cars have been, particularly in the electrics and the drivetrain, many redeemed themselves with exquisite craftsmanship, smooth handling and an exhaust note you could listen to all day. Let’s consider 10 of Britain’s best. Like our other all-time reviews of cars by country, rank isn’t based on speed. This is about each car’s combined influence, character, success, and lasting popularity among enthusiasts. To narrow down such a huge field, we considered only road cars that found their way to the U.S. and have spotlighted the most desirable model years to own in our list of top 10 all-time British cars. Start With #10 TOP 10 9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2 1 Sports Cars Classic Cars Land Rover Car Reviews Show comments AM.Comment.getCount() Comments Share your opinion Your name
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British Classic Cars

The classic cars you will find on this site were made in Great Britain from the early 1950’s (although some will have had their debut at the 1948 Earls Court Motor show), to the early 1980’s – a period which encapsulates the real heyday of British car manufacture. This was a time when Britain was a world leader in car design, and a time when car ownership was readily becoming accessible to all. It was a period when cars had real individuality and character, aesthetics sat comfortably ahead of ergonomics, and great motoring icons such as the E Type Jaguar were born. Whether you own a classic car or not why not come in and revisit the halcyon days of Great British Classic Cars.
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British Classic Cars

The Ten Best Classic British Sports Cars: Lotus Elan Truth be told, a number of Lotus models qualify to be on this list. Most notably among them is the Lotus 7, one of the most beloved elemental sports cars ever made. However, we chose the Elan because it was the first Lotus road car to employ a steel backbone chassis design with a fiberglass body. This made the car both extremely rigid and remarkably lightweight—both of which are the hallmarks of Lotus founder’s Colin Chapman’s philosophy of automotive design. Chapman felt power wasn’t as important as agility when it came to the design of sports cars. Technologically, the Lotus Elan was extremely advanced when it was introduced in 1962. It used a double overhead cam engine, four-wheel disc brakes, rack and pinion steering, and an all-independent suspension system. With a curb weight of a mere 1500 pounds, the Lotus Elan was one of the most spirited small sports cars of its time. A 2+2 version of the Elan was introduced in 1967, in an attempt to broaden the market for the car. Anyone who recalls the 1960’s British television series “The Avengers” will recall the Lotus Elan as the car the sexy “Emma Peel” (played by the stunningly attractive Diana Rigg), drove. The original two-seat Lotus Elan was in production until 1973, the Elan 2+2 remained in production until 1975. An interesting bit of trivia, when Mazda’s design team was working on the original MX-5 Miata, they reversed engineered the Lotus Elan as part of their research.
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British Classic Cars

Classic Cars Friesland is a very reputable, family owned, company selling British classic sportscars such as Jaguar, Austin Healey, MG, Morgan, etc. Theun Dragstra, the present owner, runs Classic Cars Friesland together with a small dedicated and enthousiastic team. During many years of experience they have developed a specially trained eye for tracing very good to excellent cars. As a result nearly all offered classics have a far above the ordinary or even in mint condition. The Finest Classic & Sportcars!

British Classic Cars

Most automotive historians will agree these are among, if not the 10 best classic British sports cars. Further, it is almost universally agreed British sports cars are largely responsible for spreading sports car fever here in the United States. As the legend goes, many of the GIs returning from World War II had become particularly enamored with the agility of the small open roadsters to which they were introduced during their time on the European continent.

British Classic Cars

The Ten Best Classic British Sports Cars: Jaguar E-Type For car lovers of a certain age, the phrase “British sports car” will instantly trigger an image of the Jaguar E-Type in their heads. Quintessentially British, undeniably beautiful, and arguably the most desirable car of its time, the Jaguar E-Type (also known as the XK-E) was introduced in 1961. Exotic in appearance, but relatively affordable in price, the Jaguar E-Type enjoyed immense popularity. A total of 72,515 examples of the Jaguar were built during its 13-year production run from 1961 to 1974. Originally powered by a 3.8-liter inline six-cylinder engine with three carburetors, the first Jaguar E-Type boasted 265 horsepower and 240 ft-lbs of torque. Considering they weighed less than 3,000 pounds, this meant exhilarating performance. Top speed of the 1961 model was quoted at 150 miles per hour. The Jaguar would also accelerate from zero to 60 in right around seven seconds. Hardware highlights included an independent coil spring rear suspension system, torsion-bar front suspension, disc brakes—mounted inboard at the rear to reduce unsprung weight at the wheels—and a four-speed manual transmission. Offered as a two-seat convertible, a two-seat coupe, and 2+2 coupe, once the mainstream popularity of the car was realized, Jaguar offered a three-speed automatic transmission for the closed 2+2 iteration of the car—starting in 1966.
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British Classic Cars

And this selection of cars is fascinating – pretty much all of them littered the UK roads as recently as 10 years ago, and now, you’ll be lucky to spot one at a classic car meeting. And that’s the scary thing – the low survival rate. A number of these cars had more than a million made, and yet there are hundreds – or dozens – left. And even the least endangered car on our list has a survival rate of less than 1%. One other factor to emerge from this list is that the 1980s cars are particularly vulnerable – because their passage into popular classic status is yet to happen, and their disappearance has been hastened by needless scrappage and artifically low market values in recent years.
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Truth be told, a number of Lotus models qualify to be on this list. Most notably among them is the Lotus 7, one of the most beloved elemental sports cars ever made. However, we chose the Elan because it was the first Lotus road car to employ a steel backbone chassis design with a fiberglass body. This made the car both extremely rigid and remarkably lightweight—both of which are the hallmarks of Lotus founder’s Colin Chapman’s philosophy of automotive design. Chapman felt power wasn’t as important as agility when it came to the design of sports cars. Technologically, the Lotus Elan was extremely advanced when it was introduced in 1962. It used a double overhead cam engine, four-wheel disc brakes, rack and pinion steering, and an all-independent suspension system. With a curb weight of a mere 1500 pounds, the Lotus Elan was one of the most spirited small sports cars of its time. A 2+2 version of the Elan was introduced in 1967, in an attempt to broaden the market for the car. Anyone who recalls the 1960’s British television series “The Avengers” will recall the Lotus Elan as the car the sexy “Emma Peel” (played by the stunningly attractive Diana Rigg), drove. The original two-seat Lotus Elan was in production until 1973, the Elan 2+2 remained in production until 1975. An interesting bit of trivia, when Mazda’s design team was working on the original MX-5 Miata, they reversed engineered the Lotus Elan as part of their research.
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The Ten Best Classic British Sports Cars: Austin Healey 3000 At the other end of the Austin-Healey sports car spectrum was the Austin-Healey 3000. Introduced in 1959, the Austin-Healey 3000 took its nomenclature from the fact it was powered by a 2912 cc (rounds up to 3-liter) inline six-cylinder engine. The car boasted a top speed of 115 miles per hour. It featured dual carburetors and front disc brakes as standard equipment. An evolution of the Austin-Healey 100 introduced in 1953, the model was one of the cars eventually known as “The Big Healeys” to differentiate them from the Austin-Healey Sprite. One of the company’s namesakes, Donald Healey was responsible for the design of the car. Originally intended to be produced by Healey’s company alone, the managing director of Austin was so impressed by the roadster he struck a deal with Healey and so it came to be known as an Austin-Healey. This also cemented the relationship that would eventually lead to the Sprite. The evolution of the Austin-Healey 100, the Austin Healey 3000 became the most popular variant of the model. The 3000 was produced from 1959 to 1967.
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The Ten Best Classic British Sports Cars: Jaguar XK-120 Introduced in 1948 as a concept car to showcase Jaguar’s new XK series inline six-cylinder engine, the XK120’s fluidly supine lines created such a stir the decision was made to put the model into production. It is said Sir William Lyons, Jaguar’s founder and lead designer at the time came up with the design overnight. The XK designation refers to the engine fitted to the car, while the 120 designation reflects the model’s top speed potential. The Jaguar’s 120 mph top speed made it the fastest car in the world in 1948. The early cars were hand-built of aluminum and used frames fashioned from ash wood. When the popularity of the model took off, Jaguar switched to steel bodies in order to keep up with demand. However, aluminum was still employed for the doors, hood and trunklid. The engine produced 160 horsepower from 3.4-liters, and while top speed was quoted at 120 miles per hour, several owners saw speeds in excess of 130 miles per hour. Offered in both two-seat coupe and two-seat convertible forms, some 12,055 copies of the XK120 were built over its six-year production run from 1948 to 1954. And oh, by the way, the XK engine architecture the car was produced to showcase actually survived well into the 1980s.

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