Press & Blogs


4 Of The Best British-made Cars of All Time

4 Of The Best British-made Cars of All Time

It’s always a good time to celebrate British automobiles. But with Brexit on the horizon and faith quickly dwindling in the car industry, now is a particularly crucial moment to shine the spotlight on British engineering and remember some of its most significant creations.

And who better to do that than some of the UK’s leading experts in the automobile world. Names like Mike Flewitt, the CEO of McLaren, Andy Palmer, the CEO of Aston Martin, and Marek Reichman, the CCO of Aston Martin, were recently brought together and asked to decide on the best cars ever built in Britain.

These leading motor manufacturers, among many others, are all hoping Britain’s departure from the European Union won’t continue to impact sales and wipe away all the progress the industry has made over the last few decades.

Their criteria for judging included factors like design, performance, sales, and overall influence on the industry. The end result, out of hundreds of candidates, is 50 of Britain’s all-time greatest cars.

Here are five of our favourites from the list which we think are all worthy of the top spot. These are cars which have all left a strong impression on the industry and the people who bought them, and which we hope be the source of much inspiration for many, many more years to come.


Mini was BMC’s answer to the fuel crisis and heavy competition from the range of super-economical German-made bubble cars. Its tiny 10-inch wheels were pushed into the corners of the chassis to make more room inside. And compact rubber cones used instead of bulky springs to again save space and make for an ultra-low and economical ride. All these design quirks made the Mini one of the most influential cars ever built.

With a radical look and a top speed of 73mph, The Mini wasn’t an instant hit. But it soon became fashionable when celebrities and racing drivings like John Cooper were seen driving one. Kicking off its marathon 41-year production run and place in the history books as the car that brought affordable, stylish motoring to the masses.

Lotus Esprit

Another record holder, but this time for totally different reasons. The Lotus Esprit could quite possibly be the only British-made car to also turn into a submarine. Albeit during the fictional James Bond film, The Spy Who Loved Me.

This unique transformation and role made the Esprit into a supercar icon, comparable to the likes of Lamborghinis, Porches and Ferraris. Yet the incredibly light Esprit, with an impressive top speed of 138mph, wasn’t the creation of some Italian giant, but a small outfit in Norfolk.

The Esprit perfectly sums up the seventies with its sporty, wedge-shaped profile. And is a worthy tribute to an influential company that would later go on to produce the Elan, Europa, and, of course, the Elise. Another strong contender as one of Britain’s best cars.

Austin Seven

From 138 to 53mph, and a price tag when new of nearly £8,000 to just over £100, we come to the Austin Seven — a car that influenced major automotive brands including Lotus, BMW, Jaguar and Datson.

Produced in the early 20s, the Austin Seven, nicknamed ‘Baby Austin’ for its miniature size, was one of the most popular British cars to sell nationally and internationally. Its design and economy took the market by storm, outperforming all other vehicles and inspiring brands such as BMW’s and Nissan’s first vehicles. This, along with the fact it led to the first race cars to be built by McLaren, make the Seven one of the most important British-made cars ever built.

McLaren F1 

We’ve covered sales, design, historical significance, and influence; now its time for sheer performance. And its hard for any car in the world, never mind Britain, to beat the McLaren F1 on this point

The audacity of the F1 and the fact that money was no object in its production, make it a force to be reckoned with. The goal for it was to create a car with the lowest possible weight and highest possible power; making use of BMW’s huge 6.1-litre V12 and coming in at a mere 1,138kg. Its 240mph top speed still stands strong in the record books today, and its production numbers of only 106 make it not only one of the fastest, but also most highly sought after car in the world.

If you’d like to find out about our company car leasing options or our fleet management service, send us an email at or call us on 01480 414541.