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The Best British-Built Cars Ever Made | Top 10


Britain’s fine history of car making is world famous, but which British car is the best ever?

Auto Express asked 10 industry bosses including representatives from Aston Martin, BMW and Jaguar Land Rover to create a conclusive list. The best of British cars was judged on sales, ground-breaking design and unbeatable performance. The top 10 includes the modest low-cost run-arounds and family saloons, to the exciting two-seater sports cars and off roaders. Auto Express said the results ‘Highlighted the sheer diversity on offer from Brit-built models’.

So which British motor came out on top?

10. Lotus Elise

Yellow Lotus Elise

The Elise helped make the Lotus an established name and defined the brand as a forward thinker. The aluminium chassis was glued together instead of welded, making the Elise extremely lightweight. The Elise model is still on sale in showrooms today!

9. Ford Escort Mk1

White and blue Ford Escort MK1

A stunning car. Ford launched the Escort Mk1 in the late sixties as a replacement for the Anglia. A low-cost family car with a four-cylinder engine. Beautiful!

8. Caterham/Lotus Seven

Green and Yellow Lotus 7

Originally kit car, the Seven has been on sale for 60 years! Lotus founder Colin Chapman created the car to prove that being light, was the key to being fast.

7. Ford GT40

Blue Ford GT40 with white stripe parked on a drive in residential areas

After ending Ferrari’s dominance of Le Mans, the GT40 won four of the 24-hour races on the spin. Boasting a 4.7-litre V8 the GT40 was British built, but it was American Carroll Shelby who rescued the failing project to create an icon of racing.

6. Range Rover Mk1

Green Mk1 Range Rover parked on grass in front of derelict building

With a V8 engine, four-wheel drive and coil sprints the Mk1 was capable of a high standard of both off-road and day-to-day road use. A British classic.

5. McLaren F1

Black Mclaren F1

A proper supercar! With only 106 ever made, McLaren broke the mould when the F1 launched in 1992. With a top speed of 240mph, a6.1-litre V12, and looking like that, you could almost justify the £500,000+ asking price.

4. Aston Martin

Silver Aston Martin

Did James Bond Make the DB5 cool, or did the DB5 make James Bond cool? Only 1,059 were made over the two-year production period. Boasting a 4.0-litre straight-six producing 282bhp it really was a great car! It’s hard to see how it didn’t make the top 3!

3. Land Rover Series/Defender


After 68 years of production, the final run of Defenders was completed in 2016. Now extremely collectable, the Defender’s simple and basic design was once the ultimate utilitarian vehicle.

2. Jaguar E-Type

Black jaguar parked in front of residential area


Its combination of beauty, high performance, and competitive pricing established the model as an icon of the motoring world. The E-Type’s 150 mph top speed, sub-7-second 0 to 60 mph acceleration, monocoque construction, disc brakes, rack-and-pinion steering, and independent front and rear suspension distinguished the car and spurred industry-wide changes. To buy a good condition E-Type today would cost around £50,000. Bargain!

1. Mini

Classic mini driving through london


The best British built car ever is The Mini and it had to be. It made motoring affordable to families across the country in 1959. The Mini was also a competitor in the race series both on and off road.

Auto Express said of the winner: ‘By the time the Mini was replaced, 5.3million had been built. It had become a convertible, estate, van and pick-up. Minis were once as common as lampposts on UK roads.’ ‘Now the originals are cherished classics that raise a smile from everyone. They still dominate classic motorsport, too. No wonder our experts said the mighty Mini is the mightiest British car of all time.’

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