Over the weekend we were treated to a fairly entertaining British Grand Prix which the nation celebrated as our very own Lewis Hamilton took the win on home soil. On top of that we’ve got Andy Murray going strong at Wimbledon and the England Women’s team finished third at the Women’s World Cup showing the men how to do it. As you can tell I am more up to date on my sports than the actual news but anyway to continue the celebratory period for Britain we are going to highlight our top five British built cars.
Let’s get the fastest, most technologically advanced of these cars out of the way. The McLaren P1 had a lot to live up to when it was revealed as the spiritual successor to the legendary McLaren F1 and it sure as heck delivered. The P1 beats the F1 in nearly all the Top Trumps categories with its staggering 903hp and sub-three second time from 0-60mph. Built in McLaren’s factory in Woking, the P1 is one of the fastest cars to be built in the nation as it was one of the first production cars to break the sub-seven minute mark at the insane Nurburgring, setting a trend that many supercar manufacturers are joining in on.
The P1 is so great it is in a very exclusive Hypercar club with a few other members called the LaFerrari and Porsche 918 Spyder, I’m sure you’ve heard of them. It’s the current generation’s McLaren F1 but in every way it is its own car. The P1 is a technological piece of brilliance and certainly one of the best cars Britain has produced.
Jaguar Lightweight E-Type
Around a year ago Jaguar announced that they would recreate six new Lightweight E-Types built to the original spec of the car which the last was built in 1964. What’s special about this model in particular is that is was one of the most beautiful race winners of it’s time. The Lightweight E-Type is part of the ‘GT E-Type’ project which started back in February 1963 as a plan to build 18 models to celebrate the E-Type’s short but celebrated racing career.
Only 12 were built with the remaining six chassis numbers going unused until last year when Jaguar announced the final six will be built. You would be very blessed to own one as they are valued way over a million and will more than likely be in the hands of avid collectors but should you be fortunate to see one on the road you will be seeing over 50 years of British engineering in one of the sleekest aluminium bodies built.
Morgan 4/4 Two Seater
I know what you’re thinking, how on earth has a Morgan made it into the top five British cars where it’s sitting alongside the McLaren P1 and an E-Type Jag.
Morgan are a very unique British brand and no, I’m not talking about design-wise. They are one of very few entirely British-owned and British-built car manufacturers and are in fact the oldest independently owned car manufacturer in the UK. Morgan are still based in Malvern where they started building cars over 100 years ago.
The 4/4 gets into the top five as its elegance remains untouched as the world’s longest running production vehicle. The classic look of the car is beautiful but the technological advancements of the 4/4 have made it one of the purest open top drives the UK has produced. Thanks to its lightweight aluminium body and the 1.6 litre engine, 0-62mph is completed in 8 seconds flat and the top speed is 115mph, whilst returning an impressive combined fuel consumption of 44.1mpg. At around £35,000 and with a heatwave currently circling Europe, the Morgan 4/4 right now is pretty much a 10/10. (See what I did there?)
Land Rover Defender
Now I really wanted to include the latest Range Rover in this for being a two-tonne off-roading piece of wizardry but I can never overlook the Defender because of its rugged, practical, go anywhere ability and the fact that it spans back to the original Land Rover from 1948. I love a bit of history but more importantly I love a car that visually represents the history whilst being underpinned by the present.
The Defender does just that with unmistakable looks that have only slightly been altered over the years but then under the shell it has incredibly developed into one of the most variable vehicles depending on which of the eleven model variants you choose and then which of the three wheelbases you choose.
The Defender is a car that inside and out is built to handle absolutely anything and I like the fact that the concept of a rugged, near military grade vehicle still hasn’t been lost after all these years.
Rolls Royce Phantom Drophead
Having just spoke about classic cars with a beautiful level of simplicity I am now going to stray from that and head in the direction of the Phantom Drophead. Even though Rolls Royce are in their 16th year as a subsidiary of BMW, the Phantom and Ghost are both still made at the Rolls HQ in West Sussex, so technically they’re still British built.
What more can be said of the Phantom Drophead, it’s a stunning example of luxury, comfort and style. At around £350,000 it’s certainly more than most supercars and even houses but where else are you going to find hand-stitched leatherwork that takes two weeks to complete, a convertible roof that has five layers of material including cashmere, a smooth V12 engine as well as an interior built to make you feel like you’re on a yacht. It’s the, if not one of the most incredible examples of automotive luxury and that makes it worthy of being on this list.
All images courtesy of McLaren, Jaguar Land Rover, Morgan and Rolls-Royce.
By James Fothergill