A massive global poll has been revealed to decide – once and for all – what is the best British car of all time, with the winner set to be unveiled at the Classic & Sports Car London Show from 30 October to 1 November.
Nominations have been received from more than 100 leading figures from the classic car world, including McLaren F1 designer Gordon Murray, Lotus head of design Russell Carr, Pink Floyd drummer and car collector Nick Mason, plus racing author and commentator Simon Taylor – and this is their top 10 list.
Austin SevenBentley Speed SixFord GT40Jaguar E-typeJaguar XKSSLotus SevenMcLaren F1Mini Cooper SRange RoverRolls-Royce Silver Ghost
Speaking about the contenders, McLaren F1 designer Gordon Murray singled out the Mini: “It’s the work of a genius – a true game-changer. Fantastic packaging and styling, a front-wheel-drive pioneer with brilliant handling in spite of the forward layout and then motorsport success as well. The true success story is that the Mini was absolutely classless.”
Lotus head of design Russell Carr came out in favour of the Jaguar E-type: “Its projectile styling must have looked staggering when compared to the Austins and even Ferraris of the day. Its design has real speed and sophistication. The dramatic long bonnet and cab rearward proportion combined with delicate intakes and chrome detailing still gets kids to gawp.”
Commenting on the Austin Seven, Simon Taylor said: “There were cheap cars before, but they were all risible cycle cars, usually with fewer wheels and fewer cylinders than a real car. The miracle of the Austin Seven was that it really was just like a proper car, but smaller. It paved the way for all the successful small cars that followed, from Great Britain and overseas.”
“It’s enormously exciting that we will be crowing the best British car ever at Classic & Sports Car – The London Show,” said group editor James Elliott. “There’s no doubt that this shortlist has been the subject of some debate – but we’ve arrived at an amazing top ten, chock full of icons and pioneers. I cannot wait to see what people vote as their number one, a car we will reveal with all the pomp and ceremony it deserves at Alexandra Palace this Autumn.”