In my opinion, the Corvette as it stands is fully as much a dual-purpose machine as the stock Jaguar, Triumph, or Austin-Healey. Without qualification, General Motors is now building a sports car. Response to the exhilerator pedal is always smooth even at such low revs as rpm in top gear. Our criticism of the Ferrari GT is that it seems to be still too much a special; as it were, a pseudo —road car designed to cash in on the Grand Prix reputation.
Lest anyone think the millennium has arrived, we must report that [this Ferrari] is far better suited to the race course than anywhere else. The sound of this machine, as we took off, was astonishing. The [horsepower cubic-inch] Chev It sounds precisely like what it is: a legitimate racing engine. The rear lets go very slowly and only does so under hard provocation. This car is an absolute ball to drive. The Porsche Spyder is a fantastic machine. It is fast and fiercely powerful, one of the most successful competition sports cars in history, and it has a personality no less complex than Dr.
At brisk highway speeds it is very easy to drive, docile, perfectly manageable, superbly responsive.
Most Popular Car the Year You Were Born - Car History
It is even an easy car to drive "fairly" fast, the way Ken Miles and Richie Ginther have driven it in a long series of spectacular cc-modified wins. But to drive it really fast, as fast as it's able to go—this is work for a driving genius—for a man, as Miles puts it, "with extraordinarily quick reactions and an exceedingly delicate bottom. Starting the dual-quad car was easy, by twisting the ignition switch, though some care was needed to avoid flooding on hot starts.
Once warmed up, the idle was low enough at rpm, but it was full of lumps and shook the car bodily. This can be handed to the competition cam, which was installed in both cars and checks out as seen in the sidebar. With each annual change, Zora Arkus-Duntov, the Corvette's godfather, has emphasized performance improvements. His theory is that to sell, the Corvette must first go.
Styling has had its innings, too, but they have acted with more restraint than one expects from Detroit. Chevrolet's injection is a premature baby, but it's still alive and kicking. It was prematured by a sudden jolt from the collective Plymouth and Ford styling departments, and without a major body change Chev needed a potent sales weapon.
1950's Collector Cars including Prices
The decision to bring out fuel injection was made very, very late in —virtually on the introduction deadline. It was easy to drive, comfortable and just the right size for a family. A twin-cam Lotus version became a legend on the track, too, and helped give the car a sexier image.
Image 27 of It brought in hot-shot engineer Alec Issigonis — who also designed the Mini. He conceived a car that would make the owner proud and was also as big inside as larger, more expensive models. The Morris Minor was finally revealed in , and it became. It was made available in two-door, four-door, convertible, estate, van and pick-up bodystyles, and it became the first British car to sell a million examples.
Image 28 of After the brutish and slightly crude Virage , the Vanquish was a revelation. It previewed the VH chassis used in the DB9, making extensive use of bonded aluminium and composite. The sleek looks were the work of Ian Callum, who now pens Jaguars. With comparatively light weight, smooth aerodynamics and a bhp V12, the Vanquish became the first production Aston to top mph.
The only blot on its copybook was an underdeveloped clutchless transmission; most cars have now been converted with conventional boxes. Image 29 of The Ferguson Formula was packed with technology that still seems advanced today. It was the first performance car with four-wheel drive, beating the more famous Audi Quattro by 14 years. It was the first with anti-lock brakes too, using a system that had been developed for aircraft.
Image 30 of Image 31 of The formula the company used for the DB11 was to borrow technology and powertrains from Mercedes and recruit a forward-looking executive from Nissan. Image 32 of The DMC12 was supposed to be a futuristic car packed with innovation, and John DeLorean convinced investors — including the British Government — to part with millions to get the project off the ground. Lotus did much of the development work, and a new factory was built in Belfast. However, the stainless steel, gullwinged car was plagued with problems at its launch in — not least that it was slow and unreliable.
As the company plunged into debt, DeLorean grasped at a final straw; he was caught trying to smuggle cocaine to finance the business. Image 33 of Long before the Mini came another tiny British car that was an engineering marvel and international success. The model was a huge success, and was copied and modified all over the world. Production lasted from until , and other automotive brands including Jaguar, Lotus, BMW and Datsun all began making derivatives of the Seven.
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Image 34 of How do you follow an act such the original Mini? But it was still reasonably compact and — crucially — was great to look at, with smile-inducing driving dynamics. Clever marketing and infinite personalisation options made it a sell-out hit. The range has now expanded and evolved, and it continues to be a great British success story. Image 35 of The cheapest, and therefore most accessible, model of this range is the S.
It brought in a new breed of buyers, and has kept business at the brand booming. Image 36 of Its performance was truly astonishing, thanks to technology in addition to brute force. Unlike the XJ, the P1 was a sell-out success, and all were snapped up. Image 37 of In the booming economy of the eighties, investors clamoured for exotic hypercars.
Cars in 1950
However, before the XJ reached production, the economy crashed and the car had to be re-engineered. So, was it a failure? Image 38 of Teenagers growing up in the eighties would inevitably have supercar posters on their bedroom wall: a Ferrari GTO, Lamborghini Countach and maybe a Porsche Turbo. Among them would be a four-cylinder, plastic-bodied car made in Norfolk. How could something so humble be a pin-up? Firstly, the styling was as sharp as the handling. Second, the Esprit was incredibly light — which meant the four-cylinder turbo could keep up with V12s. Finally, it was the Bond factor.
Image 39 of The Aston Martin DB7 may have been beautiful in its day, but the model had fallen massively off the pace by the turn of the millennium — and this was unsurprising, really, as it was based on the ancient Jaguar XJS platform. The answer was the all-new DB9, a quantum leap for the Newport Pagnell sports car brand. It used a glued aluminium and composite body structure — the process created by Lotus for the Elise. Image 40 of Mazda also used the Lotus as the blueprint for the very first MX-5 , even down to making the engine look the same. And for producers of the sixties TV series The Avengers, the gorgeous little roadster was the perfect car for the heartthrob character Emma Peel to drive.
But just why was the Lotus Elan so revered? As with all Lotus models, the car was all about light weight. That was enough to give peppy performance and handling that is still a benchmark today. Image 41 of It pioneered the crossover sector as we know it today, and spawned imitators across the world. Production passed 1,, after only four years — the fastest UK car to do so. After 10 years, more than 2. Image 42 of Back in the nineties the company needed a new model to showcase its skills, so its boffins set about building a mid-range sports car that would have to be lightweight and great to drive in order to fit in with the brand ethos.
Revealed in , the Elise took the world by storm. Its chassis was made from extruded aluminium and glued, not welded. Image 43 of The resultant Escort was a simple car mechanically, with four-cylinder petrol engines powering the rear wheels — unlike most of the competition. However, the Escort had modern, American-inspired styling that appealed to British buyers in their millions. While it offered sensible family transport the Escort also proved formidable in motorsport, and it become one of the most victorious rally cars ever.
This led to a range of affordable sporty saloons for the road, too, with legendary names such as Mexico and RS created to cash in on rallying success. Lotus founder Colin Chapman was obsessed with weight. The most enduring of his designs was the Seven. Launched in as a kit car, it proved huge fun to drive and offered amazing performance from a humble Ford saloon car engine. In , Lotus wanted to move upmarket and produce fully built cars. A dealer, Caterham Cars, bought the rights to the Seven, and is still making them today.
There have been many versions and refinements, but the best seller is still offering thrills from a combination of simplicity and a mainstream Ford powerplant. Image 45 of The GT40 was a car fuelled by revenge. The resulting 4. As a result, the first year of racing was disastrous, and Ferrari triumphed again.
Carroll Shelby was brought in to rework the cars, and soon victories rolled in. Image 46 of By the end of the sixties, Rover built comfortable saloons and the workday Land Rover. Managers decided to combine the two into one car. The cabin was far from luxurious, but was comfortable and practical. The result — the Range Rover — was supreme in both the mud and the snow, great for towing and still refined enough to drive everyday. It was gradually moved upmarket until it was replaced with the Mk2 in , and it could justifiably be called the first crossover and luxury SUV.
Image 47 of His goals were low weight and high power from a car using the most exotic materials available. Performance was devastating — its mph top speed drove it straight into the record books. They could really be in any order — but the McLaren F1 is the car many would love to own. Image 48 of The DB5 could be famous for many qualities, but none will eclipse its achievement of being the greatest piece of product placement ever. Bond chose well: the DB5 was beautiful, and had the performance to match with a 4.
There was a convertible, too, if you wanted to ensure the many admirers saw you driving. Production lasted only two years and 1, cars before the visually similar DB6 arrived. I also had a wonderful Matchbox toy car replica when I was seven years old. Image 49 of Few cars inspire such passion as the Land Rover Series and Defender ranges. The best-known 4x4 in Britain lasted in production with relatively minor evolution from until last year — and when the final example rolled off the line, it made the national news. The Land Rover was born after World War Two, when Rover needed to find a car it could make using the expertise and materials gleaned from its military contracts.
It would have to use the minimum amount of rationed steel and be attractive to export markets; after all, bombed-out Britain needed to earn some foreign money to rebuild itself. Engineer Maurice Wilks suggested a vehicle that could be dual purpose on and off-road, modelled on the Army surplus Jeeps his family used.
It would have the same mechanical layout as the Jeep, a Rover saloon engine and a flat-panelled alloy body to save on rationed steel. The result, launched in , was crude and compromised, but was peerless off-road and usable on the tarmac, making it a true dual-purpose workhorse.
It was the first vehicle seen by many people in far-flung places, the staple transport of the British Army, kept farmers farming and helped emergency services save lives. Perhaps its greatest achievement was to be the foundation of the flourishing Land Rover brand. A car that was in production for 67 years, virtually unchanged, deserves to be on the podium.
Image 50 of The E-Type had sophisticated independent suspension, a monocoque body, all-round disc brakes and a bhp 3. It had a mph top speed at a time when most cars would struggle to top 60mph. It, too, saw competition victories, especially when Jaguar built special lightweight versions using aluminium bodywork. However, it was on the road where the E-Type saw the most success, as buyers flocked to showrooms. That muscle and those looks ensured the E-Type was — and has remained — highly desirable and a blue-chip classic.
However, the richness of British design can easily be evidenced in the list itself. Image 51 of Throughout its marathon year production run, the car become an icon of British innovation, a fashion accessory and a motorsport hero that also brought affordable motoring to the masses. These diverse achievements were possible because of a truly inventive approach to auto design.
The ingenious result utilised every inch of space. Tiny inch wheels were pushed into the corners of the car to make more room inside. Instead of bulky conventional springs, the Mini used compact rubber cones. The result was launched to a stunned public in One of those racing stars was John Cooper, who immediately realised that the Mini had giant-killing potential in motorsport. After a few tweaks to increase power, the Mini Cooper was born.
By the time the Mini was replaced, 5. 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.
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They still dominate classic motorsport, too. No wonder our experts said the mighty Mini is the mightiest British car of all time. Don't forget to tell us your top 10 British-built cars in the comments section below View the discussion thread. VAT number Sign up for our daily newsletter Newsletter. User menu. Choose a model. Best Cars Features. More like this Features.