British Car Brands

British Car Brands

Great Britain is one of the pioneer countries in the world’s automotive industry. Daimler began to produce gasoline engines of its design back in 1891. Today, many of the cars that we see on the streets are made in Great Britain.

The first words that come to mind when you think of English cars are luxury and prestige. Sports cars from Jaguar, Aston Martin, and Lotus, as well as executive cars from Rolls Royce and Bentley, have won the hearts of wealthy people from all over the world. British premium cars have a refined and sophisticated style that has a long and well-established tradition. Most British car brands have been on the market since the first half of last century, so conservative design and technical innovation have long been the hallmark of the British automotive industry.

The lineup of British luxury cars is quite wide and may satisfy the tastes of even the most fastidious motorist. However, according to the Association of British Automobile Manufacturers, since 1965, it is the American Ford that holds the first place in sales in Great Britain. More than 70 percent of prestige cars made in the country are exported outside England and become the property of millionaires from all over the world.

Luxury Car Brands

The British high-end auto brands are known all over the globe and their badges are instantly recognizable, being synonymous with style, luxury, and exclusiveness. Though even within this segment the brands can be divided into groups: some of them might easily be called super-luxury.

English luxury cars are a symbol of prosperity and belonging to the higher classes of society. Luxury and reliability combined with a reasonable price have brought them worldwide popularity. Some models are assembled by hand in limited quantities, representing a special interest to collectors and connoisseurs of luxury comfort.

Rolls-Royce

 

Rolls Royce Logo

Founded: 1904
Founder: Charles Rolls, Friedrich Henry Royce

The high-end automaking company was established by Friedrich Henry Royce and Charles Rolls in 1904. And by today the RR brand has become one of the most common associations to luxury in the automotive industry. The Rolls-Royce cars are definitely most desirable and admired all over the globe. In 1998, the owners of the concern decided to get rid of the assets of “Rolls-Royce Motors”, and the firm was sold to the German automaker “BMW”.

Aston Martin

Aston Martin

Founded: 1913
Founder: Robert Bamford, Lionel Martin

Aston Martin is another super popular British manufacturer of prestigious luxury and sports cars, which was established in 1913. The founders of the brand were Lionel Martin and Robert Bamford. The company’s name is derived from Aston-Clinton hill, where one of the founders, Lionel Martin, won the Singer-10 in 1913. The company is famous for the fact that most models are made by hand. Each Aston Martin has a bronze plaque that bears the name of the man who made and is responsible for a particular piece.

Bentley

Bentley logo

Founded: 1919
Founder: Walter Bentley

Bentley is one more symbol of the British automaking industry. This high-end brand was established in 1919 and named after the founder of the company Walter Bentley. A few years after the company’s establishment, cars of the automaker became the champions of Le Mans races. Despite this, the company experienced financial difficulties until 1931, after which it was sold to a competitor, Rolls-Royce.

In the following decades, the cars of both brands were very similar. In 1988, the factories of Bentley and Rolls-Royce were sold to Volkswagen Group.
Bentley Motors (1919-present)

Lagonda

Lagonda logo

Founded: 1906
Founder: Wilbur Gunn

The founder of Lagonda, Wilbur Gunn, was born in Springfield, Ohio, in the United States, and in 1897 he moved to Great Britain, where he began making air-cooled motorcycles. In 1906, he began manufacturing Lagonda passenger cars. Lagonda is the modified name of the river that flowed near his hometown. The brand was not operating for decades, but now is being revived by Aston Martin.

Jaguar

Jaguar Logo

Founded: 1933
Founder: William Lyons

Jaguar brand is the pride of the British automaking industry. The company manufactures passenger cars, sedans, and luxury crossovers. The hallmarks of any car with the trademark leaping jaguar on its badge are a stylish sporty design, an exquisite interior, and a powerful engine. Car equipment is collected only in the country. Only well-to-do people can afford to buy a prestigious car.

Land Rover

Land Rover Logo

Founded: 1948
Founder: British Leyland

Land Rover is a brand that needs no special introduction. It specializes in the creation of powerful luxury SUVs. Range Rover is the most recognizable SUV of the brand. The company was established as Jaguar Land Rover, which accumulated two high-end brands under one roof. Today it is owned by one of the largest players in the world’s car market, Tata Motors.

Bristol

Bristol Logo

Founded: 1946
Founder: Bristol Aeroplane Company

Bristol Cars is a manufacturer of luxury passenger cars. All cars are predominantly assembled by hand and in very small quantities. The last official production reports date back to 1982 when 104 cars were produced. Despite this, the company’s products have a certain success with a limited range of customers.

Production was halted in March 2011, when a new administration was appointed and 22 employees were dismissed. In April of that year, Bristol Cars were acquired by Kamkorp Group.

Mass-Market Car Brands

The British car industry is most known for its luxury and sport car brands, but the mass-market segment is also very well developed in this country. Such brands as Mini have become iconic all over the world by today. Besides, their marques as Vauxhall, which work mainly for the in-country market.

Vauxhall

Founded: 1857
Founder: Alexander Wilson

Vauxhall Motors is an automobile manufacturer from Great Britain, which was established in the middle of the 19th century and today is a division of General Motors.

In the middle of the 20th century, Vauxhall linked its activities with the German car manufacturer Opel. To date, the majority of cars manufactured by concern Opel AG, sold in the UK, have Vauxhall nameplate.

Daimler

Daimler Logo

Founded: 1896
Founder: Gottlieb Daimler

Daimler is the name of a British automobile brand owned by the Daimler Motor Company since 1896, specializing in the production of exclusive and executive cars. It is one of the oldest automobile companies in the world. Its history began in 1891 when Frederick Simms bought from Gottlieb Daimler a patent for the production of its gasoline engines. The beginning of the production of cars refers to 1896.

MG

MG Logo

Founded: 1920
Founder: Cecil Kimber

MG is the name of the English company, established by Cecil Kimber in 1920, and now owned by the Chinese corporation Nanjing Automobile Group, now produces production cars, and previously, before its sale to the Nanjing Automobile Group, it produced sports cars. Nanjing Automobile immediately went into the production of previous MG models, slightly upgrading them. Car production was moved to the company’s plant in Nanjing.

MINI

MINI logo

Founded: 1959
Founder: Alec Issigonis

MINI is a legendary English brand, which was established in 1959 by Alec Issigonis. Since 1994 the brand is owned by the German BMW Group, though it still features its instantly recognizable British design and has a Union Jack image on the roofs of most models.

Alec Issigonis, who designed it, earned a reputation as a genius with this brainchild. The series of these cars was later extended with the Mini Cooper (1961), which raced in Formula 1, and the improved Mini Cooper S was first in the Monte Carlo Rally three times.

Sports Car Brands

In addition to popular car brands from the giants of the British car industry, some companies produce prestigious and sports cars for the market. Britain is one of the world’s leaders in the production of sports cars, having quite a several very loud and reputable brands in this segment.

AC

AC Logo

Founded: 1901
Founder: The Weller Brothers

AC Cars are one of the first automobile companies in Great Britain, which specializes in the production of exclusive sports cars, which have always stood out among other representatives of the automotive industry with excellent dynamic and racing features. The founders of AC Cars were John Weller and John Portwine.

Morgan

Morgan logo

Founded: 1909
Founder: Henry Frederick Stanley Morgan

The Morgan Motor Company is a small English company producing limited-edition luxury sports cars. It was founded in 1909 by Henry Frederick Stanley Morgan. All Morgan cars have a classic or stylized design of sports cars of the 1930s and 1940s and are assembled by hand. The basic materials for the assembly of all Morgan models are ash, oak, aspen, maple, and high-strength steel, as well as aircraft-grade aluminum.

TVR

TVR Logo

Founded: 1946
Founder: Trevor Wilkinson

TVR is an independent British car company, which until 2006 was based in Blackpool, Lancashire. The company produces light sports cars. It was founded in 1946 by British engineer Trevor Wilkinson, who also takes its name (TreVoR – TVR).

Lotus

Lotus Logo

Founded: 1952
Founder: Colin Bruce Chapman

Originally from Norfolk, the cars produced by Lotus Cars are the epitome of modern racing cars in England. The company was founded by Colin Bruce Chapman, and in the premises where Hornsey’s stables used to be.

This was in 1952, and in 1960, the assembly moved to the plant in the vicinity of Hethel. The nearby airfield was adapted as a training base. “Lotus,” wrote many glorious pages in the annals, where in addition to them appeared the best English cars. Then the company was bought by the Americans General Motors, and later by the Malaysian Proton.

Lister

Lister Logo

Founded: 1954
Founder: Brian Lister

Lister-branded cars first saw the light of day in 1954. It was then that Brian Lister assembled the first sports car of his design and, having successfully sold it, he decided to continue in this business. In 1957, the famous racer Archie Scott-Brown set 11-speed records in the 11 races he won on the Lister car.

Ginetta

Ginetta logo

Founded: 1958
Founder: The Walklett Family

Ginetta is the British brand that was founded in 1958 in Woodbridge by the Walklett brothers (Travers, Douglas, Bob, and Ivor), who decided to produce cars for racing competitions. The first cars of their work had a Ford chassis. In 1961, models G2, G3, and G4, which came out of the Ginetta workshops, brought the company world fame.

McLaren

McLaren Logo

Founded: 1963
Founder: Bruce McLaren

The company, named after its founder Bruce McLaren, was established in Great Britain in 1963 and became extremely popular in yo time. The talented engineer designed the car specifically for racing competitions, including Formula 1. His revolutionary ideas secured wins in countless races as McLaren regularly experimented with the latest innovative technology.

Marlin

Marlin logo

Founded: 1979
Founder: Paul Moorhouse

The Marlin company was founded by Paul Moorhouse in 1979 in the British city of Plymouth. After making several cars for his use, he decided to start producing car kits that customers would assemble themselves. The first model of the Marlin brand was a roadster.

Ronart

Ronart logo

Founded: 1984
Founder: Arthur Wolstenholme

The founder of Ronart, Arthur Wolstenholme, created it intending to resume the production of racing cars with the design inherent to sports cars of the 1950s. The debut model of the brand was introduced in 1987 called the W152. The mass production started in the same year.

Noble

Noble logo

Founded: 1989
Founder: Lee Noble

In comparison to other legendary British brands, Noble is a relatively young sports car manufacturer which was established in 1989 and has been engaged in the production of high-speed race cars since its first days. Thanks to mass production, the Noble M12 has taken its place in the top ranking of the fastest and most affordable cars in the UK.

Gardner Douglas

Gardner Douglas logo

Founded: 1990

A very small luxury British automaker, Gardner Douglas, was established in 1990 and got engaged in the production of sports cars from the very beginning. The company’s cars are handmade cars that maintain a truly timeless design of the 1960s. The cars of the brand are known for their high quality and perfect technical characteristics.

Ultima

Ultima logo

Founded: 1992
Founder: Ted and Richard Marlow

Ultima is the name of another British sports car manufacturer, which was founded in Hinckley in 1992. Ted Marlow, the owner of the company, decided to master the niche of producing parts to modify Noble sports cars into highway versions. All cars of the brand are sold as kit cars, that is, the buyer assembles the purchase himself from a set of spare parts.

Ascari

Ascari logo

Founded: 1995
Founder: Zwart Klaas

Ascari is the name of a sports car manufacturer based in Banbury, United Kingdom. The company was founded by Dutch millionaire Zwart Klaas. The company was named after Alberto Ascari (1918-1955), a two-time Formula 1 World Champion. He became the first racer to win the title of champion twice.

Ariel

Ariel Logo

Founded: 1999
Founder: Simon Saunders

Ariel Motors is an English small-scale sports car manufacturing company located in Crewkerne, Somerset, United Kingdom. The company has a staff of only seven people who produce about 100 cars per year. The company was founded by Simon Saunders in 1991 as Solocrest Ltd, in 2001 the company name was changed to Ariel Motors, with nothing to do with the 1902 to 1970 Ariel Motorcycles, which made motorcycles. In June 2014, the company presented a motorcycle of its design, which was named Ace.

Arash

Arash logo

Founded: 1999
Founder: Arash Farboud

A private British company founded by Arash Farboud. From the first days of its existence, the company was aimed at the production of cars exclusive in power and convenience. The logo of Arash Motor Company is decorated with a figurative image of a peregrine falcon, which is the fastest creature on the planet Earth.

Suffolk

Suffolk Sportscars logo

Founded: 2001
Founder: Roger Williams

Suffolk Sportscars was founded by Roger William. Roger started his business 20 years ago, and was involved exclusively in the production of one model – SS100s, then C-type and after several years of research and work became involved in classic cars. The company logo shows the wings with the letters SS stamped on them.

Brooke

Brooke logo

Founded: 2002
Founder: Brooke Kensington

One of the oldest automobile companies in Great Britain, which was founded in 1900, and got its second life in 2002. It is only known to a very narrow circle of car enthusiasts across the globe but has a really good reputation among them.

BAC

BAC Logo

Founded: 2009
Founder: The Briggs Brothers

Briggs Automotive Company, or BAC for short, is a sports car manufacturer based in the British city of Liverpool. The company was founded in 2009 by brothers Neil and Ian Briggs to create high-speed racing cars. They chose a format with a center seat, like a racing car, to increase stability and make it easier to balance the car.

Atalanta

Atalanta logo

Founded: 2011
Founder: Martin Corfield

Atalanta is the second life of the historical British car manufacturer, Atlanta, which was established in 1937. It is considered to be one of the most controversial British car companies ever created. After only 22 years, “Atlanta” introduced a lot of cars, which had a serious influence on the whole modern car market. The main competitors of Atlanta models were Lagonda sports coupes

Zenos

Zenos logo

Founded: 2012
Founder: Ansar Ali, Mark Edwards

Zenos is a car company that produces powerful and lightweight sports cars. Based in Wymondham, Norfolk, UK, Zenos Cars designs, manufactures, and sells three variants of the Zenos E10. Founders Ansar Ali and Mark Edwards have combined experience at Lotus and Caterham Cars.

The name of the brand, “Zenos”, comes from the words “Zen” (the embodiment of purity in Buddhism ) and “Os,” which loosely translates to “vertebra” or “spine” in Latin – reflecting one of the key architectural elements of the company’s products.

Roadster Brands

And again, the British car industry is known for its wide range of brands, specialized in the production of roadsters. This type of car can definitely be called a signature of the automaking industry of Great Britain.

Elva

Elva logo

Founded: 1955
Founder: Frank Nichols

The British roadster manufacturer Elva was founded in 1955. Initially, the founder of the brand Frank Nichols was engaged in the creation of cars for various regional racing series, which used a lightweight power unit Ford Ten, developing 45 horsepower. He started in a service station specializing in sports-type cars.

Caterham

Caterham logo

Founded: 1973
Founder: Colin Chapman

Caterham’s history is inextricably linked to Lotus. It dates back to the time when it became an official dealer of Lotus cars while remaining a subsidiary of the Lotus brand. Colin Chapman, the famous engineer of the Formula 1 team of the same name, dreamed that the technologies used in such serious motor racing competitions could be used in the construction of civilian mass-produced cars.

Westfield

Westfield logo

Founded: 1982
Founder: Chris Smith

The British car brand Westfield was established in the early 1980s. The founder of this company – Chris Smith – for a long period was engaged in the sale of cars in the county of West Midlands, located in the west of central England. Today the brand is mostly known for its Lotus 7 modifications.

MK

MK logo

Founded: 1996
Founder: Martin Keenan

This relatively young automobile manufacturer from the United Kingdom is known for its MK Indy roadster, which was inspired by the iconic Lotus 7 car. The first Indy saw the light in 2000, four years after the establishment of the company.

MEV

MEV logo

Founded: 2003
Founder: Stewart Mills

MEV is the shortened name for Mills Extreme Vehicles, an automaking brand, established by Stewart Mills in 2003. The company is known not only for its own roadster models can but also for manufacturing the Exocet, a construction used by racing cars.

Caparo

Caparo logo

Founded: 2006
Founder: Graham Halstead, Ben Scott-Geddes

The company was founded in 2006 under the name Freestream by Graham Halstead and Ben Scott-Geddes, who had previously worked as engineers on the McLaren F1 project. In April 2006, the company was acquired by Caparo and renamed Caparo Vehicle Technologies. After that, “CVT” began to develop the T1 sports car, which went on sale in 2007.

Elemental

Elemental logo

Founded: 2012
Founder: John Begley

The youngest British company, engaged in the production and design of roadsters, is Elemental. The brand was established by John Begley in 2012 and already managed to get a great reputation across the globe, due to its RP1 model.

Small Brands

The huge and versatile portfolio of the British automotive industry includes not only loud names as Lotus, Aston Martin, and Bentley, but there is also quite a large number of small exclusive car ateliers, which work for a very narrow circle of clients.

JBA

JBA Motors logo

Founded: 1982
Founder: Kenneth Glyn Jones, John Barlow, and David George Ashley

JBA Motors is another automaking company from the United Kingdom, which was established in 1982 in Norwich. The company was originally named JBA Engineering after the first letters of the last names of its founders Kenneth Glyn Jones, John Barlow, and David George Ashley.

Prodrive

Prodrive logo

Founded: 1984
Founder: David Richards

Prodrive is the name of another small British manufacturer of race and sports cars, which was established in 1984 by David Richards. Until recently, this company was exclusively engaged in the preparation of sports cars for the rally and circuit racing.

Bowler

Bowler logo

Founded: 1985
Founder: Andrew Bowler

Bowler is a fast-growing company, which was established in 1985, and is known for its collaboration with Land Rover. With a first-class in-house engineering team that builds rally and road cars of the highest reliability for all levels of racing. Using Range Rover Sports technology, the company refines each new model to give it an aggressive, sporty character.

Grinnall

Grinnall logo

Founded: 1991
Founder: Mark Grinnall

Grinnall is the name of not a very famous British automaker, which was established in 1991 and named after its founder, Mark Grinnall. For the first years of its history, the brand was engaged in the production of classic car models but later switched to the manufacturing of tricycles.

Radical

Radical logo

Founded: 1997
Founder: Phil Abbott Mick Hyde

Radical is the British car brand that was founded in 1997 and today is specializing in the production of sports and racing cars. Soon the first model of the brand was presented, built with the help of technologies from the Japanese motorcycle company Kawasaki, which also became a supplier of power units for the British company. And in 1998, Radical became an official member of the British Automobile Club.

Keating

Keating logo

Founded: 2006
Founder: Anthony Keating

Keating Supercars is a British company that has been making cars in small batches since 2012. The company is best known for its TKE supercar model, which in 2009 became the fastest car in the world.

David Brown

David Brown logo

Founded: 2013
Founder: David Brown

There are only two models in the David Brown catalog so far. It is a stylized as Aston Martin DB5 510-horsepower aluminum sports car on modern units from Jaguar, called Speedback GT. And also 72-horsepower Mini Remastered city-car, which outwardly quite accurately copies the classic Mini, though the body is its own, created anew. It is more rigid than the original.

LEVC

LEVC logo

Founded: 2013
Founder: Geely

Founded by the Chinese Geely Group, LEVC is specialized in the production of taxi cars, or cabs. The original name of the company was London Taxi Company. Today LEVC is considered to be one of the most reliable and progressive manufacturers of cabs in Great Britain.

Defunct Car Brands

Since the end of the 19th century, there were about five dozen manufacturers of machines in Britain, many of which could not withstand the competition. The list of closed automakers in England, of course, is not as big as the list of prosperous ones today, but it still exists.

Singer

Singer Logo

Founded: 1875
Defunct: 1970

Singer was engaged in the production of bicycles for the English market until 1905. The first model of the brand was a three-wheeler, however, later the company switched to the assembly of standard four-wheeled machines. Singer actively developed its production, and by 1930 it was the 3rd place in the UK in terms of car sales, behind only Austin and Morris.

Rover

Rover Logo

Founded: 1878
Defunct: 2005

Rover, an English company specializing in the production of passenger cars and SUVs (which later split into Rover and Land Rover brands). In 1887, John Kemp Starley and William Sutton founded a bicycle factory, which in 1889 began to produce cars.

Triumph

Triumph logo

Founded: 1885
Defunct: 1984

TRIUMPH is a British company for the production of passenger cars. In 1944 it was bought by Standard. The Triumph company was founded by an immigrant from Germany, Siegfried Bettman. At the beginning of its activity, it produced only motorcycles.

Foden

Founded: 1887
Defunct: 2006

Foden is one of the oldest truck manufacturing companies. Its history began with a small workshop, opened in 1856 by William Foden, which produced agricultural implements and steam-powered machines. In 1880, he received a patent for a steam engine of his design, and two years later began producing cars.

Leyland

Ashok Leyland Logo

Founded: 1896
Defunct: 1968

One of the oldest British automakers, Leyland Motors, was established in 1897 and produced the best trucks in the UK. Though the brand also tried itself in the production of luxury cars, it only lasted only two years, after which up to the 60s the company again made only trucks. Leyland Motors’ main aim was to compete with the Rolls-Royce models.

Austin

Austin Logo

Founded: 1905
Defunct: 1952

In 1904, the Australian Herbert Austin moved to Britain, which by that time had the third-largest car market in the world and the largest number of car manufacturers. As a result, the most successful pre-war model was the Austin 7, which from 1922 to 1938 sold 400 thousand cars.

Hillman

Hillman logo

Founded: 1907
Defunct: 1931

Hillman was founded in 1907 by English racer William Hillman. However, it did not produce sports or racing cars but concentrated on the production of luxury executive cars. The company’s first model was the Hillman 45, which was equipped with a Cummings 45-horsepower gasoline engine.

Riley

Riley logo

Founded: 1913
Defunct: 1969

The Riley company was founded in the mid-19th century and was engaged in the production of weaving equipment. Then she switched to the manufacture of bicycles, and in 1896 a prototype of its design car was built on he company’s factory. Since 1900 the company began producing tricycles, and in 1903 three-wheeled cars Tricar went into the batch. The turn of real Riley cars came only in 1906.

Morris

Morris logo

Founded: 1913
Defunct: 1984

Morris is definitely one of the most famous names in the British automotive industry, whose main activity was the production of affordable family models, was also fond of sports competitions. The brand introduced its first Morris Oxford in 1913 and was a successful company for more than six decades.

Alvis

Alvis logo

Founded: 1919
Defunct: 1967

Alvis started as Holley company, which produced pistons. The company manufactured stationary engines by order of Hillman Motor Car Company and in 1919 built its first scooter with a 50 cc engine. The model was called Stafford Mobile Pup. The first car of the company was called Alvis and saw the light in 1919, and a year later the whole brad was renamed.

ERF

ERF logo

Founded: 1933
Defunct: 2007

ERF is the name of one of Britain’s largest truck manufacturing companies. The brand was founded in 1933. The first models of the company were identical to those of another major truck manufacturer, Foden.

Jensen

Jensen Motors

Founded: 1934
Defunct: 1976

Jensen Motors was a British manufacturer of sports cars and commercial vehicles based in Birmingham. The British Jensen Motor Company was founded in 1934 by two mechanics, the Jensen brothers.

Berkeley

Berkeley Logo

Founded: 1956
Defunct: 1960

The Berkeley car brand was established in 1956 as a collaboration between automobile designer Lawrence Bond and the Berkeley Coachworks company, owned by Charles Panther. The company was of the largest manufacturers of car trailers and motor homes in Europe.

Marcos

Marcos logo

Founded: 1959
Defunct: 2007

Marcos is the name of a British car brand, which was founded in 1958 and specialized in the production of elite sports cars. The key difference between the cars of the small British company was the design, which was created with the help of aerospace technology.

Eternity

Founded: 2010
Defunct: 2014

Eternity is the name of the youngest and the shortest-living brand in our list of Defunct labels. The company was established with the idea of the production of luxury passenger cars.