British motoring icons – your nominations, please!

I’ve laid out Swadeology’s 5 nominations for the most iconic British car in the previous post.

I know a few of you have named some cars in comments to that post, cars that you’d like to see.

There’s so much information in that post, however, that it’s an effort to read it all and then comment at length.

Hence, I’ll offer up a clean post, which you can use to make your nominations and perhaps offer a few reasons to substantiate your choice.

Comments are open.

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  1. Well, perhaps I’m taking the piss with this one, but I nominate the Austin Allegro, because it’s an icon of all that was wrong with the British auto industry.

    Lousy build quality.
    Questionable design.
    Styling by committee, then finessed by bean counters.

    1. Despite the cheeky photo I’ve put with this post, I am trying to keep us all focused on the good side of the British car industry 🙂

  2. I never realized how many iconic vehicles the British made until I tried to narrow a list down to my favorites. Most of these relate to my car fancies from my youth:

    Jaguar MK2 – This sedan is the first car that comes to mind when I think British. It was rare to see in the USA, but a sight to behold compared to boring American designs.

    MG TD – I think everybody secretly craved one of these as a 2nd car in their youth.

    Jaguar XK120 Roadster – I know the E series is more beautiful, but I think every kit car company offers a version of this, it’s timeless.

    Land Rover Series I – I think every African adventure movie I ever saw had at least one of these.

    Triumph TR3 – The ultimate in simplicity. No roll-up windows here, pure motoring fun, with your legs stretched out flat, seemingly right up beside the engine.

    And, of your nominations, I can’t argue with any of these, especially the Austin Mini Cooper for its dominance in rallying for a while.
    Austin Mini Cooper
    Jaguar E-Type
    Rolls Royce Silver Shadow
    Aston Martin DB4

  3. I’ll second an earlier comment (on the previous post) – The Morris Minor.

    It will be tough for any car to beat the XKE as the Brit auto icon – it is so timelessly beautiful.

    But the Morris Minor is Britain’s Bug, or 2CV. My father emigrated to Canada from the UK in 1950. He had two Morris Minors in the 1950s (they were apparently sold in Canada then), before moving on to larger American steel. The Minor is the “everyman’s” car in the bunch. Not including it would be like a list of Swedish auto icons without the 96.

  4. Moggy Minor definitely displaces DB4/5.
    Mk2 Jag (Ronnie Biggs/great Train Robbery & Inspector Morse) could displace MGB, as could an MG TC
    4.5 litre Blower Bentley, complete with Union Jack on the driver’s door, stomping round LeMans or Brooklands…that’s fairly British too.

  5. The only thing I would change in your list is to add a Land Rover product.
    Are we looking strictly at cars, or at “motoring icons?”

  6. Alfabetically filed under ‘transport’ at wikipedia:
    A272, Aston Martin, Austin Maxi, Austin Morris 1100, Austin Seven, The Automobile Association, Bedford Coaches, Belisha beacon, Bentley, Bond Bug, Brighton Belle. Bristol Cars, canals, Cat’s eyes, Caterham sports car, Channel Tunnel, de Havilland Comet, Concorde, Cunard Line, DeHavilland Comet, Great Western Railway, Isambard Kingdom Brunel, Jaguar E-Type, Flying Scotsman, Mallard locomotive, Ordnance Survey map, RAC plc, Routemaster bus, Royal Automobile Club

    Trowing in the Lotus/Caterham 7 makes sense.
    Curiously Landrover isn’t in their list.
    Bristol Cars is.

    Problem with british cars is a limit of just 5.
    They built a lot of iconic ones.

  7. Well, if we need to serious, then the quintessential British police car, the Rover SD1 ought to be on the list.

    The SD1 was last of the proper Rovers and I lusted after one while others looked at Jags. The neighbors had one in BRG when I was a kid and in Southern California, it was deliciously exotic and oh so British.

  8. Or, for those of us that grew up watching (and wanting to be) James Bond (in the 70s), the Lotus Esprit. Ideally a turbo with the tartan seats.

  9. Well I vote for the 1965 Austin Healey 3000 inspite of all its problems. Also the Morgan is on my list.

  10. How did the Range Rover Vogue not make the list.

    – A Range Rover is not a SUV, it’s a 4WD. The Range Rover Sport is an SUV and it’s not a proper Range Rover.
    – A Range Rover is designed to be just as capable off road (if not more so) than a Toyota Landcruiser or a Nissan Patrol. Just because it might not be taken off road by the owner doesn’t mean it’s a soft roader like any of the other more road oriented “luxury” 4WDs/SUVs.
    – A Range Rover is the only option for luxury 4WD
    – A Range Rover Vogue sits somewhere between a Rolls Royce and a Mercedes/BMW in luxury (they actually said they’re aiming at Bentley with the new Range Rover).
    – The Range Rover Vogue doesn’t have a Sports option. That’s why you have an Aston Martin or Ferrari.
    – A Range Rover should only ever tow a horse float, to Polo, or ones race car (MG, Triumph, Aston Healy, etc), to the race track.
    – A Range Rover has a split rear tailgate. That way you can park in the field and sit on the bottom half and eat and drink while watching the polo with the shade of the top half.
    – The Queen travels in a Range Rover Vogue.

    1. Ditto this nomination. Great list too! The new fourth-generation Range Rover just upped the stakes in luxury, style and capability (the word for what it can do 0ff-road).

    1. Indeed, but german icons on the other hand can be more easily resticted :
      VW Kaefer, Porsche 911 (any era), Merc. ‘S (60’s, 70’s or 80’s) & bmw 2002.
      Oops! 😉

  11. The Rover P6 3500S

    Because 1. Rover deserved a better faith and I’d like to give tribute to this old fine brand by nominating one of their cars. 2. The P6 is all about what SAAB does so good: Loads of space in an elegant package with the overall shape that gives the impression of being of average size. It’s elegant, refined and smart. And hey… It’s a V8 (yes the all aluminium engine construction is Buick)


    1. Forgot one Extraordinary car make. Ariel

      A school concept design from a talanted young Industrial designer that lead to his professor helping him making the concept a reality. The Atom is a Formula car for the road. A true no nonsense drivers car. Now you can get it with an inhouse developed 3 litre V8. I have never driven one, but if I could get access to one I believe it would be the ultimate drive of my life.

      Ariel Atom
      +1 for looks
      +100 for effort
      +1000 for Fun!


      Ps. Clarksons face while driving it is Priceless. The acceleration and wind almost pulling his skin off 🙂 Look it up on Youtube Ds

  12. The Austin-Healey Sprite Mk 1 “Frogeye” gets my vote:
    An affordable sportscar with a very good chassis of unitary construction. It was economical, small and sporty. I always wanted to buy one, but I ended up with at first a 1956 MGA and now a 1969 MGC GT.
    Lars R

  13. As much as I lusted after any Jaguar growing up, the MGB stole my young motoring heart at 10. By the time I was 12, I got my dad to buy one, a 1972 Harvest Gold B! I still have the car 31 years later and love it more and more each time I drive it. It may be more humble and less glamourous than a Jag, but turn the key and listen to the exhaust note… Pure magic!

  14. The SD1 was a good design let down in the build: Anything taking its styling cues from a Ferrari Daytona has a bit of a leg-up from the start and David Bache certainly pulled it off well. However IMO there’s no way a car of that size should have had drum rear brakes – nor a live axle for that matter, in a rear wheel drive car of that vintage.

    Inside, rear leg room was not generous for such a big car, though the boot was huge. Personally I didn’t mind the ‘quartic’ steering wheel, though it drew a lot of criticism in road tests from memory.
    My wife never really got on with the rear view, owing to the high waist line and rear spoiler but she didn’t prang it, saving that honour for the VS Statesman which she reversed into a trampoline for the same reasons. (I’m glad it was the Holden 🙂

    Our 1986 SD1 (an Aussie spec VDP) was a bit of a slug unless driven hard, courtesy of its single plenum EFI. British VdP models had the twin plenum borrowed from the Vitesse which I imagine made a significant difference. It also required fitting of an aftermarket camber/castor kit to the front suspension to stop it from chewing out tyres. Getting the car right was a very expensive exercise in the end and we were very glad to trade it in on our first Classic 900.

    Having also owned a P6B I wouldn’t repeat the experience of an SD1. Were I to go down the path of owning another Rover, I’d want to exclude a P5B from the shortlist before commiting to another ‘three-thousand five hundred’.

    With the exception of the Rangie then, and despite their significance in British motoring, I wouldn’t put the Rovers on the same icon platform as some of the other cars on the list, given that there’s room for only 5 cars.

  15. The ‘proper’ Land Rovers, Series 1 through to Defender. Surely THE ultimate british motoring icon?

    Alleged to be the first ‘car’ ever seen by the majority of peoples in developing countries the world over.

    Classless, simple, tough and durable. Also must score highly on longevity and number of decades in continuous production.

    The only choice for number one IMHO.

  16. There are really so many aspects to British car tradition. Should an icon represent:
    -the British empire in its glory?
    -British sportmanship?
    -The UK as origin of industrial revolution?
    -or the demise of its technological superiority?

    Would that mean a RR, a Lotus, Mini, or Rover?

    Maybe the best combination of all the above can be found in the Jaguar XJ series III V12. It would be sort of compromise car, as it is neither as majestic as a Silver Shadow, not as rotten a Rover 3500, nor as ambitous as a Jenssen Interceptor, etc., but it does have it all. Even in its design, it is a decline vis-avis the original XJ, but just a bit so.

  17. When we did the French Iconic Car I stepped outside the box with the Panhard and the Citroen SM. Being originally from England I could not help myself with my pick of the Rover 2000 which was nicknamed the Solihull Citroen. It was built with panels bolted on to a frame rather like a SAAB 96. This car as you will seen in the video was ahead of its time and was exceptionally strong in an accident.

  18. It’s a pity the MKII Jag didn’t make the short list. It’s quite iconic like the British cop show “The Sweeney” in which it often featured.

    BTW, the first series of The Sweeney has just been released on Blu Ray and looks amazing if this YouTube clip is anything to go by:

    Keen eyed Aussies might notice the late Australian actor Ed Devereaux copping a bit of a beating. This certainly wasn’t Skippy!