Before I’ve even started, I know I’m going to have to justify and defend my list of the most beautiful British cars of all time. Before you get the pitchforks out and light the torches, this list has a few surprises in it in comparison to the usual lists. I’ve tried to be a bit different in an attempt to avoid being, well, boring.
I have also attempted to be slightly more even with the manufacturer choices than the usual lists, as I could have easily filled the 20 places with Jaguar and Aston Martin. I have had to omit my number one choice, the Aston Martin Vulcan, as there are no road legal versions yet.
I have also tried to avoid having two cars that are very similar from the same manufacturer… you’ll see what I mean in the list.
Without further ado, here are my choices for the top 20 most beautiful British cars of all time.
20) LOTUS EUROPA
Some describe it as a hearse, but that doesn’t really do it justice now does it?
19) MORGAN 3-WHEELER
I’m sorry Reliant Robin fans, but this takes the top spot for the three wheelers.
18) MG MGA
At the age of 25, my dad managed to own one of these and pay for the insurance. Today, I can hardly afford to insure myself on a Fiesta EcoBoost for christ sake.
17) BRISTOL 411
I wanted to include the Bristol Fighter, but the beauty factor was lacking slightly, but not with the 411. I know this doesn’t count toward beauty, but it had a 6.3 litre engine, which is just insane.
16) AC COBRA
Who thought putting a 7 litre engine in this was a smart idea? Whoever it was, they are my hero.
15) BENTLEY S2 CONTINENTAL
Is there a classier way to arrive anywhere?
14) ASTON MARTIN DB7
Just as BMW bought into the James Bond franchise, the DB7 was released. Imagine one of these in Goldeneye, and not the 12 second cameo from a BMW Z3. It appeared in Johnny English instead…
13) ROLLS ROYCE PHANTOM I
I had the pleasure of a winter ride in one of these, and it’s still one of my favourite journies of my life so far.
The article actually appeared in Rolls Royce & Bentley Owner’s club magazine… what do you mean you don’t care?
12) JENSEN INTERCEPTOR
Another car we British placed a ridiculous engine in. This time a 7.2 litre engine was sufficient. Look at that rear view though, a stunning derrière. Sorry, that’s French. I meant arse.
11) TRIUMPH TR6
The other car my dad managed to own at my age, whereas I live in London and rented a Zipcar van for a day…
“The blokiest bloke’s car ever built” – James May
10) ASTON MARTIN V8 VANTAGE
If it’s good enough for the only Welsh James Bond, then it is good enough for me. Yes, Timothy Dalton is Welsh I’ll have you know.
9) MCLAREN F1
An incredible achievement engineering-wise, but I don’t see the McLaren F1 enough on the beauty rankings. It is properly gorgeous.
8) LOTUS ELAN +2
As soon as I win the lottery, this is the first car that I will buy. Lightweight, cool and utterly beautiful from all angles.
7) BENTLEY BLOWER
What a beast. A beautiful beast that is. Brian Johnson, the AC/DC singer has one making it the coolest car in the world.
6) AUSTIN HEALEY 3000
Simple and elegant design always works when it’s from Britain. The Healey 3000 is no exception. The Rover 200 is an exception.
5) JAGUAR C-TYPE
This was a split decision between the C-type and D-type. I’ve opted for the C-type as it doesn’t have a massive shark fin.
4) ASTON MARTIN DB6 VOLANTE
Before the DB5 fan club smash down my door, it was the DB5 or the DB6 Volante for the list. I saw Prince Charles’ blue DB6 Volante once, and that as enough to convince me that it is more beautiful than the DB5… just.
3) MCLAREN P1
What’s this modern car doing so far up? Well, sorry folks, the McLaren P1 is here to stay at the top of British car lists, so get used to it. Before you shout at your screen, just glance at the picture again.
2) JAGUAR E-TYPE
2nd place… 2ND PLACE?!
I’m afraid so. It is time to accept that the E-type isn’t the most beautiful British car of all time. It may be more impressive as a car than the number one spot, but for me, the top spot is justified.
Also, the hard-top is more beautiful… there I said it.
1) JAGUAR XK120
It was the XK120 or the XK150 for the list, and I just think the XK120 is that tiny bit more beautiful.
For me the XK120 is the most beautiful British car ever made, and always will be.
Let me know if you agree or disagree with me in the comments below.