top of page

The best British-built classic cars ever made


The United Kingdom has a long and proud history of building some of the world's most famous British cars, there's just something about British-built cars that oozes style and class (no, we’re definitely not biased). Over the years, some iconic British cars have been produced, ones that have gone on to become vintage classics loved and treasured by all generations. From classic English cars like Rolls-Royce and Jaguar to more modern creations like McLaren and Land Rover, Britain has produced some truly exceptional cars over the years. We will cover all the best British classics, all of which can be easily converted to electric power.


Here, we take a look at some of the best British cars ever made. These are vehicles that have been icons of British culture and have helped to define what we think of when we think of classic cars. Many of these cars are still in production today, and they continue to be popular among car enthusiasts around the world.


  1. Lotus Elise

  2. Ford Escort MK1

  3. Caterham/Lotus 7

  4. Ford GT40

  5. Range Rover MK1

  6. Mclaren F1

  7. Aston Martin

  8. Land Rover Defender

  9. Jaguar E-Type

  10. Mini


Lotus Elise


The Lotus Elise is a two-seater, rear-wheel-drive sports car that was introduced and launched in 1996 and since then has grown to embody all that Lotus vehicles aspire for. It's one of the best-handling vehicles on the road because it's light, stripped-down, manoeuvrable, and tactile. However, all of that power and pin-sharp performance are detrimental to usability, convenience, and subtlety.


The design of the classic Lotus Elise


The Lotus Elise was designed with the aim of being the lightest and most aerodynamic production car possible. This was achieved by using a bonded aluminium chassis, and a lightweight composite body.


The result was a car that weighed just 725kg. The Elise has since become renowned for its excellent handling characteristics and performance. It is powered by a 1.6-litre four-cylinder engine and can accelerate from 0-60mph in just 5.7 seconds! The Lotus Elise can be converted to electric power, preserving the acceleration and specifics.


When you consider Elise's miniature proportions, it's undeniable that it's one of the most efficient and swift sports cars on the market. The Cup 250 is significantly more concentrated than its predecessor, weighing 14kg lesser. It also has a thorough aero bundle, which allows the car to produce 148kg of downforce at 149mph, resulting in improved high thermal stability and turn-in.


First Generation (1967-1975) Ford Escort Mk1


The Ford Escort is a small family vehicle that Ford of Europe produced from 1968 to 2000. It was a British car that was introduced as a successor for the Anglia at the end of 1967. It could be anything to everyone — a dependable commuter vehicle, a low-cost family runabout, a great first automobile, or a turbocharged pocket rocket that can one day be converted to fully electric. During the 1980s and 1990s, the Escort was consistently the best-selling vehicle in the United Kingdom. Over the span of 33 years, more than 4.1 million Escorts of any and all generations were leased. Ford reintroduced the Escort label in 2014 for a vehicle that is t based on the second-generation Ford Focus and was sold in China.


Classic Ford Escort Development


Consumers in China expressed a desire for a car that is sophisticated – but not pretentious or condescending – while still enabling them to enjoy a sustainable lifestyle that often encompasses friends and family, according to Ford's market research. The front end is accentuated by the extended, jewelled headlamps, which are designed to mimic the lucky figure eight. The vehicle's length was elongated, and the flanks were delicately sculpted to enhance the aesthetic appeal and a natural flow of features, in order to obtain a spacious interior.



While this version was not sold in Australia, it was imported completely manufactured from the UK and marketed in New Zealand throughout 1996 and 1998 in all body styles, such as the van, to replace the Ford Laser. Due to unfavourable currency rates, the hatch and saloon were withdrawn in 1999; this is also why the Laser was relaunched, and the Focus was not released to the New Zealand market till 2003. The Escort estate and van were sold locally until 1999, when supply from the UK ran out, with the estate doing well due to the absence of a substitute Laser wagon following the cessation of local manufacturing of the outmoded 1980s KE Laser wagon in 1996.


Caterham / Lotus Seven


Caterham purchased the rights to construct the Seven in 1973 and has continued to do so ever since, providing buyers with a quintessentially British open-top two-seater sports car adventure. The Seven has steadily grown over the years to give a boost and efficiency while maintaining its classic appearance, but the company's timeline hasn't been without its stumbles.


Classic Lotus Seven Specifics


When Colin Chapman introduced the Lotus Seven in 1957, it was immediately apparent that he had created something special. The nimble and lightweight sports car quickly gained a following among racing drivers and enthusiasts alike, thanks to its excellent handling and simple design. Over the years, the Seven has been through many iterations, but its essential character has remained the same: a lightweight, open-top two-seater with minimalistic styling and superb handling.


It is lightweight as it has the standard 170 models weighing in at just 440kg in its lightest configuration. Despite the fact that its 660cc turbocharged three-cylinder engine only produces 84bhp, it can race from 0-60mph in 6.9 seconds and still has exceptional speed, responding fast and accurately to flicks of the small steering wheel. This beautiful classic can easily be converted to electric power with a little help from us. The little motor creates all the necessary noises, and the rumbling soundscape ensures that you won't be disappointed if you choose the Seven.


The Lotus 7 was designed by Chapman to be a sports car. In September 1957, it was raced at the Brighton Speed Trials while still a prototype, and by the end of 1958, Graham Hill was winning titles with the Coventry Climax-powered Super Seven.' The vehicle has a significant racing history, having been driven and owned by Lotus and Caterham at various moments.


Ford GT40


The Ford GT40 is a Ford-commissioned strength and endurance racing vehicle. It arose from the "Ford Grand Touring" project, an attempt to engage in European long-distance sports car competitions against Ferrari, which won every 24 Hours of Le Man's race between 1960 and 1965. The GT40 was a huge success for Ford, winning all of the races from 1966 to 1969.


Classic Ford GT40 Engine Type


The Ford GT90 concept was launched at the 1995 North American International Auto Event, while Ford unveiled a redesigned GT40 Concept at the 2002 show. While it resembled the original automobiles in look, it was larger, broader, and 3 inches (76 mm) higher than the 40 inches (1020 mm).


The composite body panels are relatively calm, as they were on the original, but instead of the monocoque chassis used in the 1960s, SVT Engineering created an entirely new aluminium spaceframe with extruded sections and panelling. A pair of enormous sills that doubled as fuel reservoirs contributed significantly to the original GT40's chassis rigidity, but the new GT40 depends on a centre-tunnel backbone that dramatically increases entry and departure ease. The suspension system, which consists of unequal-length control arms and a pushrod/bell-crank system working on horizontally placed coil spring/damper units, is an improvement over the originals.



Safir Engineering, a British firm, continued to construct a small number of GT40s (the Mk V) in the 1980s under a deal with Ford's Walter Hayes and J.W. Wilmont. At the time, Automotive Engineering controlled the GT40 brand, and after they finished manufacturing, they sold the leftover components, equipment, concept, and brand to Safir GT40 Spares, Limited, a tiny American firm headquartered in Ohio. For the first 2002 display car, Safir GT40 Spares licensed the use of the GT40 brand to Ford, but when Ford wanted to manufacture the production vehicle, discussions fell through, and the current Ford GT does not have the GT40 badge.


Range Rover Mk1 (Range Rover Classic)


The Land-Rover Range Rover Classic redefined the automobile industry when it was introduced in 1970. This is the first time anyone has ever seen a 4x4 vehicle like this. It was so far ahead of its time that it lasted 25 years, mostly unchanged by its basic principles of beauty, efficiency, manoeuvrability, and outstanding off-road and on-road ability.



Range Rover Mk1 Specialisms


When it was first released in the 1970s, the vehicle has three entrances and a cleanable exterior. Its mix of on-road comfort and mud-plugging efficiency gained its international fame. It evolved into a high-class off-roader with a luxurious interior, causing to generate a wave of competitors.


At the time it first came out, it possessed slick coil-sprung suspension, which set itself apart from the leaf-sprung Type III Land Rovers. Although most consumers preferred powerful V8 petrol engines with automated transmissions, this automobile has a Land Rover 300 TDi petrol engine with a manual gearbox.


It isn't as sleek as the diesel ones, but it has more torque and better fuel efficiency. Even though the bouncy ride and iconic view out across that big hood remain on in the contemporary Range Rover – and therefore we should be grateful for that – the interior has not fared well over time.


The Range Rover Classic was a powerful platform for professional coachbuilders to construct conversion vehicles. Ambulances, 6x4s, roadsters, patrol cars, limos, and open-top wildlife cars are just a few examples of common modifications. While a few coachbuilders used Range Rovers solely for the powertrain and suspension components, most of them kept the acquainted Range Rover styling components while continuing to improve the propeller, transmission, suspension, as well as interior design.


McLaren F1


The McLaren F1 is a sports vehicle created and built by McLaren Cars in the United Kingdom. It is propelled by a BMW S70/2 V12 engine. Chief Engineer Gordon Murray came up with the initial concept. Murray was successful in persuading Ron Dennis to support the initiative. He hired Peter Stevens to create the car's appearance and interiors. The modified XP5 prototype achieved the Guinness World Record for the world's fastest manufacturing automobile on March 31, 1998, achieving 240.1 mph (386.4 km/h), exceeding the modified Jaguar XJ220's record of 217.1 mph (349 km/h) established in 1993.


Classic McLaren F1 Breakdown


Gordon Murray was known for his development model among rising automakers. Featuring minimal weight and tremendous power. This was made out of carbon fibre, gold, titanium, magnesium, and kevlar, among other elevated valuables. The F1 was one of the first cars to be developed with a carbon-fibre unibody.


Gordon Murray insisted on a gas turbine engine for this automobile to improve dependability and driver management. Turbochargers and superchargers boost power, but they also add uncertainty and risk lowering stability. They also cause delay and feedback degradation.


As a result, the driver's ability to retain full engine management is affected. Murray contacted Honda for a 410 kW (550 horsepower; 557 PS) engine plant with a 600 mm (23.6 in) block length and an overall weight of 250 kg (551 lb), which had to be taken from the Formula One power unit used in the then-dominant McLaren/Honda cars. When Honda rejected, Isuzu, who was contemplating a Formula One entry at the time, had a 3.5-litre V12 engine in a Lotus chassis being evaluated. The firm was keen on getting the engine installed in the F1. The designers, on the other hand, desired an engine with a proven design and a racing history.



The F1 is still one of the fastest production models ever manufactured; as of October 2018, only a few automobiles, like the Bugatti Veyron and Bugatti Chiron, can compete with it.

The higher maximum speed machines, on the other hand, all employ forced induction to attain their highest speeds, whilst the McLaren F1 is normally released. The F1 holds the distinction of being the quickest spontaneously aspirated manufactured vehicle in existence. It has retained this record for over 30 years.


Aston Martin


Aston Martin Lagonda, u.k.-based, is a premier sports car and magnificent tourer manufacturer. Its grandfather was invented in 1913 by Lionel Martin and Robert Bamford. It has become associated with luxurious grand touring automobiles in the 1950s and 1960s, as well as with the fictitious character James Bond after his use of a DB5 type in David Brown's 1964 movie Goldfinger. In the United Kingdom, luxury cars have become such a cultural touchstone.


Aston Martin History


With a new edition of the Vantage propelled by the Jaguar AJ-V8 innately produced V8 engine, Aston Martin commenced manufacture of V8-powered automobiles in 2005. The Mercedes-Benz M177 turbo diesel V8 engine has been used by Aston Martin since the DB11 model in 2016. Despite the fact that the Vulcan has been replaced by the Vanquish, Aston Martin has maintained its distinctive attributes of inventiveness, craftsmanship, and flair.


Lionel Martin and Robert Bamford established Aston Martin in 1913 after actually working together as Bamford & Martin to market Singer autos from Callow Street in London, where they also restored GWK and Calthorpe cars. Martin competed in speciality races near Aston Clinton, and the two attempted to build their own vehicles. By attaching a four-cylinder Coventry-Simplex engine onto the body of a 1908 Isotta Fraschini, Martin created the very first Aston Martin.


Land Rover Series / Defender


The Land Rover Defender is a British off-road automobile and pickup truck made by Land Rover. It features a four-wheel initiative and was made in the 1980s from the actual Land Rover Series, which made its premiere at the Amsterdam Show in 1948. Following the launching of the Land Rover Discovery in 1989, the word "Land Rover" became a trademark of a larger brand and so no longer served as the label of a particular model; as a result, in 1990, Land Rover rebranded the 90 and 110 as Defender 90 and Defender 110, respectively. Defender 130 evolved from Defender 127.


Land Rover Defender Specifics


In terms of the overall appearance, there's a throwback to the previous model, but make no mistake: this new 4x4 is absolutely cutting-edge in terms of off-road capability and onboard technology. The Land Rover Defender is also one of the best classic cars to convert to electric.


The dimensions are definitely Defender-like, yet everything is larger, bulkier, and purposefully constructed. Visible screw heads, powder-coated aluminium surfaces, a magnesium bulkhead, and even body-coloured metal strips can be found on the inside. While it doesn't have the same degree of luxury as a Land Rover, it does provide a distinct and polished rawness to the cabin that is as amazing as anything else on the market.

The Defender's engine component involves air suspension, twin-speed gearbox, locking centre and active rear locking diffs, and the manufacturer's newest Terrain Response technology, allowing it to traverse even the most difficult terrain where other 4x4s could flop.


Following the first Gulf War, when US forces determined the British Army's vehicles to be more capable and specifically kitted for operating in urban areas and for airlifting, numerous of the globe's armed forces, including the US, has deployed Land Rover Defender automobiles in a limited capacity. Since the 1950s, the British Army and a number of other countries have used Land Rovers.


Jaguar E-Type


The classic Jaguar E-Type has a long and glorious heritage, featuring three generations of the automobile that was built over a 15-year span. The British sports automobile is widely regarded as one of, the finest sports cars of all time, having been dubbed as the "most beautiful car in the world" by the one and only Enzo Ferrari. It became a symbol of the automotive industry due to its mix of elegance, excellent performance, and competitive cost.


Jaguar E-Type Development & Production


The E-Type was manufactured for 14 years and came in a variety of configurations, notably hardtops and convertibles, lightweight supercars, and an unfortunate four-seater that detracted from the vehicle's overall excellent appearance. In 1971, the E-Type Series 3 was introduced, with a 12-cylinder engine that necessitated a bloated, expanded snout to accommodate it. The Series One E-Types, which had six-cylinder engines and body designs that are the closest to Sayers' illustrations, are now the most valuable E-Types.


The E-Type has a distinct vibe that runs deep. Underneath its lovely curving bodywork is a collection of components that turned it into a classic sports car, equipped with independent rear suspension, a crooning engine, and inboard disc brakes. These brakes were a modern achievement at the time. By relocating the brakes' mass away from the wheel, they were able to lessen the load on the vehicle's chassis.


Mini


From 1959 through 2000, the British Motor Corporation and its successors produced the Mini, a two-door compact city vehicle. The original Mini is regarded as a cultural symbol of 1960s Britain. Its space-saving axial engine and front-wheel driving configuration influenced a number of car manufacturers, enabling occupants and belongings to fill 80% of the vehicle's floor pan. In 1999, it was declared the second-most innovative automobile of the twentieth century.


Mini Engine Type & History


The Mini was built as a monocoque shell with exposed welded seams running down the A and C pillars as well as between the body and the floor pan exterior. To give additional space for the front seat passengers, those that went from the base of the A-pillar to the wheel well were termed as 'everted.' The doors and boot lid hinges were located on the outside. Additionally, a modest amount of cabin space was conserved as a result of this.


There are several petrol engines type to choose from. A MINI One with 101bhp is the entry-level model. The Cooper has a 3.8L three-cylinder engine that produces 134 horsepower and a 3.8L six-cylinder engine that produces 132 horsepower. Both the JCW and the 0-litre variant have 2-litre engines that produce 176 horsepower. It also has 228 horsepower, which is up over the 0-litre model.


Several "special versions" of the Mini were released in the United Kingdom during the 1980s and 1990s, transforming the automobile from a mass-market commodity to a fashionable classic. Perhaps it was because of this image that the Mini became such a valuable asset for BMW, which ultimately purchased the remnants of BMC as the Rover Group. It was considerably more popular in Japan, where it was considered s a vintage icon and inspired many replicas, accounting for over 40,000 Minis produced annually in the early 1990s.


The Best British Classic Cars: Electric car Converts


British cars combine style, sophistication, and class like no other cars on the market. If you've already got a classic car and are looking to take your oldies to the new era - check out our classic to electric conversions, we convert all types of classic cars to electric power!


So, if you're in the market for a 'new' and improved vehicle, be sure to check out Electric Car Converts. If you want to convert your car to electric, tesla power then give us a call, we’ll be happy to chat about converting your classic car to electric power!





50 views0 comments
bottom of page