The original Mini has been voted the greatest British car ever made in a poll by Autocar.

The Mini beat opposition from the original Range Rover, which was launched in 1970, inventing a new category of car and that still thrives today, and the Jaguar E-Type, which was launched in 1961 and drew votes on the grounds of beauty, function and value.

The Austin Mini was launched in 1959 and notched up 5.4 million sales during its 41-year lifetime.

The poll was conducted to coincide with the announcement that Britain’s car manufacturing output is set to eclipse its highest ever levels by 2015, thanks to massive investment from car makers in the country.

In total, more than two million cars are expected to be build in Britain in 2015, according to figures from the Society of Motor Manufacturers (SMMT) – more than the 1.92 million made in Britain’s car making heyday in 1970.

Britain’s revival as a car manufacturing force has been fuelled by the success of foreign car makers investing in manufacturing in the country and thriving homegrown manufacturers of more niche vehicles. More than 80% of the 1.34 million cars built in the UK in 2011 were exported.

Jaguar, Land Rover, Honda, Mini, Nissan and Vauxhall have all announced significant investment in expanding their production facilities in the UK during the course of 2012.

The full story of Britain’s greatest car makers and thriving car industry is in this week’s Autocar magazine, on sale Wednesday, August 29.

UK factory production in 2011

1. Nissan - Sunderland - 480.485 cars

2. Land Rover - Halewood/Solihull - 238,237 cars

3 .Mini - Oxford - 191,474

4. Vauxhall - Ellesmere Port - 137,971

5. Toyota - Burnaston - 128,146

6. Honda - Swindon - 97,459

7. Jaguar - Castle Bromwich - 49,932

8. Bentley - Crewe - 7003

9. Aston Martin - Gaydon - 4500

10. Rolls-Royce - Goodwood - 3538