Currently reading: The 100 best British cars ever built
Your votes are in and the list has been compiled – Britain's best-ever car is the original Mini
Jim Holder
3 mins read
18 May 2014

The original Mini is the best British car ever built, according to a survey of Autocar readers.

It comes as little surprise that the original Mini has topped the list of all-time British greats. It’s such an iconic vehicle and represents so much more than the British car industry. The Mini is associated with Great Britain around the world and, in many ways, it was ahead of its time.

But just what constitutes a British car? Cars from Brit-owned firms – Austin, Bristol, Morgan – were shoe-ins. As were models from firms that, like Bentley and Rolls-Royce, have always been based within these shores, but now have foreign owners.

That was the easy bit; for the rest we had to dig deeper. The UK has built its share of duffers, but from them our rich motorsport tradition has alchemised gems such as the Lotus Sunbeam, Chevette HSR and Avenger Tiger.

We included a few curve balls. The Renault Mégane RS 225 raised eyebrows. It was the first complete car by British engineering firm Ricardo, which developed the chassis, brakes, steering, styling and engine upgrades.

And it is perhaps the Renault Mégane that sums up the British car industry best: the world’s most talented engineers making cars the very best they can be.

Meanwhile, the results revealed that Lotus is Britain’s most popular manufacturer of all time, with eight models in the top 100 – more than any other. Hot on the Norfolk-based manufacturer's heels are Jaguar and Ford, both with six models on the list. Aston Martin is up next with five.

Overall, the closest rivals to Sir Alec Issigonis’s original Mini are McLaren’s iconic F1 road car, which placed second on the list, and the Jaguar E-type in third.

Click through our gallery above to find out what comes where, or look through the list below for the results.

Britain's best-ever cars

100. Range Rover Evoque

99. Ginetta G40R

98. Vauxhall Astra

97. Marcos TSO

96. Honda Civic

95. MG A

94. Vauxhall Chevette HSR

93. Triumph Dolomite Sprint

92. Allard J2

91. Honda Jazz

90. Sunbeam Tiger

89. Nissan Juke

88. Invicta Black Prince

87. Noble M12

86. Lotus Carlton

85. Caterham Seven 160

84. Caparo T1

83. Rolls-Royce 10 HP

82. Triumph TR5 PI

81. Radical RXC


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80. Triumph 1300

79. Daimler SP250 'Dart'

78. Morgan 4/4

77. Renault Megane RS 225

76. Noble M600

75. Lotus Sunbeam

74. Morgan Plus 8

73. BAC Mono

72. Gordon-Keeble

71. Austin-Healey Sprite

70. MGB GT

69. Bristol Fighter

68. Ford Cortina 1600E

67. Bowler EXR

66. AC Ace

65. Rolls-Royce Silver Shadow

64. Austin FX4

63. Napier-Railton

62. Caterham Supersport

61. Triumph 2000

60. Jaguar F-type

59. Morgan 3 wheeler

58. Reliant Scimitar

57. TVR Sagaris

56. Ford Escort RS2000

55. Bentley Continental GT

54. Ford Capri RS3100

53. Delorean DMC-12

52. Aston Martin V8

51. Ascari KZ1

50. Aston Martin V12 Vantage S

49. Subaru Impreza WRC

48. Hillman Avenger Tiger

47. Triumph Stag

46. Hillman Imp

45. Lister Storm

44. Rover P5B

43. Lotus Evora

42. Rover P6 3500S

41. Nissan Qashqai

40. Ariel Atom

39. Vauxhall Prince Henry

38. Aston Martin One-77

37. Rover 75

36. Jaguar XJ

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35. Austin Seven

34. Bristol Blenheim

33. Lotus Cortina

32. Austin-Healey 3000

31. Aston Martin Vanquish

30. Lotus Seven

29. Land Rover

28. Jensen-Healey

27. Lotus Esprit

26. MG Midget

25. McLaren 12C

24. Morris Minor

23. Lotus Elan

22. TVR Speed 12

21. Rover SD1

20. TVR Chimaera

19. BMW Mini

18. Bentley Blower

17. Jaguar XF

16. Ford GT40

15. Rolls-Royce Phantom

14. Lotus Elise

13. Jaguar D-type

12. Ford Sierra RS Cosworth

11. Jensen FF

10. Ford Escort Mexico

9. TVR Griffith

8. Aston Martin DB5

7. Jaguar XJ220

6. McLaren P1

5. Yamaha MOTIV.e

4. Range Rover

3. Jaguar E-type

2. McLaren F1

1. Original Mini

"The most British car ever is definitely the original Mini," says Autocar's James Ruppert. "That’s because it was the people’s car. Affordable, innovative and part of the automotive furniture of our great island.

"That’s why the Mini is Britain’s favourite car. And mine."

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7 May 2014
Rover SD1 ahead of Rover P6? Bristol Blenheim ahead of Jaguar XJ? Really?

7 May 2014
Right, I mean the Rover 75 was above the Aston Martin One-77, and how was the Morris Minor that high? Just because a car has a cult following, it doesn't make it good.

27 September 2014
ismail.fisher wrote:

Right, I mean the Rover 75 was above the Aston Martin One-77, and how was the Morris Minor that high? Just because a car has a cult following, it doesn't make it good.

how many people have experience of a rover 75 and how many have experience of an aston martin one-77? i've driven a 75 but i've never even seen a one-77 go by. the reason why cars like the 75 and minor are high on the list is because a lot of people have owned and loved them, whereas most of those who voted for the one-77 or the p1 and suchlike have probably never even seen one on the road. i've not even seen an f1 or xj220 on the road and they're over 20 years old. some people can distinguish between drooling over photos in a magazine and having experience of a car. just because a car is in a poster on a teenager's bedroom wall, it doesn't make it any good.

7 May 2014
Amongst this list are several that were notorious dogs! Definitely "for amusement only".

How many voted by the way?

7 May 2014
This list is a nonsense. Well done to the Mini though... And the XJ220!

7 May 2014
A fine choice mainly because of the significance of it's design.

It was the first popular car with a front wheel drive/transverse engine layout which made it unusual in a rear wheel drive world.

Now, probably 90% of new cars follow this layout. It really does represent one of the turning points of automotive design be it for better or worse.

7 May 2014
No place for the Austin A40! The world's first hatchback surely deserves some recognition. I drove one to Holland, Germany, Austria and Yugoslavia then back to Italy across the Appenines to Rome and back home in 1966 with a tent, spam and baked beans in the back. I'd never been outside UK before so it was a great adventure. With a friend and I think we had £100 between us......

7 May 2014
Nissan Juke - honestly!!!!

7 May 2014
How can this list be taken seriously when the title states 'British' cars and yet there are Honda's, Nissans, Renaults within the list. Sting resides in the US, does that make him American?

7 May 2014
Is this a satirical article? The original Mini was Greek and Ford is American. As for Nissan, Honda and Renault - what nonsense!


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