Autocar readers have voted the original Mini as the best-ever British car. It beat the Range Rover and Jaguar E-Type to the title
Jim Holder
29 August 2012

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


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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

Join the debate


29 August 2012

Jim, you didn't tell us just how many "Autocar Readers" made up this winning vote ?

29 August 2012

...because it's great.

29 August 2012

How have I missed this poll of Autocar readers? I buy the magazine every week (continuously since 1963) and visit the website but don't recall seeing a big notice to 'Vote now'........... 

Mini would have been my number 1 though. E-Type 2, Range Rover 3.

29 August 2012

The original Mini is a worthy winner.

The first Austin 7 of the 20s was my vote.

It was Britain's Model T, made the Clutch - Brake - Accelator layout popular and effectively kickstarted bmw (who seem to fund most UK motoring publications) and Nissan (though not strictly under licence. Brought us gems like the Bluebird and horrible car park ding creators like the qashqow), also more or less behind the creation of Jaguar via the Swallow sidecar rebodying.

29 August 2012

I bought my very first car in May 1962. I was a youthful 22 year old. Yes, it was a tartan red Morriss mini. Had I seen the poll I would have voted for the mini. It was a technological breakthrough.

29 August 2012

Was this just a poll of the Autocar office?  as most readers seem to have missed the opportunuity of voting. However few will argue that the Mini is a worthy winner. Few people of a certain age will not have had contact with an original Mini at some point in their life.   Whilst I never owned one. memories of Mini for me are of being 16 and being given a daily lift to work, with ELO booming in my ears from the rear parcel shelf speakers!     

29 August 2012

From the moment he said...'Sure.....I cut my baby teeth on an 'A' Series piston ring', i knew our struggle with uk based call centre's and plug in diagnostic tools had finally ended. And once again, just like in the movies, MINI found LOVE.....



30 August 2012

My memories of the Mini were of a vehicle which cornered nicely, leaked and had useless brakes. It was sensible always to go around with a spare water pump bypass hose! Nostalgia has rather too much to do with "awards" of this kind and it is only a lucky minority who have the opportunity to sample the epoch making vehicles of a previous generation. Only such people can make an informed judgement and it will still be a subjective one.

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