Land Rover Series 3/Defender
We must have a Landie – English until Ford bought it all in the late 1980s. Rather than find a 1950s Series 1, we should go for a later Series 3, or the coil-sprung 90/110 which became the Defender.
These are not some stamped-out mass-production items. These were all hand-built by blokes and blokesses in Birmingham. Best of all, you can unbolt bits that don’t work any more and bolt on replacement bits. That’s why we love DIY in this country.
The true essence of sports car is right here in the Seven. You can forget about your Ferraris and Porsches, because this is the real, visceral thing: wind and insects in your teeth and hair, no doors and no nonsense. Conclusive proof that you don’t need a blaring and complicated V12 or four-wheel drive to have anything approaching fun.
It’s a pity, though, that the Caterham costs so much. That’s why you should look at what’s up next.
Arguably the best car that MG-Rover ever built, with huge thanks to BMW, of course, and now sensational value for money.
It also looks so very English, because retro is all we have to look forward to these days. Certainly worth buying if you can’t afford to run a Bentley or Jag. The diesel would make sense in the current climate and the top-spec Connoisseur model couldn’t be more comfy.
I was thinking along the lines of the Sherpa van for a while but finally decided that there is nothing more English, despite the huge Chrysler V8 under the bonnet, than Bristol.
They're hand-built, of course, and if you look at the fit and finish of the leather and aluminium panels, it puts so-called premium brands to shame. But then these have always been ferociously expensive vehicles which only become affordable over several decades. Even then, you need deep pockets to pump in petrol and keep it in the manor to which it is entitled.
Is there anything more English than a blower Bentley? Okay, so it’s a turbo, but the immense size and hand-finished quality of it all is very reassuring.
No other country does this over-the-top treatment better, and because it's a classic Bentley, you won’t be regarded as some tasteless Premiership footballer. The early to mid-1990s models were actually more reliable than they had ever been and an old-school Continental would be perfect, but still pricey.
We couldn’t possibly leave out Jags, could we? There is nothing more English than this marque, although the trouble is that the ones made under home rule were awful.
So let's stretch the rules and say that the Ford-financed X300 of 1995 is worth a go, as they finally got the big saloon right. It had the classic feline lines again and a straight six that was even supercharged to produce something (in XJR guise) that could frighten the Germans.
So do you have any suggestions for anything more English? Let me know below