Throughout its year run, it was the first choice for driving schools due to its great visibility and easy-to-use controls, plus its party trick — a 7. Once a licence was obtained, the Herald still made sense as a family car. It was cheap to run and maintain, yet had the look of a miniature American automobile with fins and hooded headlamps. Image 3 of The Astra was good enough to win the European Car of the Year award in , and had an aerodynamic body that looked modern and saved on fuel, too.
To keep up with Ford, Vauxhall offered myriad bodystyles: hatchbacks, vans, estates, convertibles and even a saloon called the Belmont. Despite all this, the Astra never quite caught the Escort in the sales charts — but it got close enough to convince the blue oval that it needed to make more of an effort.
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Image 4 of As tastes and legislation changed, traditional big-engined British sports cars had withered away to virtual extinction by the nineties. The notable exception was TVR. The Blackpool manufacturer bucked the trend for blander, safer cars as it made outrageously styled roadsters complete with meaty V8s.
The Chimaera was developed as a more practical GT version of the Griffith, with softened driving dynamics and a more usable boot. It retained the same Rover-derived V8, soft-top arrangement and questionable build quality. Image 5 of One of them spotted models of a compact SUV which had been created nearly a decade before. BMW immediately saw the potential and ordered that work be restarted. Three years later, the Freelander arrived. A range of bodystyles and engines covered all the market and it was a huge hit.
It stemmed the flow of Japanese rivals with better brand image and surprisingly good off-road ability. The second generation took the brand further upmarket and improved reliability. Image 6 of But in the title belonged to the Jaguar XJ, a model line that has survived unbroken until today. The V12 version added mph performance, too, although it certainly needed both of its distinctive twin fuel tanks to feed its engine.
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The Mk2 came along in with arguably better looks, but it was then built by British Leyland and the quality suffered. Image 7 of Although it eventually became a common sight, the Sierra caused a seismic shock upon its launch. Yet with familiarity the Sierra became a success and started to make its rivals look old-fashioned — even though the car still had a very conventional powertrain.
The image boost was helped by the legendary RS Cosworth, which became famous for its racetrack success and infamous for its magnetism to joyriding thieves. It was a true race car for the road, and remains one of the ultimate eighties icons. Image 8 of Vauxhall watched in envy during the sixties as Morris and Ford chalked up thousands of sales with their Minor and Anglia respectively. The solution was the Viva HA, a conventional-looking saloon that was exceptionally easy to drive, with light controls and good visibility. These attributes made it popular with new drivers and women — a fact Vauxhall made the most of in its advertising.
The Bedford van version of the HA lasted rather longer; huge fleet deals with British Telecom and the Royal Mail kept it in production until Image 9 of However, the reality is a little different. Image 10 of A rival to the BMW 5 Series , it harked back to the glory days when Jaguars were the most beautiful cars on the road. Jaguar designer Ian Callum changed all that when it came to replace the S. Instead of creating a bad pastiche of an old car, he styled something that was seen as being as bold and well proportioned in as the Mk2 was in A smart estate, efficient diesels and a neat facelift have helped the XF become a car that would actually be tempting for a BMW owner.
Image 11 of The idea of a Jaguar SUV would have seemed crazy only a decade ago. The brand was famous for sleek sports cars and saloons, not clunky mud-pluggers. But times change. The F-Pace combined the great dynamics of the saloons with the style of the sports car. It was good enough to be our Car of the Year in Image 12 of In the early eighties, the company car market accounted for a massive chunk of British car purchases. Salesmen and middle managers plied their trade by travelling on the motorways of Britain, mainly in Cortinas. However, the Ford was getting old, the Austin Princess was staid and the Maxi was too weird.
Against these rivals Vauxhall introduced the attractive, front-wheel-drive Cavalier. It offered class-leading economy to keep the expense claims low, and was faster than rivals, too. When Ford launched its radical Sierra in , the market took time to adjust, giving Vauxhall even more time to gain a foothold. The two marques have fought for supremacy in the sector ever since. Image 13 of Rover tends to be remembered these days as a manufacturer of staid cars, but back in the sixties and seventies its designs were really cutting-edge. It was even impressive enough to win the European Car of the Year title in However, the curse of British Leyland struck again.
Models that made it through the strikes fell apart and had to be rebuilt and repainted by dealers. Amazingly, buyers stuck with it, and the car evolved into a respected exec — especially in muscular V8 Vitesse form. Image 14 of The Cobra was also blamed for the imposition of the motorway speed limit in Britain, after a test driver was clocked at mph on the M1 in a race-tuned coupe.
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Image 15 of After a stressful divorce from Rolls-Royce in , Bentley was free to make its own cars rather than merely rebadging Rollers. To help, it had the money and expertise of new owner the Volkswagen Group. The Continental GT was revealed to an eager world in , and in some ways it was controversial. Yet the GT was half the cost of what went before, and faster, more comfortable and better to drive. It hugely boosted sales worldwide. Image 16 of Setting up as a brand new sports car manufacturer in Britain is often seen as a highly efficient way to turn a large fortune into a small one; the list of failed companies is tragically long.
However, Ariel has proven to be an exception. Developed from a university project, the Atom is basically a single-seat racer with an extra seat and the bare minimum to make it road legal. It weighs kg, has a Lotus -engineered chassis and power is from a choice of reliable Honda units. It really is a car unlike anything else. Image 17 of Vauxhall came up with a new bhp, 4. The car was relatively luxurious, too, with innovations such as electric lights and a starter motor.
Image 18 of With a range of successful sports saloons and roadsters to its name, Triumph was in a good position to launch an upmarket four-seater luxury convertible. The Stag had Italian styling, hard and soft-tops, plenty of gadgets and a newly designed V8 under the bonnet. The complex V8 engine constantly broke, usually in a terminal manner, and the car became virtually unsellable. As a result, only 25, examples were produced before the Stag was finally put down in It was just a shame BL chose the wrong engine for it. Image 19 of The car was exquisitely engineered — and to prove this, it was used successfully in reliability trials, which included driving between London and Glasgow 27 times.
Image 20 of It should be a lithe sports car with good looks and great handling, they said, capable of exciting the same passions as the E-Type did upon its launch. A concept model got close to production back in , but never quite made it. Then, in , the enthusiasts finally got their wish.
The new F-Type was small, fast and great to drive. Its styling nodded to the classic E but was also bang up to date.
A coupe arrived a year later and arguably looked even better. Image 21 of In , Jaguar wanted to test and publicise its brand new engine. It took a Mk5 saloon chassis and added a sleek roadster body, then put the car on its London Motor Show stand, and watched as eager customers waved chequebooks at its sales staff. The first customer in line was film star Clark Gable.
The car was replaced in by the equally pretty XK Image 22 of It was a compact, premium SUV that looked incredibly futuristic and had certain lines that linked to one of his earlier designs — the Lotus Elise. Bosses liked the look of it and developed it into the LRX concept. The reaction persuaded them to put it into production — complete with a posh interior and the Range Rover badge to justify its inflated price.
By launch in September , Land Rover had 18, deposits for the car they named Evoque. A year later, the company had sold a huge 80, and there was a lengthy waiting list. Image 23 of In the late fifties, sports cars were big business. It looked gorgeous — except during wet weather, when the very basic rain protection had to be used. Over the years it became more refined and powerful. Image 24 of The two-seat roadster or coupe is now the archetypal classic car, and with good reason.
It helps that parts are easy and cheap to find, too. At its launch in the MGB was quite an innovative design, as it used a monocoque construction instead of the then-traditional separate-chassis set-up. This all helped the car have a long life, and it survived in production until Image 25 of Launched in , it plugged a chasm in the Land Rover range between the utilitarian Defender and upmarket Range Rover. It also went one better than Japanese rivals, being family friendly, spacious, practical and stylish.
The light and airy cabin was the work of Conran consultants, and there was even a seven-seat option.
From these humble beginnings came a great car that may well have saved Land Rover. Image 26 of In the early sixties, car makers across Europe were experimenting with all sorts of innovative technology. But Ford shunned it all for its new car, using tried-and-trusted mechanicals that were cheap to produce and maintain. Private and company motorists alike loved the Cortina — or Consul Cortina, as it was named at its launch in It was easy to drive, comfortable and just the right size for a family. A twin-cam Lotus version became a legend on the track, too, and helped give the car a sexier image.
Image 27 of It brought in hot-shot engineer Alec Issigonis — who also designed the Mini. He conceived a car that would make the owner proud and was also as big inside as larger, more expensive models. The Morris Minor was finally revealed in , and it became. It was made available in two-door, four-door, convertible, estate, van and pick-up bodystyles, and it became the first British car to sell a million examples.
Image 28 of After the brutish and slightly crude Virage , the Vanquish was a revelation. It previewed the VH chassis used in the DB9, making extensive use of bonded aluminium and composite. The sleek looks were the work of Ian Callum, who now pens Jaguars. With comparatively light weight, smooth aerodynamics and a bhp V12, the Vanquish became the first production Aston to top mph.
The only blot on its copybook was an underdeveloped clutchless transmission; most cars have now been converted with conventional boxes. Image 29 of The Ferguson Formula was packed with technology that still seems advanced today. It was the first performance car with four-wheel drive, beating the more famous Audi Quattro by 14 years. It was the first with anti-lock brakes too, using a system that had been developed for aircraft. Image 30 of Image 31 of Disabled Friend.. Family Friendly.. Gourmet and Fin.. Guestline Hotel.. Hotels for Grou.. Hotels In Liver.. Hotels In Scotl..
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