Last Sunday’s free entry ‘Rule Britannia Sunday’ breakfast club, held at the Goodwood Motor Circuit during Her Majesty The Queen’s Platinum Jubilee celebration, made me realize what an astonishingly wide range of car brands we Brits have been able to enjoy over the decades. (as is the special anniversary parade of iconic British cars through the Mall). Britain is particularly gifted at making small and smart city cars, such as the original 1920s Austin Seven and the subsequent BMC/BL Mini; sports cars, from AC to the Vauxhall VX220, through MG, Lotus, McLaren, Aston Martin and whatever. Then you have large, imposing and formal luxury cars, as optimized by Rolls-Royce, Bentley, Daimler, Bristol, Alvis and many others.
What we Brits aren’t very good at, however, are medium-sized cars. The vehicle types dominated by the Japanese, French and Germans, with their dignified but dull Toyota Carinas, Nissan Bluebirds, Honda Accords, Renault 21s, Peugeot 407s and VW Passats. Sure, we’ve produced some excellent mid-range cars over the years, such as the successful Ford Cortina and Morris Minor, but for every decent family car we made, Britain also produced quite a few ‘gray porridge’ duds. The Morris Marina/Ital, Austin Allegro and A70 Hereford and Hampshire, Hillman Minx and Avenger, Ford Corsair, Vauxhall Viva and Victor, and so on come to mind.