Introduction

The story of Britain's motoring heritage

This web site tells the story of Britain's motoring heritage through profiles of private and commercial motor vehicles. Over the last 65 years British companies have produced some of the world's greatest motoring icons. Over the years they have become popular with the British public. We now think of them as part of our British identity.

But what makes one vehicle an icon? Why do we remember one when we forget another? Looking at the motoring icons included on this web site the following reasons stand out.

Popular

We remember certain things because they are around us all the time. We don't necessarily notice them all time. But they are part of our lives. They are there every day. In post-war Britain the Morris Minor became the first British car to exceed sales of one million. By producing a practical small family car, at an affordable price, Morris provided Britons with an inexpensive route to car ownership. That popularity meant generations grew up with a Minor in the family.

Aspirational

Generations of young people have grown up with posters of cars on their bedroom walls. One of the poster cars of the 1960s was the Jaguar E-Type. Jaguar was an exclusive brand. It has produced some of the most beautiful cars in the world. The E-Type was the car of many people's dreams, combining style and performance. The combination of exclusivity and beautiful design has marked the Jaguar E-Type as one of the world's most beautiful cars.

Innovative

Some cars just follow a pattern. Others break the mould. The Mini was one such car. Designer Alec Issigonis produced an innovative space-saving design that could still carry four passengers. The Mini became the car by which all new small cars were measured. Yet few cars can claim to match its clever design and packaging. Over fifty years since the Mini first appeared it remains arguably the finest small car every produced.

Dependable

Some vehicles we come to rely on. They become such a familiar part of our lives that we come to depend on them. On a dark, wintery night, the familar outline of the red Routemaster bus, arriving to take you back to your home after a hard day at work, was a welcome sight. The Routemaster bus served in London for forty-six years, reliably transporting Londoners, and outliving buses introduced to replace it.

In 2006 the Design Museum and the BBC set out to discover the nation's favourite example of British design. There were 25 entries on the shortlist for the 'Great British Design Quest'. The short list included the K2 telephone kiosk, Concorde and the Supermarine Spitfire. Motoring designs featured strongly with four motoring designs included. These were the Aston Martin DB5, the Jaguar E-Type, the Mini and the Routemaster bus.

The profiles within this web site tell the story of a famous British motoring icon. The profiles include a history, technical information and photos of each vehicle. Browse these profiles to learn about some of Britain's motoring greats. See photos and images, and links to online resources of more information.