Classic & Vintage

Ranked: Britain’s best classic cars

Brits recently ranked the best classic cars to come from their neck of the woods.

Photo courtesy of Hagerty

Classic car insurer Hagerty put out the call, asking the public to vote on its the best British classic cars of all time. The initial list, compiled in conjunction with a respected panel of automotive journalists, shortlisted 10 models. Then, 1,150 votes were cast by enthusiasts to determine a winner.

Scroll down to see them all.

No. 10 - Jaguar D-Type

Jaguar D-Type

Photo courtesy of Jaguar

The Jaguar D-Type is a slippery sports car, designed to win the 24 Hours of Le Mans in the mid-'50s. Thrilling mechanics aside, the car's styling was airplane-like and honed for speed. That's not why it's best-known, however.

The D-Type was just ramping up production when its factory was engulfed by fire in 1957. Twenty-five of the models were in various stages of completion at the time and the fire destroyed nine of them.

Today versions of the car have sold for nearly $20 million but in the late 50s, by the time it had gone out of fashion, the models were changing hands for as little as $5,000.

No. 9 - Land Rover (Series I)

Land Rover (Series I)

Photo courtesy of Land Rover

Land Rover has long held a place in the heart of true off-roaders. That spark all started with the Land Rover, made by the Rover Company, in 1948 following an introduction at the Amsterdam Motor Show. When it entered production, the model was the first mass-produced civilian four-wheel drive car with doors. That first generation had an 80-inch wheelbase and was powered by a 1.6-liter gasoline engine.

No. 8 - Lotus Elan (MkI)

Peter Sellers And Britt Ekland Lotus Elan

Photo by Jim Gray/Keystone/Hulton Archive/Getty Images

The Lotus Elan was produced starting in 1962 in Cheshunnt, England. It got its power from a 1.6-liter engine and came equipped with four-wheel disc brakes, a four-wheel independent suspension, and rack and pinion steering.

Here, English actor Peter Sellers (1925 - 1980) presents a Lotus Elan to his fiancée, actress Britt Ekland on February 12, 1964.

No. 7 - Ford GT40

Ford GT40

Photo courtesy of Ford Motor Company

Ford may be an American company, but the GT40 MkI, MkII, and MkIII were designed and built in England. It was the GT40 that was part of the famous Ford vs. Ferrari endurance racing battle, and the precursor to the modern Ford GT supercar.

No. 6 - Jaguar XK120

Jaguar XK120

Photo courtesy of Jaguar

When it debuted in 1948, two-seater open-air Jaguar XK120 was Jag's first sports car since the SS 100 ran out of steam nine years earlier. Made in Coventry between 1948 and 1954, the car first featured a wood body but in 1950, that was replaced by steel. Eventually, the model would be available in three body styles and be used for rallying as well as racing.

Male model David Gandy's restored 1954 XK120 is pictured.

No. 5 - Aston Martin DB4 GT

No. 5 - Aston Martin DB4 GT

Photo courtesy of Aston Martin

The DB4GT made its debut in 1959, the grand touring version of the DB4 that was primarily intended as a race car. That year, it won a GT race at the Daily Express Silverstone May meeting, driven by Stirling Moss.

It's shorter than the DB4 by five inches and 185 pounds lighter. The GT has a top speed of 160 mph thanks to its 302-horsepower engine and can go from a standstill to 100 mph and back in 20 seconds.

Just 94 models were made.

No. 4 - Aston Martin DB5

Aston Martin DB5

Photo courtesy of Aston Martin

The Aston Martin DB5 is the first road-going vehicle by the manufacturer to have a 4.0-liter version of Tadek Marek's twin-cam straight-six engine. That power plant was first seen in the Lagonda Rapide and the DP215 race car. It was capable of getting up to 150 mph.

The DB5's owner's manual cautioned the driver: "It is respectfully suggested that the car be driven with extra care until the owner has become thoroughly attuned to its high level of performance … When the response of the car has been measured, it will be proved that the car behaves impeccably and safely."

When it was tested, Motor magazine declared: "We can confirm the makers' implication that the DB5 is an acquired taste, perhaps even disappointing at first to some people, but once savoured to the full, never forgotten and almost impossible to replace."

No. 3 - Mini

vintage Mini Cooper

Photo courtesy of Hagerty

The Mini has its roots squarely in British history. From 1959 to 2000, the model was produced by the British Motor Corporation and assembled in Birmingham. It reached peak acceptance quickly, becoming a staple in fashionable 1960s London thanks in large part to its spacious passenger area. Last year, MINI celebrated its 60th birthday.

No. 2 - Austin-Healey 3000

Austin-Healey 3000

Photo courtesy of Hagerty

This big British sports car came in a variety of models during its run in the late 1950s and 1960s. Despite their popularity in their home country, it wasn't just Brits that were fans of the Austin-Healey 3000. In 1962, nearly 92 percent of the 3000s made were exported, predominately to North America. They were assembled in Abington, England and strutted their stuff on race tracks across the world, winning prizes at major racing circuits.

No. 1 - Jaguar E-Type

Jaguar E-Type

Photo courtesy of Jaguar

There isn't a car like it on the market today. The Jaguar E-Type successfully combined looks, power, performance, and a competitive price tag to quickly race into the hearts of British buyers. It had a top speed of 150 mph and could get from zero to 60 mph in less than seven seconds.

When it was released in 1961, Enzo Ferrari called it, "the most beautiful car ever made."

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The new Z starts at under $40,000.

Nissan

The new Nissan Z is finally here, and the 400-horsepower sports car is hitting the market with a reasonable price. The car starts at just $39,990 before a $1,025 destination charge. That's significantly cheaper than the least expensive Toyota Supra for a car with impressive specs and great style.

2023 Nissan ZThe Z gets a 400-horsepower V6 from Infiniti.Nissan

The 2023 Z comes with a twin-turbocharged 3.0-liter V6 that makes 400 horsepower. It's paired with either a six-speed manual or nine-speed automatic transmission and rear-wheel drive. That's the enthusiast's dream setup, and it's one of few cars available in the U.S. with a manual gearbox. The body is stiffer and features more reinforcements from prior cars, and the steering system now features electric assistance instead of hydraulics. 18-inch wheels are standard and 19-inchers are available.

When it announced the car, Nissan made a point to talk about its retro-inspired styling and classic proportions. The coupe features a sweeping roofline, a distinct front fascia, and is unmistakeably a Z car, through and through. Inside, the car features a three anlog gauges for a classic look, 12.3-inch configurable digital gauge cluster and a 9-inch touchscreen display. The cabin looks upscale and tech-forward, with deep bucket seats.

2023 Nissan ZThe 2023 Z lands this summer. Nissan

Nissan says the new Z will go on sale in summer 2022. Pricing starts at $39,990 for the base Sport trim, $49,990 for the mid-range Performance trim, and $52,990 for the limited-edition range-topping Proto Spec trim.

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Lincoln will not make a performance variant to compete with Cadillac.

Lincoln

TheLincoln Navigator and Cadillac Escalade have been duking it out at the top of luxury SUV rankings for decades, but there’s one area of the Caddy’s development that Lincoln won’t touch. In a recent interview, a company executive told Ford Authority that it has no plans to create a performance variant of the Navigator to compete with the upcoming Escalade V from Cadillac.

2022 Lincoln NavigatorThe new Navigator features several upscale touches and excellent tech. Lincoln

That means the Navigator will stick with the powertrain it’s carried for years, which is a twin-turbocharged 3.5-liter EcoBoost engine that makes 440 horsepower and 510 pound-feet of torque. It’s paired with a smooth ten-speed automatic and either rear- or four-wheel drive. While there’s more than enough power to get the hulking Lincoln moving, it’s not a powertrain that inspires excitement or engagement, and though beefy, it’s tuned much more for comfort and quietness than drama.

Though more than adequate, those specs are a far cry from the numbers we expect from the Escalade V. The full-size bruiser from Cadillac is expected to get a supercharged 6.2-liter V8, similar to the unit seen in the CT5-V Blackwing and Chevrolet Camaro ZL1. We don’t know power numbers yet, but the engine should deliver horsepower and torque numbers in the high 600s.

Cadillac Escalade VThe Escalade V will be massively powerful. Cadillac

That Lincoln is taking a different approach isn’t surprising. The automaker has already announced its intention to go all-electric, so pouring more time and resources into creating a performance gas-powered SUV isn’t in line with its goals. Company executives have also expressed a desire to avoid imitating rivals, so the decision to leave a performance Navigator behind is not surprising.

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