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9 British Classics

9 British Classics Published: 24th Aug 2017 - 0 Comments - Be the first, contribute now!

9 British Classics
9 British Classics
9 British Classics
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Apart from the Riley and Rover, Britain made many other fine first class travel carriages

Standard saloons

Triumphs in waiting?

Looking like a bloated Beetle, the Vanguard was made during a time when the maker had a much better image than the Triumph name that it recently took over. Boasting the engine that powered the four-cylinder TRs, the Vanguard was advanced for its era. Later, more modern looking replacements that survived before the Triumph 2000 came along also included that six-cylinder engine (Vignale/Luxury Six). All sell for peanuts – five grand max usually.

Humber Hawk, Snipe & Imperial

Vastly underrated

With Rover and Triumph not really into large luxury limos, and Humber not known for small cars, you’re left with the upmarket Hawk (pictured) and the posher Super Snipe and Imperial models. Identified by their quad headlamp frontal and lavish cabins their handling always deterred sporty driving thanks to a pitch-prone handling. But comfort certainly reigns and inside there’s as much wood and leather as you find in a Rolls and are great value.

MG Magnette

Best of the lot?

Launched just after the Rover and Riley, yet in design terms seemed from the distant future, the MG Magnette ZA and ZB is one of the best cars of its generation and a serious Jag Mk1 alternative. Stylish and classy if not fast, their sporty handling that was better than the Jag’s made up for it while the Jaguar-like interior made it a cut above the rest. Later Farinas are not half as good but cheap for what they offer, otherwise you can pay well over 13 grand for a ZA/ZB Magnette with strong attraction.

Ford Zephyr/Zodiac

Jukebox Jivers

Ford replaced the plodding Pilot with its Mk1 Zephyr and Zodiac along with a lower ranking four-cylinder Consul all with their new fangled McPherson strut front suspension making them decidedly advanced for their era while the new six-cylinder engine resulted in some go – and there’s that flamboyant 50’s style! When the range gave way to the finned Mk2, Ford established itself as maker of swish saloons that were right in tune with the rock and roll era and are prized as classics in saloon, estate or fantastic convertible guises.

Vauxhall Wyvern, Velox and Cresta


Anything Ford can do, Vauxhall wanted a rival so the E Series range was introduced a year later in 1951, based upon an old Chevrolet design. Initially, it was the fourcylinder Wyvern (with its strange side opening bonnet for nightmare DIY maintenance) and the posher six-cylinder Velox, but that changed when the former was dropped in favour of the new Victor in 1957 with the Cresta becoming the flamboyant flagship with optional three-tone paintwork and lots of chrome. At the time the Vauxhall was regarded better made than the Fords but now worth buttons compared with the equivalent Essex expresses…

Triumph saloons

Standard bearers

They represented a time when Triumph prided itself on its traditional-built quaintly named ‘Town and Country’ saloons, in this case aluminium bodies upon an ash frame and steel chassis – very Morgan-like. There’s essentially three ranges, the 1800 and 2000 and then later on the Renown which ran from 1948-54. The Renown was much the same, but the body sat on a modified Standard Vanguard chassis and so greatly benefited by its more modern coil spring front suspension. A TR they are not but are charmingly sedate and comfortable cars, if vintage for their era.

Austin Westminster A90-A105

Healey for households

A bigger more plush and powerful Cambridge, with its C ‘six’ engine, the Westminster remains a Healey for households as they shared the same basic engine and running gear. Initially, just 85bhp but progressed to 102bhp. Despite even a Rolls-like Vanden Plas offshoot, Westies remain undistinguished and underrated but fans love ’em and with good reason.

Jaguar MK1

Wish list of one

Surfacing just as the Riley bowed out, the Mk1 kicked off the wonderful range of Jaguar saloons that continues to this day. Only made for four years before the Mk2 took over, Mk1s used to be poor relation but not anymore and values can exceed the later range which sees well over £50,000 for 3.4s meaning the sedate 2.4 is only remotely on price-parirty with this group but even so you are looking at £20,000 for a decent one. Handling, due to its narrow rear axle, is skittish and the drum brakes adequate but there’s a character in Mk1 which the Mk2 lacks.

Wolseley saloons

Alternative MGS

Essentially, straight-laced derivatives of the MG Magnette with the exception of the larger 6/90, itself earlier known as the (twin cam) Riley Pathfinder which replaced the RM, also using the Austin Westminster 2.6 straight six. The 4/44 may look like the MG yet few body parts were shared but it did use the TF-derived 1250cc engine before the later 15/50 fell in line with the MG. Pathfinder was known as ‘Ditchfinder’ due to its wayward handling until later 2.6 came along with its modified rear suspension and is the last true Wolseley. All can be had for under £9K.

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