Car manufacture has long since become a global business and we’ve learnt to cherish what marques are produced on our shores, as opposed to which of their companies are British-owned. Small wonder when you consider that the Rolls-Royce, Bentley and Mini brands are now all in German hands, Jaguar and Land Rover belong to the Indians, Lotus and MG to the Chinese, Morgan to the Italians, and Vauxhall to the French.
The first Vauxhall car was made in 1903 by the appropriately-named Vauxhall Iron Works.
Car manufacture has long since become a global business and we’ve learnt to cherish what marques are produced on our shores, as opposed to which of their companies are British-owned. Small wonder when you consider that the Rolls-Royce, Bentley and Mini brands are now all in German hands, Jaguar and Land Rover belong to the Indians, Lotus and MG to the Chinese, Morgan to the Italians, and Vauxhall to the French. There remains much to say about them all, however and, as the oldest surviving of all the makes founded in the UK, we decided to put Vauxhall and its splendid Heritage Collection under the microscope for this issue.
Royal Enfield is another once proud British brand that manufactured motorcycles and (very briefly) cars and is nowadays booming under Indian control. Its most famous product was the Bullet, the current Chennai-made versions of which remain remarkably similar to those produced in Redditch 60 years ago. So, when offered the chance to test an exciting prototype electric motorbike, we couldn’t resist pairing it with a modern petrol-powered Bullet, the model on which it’s based.
The Cooper Car Company’s T43 of 1957 was the first F1 car to have a mid-mounted engine. However, the idea was far from new, as Auto Union had produced such Grand Prix cars back in the ‘30s, and Cooper itself had largely dominated the motorcycle-engined F3 formula of the ‘40s/’50s by placing the engine behind the driver. We decided to recall these tiny cigar-shaped projectiles that arguably spawned the format of virtually all of today’s monoposto racing formulae, and unearthed the talents of such legends as Stirling Moss and Graham Hill.
This edition’s Classic Character is the Hon. Mrs Victor Bruce, who set multiple records in both cars and powerboats before not only embarking on a round-the-world flight only weeks after going solo for the first time, but surviving to tell the tale. Our Missing Moniker on this occasion is the diminutive Peel, recognised by the 2010 Guinness Book of Records as the smallest production car ever made. Add the latest news about British Motor Heritage itself, plus the exploits of its fleet of classic racing cars, and there’s hopefully something of interest for you all.
Classic Character: The Hon. Mrs Victor Bruce (1895-1990)
Record-breaking, racing and rally driver, powerboat racer, pioneering aviatrix and successful business woman, the diminutive Mrs Bruce (née Mildred Mary Petre) was a female way ahead of her time.
Vauxhall’s Griffin: Still Roaring After 116 Years
They say the world only remembers winners, and as Britain’s second-largest-selling car marque for over two decades, Vauxhall’s ongoing success has certainly been somewhat overshadowed by Ford’s long-term dominance of the market. But, unlike Ford, it is a British-born brand and, unlike Ford, is still manufacturing vehicles in England. We decided to reflect on the Griffin’s rich history and its splendid 75-strong Heritage Collection,
(Once) Missing Moniker: Peel Engineering Company
To grossly misquote George Orwell, ‘all microcars are equal, but some are more equal than others’, and the three wheeled Peel P50 has the distinction of being the smallest production car ever made. Penned by Cyril Cannell and built at Peel (hence the name) on the Isle of Man from 1962 to 1964, it was a mere 52.8 inches long and 39 inches wide.
News From BMH
Managing Director John Yea reveals all.
Positively Electrifying – EMC’s Photon
Royal Enfield’s famous Bullet model has the distinction of being in constant production longer than any other model of motorcycle – 86 years. For the last 54 of these it has been made in India, and it is on the current version that Electric Classic Motorcycles (ECM) of Wales has based its Photon – a decidedly eye-catching machine with an enticing blend of period looks and contemporary electric propulsion.
Motoring Classics in Motorsport
British Motor Heritage MD John Yea reports from the cockpit.
Half-Litre Hindsight: We Reflect On The Original Formula 3 Series That Helped Launch The Careers Of Such Future Stars As Stirling Moss And Graham Hill
Following the death of the cycle-car and the continuing rise in the cost of motor racing – has it ever slowed down? – drivers in the mid-‘30s sought a new cheaper approach to the sport. Various tiny groups were formed, specials built and meetings undertaken – most of them illegally! The exception to most of these flash in the pan organisations was CAPA.
About British Motor Heritage
British Motor Heritage
British Motor Heritage Limited was established in 1975 to support owners and the marketplace by putting genuine components for classic British cars back into manufacture, using original tools wherever possible. Since 2001, when the company was acquired from BMW, it has been successfully run as an independently owned company.
British Motor Heritage is the largest organisation of its type in the world. With access to unparalleled knowledge, authentic production information and original drawings and patterns, the company manufactures previously unobtainable body parts for British classic cars.
It occupies a unique position since it assembles 32 derivatives of body shells and has built total production volume of over 7,000 for the MGB, MGR V8, MG Midget, Austin-Healey Sprite, Triumph TR6, Original Mini and Mini Clubman using original press tools and assembly jigs.
Tex Motor Accessories have been manufactured in England for over fifty years, and many of our products are still produced in our factory in Witney on the original tooling.
Since their first appearance on British cars in 1947, Tex products evolved over the years to keep in step with changing car designs. The current range includes wipers and mirrors that were original equipment on a huge range of Austin, Ford, Morris, MG, Triumph, Vauxhall, etc. from 1974 to 1983.
Tex are also major distributors of the Renovo car care product range (specialising in hood refurbishment) and Samco Silicone hose Kits.
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