Britain made its name in the world of classic cars in the 1950s with names such as Triumph TR2 sports car launched in1952 and the Sunbeam Alpine a year later. As the decade progressed, another company associated with vintage British cars of the era, Jaguar, rolled out its XK140 and Mk II ranges.
As the British motor industry revived itself following the war restrictions of the 1940s, Sunbeam entered the new decade with the launch of the Alpine. It was a development from the Sunbeam Talbot 80, first rolled out in the late 40s. The Alpine made a name as an excellent rally car, its Mk III 90 model winning the 1955 Monte Carlo rally, but was fazed out that year to be replaced by the Rapier.
Jaguar’s powerful vehicles are readily identified with the classic British cars of the 1950s. Jaguar had launched their XK 120 sports car, with a 3.4 litre engine as early as 1948, but by the early years of the new decade had moved production to the Browns Lane site in Coventry. By 1954 the company had improved on the XK120 with the XK140.
The 1950s were a golden period for Jaguar as they made their name in the world of motor sports. But by the end of the decade they had introduced another car which was to become a classic with the launch of the Mk II saloon.
Joining the ranks of producers of classic British cars of the 1950s is also Ford – albeit its British operation. Models such as the Zodiac, Zephyr and Consul, all British designs, were rolled out during the decade. By 1956 Ford had produced the Mk II versions of these cars.
Other great motoring names of the period are the likes of AC and Austin. AC had produced a 2 litre model by 1950 which came in various body styles. By 1953 they introduced the popular Ace two-seater open topped sports car and by the middle of the decade had added the Aceca Coupe to their range.
During the 1950s Austin were no slouches in producing new models. But one in particular was to become a true British classic. It was none other than the Austin Seven. Launched in1959 it was to become more famously known as the Mini – a model which under its various guises is available to this very day.