British Car Brands

Since the dawn of the motoring age, British car companies have been at the pioneering forefront of design, technology and innovation, helping to shape the global automotive landscape. From the enduring to the fleeting, here’s a British car brands list taking in some of the greatest - and lesser-known - British car manufacturers.

Automotive History
14 December 2023

The history of motoring is enriched by the inclusion of British made automobiles, a shining testament to the United Kingdom’s profound and significant influence in the automotive world.

From the earliest days of the four-wheeler, British car makers have etched an indelible mark on the industry’s landscape, seamlessly marrying engineering prowess with aesthetic grandeur. Their illustrious journey has seen brands that shone brightly as well as briefly, and many whose legacies continue to define and reshape the contours of automotive design and functionality.

Over the years, certain British made automobiles have become synonymous with elegance, luxury, speed and practicality. Think of the iconic Aston Martin DB5, immortalised by James Bond, or the timeless beauty of Jaguar’s E-Type, frequently dubbed the most beautiful car ever made. There’s the exquisite majesty of Rolls-Royce and Bentley, and complementing this pantheon of luxury are the workhorses that were – and remain – pivotal to the fabric of Britain’s roads, the Mini, the Morris Minor and the Vauxhall Astra.

Yet, it’s not just the stalwarts that have shaped the British car brands’ legacy. Fleeting marques, though short-lived, have also contributed to the rich tapestry of innovation and style.

Here’s a British car makers list featuring some of the most legendary marques in British history, as well as some that aren’t as famous but are equally important.

British Car Brands List

1965 Aston Martin DB5 (Credit: National Motor Museum/Heritage Images via Getty Images)

Since the early years of the motor industry, there have been hundreds of British car companies. Some are still going strong and some lasted just a matter of months. This list comprises the most famous as well as some of the lesser-known British car manufacturers.

Aston Martin

Founded | 1913 by Robert Bamford and Lionel Martin
Fast Fact | DB stands for David Brown who bought the company for £20,500 in 1947
Notable Cars | 2-Litre Sports, DB4 GT Zagato, DB5, Vanquish, DB11, One-77

Singer Motors

Founded | 1874/5 by George Singer
Fast Fact | By 1930, Singer were one of the three biggest British car manufacturers
Notable Cars | 12/14, Singer Nine, Singer 10, SM Roadster


Founded | 1896 by William Riley Jr
Fast Fact | One of Riley’s first cars was built in secret, against the founder’s wishes
Notable Cars | 17/30, Riley 9, One-Point-Five, Pathfinder, Elf


Founded | 1920s, by Cecil Kimber
Fast Fact | One of the most famous British car makers, MG stands for Morris Garages
Notable Cars | 14/28, TA Midget, MGA, MGB GT, Magnette Mk. III, MG Metro


Founded | 1948 by Colin Chapman
Fast Fact | Stirling Moss won the 1960 Monaco Grand Prix in a Lotus
Notable Cars | Mark I, Seven, Elite, Elan, Esprit, Eclat, Elise, Exige, Evora


Founded | 1919 by Thomas George John
Fast Fact | One of the first British car brands to introduce front-wheel drive
Notable Cars | Speed 20, 4.3-Litre, TD21, Crested Eagle, Silver Crest


Founded | 1952 as a joint venture between BMC and Donald Healey Motor Company
Fast Fact | The company lasted just twenty years but made some astonishing cars
Notable Cars | 100, 100-6, 3000, Sprite


Founded | 1904 by Charles Rolls and Henry Royce
Fast Fact | Rolls-Royce is perhaps the most famous of all the British car companies
Notable Cars | Silver Ghost, Phantom, Silver Cloud, Corniche, Dawn


Founded | 1999 by Lee Noble
Fast Fact | The 650 hp, 4.4-litre twin-turbo V8 M600 is one of the great British cars
Notable Cars | M10, M12 GTO, M400, M14, M600


Founded | 1933, as SS Cars, by William Lyons
Fast Fact | One of the great British car manufacturers had the slogan Grace, Space, Pace
Notable Cars | XK120, XK140, Mark II, E-Type, XJ6, XJ-S, XJ220


Founded | 1899 by brothers Frederick, George & Frank Lanchester
Fast Fact | The first Lanchesters were steered with tillers instead of steering wheels
Notable Cars | Lanchester Ten, Lanchester 38, Lanchester 18, Lanchester Light Six


Founded | 1901 by Herbert Austin
Fast Fact | In 1913, Wolseley was the biggest of all British car makers, selling 3,000 cars
Notable Cars | 12/16, Hornet, 18/85, 1100, Ten, 1500


Founded | 1885 by Siegfried Bettmann as S. Bettmann & Co.
Fast Fact | Triumph is one of the oldest of the British car companies
Notable Cars | 10/20, 2000 Roadster, TR4, TR6, TR7, Spitfire, Herald, Stag

McLaren Cars

Founded | 1985 by Ron Dennis
Fast Fact | The F1 was the world’s fastest production car, reaching 240.1 mph
Notable Cars | F1, 12C, 650S, Senna, Artura, 720S


Founded | 1919 by Walter Owen ‘WO’ Bentley
Fast Fact | Bentleys are some of the world’s most luxurious – and expensive – cars
Notable Cars | 4½ Litre, Speed Six, Continental GT, Turbo, Eight, Bentayga

A Hat Tip To The Many: The Legacy of British Car Brands

1978 Morgan 4/4 (Credit: National Motor Museum/Heritage Images via Getty Images)

While this British car makers list has touched upon some of the luminary names in the British automotive pantheon, it is essential to acknowledge the myriad other brands that have graced the roads over the years.

The famous names that missed out include TVR, Morgan, Caterham, Jensen and Bristol, who crafted some truly outstanding British made automobiles over many decades, and there are plenty of long-forgotten manufacturers like Ascot, Gilburt, Paydell, Lucar and Karminski, who lasted little more than a few months.

Yet each of these British car manufacturers, and the dozens more, whether through groundbreaking designs, innovative engineering feats, or sheer passion for motoring, has played a part in sculpting the industry’s celebrated legacy.

Full List of British Car Brands

1995 McLaren F1 Road Car (Credit: Heritage Images via Getty Images)

  • AC Cars
  • Albion
  • Allard
  • Alvis
  • Arash
  • Ariel
  • Armstrong Siddeley
  • Arrol-Johnston
  • Aston Martin
  • Atalanta
  • Austin
  • Austin-Healey
  • Batten
  • Bayliss-Thomas
  • Bean
  • Beardmore
  • Bedford
  • Belsize
  • Bentley
  • Berkeley
  • Bond
  • Bristol
  • Britannia
  • BSA Cars
  • Buckler
  • Burney
  • Calthorpe
  • Caterham
  • Caterham
  • Clyno
  • Connaught
  • Crossley
  • Crouch
  • Daimler
  • Dellow
  • Dennis
  • Elva
  • Enfield
  • Fairthorpe
  • Frazer Nash
  • Gilbern
  • Ginetta
  • Gordon Murray Automotive
  • Gordon-Keeble
  • Hawk
  • Healey
  • Hillman
  • HRG
  • Humber
  • Invicta
  • Isetta
  • Jaguar
  • Jensen
  • Jowett
  • Lagonda
  • Lanchester
  • Land Rover
  • Lea-Francis
  • Lister
  • Lloyd
  • London EV Company
  • Lotus
  • Marcos
  • Marlin
  • McLaren
  • MG
  • Midas Cars
  • Morgan
  • Morris
  • Napier
  • Noble
  • Ogle
  • Panther
  • Peerless & Warwick
  • Perry
  • Railton
  • Raleigh
  • Reliant
  • Riley
  • Rochdale
  • Rolls-Royce
  • Rover
  • Ruston-Hornsby
  • Singer
  • Southern
  • Standard
  • Star
  • Sunbeam
  • Sunbeam-Talbot
  • Swallow
  • Swift
  • Talbot
  • Thrige
  • Tippen
  • Triking
  • Trojan
  • Turner
  • TVR
  • Ultima
  • Vanden Plas
  • Vauxhall
  • Vernon Derby
  • Vulcan
  • Warwick
  • Wells Motor Cars
  • Wolseley
  • Wrigley


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