During a recent Scottish Motor Club event, a visitor asked the question “what cars are there are still British made and British owned?”
We rattled off all sorts of British companies and marques with disappoint results. MG isn’t. Jaguar and Rover are both owned by the Indian company, TATA. For the moment, Vauxhall is owned by General Motors, but part of the German company Opel, which is being courted by both Canadian and Russian concerns. MINI is part of BMW. Aston Martin is Ford, but like Vauxhall, that will probably change. It was all quite confusing, but made for a good conversation.
The only two British made automobiles by British owned companies we could muster are both fairly exotic.
Lotus – a company with race car heritage producing small, lightweight, fiberglass body speedsters with powerful engines that send one making an impression on their seatbacks whenever the accelerator is depressed, and;
Bristol – a company that produced legendary fighter planes during the Second World War that retooled to produce motorcars that are luxurious, powerful and thrilling, all at once.
The Lotus marque – though produced in limited numbers – is sold through a worldwide dealer network, while the Bristol is sold directly by the manufacturer, their only “showroom” of sorts is a storefront in London. There is far more demand for Bristol cars than are cars manufactured; test drives are out of the question.