National Historic Motorcar Fleet

Momentous Britain is steeped in classic sports cars. In our youth, all six of us had to squeeze an increasingly impractical and increasingly unreliable 1963 Alfa Romeo Giulia Sprint. In hgis honour, we have created a 'National Historic Motorcar Fleet', which is a motorcar version of the 'National Historic Fleet', which is itself a maritime version of Grade I listed buildings.

Our fleet is specifically for British road cars. It has to be said that road cars have not been Britain's forte. Richard Trevithick invented the road car - steam powered, of course - in the early 19th century. Steam coaches became fairly commonplace in London in the following decades. None survive. Thomas Parker invented the electric road car in the early 1880s and used one to commute to work. It does not survive either.

Most of Britain's subsequent major contributions to road car technology came through the genius of Frederick Lanchester. He filed some 250 patents of which 150 or so were passed. His road car inventions included the disk brake, epicyclic gears, the worm drive transmission, contra-rotating camshafts, stamped steel pistons, piston rings, hollow connecting rods, the torsional vibration damper, and the harmonic balancer. Some of these are on the Lanchester Car No. 2, now on display at the Science Museum, which is arguably the single most important car ever made in Britain. 

Nearly all the subsequent technological innovations and milestones were made in Germany, France and America. The rest of our fleet therefore concentrates on other features: cars or models that have helped the British economy, models that are part of British culture, and road cars that have contributed to Britain's racing car industry. We have only included those that are easily accessible and likely to remain so.

This is our provisional National Historic Motorcar Fleet and where you can find them:

  • Frederick Bremer (1892) @ Vestry House Museum
  • Lanchester Car No 2 (1897) @ London Science Museum
  • Daimler 12hp (1897) @ British Motor Museum
  • Wolseley 3½hp voiturette (1899) @ British Motor Museum
  • Arrol-Johnston 'TT' Model 18 (1901) @ Glasgow Riverside Museum
  • Rover 8hp (1901) @ British Motor Museum
  • Wolseley 10hp tonneau (1901) @ British Motor Museum
  • Napier Gordon Bennett (1903) @ National Motor Museum
  • Siddeley 2-Seater Tourer (1904) @ Brooklands Museum
  • Rolls-Royce (1905) @ Glasgow Riverside Museum
  • Swift 7HP Tourer (1910) @ Coventry Transport Museum
  • Crossley 15 (1912) @ Shuttleworth Collection
  • Morris Oxford 'Bullnose' (1913) @ British Motor Museum
  • Sunbeam 12-14 (1914) @ National Motor Museum
  • Austin 7 Tourer (1923) @ National Motor Museum
  • Clyno Royal Tourer (1924) @ Atwell Wilson Motor Museum
  • Jowett Long 7hp two seater (1927) @ Bradford Industrial Museum
  • Riley 8 (1933) @ National Motor Museum
  • SS Jaguar 100 (1937) @ Lakeland Motoring Museum
  • Austin-Healey 100M (1956) @ National Motor Museum
  • Land Rover Mk 1 (1948) @ British Motor Museum
  • Morris Minor (1948) @ Haynes Motoring Museum
  • Isigonnis Mini (1955) @ National Motor Museum
  • Jaguar E-Type (1961) @ British Motor Museum
  • Ford Anglia (1962) @ Harry Potter World
  • Range Rover MK1 (1996) @ Jaguar Land Rover Factory, Solihul
  • Lotus Esprit (1976) @ Haynes Motoring Museum
  • Aston-Martin DB5 (James Bond) @ London Film Museum
  • McLaren F1