How Much Do You Know About British Cars?


By: Robin Tyler

6 Min Quiz

Image: JarkkoManty/Pixabay

About This Quiz

There is no doubt that the British know how to make good-looking cars! Some of their offerings are among the most luxurious and coveted in the world, as well.

Just think about it. Brands like Jaguar, MG, Triumph, Morgan, Austin-Healey and Aston Martin are sought after all over the world and have been since their inception. For example, in the 1950s, the majority of the models from British sports car manufacturers were exported overseas, with the United States a popular home for them. 

And when you talk about luxury, the British brands like Rolls-Royce and Bentley reign supreme. After all, Rolls-Royce is the choice of car for world leaders and royalty alike! Without a doubt, the British car industry is steeped in tradition, since the first all-British car was produced just before the turn of the 20th century.

But it wasn't all smooth sailing over the years. Many brands have come and gone while others, even marquee British car makers, have fallen under foreign ownership in recent years.

The question is this. Just how much do you know about British cars, the British car industry and all facts related to it? Enough to ace our British cars quiz?

Well, let's put you to the test, then!

Tally ho! 

From the list below, pick the quintessential James Bond car, please.

Other than the fact that it is the quintessential Bond car, the Aston Martin DB5 certainly is a classic! This luxury grand tourer was only produced between 1963 and 1965 with a little over 1,000 made. It was available as a hardtop and as a convertible.


True or false? In the 1950s, the United Kingdom was the second biggest car manufacturing nation in the world.

The United Kingdom has a rich tradition of car companies and vehicle manufacturing. In the 1950s, only the United States made more vehicles.


Which British automaker is famed for their luxury cars?

Established in 1904 as a partnership between Charles Rolls and Henry Royce, the Rolls-Royce Motor Car Company, now part of the BMW group, is synonymous with luxury. In fact, Rolls-Royce is the car of choice for many monarchs and world leaders.


In 2016, how many cars were made in the United Kingdom?

In 2017, the motoring industry in the United Kingdom produced 1.7 million vehicles. This was an increase of 8.5% over 2016.


When it launched in 1961, the Jaguar E-Type was fast. What speed could it clock?

Known as the Jaguar XK-E in America, the E-type is one of Jaguar's most famous designs. This sports car was built between 1961 and 1975 and was capable of a 0-60 mph time of under 7 seconds. It had a top speed of 150 mph.


How much do you think the UK car industry earned in 2016?

In 2016, the motoring industry in the United Kingdom turned over an impressive £77.5 billion in sales. Up to then, this was the highest sales figure ever achieved.


Which classic British small car was released in 1959? An updated, larger version is produced under the same name today.

In 1959, the Mini Mk 1 was introduced to the world, and what a popular car it proved to be. Over the years, it underwent a number of upgrades, but that distinct Mini appeal never left. The last of these cars rolled off the production line in the late 1990s.


Who is considered the pioneer in motoring in Great Britain?

Frederick Simms is definitely the pioneer of motoring in the United Kingdom. A friend of Gottlieb Daimler, Simms brought a Daimler-based Panhard & Levassor motor car to London in 1895.


The Austin 1100 was an extremely popular car when introduced in 1963. It was designed with the help of which Italian design house?

The design of the Austin 1100 was done in conjunction with Italian design house Pininfarina. Interestingly, this shape was used for many rebadged models under a whole range of manufacturers including Wolseley, MG, Riley and Vanden Plas.


In 2016, how many people did the British motor industry employ?

The British motor industry employed 814,000 people in 2016. And each one of those people were responsible for producing 11.8 vehicles each during the course of the year.


The amalgamation of Rover, Mini, Austin and MG led to the formation of which motoring group?

A British government company, the Rover Group was formed in 1986 when a number of British auto manufacturers including Rover, Mini, Austin and MG combined to form a single company while still producing cars under their own brands.


Which of these cars was described as "looking like an egg" by Morris chairman, William Morris?

The Morris Minor was first manufactured in 1948 and produced for a period of 23 years until 1971. It wasn't a pretty-looking car, but over 1.3 million were made over that period.


True or false? In the 1950s, the United Kingdom was the biggest exporter of cars in the world.

British sports cars have always proved popular all over the world. In the 1950s, models from Jaguar, MG and others were exported to buyers all over the world.


In what year was the classic British off-roader, the Land Rover, introduced?

Maurice Wilks designed the first Land Rover in 1947. Over the years, the Land Rover has become a favorite of many off-road enthusiasts. The Defender model, produced from 1983 to 2016, was perhaps the most popular.


From the list below, can you pick out the British car model with a square steering wheel?

The Austin Allegro was produced between 1972 and 1983. This compact car was available as a 2-door or 4-door saloon or a 3-door estate. And yes, some models did have a square steering wheel for a certain period.


Produced from 2003 to 2005, how many examples of the MG XPower SV sports car were made?

Based on the Qvale Mangusta Italian sports car, the MG XPower SV was mostly made in Italy before it was finished off in London. Powered by a Ford 4.6-liter V8 engine, only 82 were made.


True or false? Vauxhall was once part of the General Motors group.

True. For a period of 92 years, Vauxhall formed part of the General Motors Group. In 2017, that all changed when they were sold to Groupe PSA along with other auto manufacturers, like Opel.


From the list below, pick the famous British 3-wheel car which always seems to tip over in the "Mr. Bean" TV series.

The Reliant Robin was produced from 1972 to 2003. A city car, the Robin's body was manufactured out of fiberglass. The Robin was powered by an 850 cc engine and had a four-speed manual gearbox.


Which James Bond car famously went underwater in a scene from the movie "The Spy Who Loved Me"?

The Lotus Esprit was a British sports car first produced in the 1970s. For the James Bond movie, a number of models were made to allow the Esprit to have submarine-like features. The main vehicle was christened "Wet Nellie."


True or false? Vauxhall and Opel from Germany released exactly the same model cars.

True! Both formed part of the General Motors group until 2017, and essentially Vauxhall cars were rebadged Opel designs. The only change? They were right-hand drive vehicles as opposed to their left-hand drive German cousins.


Carroll Shelby created his famous Cobra motor car by bolting a Ford engine to a chassis from which British automaker?

The brainchild of Carroll Shelby, the Cobra first revved in 1962. Based on a lightweight body that he imported from AC Cars, Shelby bolted a Ford 260 engine to it. And the rest is history! In the years that followed, Shelby bolted even bigger engines to the AC frame, which brought about a car with nimble handling and lots and lots of power.


Of all the Rolls-Royce models ever built, what percentage are still roadworthy?

Incredibly, despite the fact that the company has been making Rolls-Royce vehicles since the early 1900s, it is estimated that 75% of them are still on the road today. That is a testament to the way these luxury cars are constructed.


What is the name of the famous Jaguar hood ornament?

The iconic mascot which appears on the hood of most models is chrome plated and known as "The Leaper." It was first used in 1938.


In what year did Rolls-Royce purchase Bentley?

In 1931, Rolls-Royce secretly bought the ailing Bentley brand. For two years, no new Bentleys were produced, but in 1933, the Bentley 3.5 liter, a sports version of the Rolls-Royce 20/25, saw the light of day.


Which of these British cars is the smallest production car ever built?

The Peel P50, the smallest production car ever built, was made for a period from 1962 to 1965 and again from 2010 to present. It is light enough for the driver to move around, hence it has no reverse gear. The P50 is capable of 45 km/h. An electric model is also available.


From the list below, can you name the earliest model from Rolls-Royce?

Designed by Sir Henry Royce, the 15 hp was produced just during 1905, with six made. It was powered by a 3.0-liter, 3-cylinder engine.


British sports car manufacturer MG has made vehicles since the early 1920s. What does MG stand for?

Cecil Kimber was the founder of MG. He gave the company that name as a thanks to his employer, William Morris, the owner of Morris Garages.


From the list below, identify the British car manufacturer, please.

Jensen Motors was established in 1922. Through the years, they made a number of sports car models including the S-type drophead, Avon Special and the Interceptor. Sadly, the brand ended in 2011.


Can you identify the man who produced what many consider to be the first British car made from only British parts?

After he spent time in the United States and saw the growth of the motor car, Richard Stephens became the first person to produce a car in Britain made of all British parts. He did so in 1897.


Which of these cars, produced in the 1990s, was built by a company active in Formula 1?

In 1992, Formula One team McLaren launched the F1. This high-performance sports car was powered by a 6.2-liter V12 engine that produced over 600 brake horsepower. Interestingly, the engine is lined with 24-karat gold to help with the dispersal of heat.


In 2016, which car segment saw the most sales?

In 2016, the supermini class was the most popular in Great Britain. In fact, the two best sellers in the country, the Ford Fiesta and the Vauxhall Corsa, are in that class.


The most popular car color in the United Kindom in 2016 was?

One in every five cars sold in 2016 in the United Kingdom in 2016 was white. And the next favorite colors? They were black and gray.


Which famous British car brand was formed in 1922?

Formed in 1922 by Sir William Lyons and William Walmsley, the Swallow Sidecar Company was the forerunner to Jaguar. Under the name SS Jaguar, the company then started producing two models, the SS 90 and SS 100.


How many vehicles are registered in the United Kingdom?

Of the 37.5 million vehicles registered on the roads of Great Britain, around 30 million are passenger cars. Interestingly, the 37.5 million registered vehicles is one for every two people in the United Kingdom.


From the list below, name the British vehicle that sold for $5.634 million at auction.

In 2008, a Jaguar E2A sold for $5.6 million at an auction in California. This vehicle is considered a prototype, as it was the model that linked the E-Type and the D-Type Jaguar.


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