The timing of Her Majesty’s passing also brings to an end a once-great era for the British Motor industry. At the beginning of her long reign in the early 1950s, the UK boasted more than 50 world-class passenger car makers – from AC to Wolseley – joined by many exceptional commercial vehicle manufacturers too; Scammel, Foden, Bedford, Ford Thames, and so on. A handful of these proud British motoring names thankfully still exist today, such as Rolls-Royce, Bentley, Jaguar, Land Rover, Aston Martin, Vauxhall, MG and Morgan. Sadly, not a single one of these fine marques now survive fully under British ownership. They’re either wholly or mostly owned by overseas rivals or investor groups.
Great British automotive brands such as Rover, Morris, Sunbeam, Triumph, Daimler, Armstrong Siddeley, Hillman, Austin, Jensen, HRG, and Riley, to name but a few, have tragically long since been consigned to the history books. Although a handful of very niche makers such as Alvis and Allard, have been revived to build occasional very costly and limited-volume specialist continuation cars for discerning and wealthy clients.
It is a similar sorry picture for Britain’s once thriving specialist vehicle coachbuilding industry as well. Great British past names such as Gurney & Nutting, James Young, Freestone & Webb, Barker, Abbot’s of Farnham, Avon, plus the once significant makers of specialist coachbuilt vehicles such as hearses (Woodhall Nicholson, Wilcox, etc.) have long since disappeared (as have the majority of British cars they used to use as their mechanical base).