Collectable British Vintage Cars

1958 Austin Healey Sprite

Collecting automobiles is an expensive hobby. Not only is there the cost of buying your favourite cars, there are also upkeep costs, potential issues with finding replacement parts, finding space to store them, deciding how often to give in to the temptation of driving your beauties, and of course… insurance.

When it comes to collectable cars, British cars seem to be high on the list. Looking at online ‘Top 10’ lists, you will usually find that there are more British cars included than any other. The British have certainly contributed a fine collection of excellent automobiles.

With all that said, here are five particularly cool vintage British cars.

1958 Austin Healey Sprite

1958 Austin-Healey Sprite Mark 1

In May of 1958, the Sprite was introduced in Monte Carlo. The Sprite was presented as an inexpensive, fun sports car. It came equipped with a mildly modified Austin A-Series motor and several other parts scavenged from established cars in order to reduce costs.

The Sprite’s distinctive headlight placement was another cost cutting move and led to the affectionate nicknames Frogeye in Britain and Bugeye in America.

1958 Austin-Healey Sprite Mark 1

Years Produced                                                                                1958-1961

Body style                                                                                           2-seat roadster

Number built                                                                                     48,987

Wheelbase                                                                                         80”

Engine                                                                                                  0.9L A-Series I4

Maximum horsepower                                                                 43

1956 Rolls Royce Silver Cloud I

All over the world, Rolls Royce is known as the epitome of luxury and grace in automobile design. From 1955 to 1966, the Silver Cloud was the flagship example of iconic Rolls-Royce motor cars.

The car offered a 155 hp 4.9 L 6-cylinder engine with overhead exhaust and automatic transmission as standard. You could also have power steering and air conditioning, but at a top speed of 102 mph, you might not need it.

1956 Rolls Royce Silver Cloud I

Years Produced                                                                                1955-1958

Body style                                                                                           4-door saloon (sedan)

Number built                                                                                     7372

Wheelbase                                                                                         123“

Engine                                                                                                  4.9L I6

1958 MGA Twin Cam

The Twin Cam was an attempt to offer an MGA that was more powerful. In 1958, the special “1600 Twin Cam” was introduced. The engine boasted hemispherical combustion chambers and a 9.9:1 compression ratio. This brought the engine up to an impressive 108 hp and a top speed that could reach more than 110 mph.

The Twin Cam added a whopping $850 ($6839 in 2013 dollars) surcharge to the cost of the car. It also turned out to have a knocking problem when using regular fuel. This led to the car being identified as a heavy oil user and sales ultimately suffered as a result. In 1960, MG stopped production of this nevertheless gorgeous car after manufacturing only 2111 units.

1958 MGA Twin Cam

Years Produced                                                                                1958-1960

Body style                                                                                           2-seat roadster

Number built                                                                                     2111

Wheelbase                                                                                         94“

Engine                                                                                                  Twin cam four-cylinder

Maximum horsepower                                                                 108

1954 Jaguar D-Type

The 1954 Jaguar D-Type makes the list for being one of the most sought after collectable cars. The D-Type was created for racing and it arrived with the groundbreaking innovation of a monocoque chassis which brought with it an important step forward in the application of aerodynamic principles for racing cars.

When Jaguar pulled out of racing, changes to the racers such as an extra door and seat, a full-width windshield and folding top were made to make the cars more consumer friendly.

On February 12, 1957, a fire at the factory destroyed nine out of the estimated 71 vehicles that were in various stages of conversion.

1954 Jaguar D-Type Specifications

Years produced                                                                                1954-1956

Body style                                                                                           Roadster

Number built                                                                                     71

Wheelbase                                                                                         90”

Engine                                                                                                  XK-6, aluminum head with two overhead cams, two valves per                                                                                                                 cylinder, I-6, iron block

Maximum horsepower                                                                 265


1948 Aston Martin DB1

In 1947, Aston Martin had designed a new model dubbed the “Atom,” but the company had no funds to get the car into production. Industrialist David Brown bought the company, and the updated Atom was renamed the DB1 (David Brown first model). The vehicle offered a tube frame chassis with a 2.0-liter, 4-cylinder engine and overhead valves.

The prototype was entered into the Belgian Spa 24-Hour race and the car won the race outright. However, in production the car was heavy and expensive to build, and only 15 were ever made. A unique feature of the DB1 was the spare wheel compartment in a front wing.

1948 Aston Martin DB1 Specifications

Years produced                                                                                1948-1950

Body style                                                                                           2-seat roadster

Number built                                                                                     15

Wheelbase                                                                                         108“

Engine                                                                                                  1.97 liter I4

Maximum horsepower                                                                 90