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5 British cars to drive before you die

5 British cars to drive before you die
02 Mini (1959-2000)

02 Mini (1959-2000)

The Mini is like no other car, and it's like no other car will ever be again – and that is only one reason why you must drive one.

Groundbreaking in terms of its packaging and transverse front-wheel-drive layout, which was designed for economy and practicality but bestowed the titchy two-door with hilarious, rollerskate handling and – in Cooper form particularly – surprising brio.

Performance purists will point to the early Cooper S models, but the reality is that all Minis are a driving thrill now that we're entrenched in the era of SUVs, driver detachment and cars-as-cocoons. This much fun is sure to be banned sometime, so get one now.

03 Land Rover (1948-2015)

03 Land Rover (1948-2015)

Created in the immediate post-war era as a basic agricultural vehicle, the Land Rover is one of Britain's biggest automotive success stories and its status as a global icon is sealed.

The silhouette didn't change much in its seven decades of production, but the Land Rover gently evolved to meet the needs of its dedicated followers.

The driving experience of 'The Best 4x4xFar', whether that be a Series 1 or last-of-the-line Defender, is special; you truly feel at one with this car, with trust and respect amplifying the pleasure of carving an imperious path through the countryside.

04 TVR Griffith (1991-2002)

04 TVR Griffith (1991-2002)

The wild card in this list is the TVR Griffith; a fibreglass sportscar from the 1990s. Surely some mistake! No – the Griffith is one of the most beautiful, most brutish, and most British cars ever made.

It dropped jaws when it was unveiled at the 1990 Birmingham Motor Show, and then the production car rumbled menacingly into the showrooms and an icon was born.

Light, torquey Rover-based V8 in the front driving the rear wheels with a light, lithe body draped over it all, the Griffith makes a statement like no other.

A supercar in roadster clothes, a true iron fist in a velvet glove, and the end of an era for British sports cars.

05 McLaren F1 (1992-1998)

05 McLaren F1 (1992-1998)

The battle for top supercar honours between Ferrari, Porsche and Lamborghini was made to look like a silly parlour game when British motorsport concern McLaren dropped the F1 bomb.

Its top speed of 231mph blasted contemporaries into the weeds, as did its single-minded focus on the driving experience.

Featuring a bespoke 6.1-litre BMW V12, gold-lined engine bay, central driving position, and no electronic driver aids to keep it as pure and connected as possible, McLaren's debut road car is an astonishing achievement, and its performance figures still cut the mustard amongst current mega-tech hypercars.