Top 10 rare British vintage cars

When we think of vintage cars, what comes to mind? Most likely something like the Austin 7? But there are also lots of other, rarer vintage cars out there. Vintage cars are those manufactured between 1920 and 1949 and they come in two classes – “pre-war” and “post war”. Numbers are declining as the amount of enthusiasts falls, but without them we wouldn’t have the cars we have today. So in a bid to raise their profile to the level they deserve, we are putting together a section of articles as a tribute. First up, here are our top ten rare British vintage cars. Enjoy!

10. Austin 12 Low Loader Taxi with Jones Body

Austin 12 Low Loader Taxi with Jones Body
The Austin 12 Low Loader Taxi was introduced in 1934, and had a 4 cylinder 1,861cc engine as used in the Austin 12 cars. Most of the taxis where fitted with bodies by Strachan and quite a few have survived. But the Jones body cost an extra £5 and fewer were sold, meaning very few have survived.

9. Alvis Speed 25

Alvis Speed 25
The Alvis Speed 25 was introduced in 1936 and had a 3.5liter straight 6 engine. It was claimed that this car would have a top speed of 100mph, with the speedometer located on the passenger side of the dashboard. Alvis never supplied any of the bodies for the Speed 25. Instead, they were made by coach builders such as Charlesworth, who made the saloon and drophead coupe bodies, and Cross & Ellis who made the tourer body. Very few of these cars where produced, and survival numbers are low.

8. MG VA

Alvis Speed 25
The MG VA was introduced in 1937 and used a tuned Morris TPBG type engine that was also fitted to the Wolseley 12/48 and Morris 12. The MG engine was a 1548 cc straight 4. The VA had three body types: saloon, drophead coupe and tourer. Over the two years of production there were a total of 2,393 sold fitted with bodies. Now there are approximately 392 left in the world.

7. SS 90

SS 90
SS was a former name of Jaguar Cars and in 1935 they made 23 of the SS 90s. The car was derived from the SS 1. There are no known road tests of the SS 90 done by magazines, so there is no independent performance information, but SS claimed it would do 90mph. The SS 90 had a 2633cc straight 6 engine. Figures on how many survive today are proving elusive, so any information on the rate of their survival would be appreciated.

6. Humber 15.9

Humber 15.9
The Humber 15.9 was introduced in 1920 it has a 3liter engine. This car lasted up to 1926 but the name was changed to Humber 15/40. The most popular model of this car was the tourer-bodied version; you could also get a saloon, and doctor’s coupe. The 15.9 came with brakes on the rear only but there is one 1926 Humber 15.9 tourer with 4 wheel brakes on it, with the modification purchased as an extra. This is the only known example with a tourer body to survive with 4 wheel brakes on it. There are very few Humber 15.9’s left in the world.

5. Alvis 4.3

Alvis 4.3
The Alvis 4.3, just as the model name says, had a 4.3liter engine and could exceed 100mph. The 4.3 was introduced in 1937 and production stopped in 1940 with the outbreak of the Second World War. The 4.3 was available as a sports saloon or sporting tourer. There were only 204 made so the survival rate of this car today is likely to be very low indeed.

4. MG SA

MG SA
The MG SA was made from 1936 to 1939. The MG SA had been introduced with a 2288cc engine, but was upgraded to a 2322cc engine in 1937. The only body available on its launch was a saloon, but in April 1936 the Salmons Tickford drophead coupe was introduced and in July 1936 Charlesworth offered a four-door tourer. There was a total production of 2,739 SA’s and there are approximately 339 left in the world today: 93 drophead coupes, 223 saloons and only 23 tourers

3. SS 100

 SS 100
The SS 100 was introduced in 1936 and featured a 2.5liter engine, but that was changed to a 3.5liter engine in 1938. The SS 100 had two body styles: roadster or coupe. Only 198 of the 2.5liter and 116 of the 3.5liter models were made. What would a car like this cost you today, I hear you ask? Well, you wouldn’t get much change out of £700,000. A perfectly restored example and former Pebble Beach concourse-winning 1937 SS Jaguar 100 3.5liter roadster was sold by Gooding & Co on 17 August 2010 at their Pebble Beach auction for an astonishing £666,270.

2. MG WA

MG WA

The MG WA was made between 1938 to 1939 and was at the time the largest and heaviest car the company had built. Although similar to the SA, it had a wider track at the back which allowed the firm to fit a larger body. The WA was the successor to the MG SA. It featured a 2561cc engine and was made as a saloon, Tickford drophead coupe and Charlesworth four-door tourer. There were 369 made, but there are only approximately 60 left in the world today.

1. Humber Super Snipe Tickford drophead coupe

Humber Super Snipe Tickford Drop Head Coupe
The Humber Super Snipe Tickford drophead coupe had a 4086cc straight 6 side-valve engine. The Super Snipe was made from 1949 to 1950 and there were approximately 100 built on the Mk II chassis. Today around 25 survivors are known to the Humber Club. However, less than ten are believed to be in running order.

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