A history of British Leyland
29th September, 2021
It's probably fair to say that the name 'British Leyland' conjures up mixed associations these days – pride in the postwar boom years of British motor manufacturing, to be sure, and in some iconic individual cars such as the Range Rover and Jaguar XJ-S; a pride diluted somewhat, however, by memories of crippling 1970s industrial disputes and some models (hello Morris Marina and Austin Allegro!) that didn't set the world alight.
That said, both those cars have started to acquire quite the cult following now. We're happy to provide classic car insurance for a great variety of cars, and these two British stalwarts are as welcome to the 'classic' designation as any other.
The car company can trace its roots back, in fact, to the end of the 19th Century – and takes in a fair few mergers and rebrandings, as well as epoch-defining cars, along the way. Strap in, then, for the British Leyland story.
We can trace the British Leyland story all the way back to 1896, when the Lancashire Steam Motor Company was founded in Leyland, Lancashire. The company's first products included a steam-powered van and lawn mowers: throughout its history until 1968, however, it would be best known for its buses and trucks.
The next few decades saw a plethora of new arrivals into the British motor industry, and the launch of the various names that would later come together as British Leyland.
Our next key date, in fact, is 1904, when the Rover Company – thus far a producer of bicycles and motorcycles – produced its first car, the Rover Eight, from its Coventry factory. The following year, 1905, saw the founding of the Austin Motor Company, as Herbert Austin began car production at a former print works in the village of Longbridge, Worcestershire.
Fast forward to 1912, and we find one William Morris beginning to build cars at his factory, a disused military training college in Oxford.
The 1920s was a busy decade for all these nascent British marques. 1922 witnessed the launch of the Austin Seven, the small car which revolutionised the British car market – it was the first affordable car for many families. That same year, the Swallow Sidecar Company was founded in Blackpool, producing motorcycle sidecars and later passenger car bodies. We'll come back to them in a minute…
In 1923, meanwhile, Coventry's Triumph, which had been turning out bicycles for almost two decades, manufactured its first car, the 10/20. Coventry played a huge part in Britain's car industry for decades – we looked at a few iconic Coventry cars.
This was a busy decade, meanwhile, for Oxford's Morris Motors, which by 1925 was responsible for 42 per cent of British car manufacture. The previous year, Morris employee Cecil Kimber began building sporting versions of Morris cars, labelling them MG – these were such a success that, very soon, they needed their own factory, at Abingdon just south of Oxford.
Mergers and acquisitions: 1930-1968
As we head into the 1930s, mergers, acquisitions and name changes start to proliferate, and the beginnings of the future British Leyland start to appear. During that decade, for example, Morris Motors acquired the British marques Wolseley (1935) and Riley (1938).
By 1945 S.S. Cars, now based in Coventry, had become Jaguar Cars, while 1946 saw Austin producing its millionth car (an Austin Sixteen). Talking of millions, Austin's rival Morris made a key breakthrough in 1948 with the introduction of the Morris Minor economy car: between 1948 and 1972, 1.6 million Minors would be produced.
In fact, Britain's postwar motoring landscape looked healthy. In the years after the Second World War, Britain could proudly proclaim itself Europe's biggest car maker – in 1950, Britain was the world's second largest producer (after the US) and biggest exporter. In particular, the MG, Jaguar, Rover and Rolls-Royce marques carried huge prestige, symbols of Britain's engineering know-how and industrial clout.
In 1952 Austin and Morris joined forces, creating the British Motor Corporation – a British car giant that aimed to rival Ford. Probably the key car to emerge from the BMC era was 1959's Mini, a hugely successful and iconic small car – though we shouldn't ignore the huge-selling Austin / Morris 1100.
The 1960s was a time for mergers, culminating in the creation of British Leyland itself. The decade began with Leyland Motors' acquisition of the Triumph Motor Company in 1960; Leyland's second acquisition of the decade, and its last under its own name, would be the acquisition of Rover in 1967.
On the other side of the soon-to-be British Leyland divide, in 1966 BMC (Austin and Morris as was) merged with Jaguar to form British Motor Holdings.
The wider 1960s picture, though, was of Britain's once-dominant automotive industry being overtaken by those of the US, France, and Germany.
Strikes and range overcrowding: British Leyland, 1968-1979
Harold Wilson's Labour Government of 1964-70 believed that the way to reassert Britain's automotive dominance was via the amalgamation of some of our major motoring marques. And so, in 1967 Tony Benn, chair of the Industrial Reorganisation Committee, encouraged Britain's big two, Leyland Motors (now owners of Triumph and Rover, and still a successful producer of lorries and buses) and British Motor Holdings (Austin, Morris, MG and now Jaguar) to merge.
The architects behind the merger hoped to generate a motoring powerhouse that could turn out more than a million cars a year – and thus allow Britain's car sector to take on the American-owned Ford and Vauxhall. Or, to look at it another way, that the amalgamation of various marques under one umbrella would give us something like a 'British General Motors'.
British Leyland Motor Company came into existence on 17th January 1968. The merger combined most of the remaining independent British car manufacturing companies and included car, bus, and truck makers, themselves at the centre of a diverse range of products from construction equipment to refrigerators – taking in nearly 100 companies in all.
Under its new chairman Sir Donald Stokes (previously chairman of Leyland), the new conglomerate had seven divisions, including Austin-Morris for the high-volume car marques (Austin, Morris, MG, Riley, and Wolseley). Then there was the Specialist Division, which was more the former Leyland side of things – the sports/luxury marques such as Leyland's Rover, Land Rover, Alvis and Triumph, and BMH's Jaguar.
Other arms included Leyland Truck and Bus, the original commercial vehicles business; and Pressed Steel Fisher (PSF), which made car body shells for both BLMC and other manufacturers.
BMH was the UK's largest car manufacturer at the time, making over twice as many cars as its Leyland partner – but the former's offerings, including the now 20-year-old Morris Minor and 1959's Austin Cambridge / Morris Oxford pair, were dated.
It had enjoyed some success with the Mini and the Austin 1100/1300 (aka 'land crab'), but both of these models were underpriced and had generated large warranty costs, eating into their profitability. Without enough exciting new models, BMH's UK market share dropped to 27% in 1967, the same year the company announced a £3 million loss.
Be that as it may, in 1968 the British Leyland plant at Longbridge was the world's biggest car plant, employing about 250,000 people. The newly-formed British Leyland controlled 40% of the UK car market. But there were problems from the start: the Longbridge factories were over-staffed, while the model range was ageing – and also featured too much duplication and crossover.
Cars such as the Morris Marina, Wolseley Six, Triumph Dolomite and Austin Maxi were all direct competitors, all coming out of the same factory.
Another big challenge was industrial action. Production regularly ground to a standstill because of mass walkouts as the unions wrangled over pay and conditions.
By 1975, British Leyland was facing collapse, and Harold Wilson's second Government saved it with £2.4bn of public money. The National Enterprise Board took control of BL, planning to get the company back in the black by 1981.
It was a hugely expensive bailout – but the only alternative would have been the closure of British Leyland, and the loss of tens of thousands of jobs across the Midlands – most of them in marginal seats that Labour either held with a slim majority, or felt they could win, and thus where votes were hugely valuable.
So, British Leyland came under state ownership, and when a new Austin, Mini or Rover came out, it wasn't just the board of directors watching the sales graphs – but the UK Government too. 'Buy British' was the mantra – even if the suspicion was that the likes of the Marina and Allegro were not the best options out there.
For one thing, a lot of that cash, which was supposed to be earmarked for product development, was spent on trying to keep the strikes under control.
1977 saw some fairly brutal spring cleaning at the company, as the South African businessman Michael Edwardes was brought in by the Government to streamline the overstaffed, underperforming company.
Edwardes moved or sacked hundreds of senior managers, advised that 12,000 jobs would have to be cut from the workforce, and in 1978 closed BL's factory at Speke in Liverpool – Britain's first large car factory closure since 1948. That year also saw British Leyland's rebranding as the more concise BL.
Tie-ins and takeovers: 1979-2005
Hopeful signs appeared on the horizon in 1979, when BL entered a new deal with Japan's uber-reliable Honda. The latter were to supply their Ballade saloon cars in kit form: these would be assembled at the Cowley plant in Oxford (the original Morris Motors plant) and rebadged as the Triumph Acclaim, the replacement for the popular Triumph Dolomite.
BL and Honda also announced a joint venture of small and medium cars for the 1990s. The new models would be badged as the Rover 200 and 400 hatchbacks (aka Honda Concerto), 600 family saloon (Accord) and 800 exec saloon (aka Honda Legend).
BL's fortunes got a boost in 1980 with the launch of the Austin Metro (initially named the Mini Metro), a modern, practical update on the much-loved but ageing Mini. This went on to be one of the most popular cars in Britain in the 1980s, and was joined by its fellow Austins, the Maestro hatchback and Montego saloon.
We're getting towards the end of the British Leyland story now, though, and in 1982 the mass-market car-producing arm of BL (i.e. the Austin, Morris, Jaguar, Rover and Triumph marques) was rebranded as Austin-Rover, the British Leyland name having become tainted in the public eye by the 1970s' industrial unrest and some underwhelming models.
The Morris marque breathed its last in 1984 with the retirement of the Marina's update, the Ital: the Acclaim, which also bowed out in 1984, was the last car to bear the Triumph name.
Austin, Rover and MG were now the remaining marques under the Austin-Rover umbrella.
The wider British Leyland company ceased to exist in 1986, when it was renamed as the Rover Group. This group, in turn, became a subsidiary of British Aerospace (BAe) from 1988 to 1994. Then, in 1994, BMW bought 80 per cent of the Rover Group from BAe (allowing it, most significantly, to produce the hugely successful second iteration of the Mini).
The last surviving incarnation of the company, the MG Rover Group, went into administration in 2005 – the final straw for mass car production by British-owned manufacturers.
And which of the original British Leyland marques survive to this day? Those would be Jaguar and Land Rover, now built by Jaguar Land Rover and both thriving; MG, now built by MG Motor; and Mini, now built by BMW. Leyland, now under the Paccar umbrella, continues to build trucks.
So there it is: a whistlestop journey through the British Leyland story. An eventful and sometimes complex tale of mergers and rebrandings, yet also a reminder of a time when a huge number of the cars seen on Britain's roads had come out of our own factories. And yes, there were some automotive near-misses along the way – but there were some great cars to come out of the BL stable too. Speaking of which…
Five British Leyland cars to be proud of
MG MGB (1962-1980)
Great-looking, fun to drive, affordable wind-in-your-hair motoring: think 'classic roadster' and it's likely the brilliant, perennially popular MGB that springs to mind. The MGB is one of the cars for which we most often provide classic car insurance – and yes, MGB drivers, we totally commend your choice.
Austin / Morris 1100 (1963-74)
Its cuter sibling, the Mini, might be seen to epitomise the Swinging 60s – but Britain's best-selling car from 1663-66 and 1968-71, was the less distinctive but well-loved 1100.
Range Rover (1969-96)
Something of which the British car industry can be hugely proud: a revolutionary mix of upmarket interior and go-anywhere abilities, and an influence on SUVs and crossovers to this day.
Jaguar XJ12 (1972-73)
Or, what happens when you take an already-brilliant sporting saloon (the 1968 XJ6) and cram 12 cylinders under the bonnet. A beautifully refined, monstrously quick luxury saloon, and a fair bit cheaper than Italian rivals.
Triumph Dolomite Sprint (1973-80)
The Dolomite was a great car in its own right – an elegant, fine-driving sporting saloon. Triumph wanted a bit more fizz under the bonnet, though, to rival the likes of the BMW 2002 – and so the Sprint was born, with its two-litre, 16-valve engine. How Many Left tells us that there are still 303 Sprints fizzing around Britain's road network – all underpinned, we hope, by the classic car insurance they deserve.
Classic car insurance to suit you
These are just a handful of the cars from British Leyland's history that we can take pride in. If you're the lucky owner of any of these BL icons, we like to think that you'll be protecting your slice of British automotive history with some good classic car insurance.
With our 35 years of experience in the classic car insurance field, we can certainly help. Contact us today for a quote.
Policy benefits, features and discounts offered may very between insurance schemes or cover selected and are subject to underwriting criteria. Information contained within this article is accurate at the time of publishing but may be subject to change.
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Rallying's 1980s and 1990s heyday produced a whole new type of performance car: the homologation special. These were road-going versions of the snarling rally champions that their makers had to produce in sufficient numbers for the latter to qualify for racing.Classic Hondas we love
Something similar can be said of Honda, which in its relatively short history (it only properly came into being in 1949) has dedicated itself to some quite brilliant feats of engineering, whether out on the F1 track or in the car showroom.20 amazing locations for classic car photoshoots
You love your classic and you want to document – and show off to others – just how beautiful and iconic it is. Beyond presenting it in the metal, some beautiful photos are the next best thing.THE ROVER 75 REVISITED
The 75 seems to be starting to disappear from our roads; to see one parked outside of the local post office is to perform a slight double-take. It is also too easy to forget that they made their bow twenty-three years ago.
14 December 2021
During the first Lockdown, this writer watched many car-related films and too much daytime television. The latter gave me a lifelong aversion to most chat shows, while the former led me to ponder; would the plot have worked in a British production?THE BEST OF THE CORGI 007 CARS
Or, which of these three die-cast models would you have wished for on Christmas Day?
09 December 2021
We've said it before and we'll say it again: French cars are big on style. For much of its history, though, Peugeot was perhaps the exception that proved the rule: many a 1950s, 1960s or 1970s Peugeot was more about practicality than panache.
08 December 2021
In the case of a car that's getting regular use, the alternator plays the crucial role of maintaining a near-full state of charge – but for a car that's getting less use, and a battery that's been allowed to run down, the alternator won't be much use.Is it worth buying a classic write-off?
Without thinking for too long, give us your definition of a 'write-off'. It's probably something like: a car that’s been involved in an accident and has been left completely undriveable, fit only for the scrapyard.
07 December 2021
So, you want to combine two of your life passions: dogs and classic cars. Specifically, you want a classic car that has plenty of vintage appeal but that also provides a safe and enjoyable ride for your beloved canine.
06 December 2021
What compiling a list of cars that now appear to have almost vanished, one question kept recurring to this writer - i.e. when I did last see a Primera? In fact, it comes as a faint surprise to recall that Nissan displayed the prototype at the 1989 Tokyo Motor Show as the Primera always seems a car associated with the ‘nineties, a vehicle for the John Major years as opposed to the late Margaret Thatcher era.THE ITC WHITE JAGUAR; A CELEBRATION
As many readers know, ITC was the television production company that specialised in men of mystery pursuing fez-wearing villains across ‘Somewhere foreign’ (aka the Elstree Studios car park).MEET THE OWNER; STUART COOKE AND HIS EX HAMPSHIRE CONSTABULARY ROVER P6B 3500S
Any police Rover P6B is automatically a very special vehicle, but HBK 875N once served as Earl Mountbatten of Burma’s official staff car on the Isle of Wight. Wadham Stringer (Portsea) Ltd.
03 December 2021
It could almost be 1978 again, for this forty-three-year-old Ford Fiesta L on sale by Performance and Prestige Vehicle Solutions Ltd. has covered just 141 miles since new. In 1981 it was donated to the Science Museum, forming part of their displays until 2017.THE ORIGINAL TOYOTA CELICA; A CELEBRATION
One of the many highlights of this year’s Lancaster Insurance Classic Motor Show was the opportunity to marvel at the first-generation Celica. In the early seventies, the Toyota appeared to stand apart from the offered Ford Capri Mk. I, Sunbeam Rapier, Vauxhall Firenza or MGB GT, a scaled-down Mustang for a very reasonable price. And that was precisely its raison d’être.
02 December 2021
Mazda's MX-5 drop-top made huge waves on its launch in 1989, and its four generations have found legions of admirers worldwide ever since. Its combination of lightweight driving thrills, reliability and affordability have made the MX-5 a much-loved acquisition, both new and used. So, could an MX-5 work for you – and if so, which one?How to buy a classic Saab 900
With their bulletproof bodywork, strong performance, and design cues niftily borrowed from their fighter aircraft siblings, Saabs have always offered something a little different to the discerning driver.The Cars of Cannonball Run
When it came out in 1981, the action comedy film The Cannonball Run was a huge box-office success. And it's not at all hard to see why – the film’s combination of an all-star cast, a simple but exciting storyline (an illegal road race across America) and some of the most desirable cars of its era more or less guaranteed huge ticket sales.Do's and dont's of classic barn finds
Like many other vintage motoring fans, the news about 174 classic cars being revealed in a massive North London warehouse got us properly excited here at Lancaster. Standout cars from the enormous haul of vehicles included a Triumph Stag, several vintage VW campers, a handful of R107 Mercedes SL convertibles and a lovely BMW 2002, the 3 Series' 1970s predecessor.
29 November 2021
The TT has since been through three generations, each time available as both a 2+2 coupé and roadster, and in a variety of engines from a perfectly capable 1.8-litre four-cylinder, up to a 3.2-litre V6.
26 November 2021
Christmas Club of the Month this December visits the XJS Club, an odyssey to the great grand tourer with a membership stretching all over the globe, where the star is very much the car!Duel at fifty
After a hearty festive meal, chances are this Christmas, you’ll settle down by the fire to enjoy a movie. If you’re spoilt for choice why not try this one, which made the name of one of the most famous directors in history, Steven Spielberg.Congratulations to this year’s Lancaster Insurance Pride of Ownership winner!
Another main event at the Lancaster Insurance Classic Motor Show this year was the Lancaster Pride of Ownership stand, showcasing the best classic cars in competition and celebrating the rarest and most cherished vehicles.TOP TEN DINKY TOYS
At Lancaster Insurance we’re hoping every classic enthusiast gets all they wish for under the tree this Christmas, but if you can’t squeeze a Ferrari 250 GTO next to the boxes of mince pies, why not try these for an extra special stocking filler?We’re getting serious about salvage this Christmas, so you don’t have to say goodbye…
This Christmas, why not treat yourself to a fantastic new Lancaster deal that could mean you save your classic car, should the very worst happen. Thanks to a fabulous new policy add-on, if your classic is categorised as a total loss, you are now NOT ONLY paid out on your written off car, but you’ll also be FULLY reimbursed if you buy back the salvage.
25 November 2021
Nestled just a few miles off the French coast, but decidedly British in feel, the island of Jersey makes an excellent weekend or week-long break. What’s more, a classic car is the very best way to take in its charms.
18 November 2021
What a weekend our ‘Great British Road Trip’ to the 2021 Lancaster Insurance Classic Motor Show turned out to be! The event, which took place on 12th – 14th November, was attended by around 63,000 enthusiasts over the three days, marking a triumphant return after last year’s postponement due to Covid.Campervan owners’ guide to Newquay
Summing up the appeal of the seaside town, Cornwall Live says Newquay “has long been a firm favourite with holidaymakers thanks to its beaches, from the breath-taking sandy shores of Lusty Glaze to the surfer's paradise Fistral Beach”.
17 November 2021
It might be your favourite family hatchback, born in the 1970s and now into its eighth generation. Or it could be an iconic design from the 1950s that got a cute modern reinterpretation for the 21st Century.10 of the best grand tourers
Run your eyes down any of those '50 most beautiful cars of all time' lists, and you'll find that most of the models included fit into one of two categories: sports cars and grand tourers.Our 50 favourite classics of all time
Contentious? Probably. Subjective? Utterly. Chock full of the most memorable cars in automotive history? Most certainly. Strap in for our list of 50 favourite classics of all time...10 bargain roadsters ready for next summer
Next summer is still a little way off, which makes now the perfect time to invest in an affordable two-seater convertible...10 things you need to know about campervan insurance
From 'will I be covered for driving on the Continent?' to 'what exactly is covered in my policy?', we bet you've got a few questions when it comes to taking out a specialist campervan insurance policy.
16 November 2021
Even if you’re not familiar with the classic Mercedes slogan – the best or nothing – you’ll know that the name has become synonymous with style, luxury and reliability. The S-Class series has long been a long-running Rolls Royce rival, while the SL dynasty of roadsters has been responsible for some of the most elegant soft-top cars in automotive history.
15 November 2021
The definition of a brilliant driving road can come down to a few different factors. Some routes are the products of some truly stunning feats of engineering, of the heroic ways in which humanity has pitted itself against nature.TOP FIVE LONDON MOTOR SHOWS
Autumn is traditionally the motor show season, and from 1937 until 1976, the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders favoured Earls Court. Here are five of the London events that this writer wished he were old enough to have seen in person...MEET THE OWNER: ROY HEDGER AND HIS CHRYSLER SUNBEAM
On Saturday 23 July 1977, ITV viewers were treated to a new commercial in the commercial break of Mr and Mrs. None other than Petula Clark informed the world that the Chrysler Sunbeam would “put a smile on your face”...Campervan adventures to have this autumn
While those warm, sunny months are now very much in the rear-view mirror, autumn has plenty going for it – namely Halloween, Bonfire Night and a whole host of Christmas festivities! It also represents one more opportunity to get out in your campervan before the year is out and winter takes hold.
11 November 2021
When the British Leyland Motor Corporation launched the Clubman in October of 1969, the copywriters worked overtime. There were references aplenty to its size, not to mention “For the first time a Mini has wind up windows in padded doors”, which was slightly economical with the truth.
10 November 2021
The overseas marketing of a British car under a different name is a widespread phenomenon. US motorists were offered the ‘Austin Marina’ and Triumph badged Standards while Chrysler promoted the Hillman Avenger as the ‘Plymouth Cricket’.
09 November 2021
Like some other classic car brands – hello Triumph, Rover, Peugeot – the Czech automotive giant Skoda started out producing bicycles. For much of the 20th Century, however, Skoda produced a series of well-liked, affordable cars for the Czech domestic market and beyond.Our top 10 ‘must do’ Classic Motor Show activities!
There’s only two more days to go until the Lancaster Insurance Classic Motor Show 2021 opens this Friday 12th November. To help you decide whether or not to book a last minute ticket for the event , we’ve compiled our top 10 list of activities that will be taking place at the show over the weekend...Road Trip Ready with Art by Bex’s RETRO MINI HIRE
Rebecca East, known as Bex from Art by Bex is well-known as a talented Artist of Iconic Cars.
08 November 2021
As the headline sponsor of the championship, we share a race report for the final meeting of the season. For the final meeting of the season, the drivers made the long journey down the M4 for our first visit to Pembrey since 2019.How to plan a Cotswold road trip
The Cotswolds would seem made for a road trip in a classic car. For one thing, it is – like your beloved classic itself – a beautiful and relatively unspoilt corner of England, where traditions (and we'll come to a few of those later) continue year after year.DO YOU REMEMBER THE ORIGINAL PROTON?
The 1988 Motor Show at the NEC marked the arrival of a new marque to British motorists, albeit one whose products resembled a 1983 Mitsubishi Lancer Fiore. Here was a car that promised “Japanese Technology, Malaysian Style”, at a very reasonable price.MEET THE OWNER – DON WAKENSHAW AND HIS LEYLAND MARINA SIX
One of the rarest versions of the Morris Marina was never available in the UK. 1973 saw the Australian-built Red Six debut, with power from a 2.6-litre version of the E-Series engine. Today, Don, who resides in New Zealand, owns a very rare example of one of BL’s most intriguing models.
05 November 2021
Lancaster Insurance will embrace the post Covid state of excitement amongst classic car enthusiasts from all over the world, as the Lancaster Insurance Classic Motor Show with discovery+,hits the NEC this November.Celebrating the iconic Mini Cooper
If any car sums up the sheer joy, excitement and pure fun associated with owning a classic vehicle, then surely the Mini Cooper is right at the top of the list. The iconic ‘60’s racer immortalised in the 1969 Michael Caine caper, The Italian Job, has delighted fans and owners alike on the open roads and on the racetrack for more than 60 years.Meet the Owner - David Sefton and his Jaguar Mk X
David Sefton says: “The Mk X feels quick, planted to the road and makes for a smooth ride over what are my local and incredibly knobbly and potholed ridden roads (very much representative of the UK’s roads as a whole).
04 November 2021
Sometimes you’ve just got to get out of the city, haven’t you? And the good news, if you’re based anywhere around London, is that you are blessed with dozens of tempting day-trip options. Within two hours of the capital you’ll find beautiful old university cities, quaint half-timbered market towns, elegant riverside villages – and so much more.
03 November 2021
The early to mid-1980s were a brilliant time for superminis. October 1980 brought us the iconic Austin Metro, with its legion of celebrity fans including the then Lady Diana Spencer: the second-generation VW Polo came exactly a year later.
02 November 2021
Sixty years ago, ownership of a new 407 denoted a rare combination of exquisite taste and access to a large amount of funds. It was an understated machine that appeared to stand apart from the Aston Martin DB4, Bentley Continental or Jensen 541S.The Ultimate Sporting Estate? 1969 Mercedes-Benz 300 SEL 6.3 Crayford
The great motoring writer Tom McCahill regarded the 300SEL 6.3 saloon as the “World’s best car” – but more exclusive still is this 1969 Crayford Estate version.FIVE BRITISH LEYLAND SPECIAL EDITION CARS
The Special LE made its bow on the 5th of April 1978, for £2,965.95. For this modest sum, the buyer gained five-speed transmission, Sundym tinted glass, a passenger door mirror, a lockable fuel cap, a push-button radio, a tachometer and a leather-covered steering wheel.Our favourite 80s coupes
The 1980s were a decade for conspicuous consumption – 'greed is good' and all that – and, as such, were a fruitful time for brash, lavishly styled, rapid (and thirsty) sports cars.
28 October 2021
Here are 10 cars that, for us, illustrate the French way of doing things. You can find more brilliant French cars in our list of the 30 best French classic cars.BMW E30 3 Series Buyers Guide
With its chrome-heavy, late 1970s looks, the first iteration of BMW’s iconic 3 Series saloon, also known as the E21, might be the most sought after by some vintage car fans – but if you want a classic that you can live with every day and even get a good dose of sporting fun out of, the second generation 3 Series (or E30) may be your best bet of all.The best female rally drivers
Motorsport may remain, even to this day, a somewhat male-dominated world – but there have been some legendary female drivers, and nowhere more so than in the tough, demanding and stamina-quenching world of rallying.MEET THE OWNER – IAN MACKENZIE AND HIS FORD FIESTA XR2 MK.I
“I bought it two years ago - I’d just finished a six-year restoration of my Mark III Wolseley Hornet and decided to sell it, so wanted something different from my usual BMC/BL fare. It was on eBay as a classified in Cheshire, so only just over the Pennines from me.”THE TRIUMPH DOLOMITE: A CELBRATION
The year is 1971, and motorists reading The Illustrated London News learned some rather depressing news; “paralysed by strikes and other factories slowed down for lack of components.
27 October 2021
W.B. and Sons Ltd. have a truly exclusive British car at its auction on the 4th of December 2021. Chassis Number 00099 is the first ‘Wedge’ made on the production line, and it was immediately despatched from Cowley to Longbridge to assess the production line’s build quality.
26 October 2021
You may or may not be familiar with the phrase 'limited-slip differential' (or limited-slip diff, or more simply LSD). If you've spent much time around either 4x4s or sports cars, however, the chances are that you may be familiar with the concept.The Ford Thunderbird: A Celebration
As the story goes, the Thunderbird resulted from the designer George Walker and Ford’s division general manager Louis D. Crusoe admiring sports cars at the 1951 Paris Motor Show.MEET THE OWNER - ROBERT CRAWFORD AND HIS SAAB GT850
Fifty-five years ago, a 14-year old motor enthusiast named Robert Crawford was moderately awestruck by his father’s new car; a dark blue 96 ordered from the Ayr dealership Cambuslea Garage.
25 October 2021
Lancaster Insurance will embrace the post Covid state of excitement amongst classic car enthusiasts from all over the world, as the Lancaster Insurance Classic Motor Show hits the NEC this November. In its ninth year as headline sponsor, Lancaster Insurance will watch the sensational ‘Puff the Magic Wagon’ take centre stage at stand 250 in Hall One.How to preserve the value of your classic car
The age and condition of their various components means that classics will need a little more care and attention if they are to retain that vintage sparkle that you love them for.MG Owners Club (MGOC) Race Championship – race report Rounds 12 and 13: Snetterton 18th September
As the headline sponsor of the championship, we share a race report for the penultimate meeting of the season.MEET THE OWNER – MELISSA JARDINE AND HER NISSAN LAUREL C31
Melissa Jardine’s fascination with the Laurel stemmed from her family’s old car. In 1993 her father exchanged the Nissan for a base-model Ford Sierra, but such a fine vehicle could never be forgotten.THE AUSTIN A30 AT SEVENTY
The year is 1951, and one of the star attractions of the London Motor Show is the latest small Austin. Countless visitors to Earls Court marvelled at the ‘chassis less’ construction – a ‘first’ for Longbridge, the smart lines and the new 803cc OHV engine.Police cars through the years
Over the decades, the UK’s police forces have patrolled our roads in a huge variety of vehicles. From the humble Morris Minor to the luxury barge that is today’s fourth-generation Range Rover, and from the pootling Austin Allegro to the lightning-quick Rover SD1 3500, vehicles of all sizes, speeds and spec levels have been used by our various regional law and order forces.
22 October 2021
Since its debut in the 1953, first-generation Chevrolet Corvette, fibreglass has played a small but significant role in the history of car production.Classic military vehicles we love
You'll know by now that we love our classic cars here at Lancaster, and are proud to be able to provide classic car insurance for many of the wonderful motors that still adorn Britain's roads and driveways today.Best Alpine drives
The Alps are home to some of Europe's most dramatic scenery – and many of the winding mountain roads that snake through them make for thrilling, engaging drives.SIXTY YEARS OF THE SIMCA 1000
On the 27th July 1961, Simca commenced building a car that was to dominate French roads until the late 1970s.Meet the Owner: Geoff Taylor and his 1978 Austin Allegro 1500 Special LE
Limited edition cars tend to fall into one of three categories. There are those made to commemorate the demise of a long-running or even iconic model. There are those built to clear the showrooms before the launch of a significant new model or at least an elaborate facelift.
21 October 2021
As a current or prospective classic car owner, you're likely to have a wealth of questions swirling around in your head. That’s why we’ve compiled some of the most-asked Q&As to help you on your ownership journey.Classic car paint colours
Whether it's a fierce red evoking white-knuckle motorsport success, or a suave 1960s silver that instantly conjures up evildoers defeated and Martinis shaken, not stirred, some of those classic motors just need to be seen in a certain colour.MEET THE OWNER: JOHN WATERHOUSE AND HIS RENAULT R8
In 1973, John Waterhouse, the National Coordinator of the Renault 4CV Register of Australia, acquired a Trinidad Rouge 956 cc, one owner R8 with his wife, Alex.
20 October 2021
Any Austin A55 Cambridge Mk. II is a splendid machine, but Steve’s example is particularly notable as his granddad purchased it new in 1961...MISUNDERSTOOD? THE CHRYSLER ALPINE
What was the Car of The Year for 1976? The BMW 3 Series? The Renault 30TS? No, it was the Chrysler Alpine, a most underrated vehicle and only the second British-built five-door FWD hatchback after the Austin Maxi.Six of our favourite classics from American Graffiti
Some films define a generation. Other films perfectly evoke a bygone age. A third, rare class of films manages a balancing act between the two – both crystallising a past era and reflecting on its own age, and perhaps even drawing parallels between the two.A quick guide to online car auctions
Among the many new ways of doing things that the pandemic has ushered in, a particularly interesting development to us here at Lancaster Insurance has been the growth in online car auctions, for the trading of classic and historic vehicles.
19 October 2021
Over the past few years, eco-friendly camping has surged in popularity here in the UK. A survey by motorhome and campervan rental business Camptoo revealed a staggering 436% increase in web searches for ‘eco camping’ since 2017.Can you tow with a classic car?
Think back, for a minute, to your childhood days spent vehicle-watching through the windows of your parents’ car. Do you remember which cars you would commonly see hauling caravans or heavy trailers around the British countryside?FORTY YEARS OF THE VOLKSWAGEN POLO SERIES II
October of 1981; cold, damp, and Dave Stewart with Barbara Gaskin with It’s My Party topping the charts. At least the motoring press offers relief from such gloom, with news of the latest Volkswagen Polo, a car unlikely to be mistaken for any rival.THE LAST OF THE WOLSELEYS: A TRIBUTE
Forty-six years ago, Clive Richardson of Motor Sport compared the recently launched Citroën CX with a new British rival. He concluded:“If the Citroën was worthy of the ‘Car of the Year’ award, the credit must go to the CX 2200; the 2000 has too many pitfalls.
18 October 2021
One of the many attractions of the Silverstone Auction at this year’s Lancaster Insurance Classic Motor Show is a vehicle that genuinely merits the term ‘television icon’. HLT 709 C is an Austin Mini Moke, built on 15th May 1965 and registered a month later in London.A RENAULT FIT FOR A QUEEN – THE STORY OF THE ROYAL DAUPHINE
The year is 1968, and a young motoring enthusiast named Garry Dickens encounters a Dauphine in the yard of a Somerset car dealer. At that time, it was in a rather sorry condition, but its history was undeniably fascinating.
07 October 2021
Forty years ago, British Leyland unveiled the last car to wear the Triumph badge and the first Japanese car to be made in the UK. To celebrate, here are 20 facts about the Acclaim...FAMILY CAR MEMORY: THE RENAULT R8
You rarely forget your first car, and mine was a 1964 Renault R8. However, that statement needs a certain amount of qualifying; a) it is the first car of which I have concrete memories, and b) back in 1973, it definitely belonged to my parents rather than me.
06 October 2021
To celebrate the launch of the latest Bond film, No Time to Die, we look at the iconic Aston Martin DB5. On the 17 September 1964, the London premiere of the third Bond Film created cinema history, not least from the moment when Desmond Llewelyn’s Q orders 007 to ‘pay attention’.Club of the Month - P6 Rover Owners Club
The P6 Rover Owners Club (P6ROC) was established in 1982. It’s non-profit making and voluntarily run by Deborah Stanley and a team of dedicated enthusiasts ensuring the survival of all P6 models in the 2000, 2200 and 3500 ranges.Classic & Sports Car Club Awards
It is time to celebrate your car club heroes, as Classic & Sports Car’s Club Awards, in association with Lancaster Insurance, returns for 2021.Camper Round the Coast Review
The Lancaster Insurance and Practical Classics team undertook their epic Camper Round the Coast tour from 6-10 September.Classic car auctions to visit this autumn
Buying at auction can be an excellent way to get hold of a classic car and, in this article, we'll run through a few of the fine-looking classic car auctions coming up throughout autumn 202110 breath-taking Alfa Romeos
Throughout their 111-year history, Italian carmakers Alfa Romeo have produced some astonishingly beautiful cars; some awesomely potent ones; and a select few that have managed to marry both elegance and power.Morris Marina Owners Club – 50th anniversary charity run
The Morris Marina Owners Club are continuing their celebrations of the 50th anniversary of the launch of the Morris Marina in 1971 and the belated 40th anniversary of the launch of the Morris Ital in 1980.Ford road trip with Kelsey Media
On Saturday 7 August our Own Brands Manager, Dave Bex and Paris Wakelen from our Car Club team joined Classics World’s Joe Miller for a road trip from Haynes International Motor Museum in Yeovil to Ford Fair 2021 at Silverstone.
05 October 2021
As No Time To Die, Bond Film No. 25, is due for release at the end of the month, here is a short tribute to five, often overlooked, 007 vehicles...THE TRIUMPH DOLOMITE: A CELBRATION
The year is 1971, and motorists reading The Illustrated London News learned some rather depressing news; “paralysed by strikes and other factories slowed down for lack of components.
04 October 2021
The year is 1981, and you are visiting the London Motor Fair. Older readers will recall how the NEC Motor Show was staged every two years, leaving scope for the Motor Trade Association to produce its own event at Earls Court.
30 September 2021
The Frégate is more likely seen in vintage brochures than on the road, but it was more than a footnote in Renault‘s history. Firstly, it was their first post-war large car, and secondly, its styling inspired the Dauphine.
29 September 2021
Rolls-Royce started producing the Silver Shadow in four-door saloon form only, and it's easy to see why: this classic, simple, upright form suits the car's looks and branding so well.Great gift ideas for car lovers
What do you get as a gift for the car lover in your life? Turns out that there are myriad options out there, be they driving experiences, fun toys, reading matter – or a whimsical artwork documenting their lifelong auto obsession.A history of British Leyland
It's probably fair to say that the name 'British Leyland' conjures up mixed associations these days – pride in the postwar boom years of British motor manufacturing, to be sure, and in some iconic individual cars such as the Range Rover and Jaguar XJ-S.
28 September 2021
Denmark is deservedly one of Europe’s top locations when it comes to campervan holidays and it’s not hard to see why, with a terrific range of activities and landscapes to explore.
24 September 2021
Sixty years ago, the British Motoring Corporation introduced to the public the latest versions of the Mini, the Morris Cooper and its badge-engineered twin, the Austin Seven. At first glance, they seemed to be a sporting version of the ‘Super Mini’ launched a few months earlier. However, keen drivers paid close attention to the race-tuned to 997cc 55 bhp engine with twin SU carburettors, close-ratio gearbox and front disc brakes.
23 September 2021
For many years, the Sinclair C5 has been regarded as a joke along with Sigue Sigue Sputnik records and The Roxy on ITV. It deserves a better fate, not least because it represented a new form of motoring, an electrically powered tricycle that anyone aged over 14 could drive on the road sans tax, licence or insurance.
22 September 2021
The late John Challis was always a welcome sight on the screen. His height and commanding presence on TV often saw him cast as police officers in Z Cars or villains, such as the venial Scorby in the Fourth Doctor adventure The Seeds of Doom.
20 September 2021
Britain’s Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty make excellent destinations for a campervan trip: representing, as they do, some of our islands’ most treasured landscapes, they are liberally dotted with campsites to allow everyone to linger amongst the beauty for a while.
14 September 2021
The year is 1977, and this writer is poring over the latest Vauxhall brochure, a pastime almost as entertaining as The Goodies on BBC2. Suddenly, he comes across an FE even more glamorous than the VX2300 GLS.
13 September 2021
Tony Curtis! Roger Moore! Aston Martins! Dinos! John Barry’s music! Terrible clothes! Worse dancing! Here are 20 facts about ITC’s grooviest TV series...What is the Heart 200?
The Heart 200 is a new, 200-mile touring route around some of central Scotland's most dramatic, beautiful, and storied landscapes – centred around the cities of Perth and Stirling as well as The Trossachs system of glens, hills and lochs, and the rugged Perthshire Highlands.A history of Lotus
Esprit. Eclat. Elite. For any petrolheads growing up in the 1970s and 1980s, these names held a certain aura – whether glimpsed among the latest pack of Top Trumps or streaking by on the motorway.
09 September 2021
60 years ago this month, Triumph unveiled a new sports car that left traditionalists aghast. It had a full-width body with vestigial tail fins, winding windows, and even fresh air vents on the facia.
08 September 2021
And to celebrate, here are twenty facts about the programme:
07 September 2021
Out of difficult circumstances can come brilliant things – and few things illustrate that better than the Japanese kei car.What are the different types of classic campervan?
So, you've decided that a campervan could be the way forward for you and your family. Congratulations, first and foremost, on a great choice. Miles and miles, and days and nights of affordable, open-road motoring and camping await you.
06 September 2021
At first sight, the Gorton Wolseley appears to be an exceptionally handsome example of the 15/60 – until you notice the badges. This is a 24/80 Mk 1, a six-cylinder product of BMC-Australia that was never available in the UK.
03 September 2021
The Deux Chevaux Club of Great Britain, or 2CVGB, is a friendly and knowledgeable group, of all ages and backgrounds, dedicated to preserving, restoring and enjoying Citroën A-Series models.Ford v Vauxhall sales wars of the 1970s and 1980s
During the 1970s and 1980s, car market watchers had a fascinating time following the ongoing sales rivalries between two of Britain's biggest-selling car marques, Ford and Vauxhall.TEN COUPES FOR AUTUMN
Or, as the cold weather approaches, ten ways to enjoy sporting motoring in a certain amount of comfort...What does classic car insurance cover?
We're often encouraging you to arrange some classic car insurance for your beloved vehicle here at Lancaster. But what does classic car insurance cover – and how does it differ from common or garden car insurance?
01 September 2021
If you’re thinking of attending your very first show as an exhibitor how can you prepare your car to get it looking its best? Whether you’re just flashing the car for fun or hoping to take home a trophy, here’s how to get it looking its best.How will the E10 fuel change affect you?
From September 2021 a change is coming into effect which will see UK petrol stations around the country replacing E5 as the standard grade in place of renewable unleaded E10 fuel.
26 August 2021
James is the Managing Director of Auto Windscreens and his Mini is a car that would have been unthinkable to the average economy-minded driver 41 years ago. No City would have featured an electric blue paint finish, alloy wheels and whitewall tyres, as this was the entry-level model.A TRIBUTE TO THE CHAMPIONS
Many readers will be sad to read of the passing of the American actor Stuart Damon. For much of the 60s and 70s, he was based in the UK and enlivened many an ITC programme.
19 August 2021
Classic & Sports Car recently announced the rather depressing news that just 26 Starions remain on the road in the UK. They were one of the most desirable sports coupes of their generation and possessed a distinctive style that set them apart.THE VAUXHALL WYVERN AND VELOX E AT 70
70 years ago this month, Luton assured motorists that ‘Whatever point of view you judge from – performance, appearance, or anything else – you are going to agree that these new Vauxhalls are really something’.
17 August 2021
Or four seats, and the ability to take advantage of any moments of the August weather: Citroën Visa Décapotable - Citroën sold just 2,633 examples of the Décapotable, one reason being Heuliez’s bodywork inflated the price far beyond a standard 11RE.
16 August 2021
From the dramatic chalk cliffs of its long North Sea shoreline to the gentle, chocolate-box beauty of its mellow Dales, Yorkshire has one of the widest varieties of attractive landscapes of any British region.Exploring Exmoor in your classic car
Straddling Somerset and Devon, the vast open spaces of Exmoor contain some of Britain's most dramatic and windswept landscapes, and some of its most beautiful driving routes.All about SORN
As a classic car owner, and possibly a member of an owners' club, you will very likely have heard the term 'SORN' – and, perhaps, got little further than understanding that it's some sort of designation for cars – often classics – that are not currently on the road.
12 August 2021
For many years, the arrival of the ice cream van was as much a part of summer as awaiting O level results or unwatchable ITV Seaside Specials on ITV.THE SINGER VOGUE AT SIXTY
This month sees the 60th anniversary of a car that never professed to offer the excitement of a Jaguar E-Type or a Mini Cooper – yet was a vital aspect of British motoring of the late Macmillan era.TEN FILM AUTOMOTIVE ERRORS
One night, when this writer was at low ebb, he found himself watching the long-forgotten 1987 Burt Reynolds/Liza Minnelli vehicle Rent-a-Cop
11 August 2021
The term ‘icon’ is one vastly overused in the media, from soap actors in with the dramatic power of Stingray, to popstars who have extended their range by learning a fourth chord. Similarly, in terms of British motor vehicles, only a select group may be genuinely described as ‘iconic’ - including the Transit Mk 1. Put simply, this was the Ford that redefined the light commercial.
10 August 2021
Chris’s Renault 12TS looks as though it should be gracing the Renault GB brochure for 1977. Those of us of a certain age will remember this splendid publication...THE STORY OF THE SLOUGH-BUILT 2CV
In April 1954, William Boddy of Motor Sport was so taken with the Citroën 2CV he wrote ‘Certainly from now on I shall look with scorn at cars of low power output which employ heavy lumps of cast-iron surrounded by water for engines’.THE FIAT 126 – A TRIBUTE
When Fiat unveiled the 126 in 1972, they faced two considerable challenges. Firstly, the Nuova 500 was an extremely hard act to follow – the car that tempted many a Vespa or Lambretta rider towards the joys of four-wheeled transport.
09 August 2021
It’s funny how the passage of time changes our view of certain vehicles. Executive models might have seemed worthy but dull back in their day – but a few decades on, many have attained classic status.Our favourite dad cars from the 70s and 80s
If you’re ever nostalgic for the cars of your youth, you’re not alone. As a child, your dad’s car seemed enormous and all-powerful and some of the smells and textures stay with you forever.15 reasons why we love the Vauxhall Chevette
Arriving on the scene in the middle of the 1970s (1st May 1975, to be precise), the Chevette heralded a new departure for Vauxhall, its clean, simple looks a world away from the more elaborate styling of the Victor and Cresta from the 1960s.The history of Radford coachbuilders
We were very excited to learn, earlier this year, of the exciting relaunch of Radford – one of the most prestigious coachbuilders in British automotive history.
05 August 2021
Anyone who's driven the streets of central London at any time over the past couple of years will have been aware of a comprehensive new measure to clamp down on air pollution in the city (and no, we're not talking about the already well-established Congestion Charge here).
04 August 2021
We recently featured John Langford’s 1964 Magnetite Mk 4 Farina, and today, we pay tribute to Alex’s 1966 example.THE VOLVO C70 – THE FORGOTTEN SAINT CAR
The 1990s are now looking not so much remote as impossibly distant. As the popular phrase goes, when did you last see a Rover 600, a first-generation Ford Mondeo, or indeed a first-generation Volvo C70?
02 August 2021
We’ve teamed up with our friends at Practical Classics magazine to create a very special journey – a whistle-stop fundraising tour of Britain’s finest beaches in a VW Campervan. And we need your help.
30 July 2021
The Jaguar E-Type, the BMW M5, the 'James Bond' Aston Martin DB5 and that gullwing-door Mercedes – some iconic cars, down the decades, have sported straight-six engines.The campervan owner's guide to Henley Royal Regatta
There are many major fixtures in the British sporting calendar but one of our favourites is the Henley Royal Regatta.Our favourite European Car of the Year winners
It was back in 1964 that a group of enterprising motoring magazines from across Europe first got together and decided to vote on the best new car to have emerged across the continent that year.
29 July 2021
You probably know this by now, but we are big fans of classic car clubs here at Lancaster. We believe that, for all owners of classics, joining a car club is an invaluable first step.
23 July 2021
Good news for anyone considering a continental classic car tour this summer, after it was announced that millions of people will no longer need an insurance ‘green card’ before taking their car to EU countries.
22 July 2021
Which book is ever-present on the best-seller lists – yet can also claim to have saved thousands of lives?Club of the month - The Green Lane Association
Formed in 1995, the Green Lane Association (GLASS) is the National User Group for those who enjoy using the Country’s network of ancient unsurfaced public roads and vehicular rights of way.
20 July 2021
You may be the proud owner of a classic motor with a sporty bent – an MGB GT, say, or an early Mazda MX-5, or a Mk2 Golf GTI. And perhaps you've wondered idly, from time to time, what it would be like to enter your classic into the odd motorsport event.
16 July 2021
In this article we’ll explore a little bit more about this amazing activity – the best places to do it, how to get a licence if you need one and some top tips to keep you safe while you’re out on the water.
13 July 2021
In 1973, a new Hunter GLS was somewhat of a Q-Car – even if the owner specified the ‘Limelight’ paint finish.Meet the Owner – Simon Frith and his Datsun Skyline 240K GT
Owners of once-familiar 1970s saloons are very familiar with the opening line ‘my dad/mum/grandfather/uncle/headmistress/postman had one of those’.
12 July 2021
Experiencing a Panhard PL17 was an experience on a par with entering the National Motor Museum for the first time or encountering the Genevieve Darracq in the metal – something never to be forgotten.The Škoda S110R – A Celebration
In the late 1970s, many a young “Ton-Up” driver in their customised Ford Anglia 105E (a la The Young Ones) was amazed to be overtaken by a rear-engine coupe.
08 July 2021
A 1958 Zündapp is not the ideal vehicle for motorists who wish to maintain a low profile. Whenever Ian Evans goes for a spin, the reaction of other road users, along with many pedestrians, is ‘what on earth is that?’
07 July 2021
Strap yourselves in and check the GPS, as we take a white-knuckle ride through the colourful history of the world’s most demanding endurance rallyTen of the best military museums in the UK
Did you know that we insure lots of old military vehicles here at Lancaster as well as classic cars? From old military Land Rovers to full-on tanks, we’ve got you covered!
06 July 2021
Not long ago, we profiled the Ford Probe. So today let’s celebrate the collection of Malcolm Oyston who owns no fewer than six UK-market cars.Quick guide to classic wheels
When it comes to your classic car, every detail matters. That’s why, if you decide you want to change the wheels, it’s a big decision.The best classic car owners’ clubs to join this year (Part 2)
Here at Lancaster, we have been supporting car clubs for the last three decades. We love the camaraderie between owners, meeting lifelong friends and sharing vital tips and knowledge about the vehicles we love the most.Classic cars made in Coventry
To celebrate Coventry's year as UK City of Culture 2021, we decided to look into the city's illustrious motor manufacturing history.A history of Morgan
From their factory on the edge of the Malvern Hills, British car markers Morgan have been at the leading edge of sports and race car manufacture for over a century.
05 July 2021
Now is the time to start getting out and enjoying the marvels of the UK countryside in your campervan. Pack up the cool box and picnic rug, check the tyre pressures, make sure you're equipped with some decent campervan insurance because it’s time to hit the open road.Common risks for campervan drivers you didn’t suspect
You’ll be familiar with the common risks associated with life on the road – drink driving, other road users, adverse weather conditions, driving behaviour – and even a few hazards linked specifically to campervans, such as the different dimensions and turning circles.10 restoration projects to tackle in 2021
Restoring a classic car can be a hugely rewarding process. This is work that requires real concentration and dedication, and will get you deep inside the working parts of your chosen vehicle.Future classics from the 2000s
You might think it's a little too soon to start earmarking future classics from the 2000s, a decade that seems not long gone. But we’re always thinking about the next great classics here at Lancaster and protecting them for the future.
29 June 2021
When the world was young and the Ford Fiesta 1300S Mk 1 was causing a minor sensation in outer suburbia; this writer was a devotee of Car magazine.How to keep mice and rats out of your classic car
If you find you’ve got a mini passenger in your Mini Cooper, what action can you take? We’ve put together our top tips for ridding your Riley of rodents – and prevent them from sneaking back.
23 June 2021
The Atlas is the sort of vehicle mainly glimpsed in the backgrounds of 1960s British films rather than on the road. The Standard light commercial was a rather appealing machine in its heyday, but it never seemed to find a market niche despite its virtues.At last…home insurance that’s built for the classic car enthusiast
At Lancaster Insurance, we understand that while your classic is your pride and joy, home is where the heart is.
18 June 2021
In this article, we’ll find out all the details – what you can get up to, where you can go, and some examples of companies running great classic car touring holidays that you can get involved in.
17 June 2021
Fifty years ago, Lancia unveiled its last independently designed car. Fiat acquired the famous concern in October 1969 and for many enthusiasts the 2000 Berlina marked the end of an era. It was also one of the most delightful sports saloons of the 1970s.
16 June 2021
Today marks the 60 birthday of not just one of Renault’s most important models but one of the most remarkable cars in motoring history.Club of the Month – Gay Classic Car Group
June is Pride Month so what better way to mark the wholesale celebration of Britain’s LGBTQ community, than by having Gay Classic Car Group (GCCG) as our Club of the Month?
15 June 2021
After recently succumbing to the lure of the ‘Landcrab’, Cameron Burns bought himself an 1800 Mk 3. His Morris was fitted with several decadent extras: reclining front seats, hazard warning lights, an alternator and a heated rear screen.
14 June 2021
When it comes to having a favourite classic car, you might look for the whole package. Not only can that mean the drivability, the style, the shape or the character, but also the feelings of nostalgia it may evoke in you.What were the best coupes from the 1990s?
The 1990s were a thrilling time for motor enthusiasts. Racing was graced by legends such as F1’s Michael Schumacher and Rallying’s Colin McRae, while car manufacturers pushed boundaries with exciting and innovative designs.The history of Morris Motors
If you stop to think about truly iconic British vehicles, or indeed companies, it won’t be long before the name Morris pops up. Morris Motors was one of the true giants of 20th Century Britain, operating through both world wars and creating a range of successful, iconic vehicles.The MG Midget – A Celebration
When MG introduced “The new Midget” in June of 1961, some Abingdon traditionalists were decidedly unhappy. A Mr. R. Gowring ranted in a letter to Motor Sport:Our favourite Reliant cars
The 20th Century in the UK was full of motoring success stories and many have endured to today (think Rolls Royce, which started in 1904 and Vauxhall from 1903. However, for every 20th Century brand that is still active, there are about a hundred who are now defunct.20 iconic cars from history
Classic cars become iconic for several reasons. They can symbolise bygone eras or represent strides forward for the car industry of their day. Meanwhile, they can achieve fame for their performances on the big screen or the world’s toughest racetracks.
11 June 2021
So you’ve got your dream classic car but have you got all the right accessories and gadgets to go with it?A classic car owner’s guide to potholes
Classic car owners know there’s no feeling quite like getting your dream set of wheels, keeping it in great nick, and taking it out on the road.THE REMARKABLE DAIMLER ONE-O-FOUR LADIES MODEL
The 1950s so often appear to be another world – the National Anthem played at the end of cinema bills, newsagents selling Woodbines and The Daily Herald…and vehicles aimed exclusively at the female driver.
10 June 2021
The Land Rover was used by the nation’s constabularies almost from the outset of production in 1948. They might have been seen patrolling the Mersey Tunnel, rural beats or major highways.
09 June 2021
Some aspects of 1990s life now appear impossibly distant – Eurotrash on Channel 4, short-lived BBC soap Eldorado and the Ford Probe.
07 June 2021
Driving a campervan at night brings all kinds of different challenges and risks. It’s important that you’re tuned in to what they are and have a strategy for dealing with them so you can minimise the chance of an unwelcome – and potentially serious – incident on the road.Which classic cars do Top Gear presenters own?
The Top Gear line up has changed a few times in recent years, but – for now at least – the BBC have settled on the presenting trio of Paddy McGuinness, Andrew "Freddie" Flintoff and Chris Harris.A quick guide to Sir Stirling Moss
His passing in April 2020, aged 90, was an emotional day for fans of motor racing. One of the true legends of the sport, a daring driver known best for his years on racing’s greatest stage – Formula One.THE AUSTIN MAXI REMEMBERED
One of the more pleasing developments of the past 20 years is the gradual retirement of the “British Leyland Joke”. They are occasionally revived in the form of (very) tired piano references, but BL products are now mainly assessed on their merits.THE TRIUMPH ACCLAIM – AN APPRECIATION
This year marks the 40th anniversary of one of the most important cars to bear the Triumph badge. When the Acclaim made its bow on the 7th October 1981, it pioneered Japanese involvement in the British motor industry.
04 June 2021
Depending on who you speak to, the 1980s, with its big hair, big shoulder pads and even bigger personalities, was either a decade that should be fondly remembered or forgotten altogether. The supercars from this era were equally ‘bold and brash’, with their large rear-wings and over-sized vents – and we love them for it.Murray Walker - A life in motorsport
The death of legendary Formula 1 commentator Murray Walker, aged 97, led to an outpouring of tributes, underlining how much of an admired figure he was in the world of motorsport.
01 June 2021
Back in 1969, a new Hillman GT was the perfect car for “String-Back-Driving-Gloves Man”. It had it all: the rev counter mounted atop the dashboard, the high-backed front seats and, of course, the ‘Go-Faster’ stripes. At £962, it was also £24 cheaper than a four-door Ford Cortina GT, while there was more than enough room in the glove box for a bottle of Hai Karate.
28 May 2021
As a classic car owner, you want to be able to drive your vintage motor on some of the best roads that the British Isles has to offer. It’s easy to forget that we’re blessed with some incredible landscapes here in the UK – it’s just a case of knowing where to find them.Classic cars from British TV comedies
Over the decades, vintage motors have played iconic roles in many great British TV comedies. Just think: how would Del Boy have got up to his wheeler-dealer tricks without his three-wheeler?Our favourite Ferraris
Every car enthusiast has their favourite Ferrari. Some – like us – can’t narrow it down to just one and have a whole list of Ferraris that hold a special place in their hearts.TALKING PICTURES TELEVISION – A CELEBRATION
This week marks the sixth anniversary of a television channel that is a source of delight to classic machinery and cinema fans alike. After all, who needs the likes of Celebrity Supermarket Warehouse Shift Worker and Help – Even My Agent Has Forgotten My Name?
24 May 2021
Whether you’re planning a solo staycation, a trip with your partner or a family holiday, Norfolk and the Norfolk Broads is the place to head. In this article we’ll cover what to see, where to stay and learn a little bit more about this fascinating area of the country.
21 May 2021
in the UK, we’re lucky enough to have some of the world’s best racing on our doorstep, with countless amazing circuits hosting races throughout each year.
19 May 2021
From 1924 to 1971, the USSR only manufactured one million vehicles. But it still managed to produce some memorable cars, albeit often heavily influenced by Western manufacturers. In this article, we’re going to take a look at the best of them.
18 May 2021
The year is 1982. Adam Ant’s solo record Goody Two Shoes is topping the charts, and the tabloid press is ranting how a forthcoming BBC programme called The Young Ones will cause the end of civilisation. Meanwhile, a holiday in Weymouth awaits, and your home from home is a Morris Marina 575 Suntor. James Ebden’s rather stunning example is a reminder of this camper’ popularity in the ‘70s and ‘80s.MEET THE OWNER – SIMON DWYER AND HIS 1959 POLICE MGA
As Goodwood has scheduled the Revival for the 17th to 19th of September, there is no better time to celebrate its famous “Pace Car”. Just as notable, Simon Dwyer’s 1959 MGA 1600 Mk 1 is one of the few surviving cars from Lancashire Constabulary’s traffic fleet.
17 May 2021
Sixty years ago, Dagenham unveiled a new model that could not be mistaken for any other car. The Consul Classic was the epitome of scaled-down Americana, from its quad headlamps to its tail fins and reverse-angle rear screen. Any driver who affected a Bob Monkhouse-style mid-Atlantic patois instantly craved the “long low look” and motorway pace of “the new look of British motoring”.The Transport Café – A Celebration
While some forms of roadside building have gone the way of AA and RAC telephone boxes, it is heartening to come across a surviving transport café. The Ace, near Wembley, which opened in 1938, is possibly the best known. Another name that will be familiar to many readers is Kate’s Cabin on the A1.
14 May 2021
How can you ensure that your dream Dodge is not a dodgy deal? And if you’re selling, how can you be confident that your buyers – and their payments – are real?MG Owners’ Club 2021 (sponsored by Lancaster Insurance) Race Meeting at Mallory Park, 5th May
The first race meeting of The MG Owners’ Club 2021 season – at Mallory Park Racing Circuit – was boosted by the debuts of several drivers, writes Jim Baynam. The race had its usual quotient of high-octane thrills and was the inaugural such event for Carl Bate (MGBGT), Anthony Bate (Maestro), Mathieu Dore (MGBGT), Jack Woodcock (ZR) and Tim Grigsby (TF).
13 May 2021
Right up there with the plucky vim and vigour of the original Mini and the elegant power of the Jaguar E-Type, the rough and tough all-terrain Land Rover is synonymous with Great Britain.10 fascinating facts about DeLorean
The DeLorean DMC-12 is synonymous with the Back to the Future series, of course. But there’s much more to this classic car than a movie appearance or three.
11 May 2021
With more than 2,000 members in the UK and across the world, our Club of the Month is the MG Octagon Car Club.
07 May 2021
On the 27th of April, the Morris Marina celebrated its 50th birthday, and one of many enthusiasts is Danny Hopkins, the editor of Practical Classics Magazine:Classic four-seater convertibles
There’s a lot to be said for owning a four-seater classic convertible, as opposed to a two-seater. Above all else, they offer an element of practicality – so if you want to go away for the weekend, there’s room for luggage as well as three passengers.Best classic car clubs for American cars
When it comes to car design, the Americans clearly believe in excess. While it’s not to everyone’s tastes, you can’t deny it’s led to some incredible machines over the years. The classic car world would undoubtedly be a more boring place without the likes of the Ford Mustang, the Chevrolet Camaro and the Dodge Challenger roaring up to classic car shows around the country.60th anniversary of the E-Type Jaguar
The Jaguar E-Type is one of the most famous cars of all time. Described as a “combination of beauty, high performance, and competitive pricing”, it sits high on pretty much every classic car enthusiast’s most wanted list (unfortunately, for most people, it remains there forever). Having now turned 60, the E-Type’s appeal and good looks show no signs of fading.
05 May 2021
On the 25th April 1961, Citroën unveiled its latest model and issued a warning to all motorists: “If you believe that the characteristics of a car - performance, comfort, safety - necessarily on the number of horsepower, the amount of superfluous chrome trim or high cylinder capacity and corresponding fixed costs are to be measured, then do not concern yourself further with the Ami 6!”THE METROPOLITAN 1500 REVISITED
Both during its lifetime and after, the British-market Metropolitan 1500 received some very mixed reviews. The Motor of 3rd April 1957 noted in a very imperious fashion that the reader would be able to “…place his own emphasis on its traits according to his own tastes and circumstances…”. In other words – if you buy this car, you run the risk of being regarded as a vulgarian and quite possibly a cad into the bargain.The MG Midget – A Celebration
When MG introduced ‘the new Midget’ in June 1961, some Abingdon traditionalists were decidedly unhappy. A Mr. R. Gowring ranted in a letter to Motor Sport: “I am one of numerous MG Midget owners who regard the ‘New Midget’ with an air of disdain. I say the ‘New Midget.’ Mr. Courtenay Edwards, the motoring correspondent of the Sunday Telegraph, calls it “the Austin Healey Sprite wearing a false moustache and dark glasses,” which I feel is a much better description.”
28 April 2021
Driving is just like riding a bike; you never forget how, but after a bit of a break, you may be a little rusty. However, you don’t want that rustiness to lead to an unwelcome incident out on the road, which could cost you dearly.What is the Lakeland Motor Museum?
For many fans of classic cars, planning a trip to the Lakeland Motor Museum is a dream come true! This unique place is truly devoted to all things motoring. From getting up close to classic vintage cars and motorbikes to immersing yourself in some of the greatest moments in UK motoring history, there’s really no place quite like it.Our favourite classic Vauxhalls
Vauxhall is not often spoken about as a brand that builds great cars. But as the UK’s oldest surviving car brand, with models rolling off its production line as early as 1903, its motors really stand the test of time.
27 April 2021
With lock down restrictions on travel being gradually eased within the four nations, albeit it at differing rates, we’re receiving queries regarding 4x4 insurance and what is covered as people look ahead to getting back on the open road. Here Andrew Evanson, Senior Operations Manager at Lancaster Insurance, talks about what is covered with our 4x4 policies.
21 April 2021
The Nürburgring is a bucket-list destination for just about every petrolhead on the planet. It attracts some two million visitors each year and is, without doubt, one of the premier automotive attractions in the world.8 fast facts about the VW Beetle
The VW Beetle has claims to be one of the best cars to ever go into production. Designed to be the ‘people’s car’, its appeal spanned cultures and generations, going on to become one of the best-selling cars of all time. It remained in production for more than 80 years, with Volkswagen eventually calling time in 2019.
16 April 2021
Did you know that the UK boasts more than 300 distilleries, producing gin, vodka and whisky? A trip to one of these can make for a very nice day out – you just need to find somewhere safe to leave the campervan so you can properly enjoy your tipple!MEET THE OWNER – MARTIN HUGHES AND HIS VAUXHALL CAVALIER SR
It is hard to believe that the Vauxhall Cavalier Mk. II is fast approaching its 40th birthday, and even more difficult to appreciate how rare they now are. There are just two examples of the SR on the road and Martin Hughes’ 1982 four-door is believed to be the last Jamaica Yellow model in the UK.ONE FAMILY FROM NEW – A MORRIS OXFORD TAXI IN GREECE
Any Morris Oxford Series VI is a car worthy of great respect – especially this 1969 example owned by Costas Georgopoulos. His father acquired it new, and the Farina served the family and the Peloponnese seaport town Nafplio as a taxi for many years.THE FIAT 127 AT 50
To celebrate 50 years of the 127 – 27 facts about this ground-breaking Fiat:20 FACTS ABOUT THE MORRIS MARINA
The Morris Marina will celebrate its 50th birthday later this month, and we plan to feature an exceptional example on the actual date. For now, here are twenty fascinating facts about a much-misunderstood car:
15 April 2021
According to How Many Are Left?, just 15 examples of the Renault 20 TX Automatic remain on the road in the UK. Forty years ago, they were regarded as desirable transport – well-appointed, versatile, extremely comfortable and with a certain degree of panache. More importantly, this example, co-owned by Chris Salter and Reg Duffett, was once the daily driver of a great friend to the classic community.THE FIAT 130 COUPE AT 50
50 years ago, Fiat unveiled one of their most beautiful cars: the 10 Coupe. It was not just a belated heir to the 2300S and the Lance Flaminia Coupe but a car fit to rival the BMW 3.0CS and the Mercedes-Benz 280CE. Famous owners included (but of course) Sophia Loren and Marcello Mastroianni.THE WORLD’S FINEST BUS? – THE CITROEN U55 ‘CITYRAMA’
In 1956, the French travel firm Groupe Cityrama commissioned the famed coachbuilder Currus to build transport suitable for a new generation of tourists.THE AUSTIN A30/A35 COUNTRYMAN – A CELEBRATION
In 1954, the motorist in search of a small estate-car had four options. The recently launched Morris Minor Traveller looked most appealing, while the new Hillman Husky was essentially a modified Commer Cob van.CARRY ON CAMPING – IN A 1961 COMMER ‘MAIDSTONE’
The year is 1961 and, somewhere in Hampshire, a family is en route to their summer holiday near Swanage. Dad is ranting about those Ton-up boys, Mum dreams of Laurence Harvey, their daughter reads about John Leyton in Mirabelle magazine, while son plots his way to owning a Corgi model of the Citroën DS19.Best car shows of 2021
For classic car owners and enthusiasts, nothing beats the excitement of a classic car show. This is especially true in the UK, which is home to a glittering array of world-leading classic car events. These shows provide the opportunity to see some of the best and rarest vehicles in the world up close, maybe even purchasing one of your own.12 of the best car movies of all time
Cars make movies. Movies make cars. The two go together as well as just about anything. We can’t imagine a time that car movies go out of fashion. At lease, we hope not.
14 April 2021
Volkswagen has enjoyed the best of times of late. The German manufacturer has famously been involved in an emissions scandal which dates back to 2008 has so far cost the company €30bn (£25bn) – and it’s rising. But VW still has a strong fanbase – especially among classic car owners.Best Instagram accounts for classic car enthusiasts
Did you know that more than 30 million people in the UK are now using Instagram, the photo and video sharing social networking service? And numbers are growing year on year. Classic car enthusiasts are not wasting the opportunity to utilise the platform either, posting thousands of pictures of rare and classic vehicles for us all to enjoy.
13 April 2021
We’ve put together this handy guide to some of the basics you need to understand in order to take the perfect picture of your classic. Making your car stand out from the crowd has never been easier.THE TALBOT SAMBA – A CELEBRATION
Of all the cars celebrating their 40th birthday in 2021, the Samba is one of the rarest, with just 19 remaining in use. They were the last new car to bear the Talbot badge - and one that represented a fresh direction for the brand.The Reliant Scimitar GTC – A Celebration
Looking at the Scimitar GTC, it is hard to believe that it debuted in the same year as the Audi Quattro, the Austin Mini Metro and the Ford Escort Mk3. This is not to imply that the Reliant looked at all dated, for it was a true Grand Tourer; handsome, purposeful and always looking ready for a dash along the A27 to Goodwood.Five special edition Ford Escort Mk2s
In 1979, there would have been few keen motorists unaware that Ford was planning a radical new third-generation Escort – a front-wheel-drive hatchback no less. In the meantime, there was a spate of Limited Edition Mk2s.The Triumph 2.5 P.I. Mk1 – A Celebration
The 2000 made its bow at the 1963 London Motor Show and by the mid-1960s Canley was already considering a more powerful version. One option was enhancing the 1,998cc-engine to create the ‘2000TS’.
12 April 2021
At Lancaster Insurance, we’re seeing a greater number of enthusiasts owning more than one vehicle. To help take away the stress of multiple renewal dates and cluttered paperwork, below is more information on our multi-vehicle policies and how they may help you!
09 April 2021
As a Mini enthusiast, you might think you know all there is to know about the British’s people’s car. But, put your knowledge to the test with these ten fast facts about this brilliant British icon.Cars driven by celebrities before they were famous
Being classic car enthusiasts, we tend to judge celebrities by the cars that they drive. So, the likes of Chris Evans and Rowan Atkinson, who are well known for their love of classic cars, are top of our list (we don’t actually have a list of our favourite celebrities, of course).8 of the best mid-engine classics
There’s nothing middle of the road about a mid-engine motor. Many high-end sports cars have their engines in front of the rear axle, making for a vehicle that’s supremely easy to handle even at top speed.The most impressive car collections in the world
If you had all the money in the world and wanted to put together the classic car collection of your dreams, which vehicles would you choose? Every classic car lover has a dream team they would build if they become filthy rich. How do real-life millionaire car lovers spend their cash?THE LAGONDA 3-LITRE – THE CAR OF HRH THE DUKE OF EDINBURGH
Of all the many motor-cars associated with the late HRH The Duke of Edinburgh, perhaps the most famous is his Lagonda 3-Litre Drophead. It was a vehicle renowned for its performance, comfort, and, most notably, an innate sense of gravitas in its heyday.
08 April 2021
Celebrating its’ 30th birthday in July this year, the Club started as a national enthusiast club for the Series 3 and later encompassed coil sprung 90 and 110 vehicles due to popular demand. Today, the Club caters for all models and members don’t necessarily have to own or drive a Landy to join, just have an interest in them!Best coastal classic car drives in the UK
From the White Cliffs of Dover to the Giant’s Causeway, British coastlines are both steeped in history and endlessly beautiful. It’s a dream for owners of a classic car who live for those escapes, getting behind the wheel and setting off to make unforgettable memories.History of car safety features
When you get behind the wheel of a modern car, you’re entering a space that has been shaped by generations of automotive engineers. You can almost date a vehicle by the safety features that are built in – a fascinating area for classic car lovers.MEET THE OWNER – DAVID FOOT AND HIS RENAULT 18TD ESTATE
For a car that was not uncommon on British roads during the 1980s, the 18 seems to have been largely forgotten. It deserves to be better remembered for it was a Renault of many good qualities and a more than viable alternative to a Vauxhall Cavalier or the Ford Sierra.5 top campervan owners clubs in the UK
Owning a campervan is a real joy. It gives you the freedom to go wherever you like, whenever you like and take all your home comforts with you. It allows you to be more active, spend time in the great outdoors, and become part of a large, friendly community. What more could you ask for?
07 April 2021
One of the many stars of the 1959 London Motor Show was found on Stand 145. Here was a coupe primed to compete with the Aston Martin DB4 and the Jensen 541R, one built by ‘dedicated craftsmen who jealously guard the hand-made reputation that has made AC the choice of the discerning motorist during the past 50 years’.SEVEN ADO16S FROM AROUND THE WORLD
As the BMC/BLMC ADO16 was the UK’s best-selling car for many years, it is sometimes easy to overlook their presence in world markets. Here are seven of the most intriguing overseas interpretations:
01 April 2021
For a time, you couldn’t go for a drive without seeing a Lotus Elise – never a bad thing. But they are a much rarer sight these days, even though they’re still in production.5 sympathetic classic car modifications
If you want to add a modern part onto your classic car as part of the restoration project – but retain the essence of your historic vehicle – then you need to be subtle with any modifications that you make.
29 March 2021
A brand synonymous with style and class, Aston Martin has produced some of the most luxurious and sophisticated sports cars ever to grace our roads.All about the Honda NSX
Stunning the motoring world when it debuted over 30 years ago, the iconic Honda NSX rivalled anything the European car makers had to offer at the time. But what started out as an experiment by the Honda team, turned out to be the making of a Japanese automotive legend.20 fascinating facts about the Fiat 500
Oozing Italian Dolce Vita charm, the diminutive Fiat 500 was a big hit throughout Europe when it first launched in 1957. And that popularity has endured until the present today.10 classic automatics
For a time, you couldn’t go for a drive without seeing a Lotus Elise – never a bad thing.MEET THE OWNER – IAN COLE AND HIS AUSTIN ALLEGRO 1300 SUPER
‘I absolutely love this particular car which took me over 20 years to secure, so it’s going nowhere’. Ian’s 1975 Austin Allegro 1300 Super is certainly an eye-catching machine, not least the paint finish – ‘“Citron Yellow”; a rare survivor and a colour that is seen on MGs of the same period and the Jubilee Marinas’.
26 March 2021
Yesterday Ford announced the end to production in 2022 of the Mondeo - bringing to end a nearly thirty-year tradition. It is quite bizarre to think that little over 11 years separates the launch of the first models from the last of the Cortinas, and some readers will remember how in 1982, the debut of the Sierra caused shock-waves amongst Ford traditionalists. Indeed, some had not yet recovered when they heard rumours of an FWD replacement.
24 March 2021
As classic car owners, we’re really just temporary custodians of vehicles that have seen many previous owners and will hopefully see many more in the future. So, what are the options for finding a new home for your precious classic car after your death?MISUNDERSTOOD? – THE AUSTIN ALLEGRO SERIES 3
For many years the Austin Allegro was the subject of myth, folklore, received wisdom and downright abuse. Fortunately, the once-familiar “British Leyland Jokes” appear to have largely vanished, and any surviving model is now an object of fascination.
23 March 2021
If you’ve decided it’s time to sell your classic car, you’ll likely want two things: the best possible price for your vehicle and a quick sale.6 of the best classics from the 1950s
The 1950s were a good time to be alive. The Second World War had ended and people were optimistic about the future.The royal family and their classic cars
It’s no secret that the world is obsessed with the British royal family. We can’t get enough of talking about what they do, what they wear and where they go.How to plan a campervan trip to the South of France
If you’re looking for the perfect country for campervan travel, you’ll be hard-pressed to find one better than France. From the stunning countryside to the vibrant cities, there are plenty of places to explore. Plus, with a host of campervan and motorhome campsites, Aires and stopovers to choose from, you can plan your route (and your budget) with ease.How to jump start a classic car
Classic cars aren’t always reliable starters, as any experienced owner will know. In fact, sometimes you can find that a car will start one day without any problem and then a week later you turn the key and… nothing. However, before you reach for the jump leads, as you would do on a more modern car, just hold on – or you could potentially have a fire on your hands.
22 March 2021
We recently featured Lucy Worsley’s Bulgarian-built Maestros, but Patrick owns an even rarer version. His 1986 Moonraker Blue HLS is believed to be the only example on the road in the UK and ‘This car has only done 19,000 miles and has been sat in a garage for three years’.
18 March 2021
The pastime of collecting classic cars shows no signs of disappearing – however, the market is undergoing a seismic shift, with baby boomers making way for the new generation.What are the Pride of Ownership competitions at the NEC Classic Motor Show?
When you own a classic car, it’s natural to want to show people how fabulous it is. One way of doing that is by entering it into a classic car show or competition, such as the Pride of Ownership awards.
17 March 2021
If you’re a classic car owner, it’s up to you what you do with your vehicle.Lancaster Insurance expands cover for prestige vehicles
Lancaster Insurance has today announced a new partnership with Chubb to enhance its high value offering. Understanding that a standard policy may not always provide the right cover, the new scheme will give owners the confidence to truly enjoy their prestige vehicle with a range of bespoke benefits on offer.Fast facts about the Mazda MX-5
The mighty Mazda MX-5 is one of the most popular classics we insure here at Lancaster Insurance. It doesn’t come as a great surprise. Born in 1989, it has gone on to become one of the most famous roadsters of all time, with early models able to be picked up for peanuts (just watch out for that rust!).
16 March 2021
It is rather dispiriting to read how few examples of the BX survive in the UK, and Philip Greaves’ 1984 16TRS is one of the earliest on the road. His first experience of this very desirable Citroën was travelling in the model once owned by his mother – ‘Some of my earliest memories were in that car and of its unique dashboard - a glowing spinning drum speedo with LED rev bar and lots of switches’.Classic cars that turn 50 in 2021
From the invention of the microprocessor and the opening of Disney World to decimalisation in the UK, 1971 was a vintage year for a whole host of reasons. And many of these technological and cultural changes were also mirrored in the world of car design and production. Many car makers dropped the chrome radiator grills and wood and leather interiors of the 1960s in favour of American coke-bottle styling and black plastic.10 of the best classic vans and pick-ups
For a vehicle with stories to tell, you can’t beat the humble van. Light commercial vehicles and pick-ups are not just part of motoring history – they give insights into the bygone world of work, too.Driving your motorhome or campervan in Europe after Brexit
With European travel due to open up once again in 2021, it’s time to start looking ahead and preparing for your next motorhome adventure. Part of that preparation will be to familiarise yourself with the changes that have been imposed on travel now that the UK has left the European Union.
15 March 2021
‘The older generation usually knows of the model but due to its rarity not many have seen one. I’ve been asked if it’s a Jaguar or a kit car’. The Jowett Jupiter, owned by Anthony Jackson, is a very exclusive vehicle and one of the most ambitious products of the post-war British motor industry.
12 March 2021
Picture the scene – a semi-detached villa somewhere in East Cheam on Wednesday 15th March 1961. You are glancing at The Daily Herald over breakfast with Housewives’ Choice playing on the BBC Light Programme in the background – and then you come to the motoring page. ‘0-100 mph in 15secs - that’s the new Jag’ reads the headline while, even more incredibly, the E-Type was capable of 150 mph.MEET THE OWNER – RACHEL SMITH AND HER AUSTIN A55 CAMBRIDGE MK. I
The British Motor Corporation promised that the Austin A55 Cambridge possessed ‘an unmistakable air of authority’, and 790 XUH really does look imposing. His custodian Ms. Rachel Smith.
11 March 2021
The A90 Atlantic was one of the undoubted stars of the 1948 London Motor Show. For many visitors to Earls Court, a drophead with a “Jewelescent” paint finish seemed wholly removed from the fog, the damp and queuing for their bacon ration. This was the car Austin intended to appeal to affluent drivers in California with its ‘sports car performance with saloon car comfort’.MEET THE OWNER – GORDON MORRIS AND HIS VAUXHALL VENTORA V.I.P
Any FE-Series Ventora is now an unusual sight, but Gordon’s example is a car of special distinction. In May 1973, the advertisements stated, ‘Your Vauxhall dealer is offering a limited edition Ventora called the V.I.P. It’s black and it’s absolutely beautiful’. Mr. Morris came by his car in 1987 ‘as I was membership secretary for a while for the VX 4/90 Drivers’ Club’.The history of the Ford Escort
Few models of car offer as much variety as the beloved Ford Escort. From small family saloons to hot hatches and rally cars, from panel vans to luxury models, the range has given us everything. Between the late 1960s and the new millennium, there have been six generations of this perennially popular car on Britain’s streets. In total, some 4.1 million models were sold in the UK, and it frequently topped the bestseller lists.UK film locations to visit by campervan
If you’re a fan of British cinema, it’s well worth building a road trip around some filming locations. Not only will it help bring some of your favourite scenes to life, it’ll also give you an excuse to explore those parts of the UK that you have yet to see first-hand.What kinds of automobilia can you collect?
If you’ve run out of room to collect classic cars, the next best thing is to build up a collection of old motoring memorabilia – known as automobilia – which can come in all shapes and sizes.How to make money on a classic car
While talk of people making more money from buying and selling classic cars than property or gold might be a little over exaggerated, it’s true that you can turn a healthy profit from investing in a classic.
10 March 2021
Most owners choose not to drive their classic cars on a daily basis. In fact, the average historic vehicle is driven only 16 times a year, covering around 1,200 miles.9 fast facts about the Lamborghini Miura
As far as most people are concerned – including ourselves – the Lamborghini Miura is one of the best cars ever designed.Peugeot 205 GTi – a modern classic
Looking back on the 1980s, there were certainly some design disasters but also design triumphs in the world of car manufacture. With their bold, attractive looks and great performance, the hot hatchback has to be one of the high points!
09 March 2021
No, this is not a misprint, as the Morris badged version is one of the rarest and most desirable models to devotees of the Metro. Virtually any car-based light commercial of the 1980s has a very poor survival rate, but the early Metro van is probably now a more unusual sight than an MG 6R4. Not to mention offering considerably better fuel economy.
08 March 2021
Fifty years ago, a factory in County Durham produced the first examples of a quite remarkable new coupe. The Clan Crusader’s production run may have lasted for little more than two years, but it made a more significant impact than other cars might achieve in ten.MISUNDERSTOOD? – THE MGC
‘All New, all powerful’, exclaimed the adverts, and on paper, a new C appeared to be the perfect sports car for the go-ahead motorist. As early as 1964, Abingdon gave serious thought to a more powerful version of the B, while the Austin-Healey 3000 was not far from the end of its distinguished career.
04 March 2021
All cars are created with good intentions. However, somewhere along the way, some cars take on dark associations. Unfortunately, in some cases, they can’t shake them off afterwards and are forever tinged with the incident or ownership that formed that shadow.The car’s the star – classic cars in films
A movie appearance can do wonders for a car. As well as making it a more desirable object, it can put some serious value on a vehicle.RARER THAN RARE – FORD CORTINA 1300 DE LUXE MK.II ESTATE
With many popular cars, it is the entry-level versions that so often have the worst survival rate. Many owners treated the likes of a Cortina 1300 Mk. II “Series One” De Luxe Estate as a humble workhorse. Similarly, the De Luxe saloon’s common fate was becoming a sub-par replica of the GT, the 1600E or even the Lotus. This is just one reason why Andrew’s 1967 “Alpine Green” example is such a fascinating machine. Another is that it recently played a very important role for his family.Meet The Owner - Theo Kyriacou and his Fiat 131 Mirafiori Sport
‘I’ve owned at least one Fiat 131s since I bought my first one, a 1600 Special in 1979, and at one point, I had three. My current metallic grey 131 Mirafiori Sport I bought in 2001 when I was told my previous silver 131 Sport was beyond economic restoration. “Everything can be fixed/repaired, but it’s not worth restoring this one! Buy another one” I was told’.THE PEUGEOT 205 - A CELEBRATION
Some new cars manage to anticipate the future and make many of its rivals look archaic; the Citroën DS in 1959, the Mini in 1959, the Fiat 128 in 1969 and the Audi 100 C3 in 1982. And when Peugeot unveiled their latest small hatchback in February 1983, there was a sense that “The 1980s” really had commenced. Even after 38 years, Gérard Welter’s styling barely dates, and for an idea of the 205’s impact in the UK, picture a bright red GR amidst a sea of second-hand Ford Cortina Mk. Vs and Talbot Solaras.
03 March 2021
As well as being a lot of fun to drive and a potentially lucrative way to invest any spare cash, there are a host of other benefits to classic car ownership.MEET THE OWNER – SIMON FIXTER AND HIS BOND
A few days ago, Simon took his Equipe 2-Litre Mk. II Convertible for its first drive out after about ten years of being off the road. It is the sort of car that virtually demands that its hood be lowered, even in February, and a genuinely individualistic machine – even if too few people recognise it as a Bond. Mr. Fixter remarks while ‘everyone seems to like it’; members of the public tend to mistake it for ‘an obscure Alvis, Bristol or Jensen’.50 YEARS OF THE VAUXHALL FIRENZA
Fifty years ago, Luton unveiled ‘the kind of car that makes you impatient to be on your way’ – the new Firenza. Here was a coupe to rival the Ford Capri at home and score a major success in the company’s crucially important Canadian export market. As it transpired, the Vauxhall with ‘distinctive styling’ reached neither goal – despite its many strong-points.
02 March 2021
Classic car restoration is not something that you should try to attempt without having some expert advice alongside you, guiding you along the way. We hope that this guide will be an indispensable source of information that gives you the confidence to make your classic car restoration project everything you want it to be.A brief history of Triumph
As a popular first foray into classic car ownership, the Triumph cars of the 1960s and 1970s hold a special place in the hearts of many UK classic car enthusiasts.
01 March 2021
This month, the Mk1 Golf Owners Club take the accolade of Club of the Month! The club caters for owners and enthusiasts of the VW Mk1 Golf and exists to be a base for the preservation and restoration of the original Volkswagen Golf. Keeping with the times, the club has members with original swallowtails to heavily modified cabriolets.Get your classic looking its best with our latest competition!
March brings with it the changing of the seasons, as we approach spring and hopefully warmer weather, and usually it signifies the start of the classic car season. Whilst we may have to wait a little longer to enjoy road trips in our classics, today we are launching our brand new competition which will hopefully bring a little cheer!CAR OF THE MONTH – HOWARD BRYAN’S TVR “WHITE ELEPHANT”
‘Photos don’t do her justice – she is a car of such presence’. Naturally, Howard’s White Elephant causes a sensation on virtually every journey, and even in his home village, people stop on the pavement and mouth ‘what is it?’. Such reactions are quite understandable, for that elegant coachwork has no TVR badges. And incredibly, just seventeen years ago, this unique piece of Blackpool Thunder was languishing in the ‘TVR Graveyard’.
26 February 2021
We’ve insured thousands of classic cars in the 35+ years we’ve been in existence. Basically, you name it, we’ve insured it. Having built up a wealth of experience and knowledge within the industry in the last three decades, we are able to quote for virtually every type of classic car available.Meet The Owner – Adrian Miller and his Vauxhall Viva HB SL90 Crayford Convertible
Last year we featured Adrian’s Viva De Luxe “Brabham” but, incredibly, this is not the rarest car in his collection. In March 1968, Crayford Engineering transformed five of the HB range into dropheads. Each was based on the SL90, finished in white and wore Cosmic Mk. I alloy wheels’. Luton officially approved the conversion, and they were distributed solely by the Leeds Vauxhall dealership Wallace Arnold.What is the Federation of British Historic Vehicle Clubs FBHVC?
If it wasn’t for the Federation of British Historic Vehicle Clubs (FBHVC), many classic car owners wouldn’t be able to drive their pride and joy on British roads. The Federation was created to uphold the freedom to use historic vehicles on the road, representing the interests of classic car owners to officials, politicians, and legislators.
24 February 2021
As classic car enthusiasts, we are indebted to the many brilliant automotive designers who have given us our passion – without their unique vision, ideals and principles, we’d have nothing to get excited about. All cars would be one of the same, destined for the scrap heap at the end of their life, rather than carefully preserved as so many historic vehicles are today.How to plan a classic Italian Job-style road trip
What comes to mind when you think of the classic British film, The Italian Job? Michael Caine – certainly. The Swinging Sixties – for sure. And classic cars. Lots and lots of classic cars!
23 February 2021
The classic Porsche 911 has been found to be the most valuable historic vehicle on the market with the models bringing in over £900 million to the UK economy. Research from the Historic Endurance Rallying Organisation and Endurance Rallying Association (HERO-ERA) calculates that the 23,029 models add up to an estimated valuation of £911 million. The Porsche 911 was miles out in front in the list, with the Jaguar E-Type claiming second place with an estimated worth of £371 million from 4,120 models.
22 February 2021
In this article, we set the record straight on what the new law will mean for classic car owners and help you keep up to date with the government’s long-term plans. But, first, it’s important to put it all into context by looking at the environmental impact of classic cars in the UK.DO YOU REMEMBER – THE LANCIA GAMMA BERLINA?
In the early 1980s, certain large cars were more frequently encountered in brochures and the automotive press than in the metal – the Talbot Tagora, the Renault 30 TX and the Gamma Berlina. All deserved far more commercial success, especially the Lancia - one of the most distinctive saloons of its generation.
19 February 2021
When Jaguar unveiled the E-Type at the Geneva Motor Show in 1961, several observers cast their minds back to 1957 – and an equally remarkable two-seater sports car from Browns Lane. The XKSS came about after the company temporarily retired from competition racing in 1956. However, there were several unsold D-Types at the factory while Jaguar’s dealers in North America saw a demand for a “Class C” production racer.
17 February 2021
Many classic car enthusiasts hope to make money from their hobby, but sadly not all of them are so lucky. So, what is it about a classic car that makes it appreciate in value? What factors should you consider when choosing a car as an investment? And how should you care for your car in a way that will boost its value over the years to come?What is green laning?
Do you love driving? Enjoy a challenge? Want to get off the beaten track – literally? Then why not give green laning a try? This exciting hobby, which involves seeking out and exploring lesser known byways, is much loved by drivers of classic Land Rovers and other 4x4s. It’s a great way to remind yourself of those bygone days when motoring was still a thrill.What is the Gay Classic Car Group?
The classic car community loves welcoming new owners into the fold. They’re a welcoming bunch who love sharing their passion with others, and passing on some of their motoring knowledge. With hundreds of classic car clubs up and down the country, you won’t have to look far to find a club that’s perfect for you and your vintage motor.
16 February 2021
‘Usually, the response is I drove one of those when working with BT. Or surprised to see one of those thought they had all rusted away. I enjoy going to car shows and like the response of people in regards to seeing an everyday car from years gone by’. The HA-Series Viva is indeed a rare sight; the production run was only from 1963 to 1966 and, as with several British vehicles of that era, it was prone to corrosion.
12 February 2021
In France the Estafette genuinely merits the term ‘iconic’; from mobile shops and ice-cream vans to mini-buses and as transport for the telephone service. The Renault could also be seen delivering bread, acting as a support vehicle at the Tour de France, and, as with Simon’s 1963 example, as a police van.
10 February 2021
'It was through my other half that I started getting into Maestros' remarks Lucy 'Steve has had many over the last 15 years and, after meeting him eight odd years ago, I got into the car scene.'MEET THE OWNER – BEN SPEARS AND HIS TRIUMPH VITESSE 2-LITRE MK.I
When Standard-Triumph planned the Vitesse, they intended its grille and quad headlamps to distinguish it from its cheaper stablemate. However, this has not prevented members of the public from greeting Ben’s 1967 example with ‘Wow - that’s a lovely Triumph Herald!’.
08 February 2021
Through no fault of their own, some cars never seemed to establish a niche in the UK. In Spain, the SEAT 133 was regarded as the heir to the 850. However, British motorists were perplexed by what seemed to be an enlarged Fiat 126. The Cherry Europe was the product of an ambitious agreement between Nissan and Alfa Romeo, but it seemed to have no apparent role in Datsun GB’s line-up.
05 February 2021
1981 - the year of the Royal Wedding, Adam and the Ants singing about the perils of being a dandy highwayman and BMXs making the Raleigh Grifter look passé. It was still a time of three-channel television, Sunday closing for shops, and the Ford Cortina as the best-selling car in the UK.FIVE PIONEER BRITISH HOT HATCHBACKS
One of the most persistent debates in the world of classic cars is 'what was the first "Hot Hatchback?" The answer is often 'the Simca 1204', but here we are considering the first British-built examples of the genre. Some cars are automatically ruled out of contention; neither the Mini-Cooper nor the MG 1100/1300 were available with a factory-fitted tailgate.MEET THE OWNER – DAVEY PESKETT AND HIS NISSAN PRESIDENT
Few, if any, people are likely to approach Davey on seeing his 1974 Nissan and tell him ‘my dad/mum/next-door neighbour/teacher used to have one of those’. The H250-Series President was never officially sold in the UK, and Mr. Peskett ‘only bought it by fluke from Japan’. In its homeland, this was the car for senior politicians, business tycoons and the Royal Family.
01 February 2021
‘It’s a bit of a wolf in sheep’s clothing. No extended wheel arches, very discreet “V8” badges and not a lot to give away its performance, asides from the four exhaust pipes’. Richard Monk is the General Manager of the MG Owners’ Club, a valued long term partner of Lancaster Insurance, and the custodian of a very special MG ZT-T XPower 385 - the only one built on the production line.Time to get your tools in order!
With restrictions still in place for many of us, we wanted to spread some cheer among classic car enthusiasts and give you the opportunity to win some amazing prizes!Don’t let your classic become a statistic
Our classics mean the world to us, and worryingly on our Facebook forum (The Classic Car Enthusiasts Forum – Powered by Lancaster Insurance) we’ve seen a spate of owners sharing the unfortunate news that their pride and joy has been stolen or involved in a fire, some of which haven’t had the right insurance in place.Club of the Month – The Classic Corvette Club
Our first accolade of the year goes to the Classic Corvette Club UK (CCUK). An enthusiastic and friendly club, we have been working with the team for over five years and currently sit on their insurance panel, offering members a discount of up to 25% off their insurance premium.