Top 10 Weird But Indispensable Boxers

England is total exoticism a few kilometers from France. For example, we live by the rhythm of a royal family since the death of Mrs. Windsor, an extraordinary media phenomenon that had unexpected consequences in France. This gives us the opportunity to take an interest in another aspect of Perfidious Albion’s exoticism: its car production. Or more precisely, certain models with a strange taste, from other places, and therefore particularly attractive.

Let’s start in 1947 with the founding of a brand that will be talked about a lot: TVR, which takes the consonants of the first name of its creator, Trevor Wilkinson. It produced small light sports cars, including the Jomar, launched in 1956. Renewed in 1959, it had a design that would last, largely modified, until the 1980s. In the 1990s, TVR unveiled more ambitious models, such as the Griffith, superbly designed and powered by a V8 Rover. But the manufacturer will make the fatal mistake of designing its own engines, fitted to the Cerbera, Tuscan and Sagaris in particular, but with limited funds. Result, unreliable, these blocks will lead to the fall of TVR in 2006. Since then we keep announcing the return of the brand, with little result.

Sublime and ultra-efficient, Sagaris, here in 2006, will not manage to get TVR out of the rut.

A more enviable fate for Ginetta, founded in 1958, is dedicated to racing and light sports cars, in kit form. Gradually, the range will expand with small GTs, such as the 1969 G15, then the G26 in 1984. In 2010, a step was taken with the G60, a super sports car with a central Ford V6 of 3.7 l and 314 hp followed. by Akula in 2019, with a 610 hp V8. Ginetta regularly competes, especially in LMP1. The brand still exists and produces the G56 GTA, Supercup and G40 Junior.

Simple but very nice look for this very efficient Ginetta G33, in 1991.
Simple but very nice look for this very efficient Ginetta G33, in 1991.

Unveiled a year after Ginetta, in 1959, on the cusp of the prolific swinging sixties, Marcos was founded by Jem Marsh and Franck Costin (hence the name). The brand will quickly be distinguished by its formidable Mini with a lowered fiberglass body, more aerodynamic and lighter than the production model. We still see them wreaking terror at the Le Mans Classic. Another creation, the GT, a coupe with a long hood, which would become the Mantis and then the Mantula. In 2006, the brand will even release a sports car to compete with the TVRs, the 420 hp V8 Chevrolet TSO. Unfortunately, as the company was not managed properly, it closed its doors in 2007.

A Mini-Marcos in his racing endeavors in the 1960s.  Even today, these mini sports cars achieve good lap times in VHC.
A Mini-Marcos in his racing endeavors in the 1960s. Even today, these mini sports cars achieve good lap times in VHC.

More upscale, how can you not capsize in front of the stunning 1966 Jensen Interceptor, a major GT rival of Aston Martin and Maserati? It consists of an unlikely combination of American mechanics (Chrysler) and Italian bodywork, all built in Britain. Powerful, fast, beautiful and luxurious, it nevertheless lacks this pedigree, which is the strength of its rivals. Too bad for her, but all the better for buyers because she currently offers comparable services at a fraction of the price (around €50,000). It was even rejected in the FF, which was the first production car to offer not only four-wheel drive for strict use, but also, and above all, anti-lock brakes! If Jensen died in 1976, the much-loved Interceptor would have many subsequent lives with other manufacturers, well into the 2000s.

Ah, Jensen FF, here in 1971. Its rear fender will inspire Renault, while its four-wheel drive and anti-lock brakes prefigure 80s hi-tech.
Ah, Jensen FF, here in 1971. Its rear fender will inspire Renault, while its four-wheel drive and anti-lock brakes prefigure 80s hi-tech.

Still in exclusivity, let’s dwell on Bristol, an aircraft manufacturer that came to the car in 1945, taking advantage of the war damage inflicted on Germany. Thus, the 400 was born in 1947 with a BMW 328 engine. Until the 406 (yes, like the Peugeot) of 1958, the English marque would use this 6-cylinder by making it evolve. So will use a V8 Chrysler on the 407 from 1961. In 1976, two new models are launched, of a luxury worthy Rolls-Royce, the 603 and 412, this one dressed by Zagato. These cars will last a long time, a little too long, but the 2004 Viper-powered Fighter will try to raise the bar. Not enough, as Bristol Cars will unfortunately close its doors in 2020.

Spectacular and ultra-fast with its Viper V10, the 2004 Fighter arrives at Bristol a little late.
Spectacular and ultra-fast with its Viper V10, the 2004 Fighter arrives at Bristol a little late.

Then comes to mind another composition with a special flavor, the Reliant Scimitar GTE. This sport may well belong to a category lower than Jensen’s, it is no less original. In fact, just before the Volvo P1800, in 1968, it has a fiberglass “shooting station wagon” whose lines were drawn at Ogle by Tom Karen. Depending on going to the end of its idea, the open rear window overlooks two independent and foldable seats, very practical. Under the hood is a Ford Essex 3.0 l V6 of 138 hp, which takes it to more than 190 km/h, making this offbeat English a practical sports car. Rare, however, the Scimitar is not expensive, £10,000 sufficient to afford a fine specimen. There are even a few in France.

Brimming with charm, the Reliant Scimitar GTE had a chase car body from 1968, i.e. before the Volvo P1800 ES.  Here a restyled version from 1976.
Brimming with charm, the Reliant Scimitar GTE had a chase car body from 1968, i.e. before the Volvo P1800 ES. Here a restyled version from 1976.

At the same time, the venerable Rover brand thought outside the box for once. His 1958 P5 sedan is nicely designed and plush (thick leather, woodwork), so he had a good start to his career, but that’s not why he made an impression. It is rather for the bodywork that it comes from 1962, namely a four-door coupé. Forty years before the Mercedes CLS! The supremely elegant P5 Coupé increased its appeal in 1968 when it received a 3.5-litre V8, originally from Buick and reworked by Rover, which propelled it to more than 180km/h. Efficient, beautiful, luxurious and reliable, the P5b Coupé is currently a very tempting classic that can be found for €20,000 in good condition.

From 1962, the Rover P5 Coupé stood out with its 4-door coupé formula, later adopted by the Mercedes CLS in particular.
From 1962, the Rover P5 Coupé stood out with its 4-door coupé formula, later adopted by the Mercedes CLS in particular.

And Panther? You remember ? Founded by Robert Jankel in 1972, this brand has excelled in productions that are both very offbeat and demanding. The first surfed the retro wave, powerful in the 70s: we think of the J72, inspired by the Jaguar SS100, which was equipped with Jaguar mechanics like the De Ville, a conception of the Bugatti Royale. Let’s not forget the 6 wheeler with… 6 wheels! Better known, the Lima, a sort of rehash of the Bugatti 55, was marketed in France before becoming the Kallista. Unfortunately, the brand disappeared in the 90s, after being bought by… Ssangyong.

Panther Lima had its heyday in the 80s, even in France.  Anthony Delon owned one.
Panther Lima had its heyday in the 80s, even in France. Anthony Delon owned one.

Let’s talk about a brand that symbolizes a certain English spirit, at once conservative, pragmatic and long-lasting. Morgan! The Malvern Link brand has specialized in low-tax three-wheelers since its birth in 1910 and launched its first proper car in 1936: the 4/4. Great success. In 1954, it adopted a dome-shaped grille, which allowed it to last until … 2019! Certainly throughout its career it will systematically receive modern engines for their time, branded with Coventry-Climax, Ford and even Fiat. From 4/4 comes the sportier Plus 4 and Plus 8, so in the early 2000s, Morgan will switch to ultra-modern aluminum manufacturing on the Aero8, without giving up a 1930s look. Now powered by BMW blocks, the Morgan becomes efficient and extraordinary sports cars. Currently, the Plus 4 and Plus 6 use the same principle, but with bodywork from 1954.

Don't be fooled by the vintage look of this Morgan Plus 4. Beneath this body designed in 1954 hides a very modern aluminum chassis and BMW engine.
Don’t be fooled by the vintage look of this Morgan Plus 4. Beneath this body designed in 1954 hides a very modern aluminum chassis and BMW engine.

We cannot talk about English cars without taking a detour through the craftsmen. There are so many of them across the channel. Among them, ADD has been quite uncommonly successful. Appearing in 1971, he marketed an idea that will be taken up again: putting a VW Beetle chassis on a body inspired by the world of supercars. All this must be assembled at home for a reasonable price: Nova. Spectacular with its opening dome, the Nova will also be sold in the United States, but also in Australia, Austria, South Africa, Italy and… in France by the Defi company in 110 units. If the inexperienced English creators threw in the towel in 1978, the Americans, who sold the car under the Sterling brand, kept it alive until 1996.

A Nova Sterling, photographed in France in 2013 by Emeritus Eddy Clio.  What a look this car under the Beetle!
A Nova Sterling, photographed in France in 2013 by Emeritus Eddy Clio. What a look this car under the Beetle!

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