Planes, Trains and Automobiles (and ships and more!) – Motor vehicles and red products made in the UK

British made airplanes, tanks, ships, aero engines, helicopters, trains, tractors, construction machinery, JCBs, London taxis, buses, coaches, specialist vehicles, coach-builders  vans, lorries (trucks), ice cream vans, caravans, motorhomes, campervans, cars, and related products.

I’m not sure if many commercial planes are made in the UK now. Military ones are made by companies like BAE (who have brought companies like Vickers and Alvis*; BEA Systems is the combination of British Aerospace (BAe) and Marconi Electronic Systems ( MES)). They also build tanks and ships. Rolls Royce still make aero engines in the UK. Westland (now Agusta Westland) still make Helicopters in the UK. Wings for Airbus are still made in the UK (owned by EADS – European Aeronautic Defence and Space Company). American company Lockheed Martin also make military equipment in the UK including I think things like tanks, helicopters and armoured vehicles.

The last train and tube train maker is apparently foreign owned Bombardier and it seems they are in trouble (is this because the UK government buys trains from Germany?), although Japanese company Hitachi will be making or at least assembling trains at a factory in Newton Aycliffe near Darlington from 2016 it seems. Bombardier also make executive jets and aircraft engine casings in Northern Ireland, the Canadian aerospace firm having purchases the world’s first aircraft manufacturer, Short Brothers in Belfast, from the government in 1989. As of February 2016 Bombardier in Northern Ireland is looking to cut at least 1,000 jobs and ship much production to seemingly cheaper locations in the developing world. Bombardier already have factories in Mexico and Morocco.

HST 125 (High Speed Train) going west near Shrivenham. “The HST125 is arguably the most successful British passenger train set to have been developed in the post-war years. Despite its being relatively old it remains an indispensable workhorse on the non-electrified inter-city routes.” March 2011. A totally British built train.

HST 125 (High Speed Train) going west near Shrivenham, Oxfordshire. “The HST125 is arguably the most successful British passenger train set to have been developed in the post-war years. Despite its being relatively old it remains an indispensable workhorse on the non-electrified inter-city routes.” March 2011. A totally British built train, but it came into service back in 1976.

The above film was mostly filmed in 1990 at London’s Embankment station, showing the northbound Northern Line platform. Additional scenes date from 2013 and were taken on both Central Line platforms at Bank station. The northbound platform of the Northern Line at Embankment is the only station in the system using the old “Mind the Gap!” announcement by Oswald Laurence, recorded over 40 years ago (in the late 1960s or early 1970s), following its reinstatement in 2013. Several voices have been used over the years, most famously that of Peter Lodge, the voice of the first announcements in the late 1960s.

The MOD has recently (September 2014) ordered 589 Scout Specialist Vehicles (SV) from American company General Dynamics. These medium weight armoured personnel carriers are essentially variants of off-the-shelf vehicles made for the Spanish and Austrian military. The development of Scout SV involves about 24 UK and other European based suppliers, including Lockheed Martin UK, Thales UK, Raytheon UK, Barco, BEA Systems and ViaSat. It has been suggested that about 80% of the vehicle manufacture will be completed in the UK. There’s a further article about production here.

Britten-Norman, the UK’s only independent civil aircraft manufacturer, has been producing aircraft continuously for a period spanning six decades, although also have a factory in Romania and I am not sure how much production actually happens in the UK – http://www.britten-norman.com

The longest aircraft in the world has been unveiled at an airfield in Cardington, England, from where the great airships of the 1920s flew. Originally developed for the US military, the 300ft (91m) helium-filled hybrid Airlander project was scrapped owing to budget cuts. Now the giant aircraft is being brought back to life by a British company which plans to build hundreds of the environmentally friendly craft for passengers and cargo – http://www.hybridairvehicles.com

A small formerly British company called Ascenta in Somerset, which was purchased by Facebook in 2014, is producing, amongst other things, large drones which it is hoped will fly at high altitudes to bring internet connectivity to remote areas – http://www.andrewcoxltd.com

Tractors are still made in the UK by companies like New Holland. New Holland make tractors all over the world. Their plant in Basildon opened in 1964 and has produced more than 1.8 million tractors and over 3.1 million engines.

David Brown no longer make tractors. Following financial difficulties their tractor business was sold off in 1972, together with their car making businesses Aston Martin and Lagonda. David Brown still make gears for tanks and the like (there’s a good history of David Brown on the I’m from Yorkshire website). David Brown now have 7 factories across 5 continents (as well as various joint operations and outsourcing) in South Africa, Australia, China, Canada, India, France, and the UK, so all production does not take place in the UK.

I don’t know of any other UK tractor makers, except JCB. JCB make all sorts of construction machinery and have production facilities in the UK and elsewhere. In every corner of the world you’ll find a JCB machine. JCB is one of the world’s top three manufacturers of construction equipment. JCB’s world headquarters is in Staffordshire.  Possibly Translift Bendi have moved some of their forklift production to the UK according to the Birmingham Post (March 2013).

London taxi cabs – as far as I can work out most if not all are made by Manganese Bronze Holdings these days and they have a factory in Coventry and (as a joint venture) another in Shanghai, China – for the moment then it seems Black Cabs in London are made in the UK and other Black Cabs across the world are made in China. See my comments below on the recent bankruptcy of Manganese Bronze.

Buses and coaches are still made here by companies like Alexander Dennis (who also own Plaxtons) and Wrightbus (who are making the new “routemaster” for London).

As for lorries, ERF have been brought by MANN and manufacturing moved to Germany, Foden have gone (integrated with Leyland Trucks), Saxon (the fire engine makers) have gone, Scammell have gone. Dennis specialist vehicles became part of Alexander Dennis (see above) and no longer make fire engines and the like. A newer John Dennis Coachbuilders make fire trucks using a number of different foreign made chassis in England. Bedford has gone but General Motors (IBC Vehicles) still make Opel/Vauxhall branded vans in Luton, England. Leyland Trucks remain (owned by American truck maker PACCAR), and sell under the name DAF. Optare make buses in the UK and are owned by Ashok Leyland (an Indian commercial vehicle and military vehicle manufacturer) who are themselves part of the Indian London based Hinduja Group. Whitby Morrison (formerly S.C. Cummins) – manufacturer of ice cream vans, trucks, trailers, kiosks and tricycles and supplier of soft ice cream machinery and spares, and who have bodied just about every single ice-cream ever used in the UK apparently, are still going. Mostly they convert Mercedes and Fords (Ford Transit vans are still made in the UK I think) into ice cream vans. Alloy Bodies Manchester is a firm which makes bodies for vans and trucks, ranging in size from three to 32 tonnes, for example bodies for furniture vans, car transporters, horse boxes and rental trucks. Plowman Brothers livestock trucks & tractor towed trailers are made in the UK. Global Vehicle Trust intend to make their flat-pack Ox truck in Britain with it then being able to be built up quickly and easily in emerging markets or other markets. They are currently seeking funding to take their concept forward.

Cummins Transit ice cream van

Made in Britain Cars

Car models to consider if you want to buy British

“The automotive industry accounts for around 11% of all UK exports and on average produces 1.5 million cars and commercial vehicles and more than 205 million engines every year.

This is a global industry investing on a large scale in UK manufacturing. In 2011 global manufacturers announced investments in new models and expansion of existing facilities worth more than £4 billion.” [The AA Made in Britain – also see Which Cars are Actually Made in the UK].

British owned

AlvisRed Triangle / The Alvis Car Company, following an agreement between the company and BAe, resumed production in the  UK, of the Alvis 4.3 Litre model (referred to as the “Continuation Series”) in 2011. I don’t know much about the company (or indeed if it is still British owned) and prices are not given (I suspect they cost quite a bit!), but it is good to read that Alvis is back. More info on Wikipedia, and here and here.

Alvis - The Continuation Car

Alvis – The Continuation Car

Ginetta, founded in 1958, produce hand built road and race cars. Every car is produced in a state-of-the-art, 75,000 sq. ft. factory just outside of Leeds – http://www.ginetta.com

Great British Sports Cars (GBS) in Nottingham is one of the UK’s leading kit car manufacturers, manufacturing Lotus Seven style cars. They say on their website “Great British Sports Cars has a complete in-house manufacturing and design facility…” – http://www.greatbritishsportscars.co.uk

Morgan Motor Company Ltd »

2002 Morgan Plus 8 Le Mans 62

2002 Morgan Plus 8 Le Mans 62

Mclaren Automotive »

Mclaren 12C Spider

Mclaren 12C Spider

Noble Automotive – seemingly British owned – very exclusive cars (I have never seen one!) made in South Africa and assembled in the UK.

David Brown Automotive – despite the name, unconnected with David Brown / Aston Martin / Lagonda / David Brown tractors – seemingly British owned and made, although I am not clear if they are actually being made yet – again very exclusive cars that I have not seen  – possibly one model, the Speedback, has been made.

Ariel Motor Company Ltd is a low-volume performance motor vehicle manufacturing company in Crewkerne, in Somerset, England. They appear to manufacture and assemble in the UK, using foreign made engines. Current models are the Atom car, the Nomad car and the Ace motorcycle. According to Wikipedia, the original Ariel Motors remains as the trading company of the Ariel Owners Motorcycle Club (AOMCC).

Ariel Motorcycles was a British motorcycle manufacturer based in Bournbrook, Birmingham, which became part of BSA in 1951 but the Ariel brand survived until 1967. The last motorcycle-type vehicle to carry the Ariel name was a short-lived 3-wheel tilting moped launched in 1970 by BSA. Ariel had made bicycles before making motorcycles, and had also made automobiles. The ‘Ariel’ name was reused in 1999 for the formation of Ariel Ltd, a sports car producer mentioned above.

The Ariel Atom (2015)

The Ariel Atom (June 2015)

Made in Britain

The following companies build cars in Britain, but are not UK owned.

Bristol Cars Ltd » Now Indian owned. Car production is currently halted but a new model is under apparently development and the company continue to restore old Bristol cars.

Caterham Cars Ltd – owned by a Malaysian businessman. In October 2014 the Caterham motor racing team went into administration last month. The Caterham Group, which comprises two technology companies as well as the car manufacturing arm, is not in administration.

Mini – built in Cowley, Oxford, but owned by BMW in Germany. German company BMW now own the Mini name. Engines for the BMW Mini are now produced in Birmingham, whilst body pressings are made in Swindon and the Mini Hatch/Hardtop, Clubman, Convertible, Coupe and Roadster are assembled at BMW’s Plant Oxford in Cowley, England, and the Countryman and Paceman are assembled by Magna Steyr in Austria. The Countryman is also assembled in India specifically of the Indian market and in Malaysia and Thailand.

Honda build the Civic, CRV and Jazz (from autumn 2009) in Swindon.

Toyota build the Auris and Avensis in Burnaston, Derbyshire, with engines built at their Deeside plant in North Wales.

Nissan build the Juke, Qashqai, Note and LEAF in Sunderland.

Lotus in Norfolk are Malaysian owned.

Aston Martin in Gaydon, Warwickshire are owned by two Kuwaiti companies – Investment Dar and Adeem Investments.

Bentley Motors in Crewe, owned by Volkswagen.

Rolls Royce, built in Goodwood, owned by BMW.

Jaguar/Land Rover – built in the West Midlands and Liverpool but owned by Tata Motor Company of India*

* In Oct 2013, Land Rover announced that production would end on Dec 20, 2015, after a continuous run of 67 years. The firm has said the decision to cease Land Rover Defender production was “mainly legislation based” (it seems unlikely that is true main reason) but there are rumours that production is moving overseas. There is also talk of a replacement model. James May talks a bit about the demise of the Land Rover and I think it will be a sad loss. British Family discuss the gradual move by Tata to producing these iconic British Land Rovers and Jaguars abroad; some production has already moved to China and sadly the Indian company plans to move further production abroad to Brazil, Austria and Slovakia. The Defender was already assembled in Pakistan, Malaysia and South Africa for those markets.

Ibex is a specialist off-road vehicle, ready-built or supplied as a kit to build with donor parts from a Land Rover Defender on a monocoque chassis. Ibex are converted in the Hexham, Northumberland, United Kingdom by Foers Engineering Ltd. Their tagline is Tough trucks from Yorkshire. What is happening with Ibex now Land Rover have stopped production of the Defender I don’t know. There are an array of UK manufacturers making pattern parts for L/R and as FOERS use higher spec parts than L/R, they usually source from these suppliers, so I am told they should be able continue – http://www.ibexf8.com

Bowler Motorsports produce racing and high performance all terrain vehicles, used in events such as the Dakar Rally (which, whilst it used to be a race from Paris to Dakar in Senegal, confusingly is now a race held in South America). Founded in 1985 Bowler Motorsports website carries the words “Proudly made in Derbyshire, Great Britain”. All Bowler vehicles use Land Rover parts and they say “all Bowler parts are made in the UK…” Their vehicles are based on Land Rover Defenders, the Land Rover Discovery and the Range Rover. What is happening with Bowler now Land Rover have stopped production of the Defender I don’t know. There are an array of UK manufacturers making pattern parts for L/R and so I am told they should be able continue. I suspect foreign made parts are used in their vehicles too  – http://www.bowlermotorsport.com

MG Motors at Longbridge, Birmingham – owned by SAIC of China.

Vauxhall Motors was part of USA company General Motors (which owned parent company Opel based in Germany) and build Astras at Ellesmere Port and the Vivaro van in Luton. From 2016 some Luton-built Vivaro have Made in Britain badging.

From August 2017 Vauxhall / Opel became part of the French company Groupe PSA / Peugeot Citroën, who also own former British made car brands of the former Rootes Group including Hillman, Humber, Singer, Sunbeam, Talbot, Commer and Karrier acquired through the purchase by  Peugeot Citroën of former US companies Chrysler UK and Chrysler Europe who had purchased Rootes. The Rootes factories have all been closed. Currently Groupe PSA / Vauxhall are maintaining production of the Astra and the Vivaro van in the UK. The Bedford trucks and vans brand is no longer used.

Luton, home of the Vauxhall Vivaro van. An advertising hoarding on the side of the Luton factory. 13 October 2016. Photograph by author.

Luton, home of the Vauxhall Vivaro van. An advertising hoarding on the side of the Luton factory. 13 October 2016. Photograph by author.

Ford stopped passenger car production in the UK in 2002 and Transit production in Southampton in July 2013 but continues to manufacture engines in Bridgend and Dagenham and transmissions in Halewood.

Reliant no longer build cars – the Robin was transferred to a company called B&N Plastics in Suffolk, but although they supply parts, no Robins are being manufactured at the moment. The Bond Bug transferred to Reliant following their purchase of Bond Cars but production stopped in 1974.

There are rumours of Peels being made again at some point (also see http://wp.me/p2KOue-6g) by a newly formed company, called Peel Engineering Ltd based in England (not to be confused with the original Peel Engineering Company from the Isle of Man). Currently they appear to be only making an electric 10mph replica http://www.peelengineering.co.uk

Jeremy Clarkson in a 1964 Peel P50

Jeremy Clarkson in a 1964 Peel P50

Andy Carter of Bamby Cars has also been building exact Peel P50 replicas in his workshops since the early 1980s and for a while made a new 3-wheeler micro car called the Bamby in Hull. Following bankruptcy the company was re-established in 2011 by Andy and his daughter Emma, this time manufacturing mini micro scale replicas of the German Messerschmitt (Schmitt) micro cars, as well as still making road legal P50s. In future they hope to make scale replicas of the Isetta bubble car (Isetta bubble cars were originally made under licence in Spain, Germany, Belgium, Brazil, France and Great Britain) and a road legal Peel Trident – http://minimicros.wix.com/bamby-home#!

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-13088553

Bamby MINIMICRO SCHMITT TG (4 WHEELER)

Bamby MINIMICRO SCHMITT TG (4 WHEELER), from the Bamby Cars website December 2014.

Bamby P50

Bamby P50, from the Bamby Cars website December 2014.

1965 Peel Trident Bubble car at the Lakeland Motor Museum in summer 2014

1965 Peel Trident Bubble car at the Lakeland Motor Museum in summer 2014.

A new start-up company called Zenos Cars plan to start production in Norfolk of their E-series of sports cars during 2014 – http://www.zenoscars.com

Solo Rail Solutions in Birmingham manufacture key components, rail interiors and doors for the rail sector in the UK. They use the Made in Britain marque. Founded in 1992, they make litter bins, sand hoppers, brackets, ceilings, advert panels, heater kits, carriage cubicles, doors, grab handles, ducts, panels, etc for new build, refurbishment and retro- fit rail clients – http://solorail.com

Unipart Dorman manufacture rail and road traffic management products such as LED signals and solutions for all aspects of railway signalling, traffic management solutions, hazard warning lamps and vehicle activated signs. They use the Made in Britain marque. Unipart Dorman are part of Unipart Rail (who offer supply chain services, and repairs) and part of the Unipart Group, who manufacture abroad as well as in the UK. Unipart were originally part of the state-owned conglomerate British Leyland and are a household name in car parts and accessories originally making service parts for British Leyland vehicles. The company appears to maintain some manufacturing facilities in the UK, although I am not sure if they still manufacture Unipart parts for old British Leyland cars and manufacturing of Unipart parts appears to be done by a third party following the bankruptcy of Unipart Automotive in 2014. Unipart supply exhaust systems, power train components, fuel systems, heat exchangers, and products for the motorsports industry. They say they have a “commitment to localised UK manufacture” and have around 1,000 suppliers, the majority of which are UK based – http://www.unipartdorman.co.uk

The closure of the British Motoring Corporation (BMC) and its successors (including British Leyland) in 2005 meant the end of mass car production by British-owned manufacturers and the loss or move to foreign ownership of many well known marques (as well as the best-selling mini which is now owned by BMW) including amongst others: WolseleyLanchesterLeyland Motors (commercial vehicles, buses and trolley buses) – Leyland Trucks now belongs to American truck manufacturer PACCAR and still make trucks in the UK (which are sold under the DAF name) – Leyland Bus has now gone. The Leyland logo continues to be used by Ashok Leyland (commercial and military vehicle maker) in the sub-continent. Ashok Leyland are now owned by London based Indian company Hinduja and they also own bus maker Optare who make buses in the UK; DaimlerRileyStandard Motor CompanyRoverAustinMorrisVanden PlasAlvis (which as a military equipment maker was eventually acquired by BAE – car production stopped in 1965); MG (created by Morris and now owned by the Chinese SIAC – Shanghai Automotive Industry Corporation); Triumph (Triumph Motor Cycles is now a separate company and still going); Jaguar (Indian owned); Land Rover (Indian owned); Austin-Healey (created by Austin); ScammellBristol Commercial VehiclesCoventry ClimaxEastern Coach WorksLeyland TractorsLDV (formerly Leyland DAF Vans); Marshall TractorsUnipart continue on a smaller scale – see above. The Pressed Steel name is no longer usedGerman company BMW now own the Mini name. Engines for the BMW Mini are now produced in Birmingham, whilst body pressings are made in Swindon and the Mini Hatch/Hardtop, Clubman, Convertible, Coupe and Roadster are assembled at BMW’s Plant Oxford in Cowley, England, and the Countryman and Paceman are assembled by Magna Steyr in Austria. The Countryman is also assembled in India specifically of the Indian market and in Malaysia and Thailand.

The British Leyland Logo. This is a logo for Leyland Motors Ltd.

Lucas Industries plc was a well known Birmingham-based British manufacturer of motor industry and aerospace industry components, particularly well know for its aftermarket parts for motor vehicles. The name continues to be used under licence but as far as I know all their Uk factories have now closed down and none of their products are British made.

Vintage Joseph Lucas Ltd 414 12V 50/40W Car Lamp Box Containing Osram Bulb Made England

Sunseeker motor yachts are manufactured in Poole, England. in 2013 Sunseeker International were taken over by Chinese property and entertainment conglomerate Dalian Wanda Group, but as far as I am aware production still takes place in Dorset for the moment at least – http://www.sunseeker.com/en

Green Marine’ say on their website that they have a state-of-the-art composite production facility is based in the Hythe Marine Park near Southampton, UK. Their core business is building custom racing yachts, high performance superyachts and lightweight components in carbon fibre composites. According to a couple of sites they also built the The Trent-class lifeboat currently operated by the Royal National Lifeboat Institution (RNLI) which were then fitted out by FBM Marine (FBM Marine (Fairey Marine) of Southampton was purchased by Babcock (see below) in 2000. FBM Babcock Marine Ltd as they then became know seem to have gone now. The associated Fairey Aviation Company, an aircraft builder, was taken over by Westland Aircraft in 1960) and Souter Marine (Souter Marine of the Isle of White went bankrupt in 2004). In 2010 Dutch shipyard yacht building company Vitters Group acquired ownership Green Marine – http://www.greenmarine.co.uk

Babcock International Ltd has been involved in making boilers, the development of the UK’s nuclear power stations, ship building, rail, dockyard management and more. In the 2000s they appear to have moved away from manufacturing towards support services. Whether they have any manufacturing capability left I am not sure but possibly they do – https://www.babcockinternational.com

Fletcher was established in the late 1950’s and remains one of the few volume producing boat companies in the UK. Built in Britain you can actually go to the factory and see your boat being built. They say on their website “Almost everything is produced in house or sourced locally” and “Fletcher are proud to be a British manufacturer of speed boats…” – http://www.fletcher-boats.co.uk

Henshaw Inflatables Ltd make inflatable tubes / collars for the inflatable boat building industry, as well as other inflatable products, including self righting bags, inflatable fenders, and inflatable sea pools. Their products are made in the UK – http://www.henshaw.co.uk

Ifor Williams Trailers Ltd, established in 1958, say they “are Britain’s largest manufacturer of trailers up to 3500kg gross weight”, manufacturing trailers including livestock, horsebox, general duty, tipper, plant, flatbed, boxvan trailers, car transporters, horsebox containers and pick-up canopies. Some manufacturing appears to take place at their three sites in North Wales and they purchase parts used from other companies. Quite how much of their products is British made I don’t know, but some might be or their products are at least assembled in the UK – http://www.iwt.co.uk

Graham Edwards Trailers are trailer manufacturers with a factory near York. Founded in 1985, they make livestock, flatbed trailers, general purpose, tipping, tractor drawn and bespoke trailers. The company also do contract work for other companies, for example they manufacture some parts for Barefoot Caravans – https://edwards-trailers.co.uk

The TUG (by Tugco / Top Tugger) is a British made caravan, motorsport, festival, camping, boat, horse box trailer manual moving device/dolly that clips together for storage or transport – http://www.tugco.co.uk

The Tug. Made in Britain

The Tug. Made in Britain.

Jonic manufacture and supply bedding, mattresses, mattress toppers, carpets, foam filling, and upholstery made for caravans, boats, motor homes, etc made to fit unusual sizes. They say on their website “All our products are manufactured here in the UK”. Country of origin is not given against individual products on their website but as they say all their products are UK made then I assume they are but still advise checking before buying – http://www.jonic-uk.co.uk

All Autorack Products Ltd Own- Brand products Van Roof Rack Bars are designed and manufactured in the UK – http://www.autorack.co.uk

AMG Engineering (Tractor Spare Parts Ltd.) manufactures & supplies obsolete parts and accessories for tractors including fenders, doors, window frames & cab fittings for pre-1990’s tractors. Their in-house made parts are made in the UK – http://www.tractorspareparts.co.uk

RT Quaife Engineering Ltd is a global leader in the performance automotive drivetrain industry, supplying motorsport users, volume OEM and commercial customers with a wide variety of precision engineered products for cars, motorcycles and specialist use vehicles.” They have two factories in Kent, England – http://quaife.co.uk

Triumph Motorcycles have six factories.  Two of these factories are based in Hinckley in the UK, three are in Chonburi, Thailand and one is n Manaus, Brazil. So, SOME Triumph motorbikes are made or at least assembled in the UK. It is not clear how (or even if) you can tell where a particular Triumph bike was assembled and where the parts were made.

An old Triumph 3HW 350cc motorbike. These were made at Meriden in the West Midlands from 1942. Photographed June 2010.

An old Triumph 3HW 350cc motorbike. These were made at Meriden in the West Midlands from 1942. Photographed June 2010.

Norton Motorcycles are now being build it the Norton factory at Donington Park in Leicestershire apparently. According to British Family “Norton state that at the moment, 83% of parts for their bikes are made in this country… which is actually a very impressive figure.”

Norton Commando 961SE, January 2010.

Norton Commando 961SE, January 2010.

Métisse Motorcycles (also TS Composites; custom glass fibre and carbon fibre parts) is a motorcycle manufacturer based in Carswell near Faringdon, Oxfordshire, England. The firm originally closed in 1980 but has since been resurrected and they still manufacture in England. Currently they appear to be making the Métisse Steve McQueen Desert Racer, the Métisse Hammer Mk 3, and the Métisse Mk 5 range. There is also a German company with the same name but they do not appear connected – http://www.metisse-motorcycles.com

Métisse Steve McQueen Desert Racer. Built in England.

Métisse Steve McQueen Desert Racer. Built in England.

Gladstone Motorcycles is a bespoke British motorcycle brand building limited production runs of motorcycles, using a Triumph engine and a Metisse designed frame. Everything is handmade, from the leather saddles to the wheels. They also make bicycles – http://www.gladstonemotorcycles.com

THE GLADSTONE NO.1 Motorcycle. Built in Britain.

THE GLADSTONE NO.1 Motorcycle. Built in Britain.

The Ariel Motor Company Ltd (see above) Ace motorbike uses a Honda engine but is made in somerset at their factory. British Family discuss Ariel motorcycles here.

Ariel Ace motorcycle (June 2015)

Ariel Ace motorcycle (June 2015)

It could be the case that the Ariel Ace motorcycle is named after the famous Ace Cafe on the North Circular Road in London. The Ace Cafe has been a transport cafe since 1938, and is a popular hangout for rockers, bikers and petrolheads generally. The Ace Cafe originally operated from 1938 until 1969 when it closed; it then re-opened on the original site in 1997. Ace Cafe sell a few British made items via their online shop, for example some leather pouches, classic tax holders, Lewis leather jackets, Irvin flying jackets by Aviation Leathercraft, various metal badges, the Ace Cafe London ring, necktubes, the Ace Cafe London Pure Silk Scarf, a Sterling Silver Belcher Chain, and their Submariner Jumper – http://www.ace-cafe-london.com

Brough Superior motorcycles, sidecars, and motor cars were made by George Brough in his Brough Superior works on Haydn Road in Nottingham, England, from 1919 to 1940. From 2013 the name was revived for a new motorcycle, but unfortunately for British history and industry it is being made in FranceT. E. Lawrence (AKA Lawrence of Arabia) sadly died from injuries sustained when he crashed a Brough Superior motorbike in Dorset.

Old Empire Motorcycles (OEM) build a handful of one off custom bikes annually which all take their names from Great British automotive, aeronautic and maritime history. They say on their website “One of our aims is to design and craft as much as we can entirely in Britain. Working with other British manufacturers play a big part…” and “British Made British Pride” – http://oldempiremotorcycles.com

CCM Motorcycles – Clews Competition Machines or CCM for short, is a British motorcycle manufacturer based in Bolton, England. CCM was born out of the collapse of BSA’s Competition Department in 1971 and revived again in 2004 after ceasing trading at that time. Their factory is in Bolton. They currently produce the GP450 Adventure bike. It has a British made chassis and Taiwanese Kymco engine. Additionally they supply specialised military and police bikes offering bespoke solutions to different manufacturer’s bikes – http://www.ccm-motorcycles.com

CCM Motorcycles GP450 Adventure bike

CCM Motorcycles GP450 Adventure bike.

Watsonian Squire is a British manufacturer of sidecars and trailers for attachment to motorcycles. According to their Facebook “Founded in 1912 by TF Watson, Watsonian still make Great British sidecars in the Heart of England.” They also sell Royal Enfield motorcycles which are now built in Chennai, India and Ural motorcycles which are made in Russia. The company also do contract work for other companies, for example they manufacture some parts for Barefoot Caravans – http://www.watsonian-squire.com

Britain was once the world’s greatest motorcycle (and cycle) producer, but many top brands like AJS (the AJS brand is now made in China), BSA, Vincent, Royal Enfield, Sunbeam, and Matchless (Matchless London now uses the Matchless name and logo to sell foreign made clothing and accessories and a foreign made motorbike) have now sadly either been sold off or have disappeared.

Hagon Products Ltd (Hagon Shocks), established in 1958, have a little Union Flag icon on their website and may be a British maker of motorcycle shock absorbers, springs and wheels. Very little information is given on their website, but if you need these things it might be worth asking this company where they manufacture – https://www.hagon-shocks.co.uk

K-Tech Suspension Limited specialise in the “design, manufacture, servicing and supply” of motorcycle suspension. They have the words ‘Made in the UK’ and a little Union flag logo at the bottom of the front page of their website. if you need these things it might be worth asking this company where they manufacture what you want – http://www.ktechsuspension.com

Nitron shock absorbers for motorcycles and cars are made in the UK. According to their website “Nitron shocks are billet machined and hand built entirely in the UK” – http://www.nitron.co.uk

Knox make motorcycle and mountain biking gear and body armour. Their products are suitable for motorcycling, motocross, mountain biking, snowboarding, skiing and equestrian. For men, women, and children. A few of their products are made in Britain, with the items made in Britain clearly labelled on their website – http://www.planet-knox.com

Haycyon manufacture British made motorcycle goggles in Hertfordshire, England. Haycyon also make motorcycle mirrors and classic car mirrors. Manufactured in the UK and based on the original RAF flying goggle of the 1940′s Halcyon Goggles are a popular choice for use with all styles of open face helmets. Leather or PVC. Wholesale or via their website. Prescription lenses can be accommodated with the Halcyon lens frame by your optician (+6 to -6 lenses) or Halcyon goggles can worn over prescription glasses – http://halcyonclassic.store.buegle.com/index.php/2/

Mark 49 Halcyon Goggles - Black Leather. Made in England.

Mark 49 Halcyon Goggles – Black Leather. Made in England.

I found Haycycon goggles on the Davida Helmets website. Davida helmets – stylish handmade open face helmets made in England. Davida are now the sole UK manufacturers of open face motorcycle helmets – http://www.davida.co.uk

Dr Who (Matt Smith) and Clara (Jenna Louise Coleman) in The Bells of Saint John, March 2013, riding a Triumph and wearing the Davida Classic helmet (sadly the goggles are French made).

Dr Who (Matt Smith) and Clara (Jenna Louise Coleman) in The Bells of Saint John, March 2013, riding a Triumph and wearing the Davida Classic helmet (sadly the goggles are French made).

Stahlkoffer motorcycle panniers, and tailbags are British made. Products which are British made are labelled as such on their website.  Some products are foreign made I think – http://www.stahlkoffer.com

Vern Worldbeater motorcycle panniers are British made. There’s a review here – http://www.projectvnd.com

Zenoverland motorcycle panniers are British made –  http://www.zenoverland.com

Renntec manufacture at least some of its range of motorcycle accessories including Sports Racks, Grab Rails, Luggage Carriers, Cissy Bars, Engine Bars, Radiator Covers, and Motorbike Stands in the UK – http://www.renntec.co.uk

For British made security chains, ground anchors and padlocks for securing motorcycles, quad bikes, bicycles, cars, caravans, boats, trailers and so on, please click here.

Moto-Lita make their classic steering wheels in England. They also own Aviation Leathercraft (Irvin) who say on their website “All of our jackets are made here in England” – http://www.moto-lita.co.uk

Moto-Lita supplied the AC Car Company in Thames Ditton during the 1960’s. Now they offer wheels both for the original and reproduction vehicles.

Moto-Lita supplied the AC Car Company in Thames Ditton during the 1960’s. Now they offer wheels both for the original and reproduction vehicles.

Puca Ltd make classically styled digital speedometers and tachometers under the brands Smiths, Digital MA and British Gauge. Founded in 2012, their Smiths products are digital replicas of original Smiths instruments, aimed primarily at heritage motorcycles although possibly they do them to fit cars too. All the their products appear to be made in the UK. I am not sure who makes the faces and surrounds, but the electronic internals are made by CAI in South Wales (see below). Puca does not “own” the Smiths brand, which belongs to Smiths Industries (SI) who seemingly are unbothered by the company using their name – http://www.smithsspeedos.co.uk

Caerbont Automotive Instruments Ltd (CAI) is an independent company in South Wales engaged in the design and manufacture of discrete car instruments, instrument clusters, senders, electronic control and interface modules and wiring harnesses for the specialist automotive and industrial markets, for Automotive, Motorcycle, Marine and Industrial customers. CAI has its roots in the Smiths Motor Accessories business, a pioneer in the development of the UK Automotive Industry. In 1984 ownership moved to the Lucas Group and then to VDO before becoming an independent company following a management buyout in 1993. CAI was the subject of a second management buyout in 2011 and has branched out into new markets with new products , including Motorcycle and Marine. CAI is officially licensed by Smiths in the UK and they own the Smiths brand in North America. CAI manufactures a Classic range of traditional Smiths designed instruments based on bourdon tube mechanical and bimetal electrical movements. Smiths were the original Instrument manufacturers. CAI still manufacture some gauges as they were made in the 1950’s. They also manufacture gauges in the same style, but with more modern electronic components. CAI is the oldest established automotive gauge maker in the world, and the UK’s largest independent one. They supply such prestige marquees as Aston Martin, Rolls Royce, Lotus, Caterham, Hitech (of South Africa), Morgan, Ginetta, Noble, Great British Sports Cars, Metisse motorcycles, Brough Superior (a new model being made in France, not the UK), Midual motorcycles (of France), Old Empire Motorcycles, and more, as well as supplying products to rail and industry. CAI was formerly the SMITHS Instrument Company – http://www.caigauge.com

AC Heritage claim “AC Cars are Britain’s oldest car manufactures and have the unique distinction of being in production since 1901”. Production of AC Cars (Auto Carriers Ltd.) stopped at the Thames Ditton site in 1984 and the AC name was licenced to a new company registered as AC (Scotland) and in 1986 the company was sold again. They went bankrupt in 1996 and were sold again, eventually relocating to Malta in 2005, with production ceasing in 2007 or 2008. The result of all this seems to have been a split with 2 companies claiming to now be producing or planning to produce AC Cars today – Accedes Holdings who are making cars branded AC Cars in Germany – and AC Heritage Ltd (Brooklands Motor Company Group) who calling themselves AC cars are planning to return to the UK following the closure of its factory in Malta. Plans are in place to manufacture the AC Ace Mk2 and wider-bodied Mk3 at the AC Heritage and Brooklands Motor Company facility in Weybridge, Surrey (in the meantime they do restorations). There’s also a Ford dealer in East Sussex calling themselves AC Cars but they don’t seem to be claiming to make AC Cars. The AC Owners Club give a short history on their website, which finishes in 2008 with the closure of the Malta factory. It’s a a complex story and not one that I pretend to have a handle on – http://www.acheritage.co.uk/RestorationandNewBuild.html

Founded in 1921 Thomas Meldrum Limited of Sheffield are now known world wide for the “Melco” range of tools and equipment, particularly their car and motorcycle tools, but they also make construction tools. According to an email from the company (on 6/7/14), 99% of their products are still made in Sheffield, England – http://www.thomasmeldrumltd.co.uk

Bisley’s ToolStor heavy duty workshop storage range of tool cabinets, industrial cupboards, workshop cupboards, mobile cabinets and workbenches are as far as I can gather made in the UK, but do check (also the manufacturers of Bisley Office Furniture) – http://www.bisleyworkshop.com

For more British made tools in general, please see http://wp.me/p2KOue-wT

Autostyle car mats are bespoke car floor mats to fit your car make and model that are made in the UK, in their own factory in Milton Keynes – http://www.autostyle.co.uk

A made in England label on an Autostyle car floor mat.

A made in England label on an Autostyle car floor mat.

Universal Reflective Door Guards are made in England, but I can’t find any information relating to this manufacturer on the internet, so I don’t know if they are still making these. I got some in December 2016 and they are just the job, fitting well and easily, looking good and high quality. I got mine on eBay.

Universal Reflective Door Guards. Made in England. Car door edge protectors with built in reflectors. Push fit. Fits most vehicles. Photograph by author.

Universal Reflective Door Guards. Made in England. Car door edge protectors with built in reflectors. Push fit. Fits most vehicles. Photograph by author.

Some Brightkidz high visibility accessories are made in Britain (those that are, are clearly labelled as such on their website), including a reflective sash for adults and children, some reflective armbands and stickers, key rings, badges, zip clips, reflective tags, lace reflectors, spoke reflectors, snap bands, children’s reflective tabards and waistcoats, book bags, PE bags, duffle bags, and so on – http://www.brightkidz.co.uk

Brightkidz Super Stick Reflector. Made in Britain. Photograph by author.

Brightkidz Super Stick Reflector. Made in Britain. Photograph by author.

Brightkidz super stick reflector (day view). Size: 4cm x 7.5cm. Fluorescent for day visibility and reflective for night. Very sticky! Once stuck cannot be repositioned. Made in England.

Brightkidz super stick reflector (day view). Size: 4cm x 7.5cm. Fluorescent for day visibility and reflective for night. Very sticky! Once stuck cannot be repositioned. Made in England.

Brightkidz fluorescent, reflective sashes. Adult (or junior). Made in England.

Brightkidz fluorescent, reflective sashes. Adult (or junior). Made in England.

Brightlidz Umbrella, Golf (Adult). Made in the UK.

Brightlidz Umbrella, Golf (Adult). Made in the UK.

Holts (Holt Lloyd International Limited) car care products continue to be manufactured in the UK. Since 1919, Holts has been a global leader in the manufacture of car care products. Their brands are HoltsSimonizPrestone, and Redex. Holts products include Wondarweld, Gun Gum, Romac Tyreweld emergency tyre repair, Radweld, Bradex Easy Start, car cleaning products (car glass wipes, air con cleaner, shampoo and wax), de-icer, screen wash (concentrated or ready to use), and auto spay paint. Simoniz produces interior and exterior car care products to keep your car clean, protected and shining, such as wash, wax and polish, wheel, bumper and tyre cleaners, glass cleaners, and spray paints. Prestone’s UK range includes screen wash, coolant/antifreeze , de-icer and cooling system repair products. I suspect, although I am not sure, that Prestone in North American may remain an entirely separate entity from Holts. Some Prestone products that I have seen though are marked made in EU and I assume these are foreign made. Redex is the UK’s number one fuel additive. Holt Lloyd say on their website “Made in Newquay, Shipped Across the World – Holt Lloyd products are sold across the world, but we’re proud that they’re manufactured here in the UK. Our manufacturing facility in Newquay, Cornwall, produces products for all 4 of our brands to be shipped around the globe. As a UK brand since 1919, it’s important to us that we retain this British heritage. By making products here, we not only ensure we’re part of the UK manufacturing industry, we also employ local staff throughout the supply chain” – https://www.holtsauto.com/holts/

Holts Screenies Car Glass Wipes, for interior and exterier glass. Made in GB. Front of pack view. Photograph by author.

Holts Screenies Car Glass Wipes, for interior and exterier glass. Made in GB. Front of pack view. Photograph by author.

Holts Screenies Car Glass Wipes, for interior and exterier glass. Made in GB. Back of pack view. Photograph by author.

Holts Screenies Car Glass Wipes, for interior and exterier glass. Made in GB. Back of pack view. Photograph by author.

Holts Tyreweld. Made in GB. On display in Tesco Flitwick 30 January 2017. Photograph by author.

Holts Tyreweld. Made in GB. On display in Tesco Flitwick 30 January 2017. Photograph by author.

Redex Petrol System Cleaner. Made in GB. Photograph by author. Front view.

Redex Petrol System Cleaner. Made in GB. Photograph by author. Front view.

Redex Petrol System Cleaner. Made in GB. Photograph by author. Rear label detail view.

Redex Petrol System Cleaner. Made in GB. Photograph by author. Rear label detail view.

Autoglym, car care and valeting products, holders of Royal Warrants to the Royal households of HM The Queen and HRH Prince of Wales, was founded in 1965 and their products are made in Great Britain. “Autoglym products are manufactured in the UK, in Letchworth ‘The World’s First Garden City’. From here they are filled, packed and shipped all over the globe from America to Australia and everywhere in between” it says on their website – http://www.autoglym.com

Autoglym, car care and valeting products display in a garage shop near Brackley. Note the words “Made in Great britain” on the bottom front of the bottles.

Autoglym, car care and valeting products display in a garage shop near Brackley. Note the words “Made in Great britain” on the bottom front of the bottles. Photograph by author.

Tesco own brand screenwash (concentrated or ready to use) and Tesco own brand de-icer is produced in the UK. So too are their car cleaning sponges and their motor oil – http://www.tesco.com

Tesco Screenwash. Produced in the UK for Tesco.

Tesco Screenwash. Produced in the UK for Tesco. Photograph by author.

Tesco Screenwash. Produced in the UK for Tesco. Label detail view.

Tesco Screenwash. Produced in the UK for Tesco. Label detail view. Photograph by author.

Prestige de-icer and Tesco de-icer. Both made in the UK.

Prestone de-icer and Tesco de-icer (on the top self) on display in Tesco Flitwick. Both made in the UK. Photograph by author.

Tesco Car Sponge. Made in UK. Front of packaging view. Photograph by author.

Tesco Jumbo Car Sponge. Made in UK. Front of packaging view. Photograph by author.

Tesco Car Sponge. Made in UK. Rear of packaging view showing country of origin. Photograph by author.

Tesco Jumbo Car Sponge. Made in UK. Rear of packaging view showing country of origin. Photograph by author.

Tesco Motor Oil 5W-30 2L. Made in the UK. Photograph by author. Front view.

Tesco Motor Oil 5W-30 2L. Made in the UK. Photograph by author. Front view.

Tesco Motor Oil 5W-30 2L. Made in the UK. Photograph by author. Rear label detail view.

Tesco Motor Oil 5W-30 2L. Made in the UK. Photograph by author. Rear label detail view.

Siverhook engine oils, antifreeze, screen wash, lubricants, de-icer, body fillers, engine flushes and so on are made in England – http://www.silverhook.co.uk

Comma oil in Kent was established in 1965 and taken over by Esso in 1989. Esso became part of the merged ExxonMobil in 1999. Cosan Lubricants – the São Paulo based Mobil licensee in Brazil, Bolivia, Paraguay and Uruguay – purchased Comma from ExxonMobil in 2012. Comma have manufacturing taking place in Gravesend, Kent, although I don’t know if all their products are still made in England. However, some certainly are, such as the automatic transmission fluid pictured below – http://www.commaoil.com

Comma automatic transmission fluid AQM, I litre. August 2016. Made in Great Britain. Photograph by author. Front view.

Comma automatic transmission fluid AQM, I litre. August 2016. Made in Great Britain. Photograph by author. Front view.

Comma automatic transmission fluid AQM, I litre. August 2016. Made in Great Britain. Photograph by author. Rear view with the words "made in Great Britain".

Comma automatic transmission fluid AQM, I litre. August 2016. Made in Great Britain. Photograph by author. Rear view with the words “made in Great Britain”.

Morris Lubricants has been manufacturing lubricants in Shrewsbury, Shropshire, since 1869 and as far as I can gather still make some or all of their products in the UK (check before buying) – http://www.morrislubricants.co.uk

Millers Oils are a British lubricant blender founded in 1887. Automotive, Classic, Commercial Vehicle, Industrial and Motorsport – http://www.millersoils.co.uk

Tetrosyl Limited is a manufacturer and supplier of car care products and is the “largest independent oil blender in the UK”. Their brands include CarPlanTriplewax, and T-Cut. Founded in 1954, the company is still manufacturing in the UK. Of their T-Cut they say “In these days of manufacturing decline in the UK we are proud to have been producing T-Cut in Bury, Lancashire since 1954 and will continue this tradition for generations to come to ensure we are very much a part of British Heritage and history. Tetrosyl is a Private and UK owned company.” On their main website they tell us “Tetrosyl’s bulk manufacturing operations are based in Greater Manchester. Bridge Hall and Bevis Green sites cover over 70,000 square meters of production space and the combined sites produce over 2500 product lines and over 61 million units of production continually per annum.” What is not clear is what their mix of British and foreign made products is. For example the ‘Carplan Compact Easy Grip Ice Scraper & Squeegee’ I looked at today (20/1/17) had no country of origin information on the product itself or the packaging and generally country of origin  information is not given on their websites. I asked about this particular product and was pleased to hear “Yes I can confirm that the CarPlan Easi-Grip Ice Scraper is made in the UK.” You’ll need to ask if a particular product is British made – http://www.tetrosyl.com

The CarPlan Easi-Grip Ice Scraper is made in the UK.

The CarPlan Easi-Grip Ice Scraper is made in the UK.

Cooper Tire & Rubber Company (who also own former British tyre company Avon Tyres since 1997) have a tyre factory (the former Avon Tyres factory) in Melksham. The former American company Cooper Tires was taken over by Indian firm Apollo Tyres in 2013. They produce motor vehicle tyres. French company Michelin also produce motor vehicle tyres in the UK. Michelin closed their bicycle tyre factory (the last one left in the UK) in Stoke-on-Trent in the 1980s. Michelin manufacture bus and tractor tyres in their Ballymena factory, car tyres in their Dundee factory, and retread truck tyres in their Stoke-on-Trent factory. American company Goodyear Dunlop (EMEA) currently retread tyres in their Wolverhampton factory but announced in June 2015 that the factory is to close.

WingAWare is a simple reflective plastic triangle that attaches to your car door when you park and is designed to reduce the likelihood of your car mirror being damaged and sells for £10. I assume it is to be removed when the vehicle is moving. Their website does nothing but there is more information on their Facebook and on Amazon. The product is designed and made in the UK. The company launched around early 2016 – http://www.wingaware.com

Specialised Covers manufactures all its products here in the UK.” Specialised Covers make protective covers for cars, bikes and caravans. Specialised covers was founded in 1981 and their production facility is in West Yorkshire. Specialist covers are plain but they work with L&S Prints, who are mentioned elsewhere on my site, to produce fancy covers too, such as the Union Flag cover pictured and in the video below – http://www.specialisedcovers.com

Specialised Covers / L&S Prints Union Flag car cover for Bentley. Made in England.

Specialised Covers / L&S Prints Union Flag car cover for Bentley. Made in England.

Turtle Covers design and manufacture in the UK custom fit, waterproof seat covers for commercial vehicles, vans, pick-ups, and 4x4s. They say on their website “Designed and manufactured in the UK” and “Our custom-fit, waterproof car seat covers are designed and manufactured wholly in the UK by our skilled staff…” and “Our waterproof protective covers are handmade within our UK factory by our experienced cutters and machinists” and “All of our products are manufactured by us at our premises in the UK.”  Turtle Covers Ltd was established in 2004 and is based between Oswestry and Wrexham, close to the Welsh/Shropshire border – www.turtlecovers.co.uk

Jubilee Clips are still manufactured in the UK. Each page of their website carries the words “Made in the UK” at the top left and they say “Jubilee Clips were manufactured as the first worm drive hose clamp in 1921, the company held the first patent for worm drive hose clips and has been manufacturing hose clips in Great Britain ever since”. Their twitter account has the tagline “The original worm drive hose clip, manufactured in the UK. since 1921” – http://www.jubileeclips.co.uk

Burlen Ltd make vintage and classic vehicle fuel systems and associated spares. They are based in Salisbury. They do not say on their website whether any manufacturing takes place in the UK, but it might be worth asking if you are in the market for SU carburettors, fuel pumps and spares, Amal carburettors and spares, Zenith, Stromberg and Solex Carburettors and Spares, or Stay Up floats for vintage and classic cars and motorcycles.

PLC (Pneumatic Components Ltd) tyre inflation and compressed air products still have a factory in Sheffield (as well as factories in China and India) and some of their products are still made in the UK. Others, for example many of their hand-held tyre pressure gauges, are foreign made these days. Made in Sheffield products are clearly marked as such on their website. Where it does not say a product is made in Sheffield, then it is foreign made. The company is now owned by German company Horngroup – http://www.pclairtechnology.com/Home

A vintage PCL tyre gauge No.1. 6-50 LBS. Made in England by Pneumatic Components LTD

A vintage PCL tyre gauge No.1. 6-50 LBS. Made in England by Pneumatic Components LTD.

Miller UK Ltd manufacture a range of buckets, quick couplers and other attachments for the earthmoving industries (which attach to machines made by companies like JCB), as well as providing a custom built service, with manufacturing taking place in their factory in Cramlington in the North East of England and in a factory in China. In 2015 they spent £1.5 million overhauling their UK manufacturing plant, demonstrating a commitment to manufacturing in the UK, which is good to hear – http://www.millergroundbreaking.com

Caravanning remains a British manufacturing success story: over 95% of touring and holiday caravans in the UK are made here and approximately 60% in the case of motorhomes. In addition, 100% of residential park homes are made in UK” according to the NCC (National Caravan Club) in an (undated but possibly written in 2011) article on a site called politics.co.uk. That said many caravan makers have gone bust in recent years and many have been purchased by foreign owners who are likely to close down the British factories in time.

The Swift Group is one of the major players in the industry, founded in 1964 and since having taken over various other companies. During the 1980s Swift took over Burstwick Transport, a specialist caravan and motorhome transport company, and Cotswold Coachcraft. Swift acquired many well known caravan brands through their purchase of the touring caravan business of Cosalt in 1994 who had previously taken over the brands of Caravan International in the early 1980s and which included Eccles, Bluebird, AstralACE, Abbey, BessacarElite, Europa and Sprite. Swift acquired the Autocruise motorhomes of Mexborough, South Yorkshire in 2007, previously making motorhomes and currently panel van conversions. The Swift Group make caravans, motor homes (using foreign made vans as the base from Fiat) and holiday homes and they have a factory in Cottingham in Yorkshire and facilities in Hedon Road in Hull and Mexborough in South Yorkshire. No specific information about country of origin is given on their website but I get the impression they still manufacture in the UK as they have a UK factory and describe themselves as “UK’s largest Leisure Vehicle Manufacturer..”. Their brands include Swift, Sterling and Sprite caravans. Swift Group is the official distributor of the USA made Airstream in the U.K. – https://www.swiftgroup.co.uk

Bailey caravans is another major player in the industry, founded in 1948, and they have a factory in Bristol. They make caravans, motor homes (using foreign made vans as the base) and static caravans. Again, no specific country of origin information is given on their website.

Fifth Wheel and Inos caravans are built in the UK too. Fifth Wheel, founded in 2002, own Inos, founded in 2011, and both brands are built in their factory in Rhuallt, North Wales. Both the Fifth Wheel and the Inos websites have the words “British Built” at the top of their webpages. Fifth Wheel make Fifth Wheeler caravans that I presume require a pick-up truck, like a Toyota Hilux, to tow them. Inos make caravans with standard tow bars. Both Fifth Wheel and Inos caravans have twin axles and a slide out section. New and used Fifth Wheel and Inos caravans are sold by both companies.

RS Motorhomes are made in the UK (using a foreign made truck or van as a starting point). It says on their website that you can visit their factory and see your motorhome being built. 

Devon Conversions say on their website “We are probably the longest established motorhome and camper manufacturer in the UK, having been established at Sidmouth, Devon, in 1956” and “…we are based in a modern, spacious factory complex in County Durham…” suggesting to me that their motorhomes and campers, based on panel vans, are British made, but do check before buying. They use Fiat, Ford, Mercedes Benz and Volkswagen vans which they convert – http://devonconversions.co.uk

Sussex Campervans say on their website “…we convert vans into campervans right here, in our workshop in the Sussex countryside” and looking around their website they appear to make things like upholstery and furniture themselves as part of the conversion of vans such as the (hopefully British made) Vauxhall Vivaro, French Renault vans, German Volkswagen (VW) vans, German Ford vans, French Citroen vans and Japanese (probably Spanish built) Nissan vans – http://sussexcampervans.com

Auto-Sleepers make their motorhomes in the Cotswolds, England, converting foreign made vans from Mercedes, Peugeot or Volkswagen into motorhomes. They say on their about us page “Auto-Sleepers has over 54 years experience in meeting the needs of customers who are looking for the best in British-built motorhomes” and their brochures are marked with the words “made in Great Britain”. Auto-Sleepers are now Italian owned. 

Auto-Trail say on their website that “one motorhome in three sold in the UK” is “built at our Grimsby manufacturing plant”. Auto-Trail motorhomes are build around Italian Fiat chassis and are now part of the French Trigano Group.

Lunar caravans do not give any information about country of origin on their website, but I think they may be made in England in Preston, Lancashire – best check before buying. They also make motor-homes on Renault or Mercedes chassis. 

Diddyvans camping trailers – “A teardrop trailer hand-built in Basingstoke, Hampshire” – a British built tiny trailer you can sleep in (the chassis is purpose built by AL-KO and presumably foreign made); for sale or hire”.

Teardrop trailers can be towed by smaller vehicles and accommodation is normally basic with a double bed covering the entire floor and there is normally no onboard toilet.

Carapod (previously called the Pod) teardrop caravans are “designed and hand made in Britain” – https://www.carapod.co.uk

Barefoot Caravans are made in Britain. They say on their website “Hand built in fibreglass, and fitted to the highest standards by Auto-Sleepers, manufacturers of Motorhomes of Excellence, with over 50 years expertise” and “The Barefoot Caravan is made to the highest standards in Great Britain by leading manufacturers. Your caravan will be fitted out individually by the experienced team at Auto-Sleepers, manufacturers of Motorhomes of Excellence for over 50 years. The monocoque fibreglass body, galvanised steel chassis, and many other parts have been designed and built by many fantastic British manufacturers” – http://www.go-barefoot.co.uk//

Pennine Outdoor Leisure Ltd are a manufacturer folding campers (folding hard top pop-up tent trailers). They give no information about manufacturing or country of origin on their website but it is worth asking if their products are British made if they are of interest to you. Conway Products, who made products such as the Conway Tardis hard top / tent folding camper, were taken over by the Pennine Group in November 2002 and the Conway name has since been dropped – https://pennineoutdoorleisure.co.uk

Gobur Carousel folding caravans were built in Britain from 1982 until production ceased in 2016. Today Gobur only sell refurbished Carousel folding caravans and no longer make new ones – http://www.goburcaravans.co.uk

Nu Venture are a manufacturer of motorhomes based around French Citreon vans and will also covert other vans. They give no information about manufacturing or country of origin on their website but it is worth asking if their products are British made if they are of interest to you – http://www.nuventure.co.uk

Roma Caravans Limited is the UK’s premier manufacturer of hand built, custom caravans” according to their twitter which says they are based in Bedfordshire, whilst on their website they say “…99% of the caravan is built by hand by our dedicated team of caravan builders in our Hertfordshire based factory”. 

Coachman Caravans, founded in 1986, have their factory in Hull. Coachman make single and twin axle caravans in a variety of sizes and layouts, including a centre washroom and rear inline fixed island bed layout in all their ranges. Their Facebook page says they have an “…obsessive attention to detail, combined with the very best of British craftsmanship…” From 1997 until 2001 Coachman was part of Explorer Group Limited but is currently an independent company. 

The Explorer Group Ltd was purchased by German company the Erwin Hymer Group in 2017 and now operate as Erwin Hymer Group UK Ltd trading under the Elddis name. They say on their website “Our heritage stretches back to 1964 and today Elddis, Compass, Xplore and Buccaneer touring caravans and Elddis motorhomes are still produced in Consett, County Durham”. Their range includes single and twin axle caravans and motorhomes on French Peugeot chassis. 

Vanmaster is a UK caravan brand. The chassis they use are made by AL-KO and presumably foreign made. They make both single and twin axles caravans, in a variety of layouts. Vanmaster give no information about manufacturing or country of origin on their website, but their Facebook says “Vanmaster superiority is there for all to see, British Hand-built Craftsmanship that exceeds all expectations” which suggests they manufacture in the UK and it seems they have a factory in Wigan – http://www.vanmastercaravans.co.uk

Vantage Motorhomes have their factory in Leeds and produce van conversion motorhomes based around French Peugeot vans.

Bilbo’s Motorhomes, established in 1977, build camper vans around German Volkswagen vans. They say on their website that their camper vans “…are built by our skilled British craftsman in our purpose built factory…” They describe their Lezan camper van as “Manufactured in our UK factory”. I don’t know whether all their range is UK made – http://www.bilbos.com

Romahome, founded in 1982, make camper vans built around French Citroën vans. The company appear to belong to Wilmoths Group or Freeborn Group or Special Vehicle Projects (SVP Ltd) or Addabak Ltd who seem to lease a factory in Cowes where they produce Romahome camper vans and motorhomes. Ownership and detail about manufacturing are unclear from their website, but they do say their 5 models are “produced at our factory in Cowes on the Isle of Wight…” – http://www.romahome.com

Wheelhome campers make camper vans with elevating roofs based around Italian Fiat vans. Previously they have used other base vehicles and made a caravan. They say on their website “Wheelhome campers are lovingly crafted in our workshop here in Essex” – http://www.wheelhome.info

Danbury Motorcaravans convert German VW and USA Ford Transit vans (Transit vans are no longer made in the UK – they are now made in Turkey or the USA) into a range of small to mid-sized motorcaravans. They say on their website “Our 40,000 square foot factory is located in Yate, Bristol…”. Danbury are well known for their VW T2 campervans and, as of August 2017, appear to still be selling new ones. I assume these are very limited and leftovers from the made in Brazil VW T2s which are no longer produced. They also sell modern VW T5 and T6 van conversions, some of which have toilets, Transit conversions and second hand campers – http://www.danburymotorcaravans.com

Dormobile, now based in Romsey near Southampton, are back and specialise in the supply of spare parts to the original Dormobile vehicle market (Land Rovers, VW and Bedford vans), the production of the famous Classic lifting roof and offers the conversion of new and older Land Rover vehicles for the overland and recreational vehicle market – http://www.dormobile.co.uk

ABI holiday homes (park homes / mobile homes) are British built and they use the Made in Britain marque. On their website they say “each and every ABI holiday home is made right here in Britain, at our factory in Beverley”. ABI used to make caravans too but no longer do so – http://www.abiuk.co.uk

To help you buy a British made caravan the following are foreign caravan and motorhome manufacturers selling in the UK that I know of – Hobby (Germany), Fendt (Germany). Erwin Hymer Group (Germany), Airstream (USA), Adria (Slovenia), Caravelair (France), Dethleffs (Germany – part of Hymer), Geist (Germany – defunct), LMC (Germany – part of Hymer), Knaus and T@B (Germany), Sterckeman (France), TEC (Germany – part of Hymer), Eriba (Germany – part of Hymer), Freedom (Poland).

You’ll occasionally see imported Japanese camper vans and motorhomes in Britain, such as converted Toyota Hiace vans. Collectively these are sometimes referred to as Bongo from Japan. These small van conversions arrive second hand from Japan where tax advantages are given if you sell your van for export after just three years. Based on the Mazda Bongo (or similar vans) and right hand drive, they can offer excellent value for money. Some have four wheel drive and clever touches like electrically-powered lifting roofs. These are available for example from Direct Campers in Kilmarnock in Scotland or Clearcut Conversions in Barnstaple, Devon who do conversions and partial conversions of panel vans.

The German Volkswagen (VW) T2 was a popular small campervan in the UK and is often associated with hippies. It was produced in Germany and the UK, as well as in South Africa, Mexico and Brazil.  Production in the UK stopped in 1967 but continued in South America. Production ended completely when the Brazil factory closed at the end of 2013. Volkswagen never themselves made a T2 camper – they have only ever sold the ‘Type 2’ as vans which are then outfitted by coachbuilders around the world. The original vans were called Type 2, following on from Volkswagen’s first offering the Type 1, better known as the Beetle. Volkswagen now make slightly larger campervans, presumably in Germany, although unlike the old T2 things like the toilet are missing in the modern Volkswagen campervan.

There are a couple of short histories of caravanning here and here. During the early 1980’s a number of well known caravan makers such as Stirling, Royale, Churchill, Thompson, Avondale (they closed down a bit later in 2008) and Caravan International (CI) Group closed down. Caravan International had taken over brands such as Eccles, Bluebird, ACE, Abbey, Bessacar, Elite, Europa and Sprite. The Cosalt company from Hull, bought out parts of the company, choose to keep the CI brand but renamed it Cosalt International. The touring caravan business was sold to Swift Leisure in 1994 and Cosalt continued to manufacture static caravans until they went bankrupt in 2013. Astral Caravans also went bankrupt in 1980 and was acquired by Bessacar and hence Cosalt.

F L Hitchman manufacture the rolling water carrier the Aquaroll and the dual purpose water carrier the Wastemaster, for caravaners. They say “All of our products aremanufactured in our factory in the West Midlands” – http://www.aquaroll.com

Quite how much of a caravan or motorhome might be made in the UK I don’t know. There may be other caravan and motorhome makers in the UK, but I don’t know.

Portakabin portable buildings (modular buildings) are still be made in the UK. On their website it says “Designed and manufactured at the 250,000m2 Portakabin production facility in York, Portakabin buildings fulfil the demands of an increasing range of applications, from office space, childcare facilities and classrooms to health centres, hospitals, call centres and toilets and showers. Sometimes referred to as portacabins or terrapins Portakabin is actually a trade name. The other well known temporary buildings company Terrapin of Milton Keynes went bankrupt in 2012. The most familiar modern type of portable buildings are designed so that one can be carried to or from site on a large lorry and slung on and off by a crane. Portakabin also make the well known brand of portable temporary or permanent toilets, Portaloo. Portakabin buildings need planning permission – http://www.portakabin.co.uk

For British made bicycles (and some more on motorcycles, please see https://ukmade.wordpress.com/2012/09/26/bicycles/

There are still many other companies out their who make in the UK parts for the motor industry too.

A 1963 Alvis TD21 Series II Drophead Coupe.

A 1963 Alvis TD21 Series II Drophead Coupe.

1955. The Duke of Edinburgh drives to the European Horse Trials with the Queen and the Duke and Duchess of Gloucester in a Land Rover.

1955. The Duke of Edinburgh drives to the European Horse Trials with the Queen and the Duke and Duchess of Gloucester in a Land Rover.

April 2016. Prince Philip drives the Obamas and the Queen to Windsor Castle for lunch after greeting them at their helicopter.

April 2016. Prince Philip drives the Obamas and the Queen to Windsor Castle for lunch after greeting them at their helicopter. They are in a Range Rover.

Queen Elizabeth in her Land Rover. Undated but 2012 or before.

Queen Elizabeth in her Land Rover. Undated but 2012 or before.

——————————————————

There’s a good history of Yorkshire car maker Jowlett on the I’m from Yorkshire website. Jowlett’s ceased car production in 1954. Jowett continued making parts for their cars at another site on Howden Clough Road in Morley until 1963 and aircraft fittings in another part of the county.


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30 thoughts on “Planes, Trains and Automobiles (and ships and more!) – Motor vehicles and red products made in the UK

  1. ukmade Post author

    London black cab maker Manganese Bronze has gone into administration today. I am not sure there is anyone else who makes black cabs. Does this mean they will be produced abroad (surely not – this iconic vehicle couldn’t be made abroad could it?) or is this the end of the famous London Black Cab?

    Reply
  2. ukmade Post author

    Ford have today (25.10.12) announced the closure soon of the Transit van plant in Southampton (Transits will now be made in Turkey) and the stamping plant (pressing plant) in Dagenham, leading to the loss of up to 10,000 jobs (counting the impact on the supply chain and local economies). Ford it appears would rather invest in cheaper labour economies than invest in the UK. I do not expect the UK government to intervene.

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-20083272

    Reply
  3. ukmade Post author

    Manganese Bronze, maker of London “black cabs” for more than six decades, has been sold to Geely, adding another well known European brand to the private Chinese carmaker that already owns Volvo. The Chinese company, which was Manganese Bronze’s largest creditor, said it would continue to assemble the company’s TX4 model at the Manganese Bronze plant in Coventry.

    http://www.ft.com/cms/s/0/a4fc2992-6c5c-11e2-b73a-00144feab49a.html#axzz2JlBngyUA

    Reply
  4. ukmade Post author

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/magazine-26351503

    http://www.hybridairvehicles.com

    https://twitter.com/AirVehicles

    https://www.facebook.com/pages/Hybrid-Air-Vehicles/426641664040843

    The longest aircraft in the world has been unveiled at an airfield in Cardington, England, from where the great airships of the 1920s flew. Originally developed for the US military, the 300ft (91m) helium-filled hybrid Airlander project was scrapped owing to budget cuts. Now the giant aircraft is being brought back to life by a British company which plans to build hundreds of the environmentally friendly craft for passengers and cargo.

    Related links – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hybrid_Air_Vehicles; http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Airship_Industries; http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/RAF_Cardington; http://www.airshipsonline.com/sheds/Cardington.htm; http://cardington.weebly.com

    Reply
  5. ukmade Post author

    http://www.bbc.com/autos/story/20140825-a-racetrack-in-the-sky fiat ghc move to UK

    Italian car maker Fiat (now Fiat Chrysler) is apparently to move its global headquarters to the UK, for tax purposes, by the end of 2014 (but not production which these days remains in Italy and in other countries like Poland, Brazil, Argentina, Mexico and Canada).

    http://www.fiat.co.uk/uk/news/Fiat-reorganises
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fiat_Chrysler_Automobiles

    Reply
  6. ukmade Post author

    Land Rover are making a number of limited edition Defenders to capitalise on their statement that production of the Land Rover Defender due to end in December of 2015. This year marks the end of the iconic Defender design as we know it – it will be relaunched with a different look next year – so it seems anyway. For example this colourful Paul Smith edition – http://www.paulsmith.co.uk/uk-en/paul-smith-world/collaboration/paul-smith-and-land-rover-defender

    Reply
  7. Zhifeng

    britten-norman produces the only uk commercial aircraft today – thought they also have a factory in romania. All other types of uk commercial aircrafts have ceased production. (the most recent one was avro RJ by bae, still a common sight in Newcastle and Paris)

    Reply
    1. ukmade Post author

      Hi. Thank you for your comment. I have updated this article with Britten-Norman and I was very pleased to get this information off you. Thanks again.

      Reply
  8. ukmade Post author

    Test driving the ridiculously (fantasy money) Kuwaiti owned Aston Martin Vulcan + a bit about the London Taxi Company / its new Chinese owner, Geely and their £250m investment in the company + the growth of Indian owned Jaguar Land Rover + the local automotive supply chain including Swedish owned Semcon http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-33287596

    Reply
  9. ukmade Post author

    http://www.bbc.com/news/uk-england-beds-bucks-herts-38618338 – Aston Martin DB4 GT production to resume at Newport Pagnell, This will be the first car to be made in the traditional home of Aston Martin, the Newport Pagnell, U.K., plant since production of the Vanquish S ended there in 2007. Currently most of the brand’s cars are made at the Gaydon headquarters in Warwickshire, England – https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2016-12-09/aston-martin-revives-the-db4-gt-60-years-later-for-1-9-million

    Reply

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