If you owned a bike in the 1980s or before in the UK, it was probably British-made. If you own one today, most likely it’s made abroad.
My 1980s Falcon racing bike was made in England. It is superb quality and a rides like a dream despite its age. Falcon Cycles is still going. The company owns and sometimes uses a number of different former British bicycle brands including Elswick, Hopper, Holdsworth (the Holdsworth brand is also used by Far East manufacturer Planet X Bikes), Falcon (once the second largest bicycle manufacturer in the UK after Raleigh; the factory in Barton-on-Humber closed in the mid-1980s and production was moved to nearby Brigg; in 2006 Falcon ceased UK production entirely, but by this time only a few high end bikes were being assembled in the UK by Falcon and most Falcon bikes were already being made abroad, since about 2002), British Eagle, Coventry Eagle (also previously a motorcycle manufacturer), Townsend, Wearwell and Claud Butler. The same company (Tandem) now owns Dawes cycles (the Dawes factory in Tyseley, Birmingham closed down in around 1990 and production was moved to the Far East) too. Like Raleigh Cycles, Falcon and Dawes (Tandem) do not make bikes in the UK nowadays, all their bicycles now being foreign made.
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, and cars.
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.
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.
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.
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]
* Alvis – Red 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.
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
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.
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 Derbyshire.
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.
* 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
MG Motors at Longbridge, Birmingham – owned by SAIC of China.
Vauxhall Motors are part of General Motors and build Astras at Ellesmere Port and the Vivaro van in Luton.
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
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#!
Dormobile, now based in Romsey near Southampton, are back and specialise in the supply of spare parts to the original Dormobile vehicle market, 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/history.html
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: Wolseley; Lanchester; Leyland 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; Daimler; Riley; Standard Motor Company; Rover; Austin; Morris; Vanden Plas; Alvis (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); Scammell; Bristol Commercial Vehicles; Coventry Climax; Eastern Coach Works; Leyland Tractors; LDV (formerly Leyland DAF Vans); Marshall Tractors. Unipart continue on a smaller scale – see above. The Pressed Steel name is no longer used. 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.
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
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
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
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
TriumphMotorcycles 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.
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.”
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
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
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 France. T. 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
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
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/
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
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
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
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
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.
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
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 Holts, Simoniz, Prestone, 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/
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 Worlds 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
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
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
Tetrosyl Limited is a manufacturer and supplier of car care products and is the “largest independent oil blender in the UK”. Their brands include CarPlan, Triplewax, 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
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
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
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. The Swift Group is one of the major players in the industry founded in 1964 (and since having taken over various other companies. They make caravans, motor homes (using foreign made vans as the base) and holiday homes and they have a factory in Nottingham in Yorkshire. No specific information about country of origin is given on their website. 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. 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. 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”.
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.
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.
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.
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. A friend of mine has one and he is very happy with it. It is not clear how (or even if) you can tell where a particular Triumph bike was assembled and where the parts were made. The original Triumph factory closed down in 1983. As far as I know Triumph motorcycles is unconnected to the German bra making company Triumph International.