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. British made car parts and motor accessories. Transport. UK made cars. British made vehicles. Cars made in the UK, etc.
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. Swift Aircraft was founded in 2004 and hopes to make a new light training and aerobatic aeroplane n the UK by the end of 2018.
Also building aircraft in the UK are BJJR building the Bulldog autogyro (possibly made in Britain; they don’t really say on their website), C.M. Microlights of Norfolk (possibly made in Britain; they don’t really say on their website) who in 2017 suspended production, Medway Microlights who say on their website they hope to commence production on-site at Medway Microlights of Rochester of a microlight aircraft, ProAirsport Limited / Go Fly Aircraft who hope to produce a Microlight Aeroplane which will be built in the UK, P&M Aviation (Mainair Sports / Pegasus Aviation) microlight aircraft of Manton, Marlborough, Wiltshire (possibly made in Britain; they don’t really say on their website), and EuroFOX which is a microlight aircraft assembled in the UK. TAG Paramotor Dealers UK say on their Google summary “our paramotors are hand built in Yorkshire to the highest standards using Minari 180CC engines and Sunglider wings” – a Paramotor is the generic name for the harness and propulsive portion of a powered paraglider – unfortunately (as of 9 Feb 2018) their website is not working so I was not able to ascertain any more information about this company. Vertical Aerospace is a British aerospace company based in Bristol, England that designs and builds vertical take-off and landing (VTOL) electrically powered aircraft / helicopters and whilst at the prototype stage now could potentially build aircraft in the UK in the future if they choose to.
Vertigo Covers Ltd aircraft covers are made in the UK. They say on their website “Our factory and office are based in the south of the UK. With in-house production and design we proudly export all over the world.” GA aircraft covers, moveable aircraft hangers, canopy gloves, glider covers, helicopter covers commercial aircraft covers, business jet covers, blimp covers, military aircraft covers, inflatable shelters and wind socks – http://vertigocovers.co.uk
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. “Mind the Gap” is also the announcement at Hounslow East station.
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
DroneX of Bristol make Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) or drones. They don’t mention country of origin on their website but they appear to have their own workshop so their products may be UK made and they have told one of my contributors, Rob, that their drones are made in the UK, so it would be worth asking if you are interested – http://dronex.co.uk
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).
Many London taxi cabs 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 their other Black Cabs across the world are made in China. See my comments below on the October 2012 bankruptcy of Manganese Bronze. Manganese Bronze, maker of London “black cabs” for more than six decades, was 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, has said it will continue to assemble the company’s TX4 model at the Manganese Bronze plant in Coventry. The company is now called the London EV Company Limited (LEVC; formerly The London Taxi Corporation Limited trading as The London Taxi Company and formerly part of Manganese Bronze Holdings and and formerly named Carbodies Limited). Directly before the existing, smaller, TX4 the company produced the iconic FX4. The Austin FX4 is a taxicab that was produced from 1958 until 1997. It was sold by Austin from 1958 until 1982, when Carbodies, who had been producing the FX4 for Austin (British Motor Corporation/British Leyland), took over and they produced it until 1997. In 2015 Geely announced plans to build a new £250 million plant for the London Taxi Company in Ansty Park near Coventry, with production planned to start at the new site in 2017. The London Taxi Company’s (LTC) Ansty Park site in Coventry is the home of its new electric taxi, the TX5 and was opened in March 2017. The existing Holyhead Road premises in Coventry will become a paint shop once the production of the existing TX4 taxi ends. The company also announced that a second vehicle will also be built – an electric light commercial van. The TX5 taxi is a hybrid electric vehicle and is being introduced from early 2018 with the first delivery having been made in in February 2018.
Metro Cammell Weymann introduced the MCW Metrocab in 1987. Metro Cammell Weymann (MCW) was once a major contributor in transportation manufacturing in the UK, making buses (including bus chassis), double-decker buses, mini-buses, and Metrocab taxis, until being broken up and sold off its then owners Laird Group. Reliant (see below) owned Metrocab taxis from 1989 and production was moved to Tamworth until Reliant collapsed in 1991 and ownership of Metrocab passed to Hooper & Co (Hooper & Co. was a British coachbuilding company, now defunct) and from 2001 to Kamkorp who continued production until 2006. Prince Philip used to have a green Metrocab taxi which he used to get around London, sometimes driving it himself. Kamkorp re-started production of Metrocabs in 2014 on a trail basis under the brand name Ecotive and they are now hybrid petrol-electric vehicles. Ecotive Metrocab describe their taxis as “designed and engineered in Britain”. The new 2014+ Metrocab has the look of an iconic London taxi and in 2016 Ecotive said “the Metrocab electric vehicle … will be manufactured in Coventry”. As of February 2018 production has not yet started. The 2014 Metrocab will be manufactured by Canadian company Multimatic at an expanded plant in Ansty Park near Coventry.
Buses and coaches are still made in the UK by companies like Alexander Dennis (who also own Plaxtons), Optare and Wrightbus (who are making the new “routemaster” for London). Plaxton of Scarborough, founded in 1907, became part of the Alexander Dennis Group in 2007. They still have a manufacturing site in Scarborough where they make Plaxton coaches and Alexander Dennis Enviro buses. Alexander Dennis Limited (ADL) of Scotland encompasses three famous and successful marques – Alexander, Dennis and Plaxton. They have manufacturing facilities in the UK, Asia and North America. Wrightbus is a Northern Irish coachbuilder established in 1946 who also make their own chassis as well as buying them in. Optare make buses in the UK and are owned by Ashok Leyland (an Indian commercial vehicle and military vehicle manufacturer’ formerly part of Leyland Motors) who are themselves part of the Indian London based Hinduja Group. The Leyland logo continues to be used by Ashok Leyland in the sub-continent.
Many well known British coach builders making buses and coaches have closed down. Historically, Leyland Motors was a major manufacturer of buses, double decker buses, London double decker buses, and coaches used in the United Kingdom and worldwide. Leyland Bus became part of Volvo Buses in 1988, with the name disappearing in 1993 (and the closure of the Workington factory where Leyland buses were built) and the remaining factory in Irvine, Scotland closed in 2000. Volvo production is now in Sweden, Belgium, France, and Poland with no production in the UK. As far as I am aware DAF (Leyland Trucks) no longer make buses. Bristol (see below) no longer make buses as far as I am aware. Thomas Harrington & Sons Ltd was a coachbuilder in the county of Sussex from 1897 until 1966. Although not technically a part of the Rootes Group (see below), the Thomas Harrington operations were owned by a Rootes family investment company from sometime post-war until 1965 when it was decided to close the factory. Production ceased in April 1966 after which Plaxton purchased spares, stock in trade and goodwill. Crossley Motors was a British motor vehicle manufacturer based in Manchester, England who produced cars, buses and goods and military vehicles from 1903. They were taken over by AEC and production at the Crossley factories ended in 1958. AEC was a British vehicle manufacturer which built buses, motorcoaches and lorries from 1912 until 1979. The abbreviation stood for Associated Equipment Company, but this name was hardly ever used; instead it traded under the AEC and ACLO brands. While famously associated with London’s AEC Routemaster buses (they were one of a number of companies who made the famous hop-on-hop-off red London buses), AEC supplied commercial vehicles to many companies, both domestically and around the world. Leyland Motors Ltd acquired AEC in 1962, closing the company down entirely by 1979.
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. AEC became part of British Leyland who closed them down entirely by 1979 (see above). Dennis specialist vehicles became part of Alexander Dennis (see above) and no longer make fire engines and the like. Dennis Bus and Dennis Fire were incorporated into Transbus International (now Alexander Dennis) in 2001. A newer John Dennis Coachbuilders make fire trucks using a number of different foreign made chassis in England. Dennis Eagle the manufacturer of dustcarts/refuse vehicles, incorporating the remains of Eagle Engineering and Shelvoke and Drewry, is now owned by the Terberg Res Rosa Group of the Netherlands and appears to still manufacture bin lorries in the Midlands. Bedford has gone but General Motors (IBC Vehicles) still make Opel/Vauxhall branded vans in Luton, England – now French owned Vauxhall currently still make the Vivaro van in Luton. Leyland Trucks remain (owned by American truck maker PACCAR, they still have a factory in Leyland, Lancashire), and sell under the name DAF. DAF manufactures its trucks in factories in Eindhoven (the Netherlands), Westerlo (Belgium), Leyland (the United Kingdom) and Ponta Grossa (Brasil). DAF is a Dutch company Van Doorne’s Aanhangwagen Fabriek (Van Doorne’s Trailer Factory), abbreviated to DAF. DAF LF or a right-hand drive XF and CF lorries manufactured in the UK at the Leyland factory. Leyland DAF came about in 1987 as joint venture between British Leyland/Rover and DAF of the Netherlands forming DAF NV. Following the insolvency of DAF NV in 1993, four new companies emerged through management buyouts; LDV Limited as a van manufacturer in Birmingham (LDV Group Limited, formerly Leyland DAF Vans, went bankrupt in 2009 with the machinery being shipped out to China); Multipart Solutions Limited which was formed out of the firms parts company based in Chorley, Lancashire and is still going today; Leyland Trucks of Leyland, Lancashire; and DAF Trucks of Eindhoven in the Netherlands – the latter two coming together again following their purchase by American company Paccar. Morris Commercial Cars Limited was a British manufacturer of commercial vehicles formed by William Morris, founder of Morris Motors Limited, to continue the business of E G Wrigley and Company which he purchased as of 1 January 1924. In 1968 Morris and Austin commercial vehicles began to be re-badged under the BMC / Leyland brand and the the former Wolseley factory in Adderley Park, where Morris commercial vehicles were in Birmingham, was closed in 1971.
The Morris Commercial marque was re-launched in 2017 with the intention to make a retro-styled electric van is based on the 1949 Morris Commercial J-type van. The JE was unveiled in 2019, with production announced to commence in 2021 with an expected price of around £60,000. On their website it says “…the new JE will be built using beautiful British craftsmanship” but the location of production has not yet been unveiled. Morris Commercial currently sell a small range of presumably foreign made Morris Commercial related gifts, such as baseball caps. As far as I can gather this is a new company – https://www.morris-commercial.com
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. Ford no longer make their Transit vans in the UK. Transporter Engineering (purchased by Hunwick Engineering in July 2010) car transporter lorry trailers are made in Great Britain, in Essex. On their website they say “Transporter has built a reputation on delivering quality British built products…” and I have seen a made in Great Britain label on their car transporters.
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].
* 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
The Morgan Motor Company Ltd. was established in 1909 by H.F.S. Morgan with the design of the now iconic Morgan Three-Wheeler. This was followed in 1936 by the Morgan 4-4, which continues to be produced today, and is the longest running production car in the world. In 2018 Morgan also started selling a Morgan bicycle made by Pashley in England.
McLaren Automotive (formerly known as McLaren Cars) is a British automotive manufacturer based at the McLaren Technology Centre in Woking, Surrey. The main products of the company are sports cars.
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.
Bradshaw Electric Vehicles, founded in 1973, manufacture electric vehicles for industry, such as electric baggage handling vehicles used in airports like London Heathrow. Their website seems to suggest they have a factory in Peterborough but it is not clear on this. Check where their vehicles are made if you are buying. Certainly they do import vehicles.
Wales & Edwards was a British manufacturer of milk floats based in Harlescott, Shrewsbury. They were particularly well known for their three wheelers. It was one of the oldest milk float manufacturers lasting from the early 1940s to the early 1990s. In 1989, the company was acquired by Smith Electric Vehicles. Major customers included United Dairies (later known as Unigate) and in the early years, Express Dairies. The basic design evolved throughout W&E’s existence before finally ending its days as the Rangemaster.
Smith Electric Vehicles (also known as Smith’s) was a manufacturer of electric trucks. The company, founded in 1920 in Washington, Tyne and Wear, closing down in around 2017. As well electric milkfloats (including 4-wheel milk floats, and they took over Wales and Edwards, see above) the company made electric trucks, vans and utility vehicles.
Other electric milk floats manufactures included Bluebird Electric Vehicles of Swansea, Harbilt of Market Harborough (1935-1989), Brush, Bedford and British Leyland. Also Morrison-Electricar (1933-1983), M & M Electric Vehicles, Graiseley Electric Vehicles, Lewis Electruk, Metrovick, Wilson Electrics, Midland Electric Vehicles, and Victor Electrics.
Osborne Motor Bodies still make milk floats but these days they are diesel or petrol. They say on their website “The need for ever greater range lead to the demise of the Iconic electric milk float due to its limited battery life. Its internal combustion engine replacement was invariably a diesel chassis cab with a float body fitted.” Odd though that today when everyone is talking about the benefits of electric vehicles that the country that once had more electric vehicles than any other (the UK), mostly milk floats, should have moved away from electric milk floats. It might have more to do with being able to but cheaper milk from supermarkets and convenience stores.
Are any companies still making electric milk floats?
TVR was a British sports car manufacturer with a factory in Blackpool founded in 1946. The company went through various financial difficulties over the years and the Blackpool factory eventually closed down in 2006. The company name has since been revived and in 2018 it has been suggested that a new TVR will “Unapologetic, loud, proud and British built”. Wikipedia suggests the new car will be built in Wales. No such information is given on the TVR website. It will be interesting to see if this project takes off.
Potenza Sports Cars is a company which now owns Westfield Sportscars and GTM Cars, both of which now are or are going to be manufactured at the Westfield factory in Kingswinford, West Midlands in the UK. Founded in 1982, Westfield Sportscars are manufacturers of both factory built and kit versions of several two-seater, open top sportscars. Their main product line is a Lotus Seven inspired car. In this respect they are visually similar to Caterham Cars (see below) who bought the rights from to the Lotus Seven from Lotus Cars. However, it is claimed the two cars differ and an out of court settlement was made between the two companies in the 1980s. Westfield prefers to employ the same glass fibre body method that Lotus has traditionally used for their other models such as the Elise, Esprit, and Elan, rather than the aluminium used by Caterham. They also make electric and hybrid models. On their website they say “In 1991, Westfield expanded again moving to the impressive factory and office block in Kingswinford where we are still manufacturing today” and ” In an age of manufacturing imports Westfield are proud to boast high quality British craftsmanship in every aspect of production, and they build them right here in the heart of the United Kingdom.” They also say they are 100% British owned. I don’t know what percentage of their parts are British made but they use parts from Mazda and Ford for example. GTM Cars is or was a component kit car manufacturer, founded in 1967. They started off making the Cox GTM (Grand Touring Mini) a mid engine sports car based on Mini parts. Production stopped in 1968 and re-started under new ownership in 1971. They were taken over again in 1972 after production stopped but the new owners produced nothing. Then in 1976 they were taken over again and just produced spare parts for their cars. Under new ownership again in 1980 they began making cars again, still based on the Mini. They were taken over again in 2003 with production moving to Coventry. They were taken over by Portenza in 2007 and production moved to the Westfield site. In late January 2010, Westfield Sportscars made the following announcement. “Unfortunately due to parts procurement issues we are no longer offering the current range of GTM models. We will however over the next 12 months be designing and manufacturing a new GTM.” There is no GTM Cars website and no new model has been forthcoming, however Westfield sports cars are still being made in Britain. Westfield also produce Westfield Autonomous Vehicles driverless pod vehicles, which have been trialled and are planned for deployment in various locations and are based the pods you see at London Heathrow Terminal 5 which are also made by Westfield.
Made in Britain
The following companies build cars in Britain, but are not UK owned. In many instances only a percentage of the parts used are British made with other parts being imported.
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. The company used to make trams, aircraft, taxis and buses, as well as cars. The production of Bristol buses and lorries ended in 1983. At one point they owned British sports car company Frazer Nash. Frazer Nash, founded in 1922, made their own sports cars and cars under the Frazer Nash BMW brand and the Frazer Nash Porsche brand with Porsche eventually buying the company in 1987 who of course closed it down. There is a comprehensive history of Bristol vehicles on the company website. Following bankruptcy in 2011 the name was purchased by Kamkorp, which also owns Frazer-Nash Research, now a technology manufacturer of electric power systems. The Kamkorp Group, as well as owning Bristol Cars and Fraser-Nash, also own Metrocab (taxis – see above) and Metrail (mass transit systems). Kamkorp is owned by UK-based Indian businessman Kamal Siddiqi.
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. Lotus started building its iconic Seven sports car in 1957 and continued doing so until 1973. At this point, Caterham bought the production rights. It is still building variants of the car now, 61 years after Lotus began the process.
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. Electric-powered Mini cars will be built in China for the local Chinese market following a deal when BMW announced a deal with Chinese manufacturer Great Wall Motor to make them there. This is the new Mini of course. The original Mini by Austin (later British Leyland) first went on sale in 1959 and remained on the market until 2000, 41 years after its launch, immediately before the arrival of the first BMW-era Mini.
Honda build the Civic, CRV and Jazz (from autumn 2009) in Swindon. Honda motorcycles are not made in Britain. Japanese owned. In February 2019 Honda announced the closure of its UK manufacturing with the complete closure of the Honda Swindon plant by 2021, with the loss of 3,500 jobs and a consequential knock loss of jobs in Honda’s supply chain elsewhere. A trade deal between the EU and Japan means that car exports from Japan to Europe will soon be tariff-free.
Nissan build the Juke, Qashqai, Note, Pulsar and LEAF in Sunderland. Japanese owned. The Infiniti Q30 is also built in Britain by Nissan. The Japanese car company announced in February 2019 that it would no longer be making its new X-Trail SUV at its Sunderland factory, relocating manufacturing to Japan instead. A trade deal between the EU and Japan means that car exports from Japan to Europe will soon be tariff-free.
Jaguar make their F-Type, XE, XJ, XF and F-Pace in Solihull and Castle Bromwich, West Midlands.
Land Rover have plants in Solihull, West Midlands and Halewood, Merseyside.
In Oct 2013, Land Rover announced that production would end on Dec 20, 2015 of the versatile Land Rover Defender, after a continuous run of 67 years, since 1948. The firm has said the decision to cease Land Rover Defender production was apparently “mainly legislation based” 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 is 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.
Jaguar Land Rover announced in April 2-18 that it would cut 1,000 UK jobs, due in part to the ongoing uncertainty around Brexit, and in June 2018 the carmaker revealed plans to move production of its Land Rover Discovery model from the UK to Slovakia. The Land Rover Discovery is currently made at the company’s Solihull plant, but Jaguar said that it will switch production to eastern Europe by early next year. At present their only other model, the Range Rover, is still made in the UK.
In September 2019 it was announced that the new 4×4 Land Rover Defender will be built for Jaguar Land Rover in Slovakia and prices will start from about £45,000. Production of the last British-made Defenders ceased in 2016, almost 70 years after the first model came off the Solihull production line following the second world war. So sad to see that production of the new Defender will be in Slovakia and that the iconic Land Rover will no longer be made in the UK.
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
INEOS Automotive founded in 2016 and owned by INEOS Chemicals have stated their intention to build a somewhat low tech Land Rover Defender type vehicle after the versatile Land Rover went out of production in 2013. Ideally they say they would like to make the vehicle in the UK but they have not stated that it will be built in the UK. A prototype is being made for them in Germany currently and they hope to have this made by 2018 and want to start production in 2020. Land Rover are rumoured to be making their own replacement for the Land Rover Defender with a new model due to be announced in 2018. INEOS Automotive are calling this project Grenadier and they want to produce a reliable 4 x 4 Land Rover like vehicle.
MG Motors at Longbridge, Birmingham – now owned by SAIC of China. MG are now making the 3 and 6 at Longbridge, Birmingham. Formerly part of British Leyland. The original MG marque, the initials of Morris Garages, was produced from 1923 until 1980 when the Abingdon factory closed. Between 1982 and 1991, the MG marque used to badge-engineer sportier versions of Austin Rover‘s Metro, Maestro, and Montego ranges. The MG marque was revived in its own right from 1992-1995 with very limited numbers of entire MGB body shells being manufactured in Faringdon. A second revival came in the summer of 1995, when the high-volume MG F two-seater roadster was launched. Badge-engineer sportier versions of Rover models were then produced from 2001-2005, when MG Rover went into administration. In 1979 The MG Car Company celebrated the 50th Anniversary of its move from Cowley to Abingdon. They asked Morland & Co to brew a special commemorative beer for the occasion. The name chosen was ‘Old Speckled Hen’, which took its inspiration from a 1927 MG Featherlight Saloon used as a run about at the factory and affectionately known as the ‘Owld Speckl’d Un’ due to it’s spattered and damaged paintwork.The assets of MG Rover were bought by Chinese carmaker Nanjing Automobile in July 2005, subsequently bought by SAIC in December 2007, which now operate a UK subsidiary, MG Motor. Production restarted in 2007 in China. The first all-new model from MG in the UK for 16 years, the MG 6, officially launched on 26 June 2011.
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 the 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 France of former US companies Chrysler UK and Chrysler Europe who had purchased Rootes. The Rootes factories have all been closed. Rootes were also associated with coach builder Thomas Harrington (see above). Interestingly the Hillman Hunter, which first went on sale in 1966 with European production stopping in 1979, continued to be built in Tehran by Iran Khodro under licence, although they called it the Paykan, until as recently as 2005, 39 years after its launch and latterly it used a Peugeot engine.
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.
India’s iconic Ambassador car brand was also sold by Hindustan Motors to Peugeot in 2017. Based on the British third-generation Morris Oxford, the Ambassador was for many years India’s bestselling car from 1957, although production stopped in 2014.
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. On 6 June 2019 sadly Ford announced it will axe the Bridgend plant after warning Brexit would destroy UK car industry.
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 in 1969 but production stopped in 1974. Reliant was best known for producing the 3-wheeled Reliant Robin, but also produced sports cars such as the Reliant Scimitar, convertibles and commercial vehicles. Reliant also owned Metrocab taxis (see above) from 1989 and production was moved to Tamworth until Reliant collapsed in 1991 and ownership of Metrocab passed to Hooper & Co and from 2001 to Kamkorp who have re-started production. The last Reliant was produced in 2001. Reliant Motor Company Ltd is now a dormant company and the only part that still exists is Reliant Partsworld which produces spares for Reliant vehicles. Reliant PartsWorld Ltd own all the original tooling, jigs and fixtures to produce spare parts for Reliant vehicles.
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). They appear to be making an electric 10mph replica and original Peels. They say on their website “Every new Peel P50 is lovingly hand built in Great Britain.” The original Peel Engineering Company was a manufacturing company based in Peel on the west coast of the Isle of Man that primarily made fibreglass boats through its subsidiary company West Marine Ltd. and fairings for motorcycles. Peel Engineering also made the Peel P50 and Peel Trident three-wheeled microcars, Peel Viking Sport cars, go-karts and even a hovercraft. The Peel P50 was the world’s smallest production car. The Peel Viking Sport was a BMC Mini based sports car made by the Peel Engineering Company on the Isle of Man between 1966 and 1970. Sports car production was taken over by Viking Performance / Trident Cars of Suffolk. Trident Cars also produced the TVR based Clipper car. Trident Cars closed down in 1977. The Peel Engineering Company, founded in 1961, closed down in 1974. The re-launched Peel Engineering Ltd was started in 2010 and was featured on Dragon’s Den on the TV – 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#!
Invacar Limited was a British manufacturer of road-legal three-wheeler vehicles for disabled drivers, funded by a contract with the Ministry of Pensions, founded in 1951. Many of their users would initially have been former servicemen injured in the Second World War. For decades, from 1952, disabled people in the UK were given their turquoise, three-wheeled cars. They were issued for free and gave independence to people who otherwise couldn’t leave home easily. The vehicles were known by the brand name Invacar or Thunderseley Invacar (after the place where the company made them), or more informally as “Noddy cars” or “invalid carriages”. Most seemed to have been coloured “Ministry Blue” (ice blue). They had one seat and space for a folded wheelchair. The body was made of fibreglass and fitted with sliding doors. An Austrian made Steyr-Puch engine was in the boot. Early vehicles were powered by an air-cooled Villiers 147 cc engine. Their top speed was between 60 and 82mph. The Thundersley 70 was able to be adapted to the individual’s needs depending on their disability and you could choose from a traditional steering wheel or a motorcycle style handlebar operation or the tiller system that when pushed down applied the brakes. They could be driven without the need to take a proper driving test. The company was founded by Bert Greeves and diversified into motorcycles known as Greeves Motorcycles. The company’s factory was near Southend on Sea in Essex in Thunderseley. The company ceased trading following a fire in 1977 and the withdrawal of the ministry contract following a move to convert ordinary cars rather than providing special cars for the disabled. In 2003 all Invacars owned by the government were recalled and scrapped because of safety concerns and few remain today. The Greeves Motorcycles name has since been revived but no information is given about country of origin on their website so I assume they are foreign made. There is a video about Invacars here. Originally, there were many different makers of invalid carriages, but the government wanted a standard design and the Invacar Model 70 three wheeler was designed by AC (see below), the same company that gave us the AC Cobra, and was in production from 1971 until 1978 and it was made by AC and Invacar. Around 18,000 were built between 1972 and 1977, with AC and Invacar Ltd building half of that total each. There are interesting articles about this vehicle here and here.
A new start-up company called Zenos Cars plan to start production in Norfolk of their E-series of sports cars during 2014. In 2018 Zenos cars are now in production. Zenos Cars is a British automotive company that produces high-performance, light-weight sports cars. Based in Wymondham, Norfolk, UK, the company designs, manufactures and sells three variants of the Zenos E10 car – 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 Automotive had 180 branches). 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 (founded in 1905, merged in 1952 with Morris Motors Limited in the new holding company British Motor Corporation (BMC); Morris; Vanden Plas (a coachbuilders originally know for their work particularly for Bentley, but also Alvis, Lagonda, Rolls Royce and later Daimler and for building bodies for the Austin Princess – later the company focussed on car interiors, but they closed down in 1979 – they had a factory near Hendon in London known as the Kingsbury Works); 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 – see above); Triumph (Triumph Motor Cycles is now a separate company and still going); Jaguar (now Indian owned); Land Rover (now Indian owned); Austin-Healey (created by Austin); Scammell; Bristol Commercial Vehicles; Coventry Climax; Eastern Coach Works; Leyland Tractors (originally called Nuffield Tractors); LDV (formerly Leyland DAF Vans); Marshall Tractors. Unipart and DAF continue on a smaller scale – see above. The Pressed Steel name is no longer used. Pressed Steel, the major supplier of vehicle bodies to BMC, became part of BMC in 1965. 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.https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WUG3O5imCGULucas 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.
Mini Scamp was a kit car built by the Scamp Motor Company. The Mk1 Mini Scamp was built in 1969. Shortly after, BMC Mini Moke production stopped in Longbridge. It looks like the same car to me. Scamp Motor Company also produced a small number of other models but sadly ceased production in March 2018. They still sell spare parts for mini scamps –http://www.scampmotorcompany.co.uk/
The Mini Scamp mentioned above is possibly not connected to the Scottish Aviation Scamp. The Scottish Aviation Scamp was a tiny electric car produced for a short while in the mid 1960s by Scottish Aviation, not dissimilar in looks to the Peel P50. Scottish Aviation went on to become part of British Aerospace now BAE Systems.
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
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.
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.” Update January 2020 – Sadly Norton Motorcycles has gone into administration.
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
Mutt Motorcycles say on their website “hand finished and prepared in Birmingham England”. Mutt Motorcycles convert Chinese licence-built versions of small Suzukis (the sort of bike that decimated the British motorcycle industry on the 1960s and 1970s) into retro styled evocations of British scramblers and cafe racers conforming to modern standards. They are based in a building that once made BSAs in Birmingham where they finish off these 125s and 250s. According to an article I read on Drive Tribe the Chinese factory builds around 65% of the bike and after it is shipped to the UK Mutt add bars, knobbly tires, tank, seat, paintwork and suchlike. Prices start around £3,700. Mutt also sell foreign made motorcycle accessories – https://muttmotorcycles.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.
Hesketh Motorcycles describe themselves on their twitter as a “British manufacturer of bespoke visionary motorcycles.” The intention seems to be to make exclusive motorbikes in the UK, but I don’t know how much of the bikes will be British made. Originally founded in 1980 the company went bankrupt and was revived in around 2010 – http://www.heskethmotorcycles.co.uk
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
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
Douglas was a British motorcycle manufacturer from 1907 based in Kingswood, Bristol. The company also built a range of cars between 1913 and 1922. The Westinghouse Brake and Signal Company Ltd bought Douglas out and production of Douglas Motorcycles ended in 1957. In 1951 Douglas started production of Piaggio licensed Vespa scooters in Bristol, with a market to include some Commonwealth countries as well as the UK. While motorcycle production was stopped in 1957, Vespa production in Britain continued until 1965. Douglas Vespa scooters had a high percentage of content manufactured by Douglas or by UK supply companies. Douglas continued to import Vespa scooters into the UK and later imported and assembled Gilera motorcycles until closing down in 1982. There are more now defunct British motor scooter and moped manufacturers listed with photos on this site, which as well as Douglas included the Swallow Coachbuilding Company of Walsall, Brockhouse Engineering (Southport) Ltd, DKR Scooters Ltd of Wolverhampton, Cyclemaster of Byfleet, Surrey (who made the Piatti scooter and the Cyclemaster pedal cycle engine attachment. Cyclemaster may be the same company as Britax who took over making the Cycylemaster from EMI), the Dayton Cycle Company, the Sun Cycle & Fitting Company of Birmingham who also made bicycles and motorcycles, Phoenix scooters, the Triumph Engineering Company, BSA, and Excelsior scooters. Many of these mopeds and scooters used Villiers engines (see below). There’s a brief history of mopeds here, which discusses the Cyclemaster, the Fizzy (the Japanese Yamaha FS1-E) and the Tomos Classic XL45 amongst other machines.
Modern moped and scooter manufacturers are all foreign. Piaggio are Italian and their brands include brands: Piaggio, Vespa, Gilera, Aprilia, Moto Guzzi, Derbi, and Scarabeo, with many of their scooters now being made in Vietnam. Austrian company Puch were broken up, with some parts going to Piaggio, and they no longer make mopeds. Tomos, once a licensed producer of Puch mopeds, are still going strong and still making their mopeds in Slovenia. “Renowned for their high quality manufacture Tomos have been based in the Slovenian city of Koper since the company was founded there in the 50’s. Today the contemporary Tomos machine, with its instantly recognisable shape and reputation for ease of riding and maintenance is totally suited to city riders and country dwellers alike.” Tomos also distribute some Taiwan-owned/PRC-made scooters and electric scooters and electric bicycles under their own brand names. Tomos GB Ltd is the exclusive UK and Ireland concessionaire for Tomos. French company Peugeot make some scooters, but no longer seem to make mopeds. Yamaha, Honda, Kawasaki, and Suzuki are the big four Japanese motorbike, moped and scooter manufacturers, famed for the reliability of their scooters and motorbikes (and cars) and now producing bikes in Japan and elsewhere in the world. British brands like AJS, Scomadi, Sym, Lexmoto, and WK Bikes bring Chinese motorbikes and scooters to the UK and there are many other Chinese moped, scooter and motorbike manufacturers too.
Britain was once the world’s greatest motorcycle (and cycle) producer, but many top brands like AJS (the revived AJS brand motorbikes and scooters are 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. Associated Motor Cycles (AMC) was a British motorcycle manufacturer and the parent company for the Matchless and AJS motorcycle (AJS had previously made cars too) companies. It later absorbed Francis-Barnett, James, and Norton before incorporation into Norton-Villiers. Norton-Villiers was a British motorcycle manufacturer formed in the 1960s following the collapse of AMC and it was later combined with the remnants of BSA Triumph to form Norton-Villiers-Triumph. Norton Villiers Triumph (NVT) was a British motorcycle manufacturer, formed by the British Government to continue the UK motorcycling industry, but the company eventually failed in 1978. Some of the various names they owned by NVT have since been revived. There was talk in 2015 of a new Indian owned British Royal Enfield factory but that does not appear to have actually happened. Villiers Engineering was a manufacturer of motorcycles and cycle parts, including engines. In the early 1960s, the company was taken over by Manganese Bronze Holdings, and in 1966 together with AMC became Norton-Villiers, and in 1972 merged with the BSA group to become Norton-Villiers-Triumph, which eventually went into liquidation in 1978.
For British made motorcycle clothing and accessories, please see my clothing article by clicking on the hyperlink.
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
Pro-Street Cycles motorcycle clocks, custom parts, and accessories for motorbikes are distributors of foreign made motorbike parts but also a manufacturer of their own custom parts and accessories which are made in the UK. Their UK made accessories include motorcycle billet clocks, grips, covers, shift linkages, oil dipsticks, etc and UK made part are labelled as such on their website. They also own the websites Time4Bikes and Clocks for Cars which sell British made motorcycle clocks and thermometers and British made Clocks that can be fixed almost anywhere you may have need for a clock in a car. The mechanisms in their clocks are made by Seiko abroad.
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. They also now do full face helmets too – http://www.davida.co.uk
For British made motorcycle gloves please see my article on British made gloves.
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
Truckman is the UK’s largest hardtop manufacturer, making enclosures for pick-ups and so on. Truckman have a production facility in the West Midlands but no further information than this about country of origin on their website.
Lincon Batteries has a history that goes back to 1908 and has been manufacturing batteries in the Southend area for well over 60 years. “All Lincon’s 6v Hard Rubber Batteries are hand made in Britain, primarily for the Classic Car market.” Lincon Batteries Ltd is a division of Shield Batteries Ltd. Battery Charged Online is the online trading division of Shield Batteries, battery manufacturers and distributors. Shield Batteries has a history that goes back to 1910. Shield classic car batteries are UK made. Other items on the Battery Charged website, except Shield classic car batteries and Lincon classic car batteries, are foreign made.
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/AC Cars Ltd/AC (Acedes) 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. AC also made half of the Invacar three-wheeler cars produced for disabled people in the 1970s (more details under Invacar above). AC also made the train used on Southend Pier in 1949 (which remained in service until 1976) and Railbuses for British Rail at one point. In terms of famous regular cars AC made the AC Ace, the AC Bristol (powered by a Bristol engine), the AC Greyhound and the AC Cobra – 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
The Sovereign 4 universal carpet car mat set I got in Poundland (for £5!) in May 2018, pictured below, was made in England. I don’t know who makes these but they are also available online for example at eBay.
Carmats2u carry the Made in Britain marque on their website and they say on their website “All carpet and rubber floor mats are manufactured in the UK”. However, they also sell car mats from other manufacturers and I suspect these are foreign made. Perhaps it is just their made to order mats that are made in the UK – check directly with them before buying – they told me (on 8 May 2018) that “All of our universal mats are not made in the UK.” They also do motorhome mats and boot liners – https://www.carmats2u.co.uk
Car Mats UK say on their website “All of our car mats are manufactured in the UK” and “Car Mats UK have been manufacturing Car Mats in our Mansfield based factory for over 8 years”. These are carpet mats designed to fit particular models and they also do seat covers and boot mats – https://www.carmats-uk.com
“Ambassador Car Mats have been suppliers to the trade since 1989. Our custom made products are hand made in the UK…” according to their website. These are foot well carpet or rubber mats and boot liners designed to fit particular models or universal fit. They also do motorhome and caravan mats, and boot mats. Products are available from their website or their eBay shop – https://ambassadorcarmats.co.uk
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
Wilko (Wilkinson) sell a good number of quality British made items including various motor oils, car wash liquids, car cleaning sponges, 3-in-1 type oil, power steering fluid, brake fluid, bicycle cleaners and oils (lubes), bicycle tyre sealant, cycle puncture repair kits, various paints, dustpan and brushes, plastic containers, washing-up bowls, sink drainers, rubbish bins, mops, DIY fillers, paint roller sets, hand cream, hand cleaning gel, toner, garden bird peanuts, etc. Many of their own brand products are made in the UK. Check the packaging in-store – https://www.wilko.com
Silkolene motorcycle and bicycle lubricants are made in the UK. They have a manufacturing site in Stoke-on-Trent. Owned by German company Fuchs since 1989. I am not sure if all Silkolene products are made in the UK and I don’t know if any other Fuchs products are UK made – http://www.silkolene.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 which clearly states Made in Great Britain on the label (whereas their antifreeze and coolant also pictured below does not state it is British made and is therefore probably foreign made) – 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
Duckhams, the British oil brand, is well known and was brought back on sale in November 2017 after an absence of 15 years from the market. Duckhams moved production from Hammersmith in London to Aldridge, Staffordshire in 1968. 1969 BP (British Petroleum) acquired the company. Oil giant BP today announced plans to sell Duckhams in 2011. Whether they ever did sell the company I am not sure. In 2000 BP acquired Burmah-Castrol and along with it the Castrol oil brand and seemed to favour the Castrol brand and Duckhams went out of production around 2012. The new Duckhams website completely fails to explain who owns the brand now or where it is made. Duckhams modern motor oil may well be made abroad. Their current range seems to be focussed on motor oil for classic cars. BP still own Castrol. Castrol was originally a brand of the Wakefield Oil Company. In 1966, Castrol was acquired by Scottish company Burmah Oil, which was renamed Burmah-Castrol. Burmah-Castrol was purchased by London-based multinational BP in 2000. BP had already acquired Duckhams in 1969. BP remains a major player in the oil industry, running oil pipelines, oil fields, petrol stations, petrochemicals plants, various well known brands and so forth in the UK and all over the world. BP Thailand produce both Duckhams and Castrol oils in Thailand. Whether either Duckhams or Castrol is still made in the UK too I don’t know. BP do not give this information on their website and both brands may well now be foreign made.
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, Bluecol 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 still British made. Their Bluecol brand was originally founded in 1937. Bluecol antifreeze was originally developed and manufactured by Smiths Industries and the name Bluecol was registered in 1934. In 2007 Tetrosyl Group Limited purchased of the Bluecol brand. Previously the Bluecol brand has been owned by Smiths Industries (1934-1974), Lucus (1974-1994) and others since. On their website they say “Bluecol is very proud of it’s British heritage, as are Tetrosyl, and we are very pleased to say that all of Bluecols chemicals are produced right here in Bury, Northern England.” Some other Bluecol products, such as some of their ice scrapers, are made in the UK but no country of origin information is given against individual products on their website so you’ll have to ask about country of origin or look at the products themselves.
Halfords have been around since 1892. Very little sold in Halfords these days is British made but you may find a few items that still are, such as the ice scrapers above and below and touch up paint pens below – http://www.halfords.com
Linic Plastic Ltd design and make DIY tools, fixings and a huge variety of other injection moulded products. Own brand or branded; off-the-shelf or bespoke. This moulding company have been making their products for over 30 years in Leicestershire, England and because they manufacture in the UK they state that their delivery times and quality are great and their prices very competitive. They make building tools (such as plastering hawks), car windscreen ice scrapers, craft and hobby items (such as work holders and door wedges), cramps, decorating tools (such as scrapers), gardening tools (such as hand trowels and forks), saws and hack saws, knives (of the Stanley knife sort), mitres, tiling tools, wall plugs (rawlplugs), jewellery tools, model building tools, and woodworking tools (including hand drills, oilstone boxes, bradawls, callipers, etc). Linic tools are easily available on eBay, (including in the Proops Brothers ltd eBay store; they are owned by Linic), and at Amazon (again including in the Proops Brothers Ltd store). Proops Brothers Ltd is is the retail arm of Linic Plastics Leicestershire, supplying a vast range of tools for craft & hobby, DIY, model making, jewellery, metal and wood working. Linic Plastics Ltd, is based on the same site and manufactures many of the tools that they sell. Some of the items they sell are foreign made. British made items are labelled as such. There’s a short article about Linic on the British Family website. Their range includes British made decorating tools such as wallpaper cutters, paint guards, straight edges, wallpaper smoothers, paint stirring paddles, window scrapers, wall paper cutting scissors and so on – http://www.linic.co.uk – http://www.proopsbrothers.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. In November 2018 French tyre maker Michelin announced it is closing its Dundee factory, which specialises in smaller tyres for cars, with the loss of 845 jobs. Production came to a halt at Michelin Ballymena in Northern Ireland, following Michelin’s announced closure of the factory’s in April 2018. 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
Dawbarn & Sons of Wisbech manufacture tarpaulins and other bespoke covers for road transport and canvas and plastic goods for road transport, agriculture, industry, leisure and sport. Their website carries the words “made in the UK” and they have their own factory – http://www.dawbarn-evertaut.com
Cunningham manufacture their protective tarpaulin covers in the UK. They say on their website “Our protective covers are intricately designed and manufactured in the UK in our state-of-the-art 50,000 square foot manufacturing facility.” They make cable and pipe covers, acoustic curtains, storage tank covers, etc. Founded in 1969 Cunningham Covers operate in the oil and gas, renewables, agriculture, aquaculture, industrial, transportation, defence and aviation sectors – https://cunningham.com
Flagmakers is Britain’s oldest flag maker and a trading name of George Tutill, Able Flags and Turtle and Pearce, making flags, flagpoles, banners and bunting. Also, flag hire. Part of the Specialised Canvas Group. ‘Flagmakers’ still manufacture in the UK and have an ethical sourcing policy. I asked the company about the origin of their products and got this response: “We sew our flags here in Chesham and print at our parent company in Chesterfield. We also have an overflow printing partner in Germany. We purchase most of our material within the UK however some specialist silks are not stocked here and we have to go abroad for them. Our wood products for table flags, bases etc are sourced from a local carpenter here in Chesham.” You can see some examples of their flags here. Also part of the Specialised Canvas Group are: JMS Flagpoles who make flagpoles in the UK, make cafe windbreaks in the UK (available at www.cafe-windbreaks.co.uk) and supply flags; Banner Box who make banners in the UK; Proflight Bags who make custom bags, emergency bags, industrial bags and covers in the UK; Specialised Canvas Services who manufacture canvas sheets and covers in the UK, including awning repairs and re-sizing, cover repairs, industrial covers, equipment covers, market stall covers, bespoke canopies, groundsheets, tent repairs, shade sails, and transport covers; Porters flags who make flags in the UK; www.flag-pole.co.uk who make flagpoles and graphic display systems in the UK. Check where the Specialised Canvas group product you want will be made – as they state above some production is outsourced for example to Germany. http://www.flags-flagpoles-banners.co.uk – a site featuring Specialised Canvas group products generally.
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
Montrose Rope and Sail Company Ltd, founded in 1789, make tarpaulin covers and under their Montrose Bag Company name, bags. Their industrial covers and tarpaulins, domestic covers and tarpaulins, oil and gas covers, and specialised covers are made in Scotland. Products include agricultural covers, vehicle covers, industrial curtains, lorry curtains, machine covers, market stall covers, shop canopies, silo covers, trailer covers, work store covers, trailer covers, yurts, speaker covers, boat covers, boot liners, awnings, trampoline covers, oil and gas industry covers, caravan awnings, tractor cover, etc all of which appear to be British made. The Montrose Bag Company make rucksacks, holdalls, travel bags, tote bags, motorcycle wheel bags, messenger bags, tablet pouches, game bags, tool pouches, grab bags, etc in durable PVC and they all appear to be British made. Trade or retail. Their bags can be purchased from their website or are available to buy from their reception in Montrose in Scotland. They will also personalise bags with a badge of your choice and will make bespoke bags.
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.
Classic Leather Fobs make their re-production classic leather key fobs (keyrings) with vitreous enamel badges in England. The enamels used are made in Birmingham. The leather keyfob to which the badge is attached is made from English leather. The splitrings used are produced in the UK. I don’t know where the thread used is sourced from. These handmade key rings cover pretty much all the classic and modern British and foreign marques, such as Mini, Austin, MG, Cobra, Jaguar, Daimler, Alvis, Wolseley, Triumph, Morris, Bedford, Vauxhall, Volvo, Toyota, Oldsmobile, Land Rover and many many more and are ideal keyrings for your car or motorcycle. They also sell some new old stock vintage keyrings and reconditioned vintage keyrings from manufacturers such as Manhattan Windsor of Birmingham – who were the most prolific keyring manufacturer of all – most of whom, like Manhattan Windsor, have long since stopped trading. They will also restore old keyrings. They cannot restore damage to the enamel of the badge of old keyrings but recommend this specialist work can be carried out by Pamela David enamels in North Devon. – http://classicleatherfobs.co.uk
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. 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, Astral, ACE, Abbey, Bessacar, Elite, 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.
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, first made in 1950, 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 many of the modern Volkswagen campervans. Volkswagen is a German automaker founded in 1937 by the German Labour Front under Adolf Hitler. They are now one of the world’s largest motor manufacturers. The VW beetle bore a strong resemblance to the contemporary Tatra 97, produced at that time by Tatra in what was then Czechoslovakia. Post-war, from 1945-1948, the Volkswagen factory in Germany was controlled by the British military, who re-started Beetle production, initially supplying vehicles for the British military. There was apparently talk of dismantling the factory and shipping the equipment to Britain and of giving the factory to a Allies manufacturer but no-one thought the Beetle any good it seems! The British Rootes Group for example said the car was uneconomical. In an ironic twist of fate, Volkswagen manufactured a locally built version of Rootes’s Hillman Avenger in Argentina in the 1980s, long after Rootes had gone bankrupt at the hands of Chrysler in 1978—the Beetle outliving the Avenger by over 30 years. The last German built old style Beatle was produced in the 1970s. The last original Beetle was produced in 2003 in Mexico. A new style Beetle was made from 1998-2018 and the last Beatle special edition Beatle is to be made at their Mexico in 2019.
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 (Avondale Coachcraft Ltd of Atherstone, Warwickshire; 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.
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.
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
Leisurewize Accessories by Streetwize sell their own branded Waterhog (water carrier) and Wastehog (waste water carrier) which are both made in the UK. Streetwize describe themselves as distributors of Car, Caravan, Leisure & Garden Accessories and I don’t know whether or not anything else they sell is made in the UK – http://www.streetwizeaccessories.com
Popaloo say on their twitter “We make in the UK a unique, compact,chemical and water free,highly portable toilet system called Popaloo.” Their website carries the words “Made in Britain” and “Made in England”. I don’t know if all their products are UK made. The Popaloo Portable Camping Toilet is available online via their website and elsewhere such as eBay – http://www.popaloo.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
Fenwick’s bike care products are all manufactured in the UK (as incidentally is 95% of their packaging as well) – cycle cleaning fluids, bike and chain cleaning sponges, grease and oils, maintenance kits, and tubeless sealant. Fenwick’s also make caravan, motorhome, tent and awning (cleaning and re-proofing) care products in the UK. http://www.fenwicks.info
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.
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.