In an attempt to settle an age-old argument, classic car fans are being given the chance to vote on the best British sportscar of all time. A panel of experts has prepared a shortlist of 15 iconic cars covering all the great British marques and enthusiasts can vote on-line for their own favourite via the official website of the Silverstone Classic.
As well as being firmly established as the world’s biggest classic racing festival, the annual Silverstone Classic also features one of the largest and most comprehensive collections of classic cars. This summer’s three-day event will see more than 120 UK car clubs displaying in excess of 7000 cars including large numbers of those shortlisted on-line for the coveted ‘Best British Sportscar’ title.
Centre stage this year goes to the E-type Jaguar, with the Silverstone Classic chosen by all the major Jaguar clubs as the location for the legendary model’s official 50th birthday party. The target for the event is to have 1000 E-types on display and then send them on to the Grand Prix circuit during Saturday to set a Guinness World Record for the greatest number of E-types in a parade. Cars from all over the world are already confirmed, including North America and all over Europe.
But the E-type isn’t the only car – or Jaguar – shortlisted on the website for the ‘Best British Sportscar’ crown; it is joined by its XK120 predecessor on the shortlist. Triumph, though, has the most finalists with TR3, TR6 and Spitfire models all making the last 15. Austin Healy (‘Frogeye’ Sprite and 3000), Lotus (Seven and Elan) and MG (MGA and MGB) join Jaguar with two models on the final roster, which is completed with the AC Cobra, Aston Martin DB5, Morgan and TVR Griffith.
To vote for their own favourite, enthusiasts simply log onto www.SilverstoneClassic.com/vote&win and click on the appropriate box under their particular choice – all entrants being restricted to one vote. The poll closes on 30 June and the result will be announced on 7 July with the overall winner being officially crowned during this year’s Silverstone Classic. 10 winning votes drawn at random will each receive a pair of weekend tickets to the event.
“Britain is famous for its sportscars but no one ever agrees which one is the best. That’s a long-running debate we now want to put to rest and where better to settle the result than at the Silverstone Classic where so many fine examples of these much-loved models will be on show?” said Event Director, Nick Wigley
As well as the E-type Jaguar a host of different anniversaries are being marked by the relevant clubs – these include the 50th anniversary of the Porsche Club GB. More than 600 Porsches of all types will be on hand to mark this landmark date. Also hitting the half-century is the Austin Healey Club, which will have a major display of the ever-popular British sports cars of the 1950s and 1960s two of which, of course, have made the final shortlist.
It is very apparent that 1961 was a special year for the British motor industry as more 50th anniversaries are marked for the Mini Cooper, the MG Midget and Reliant Sports Cars. Celebrating 75 years will be displays of the classic BMW 328 sports car and the Allard marque, while the quintessentially British Morgan 4/4 also has a 75th birthday. The Cranfield section of the Morgan Sports Car Club (CRANMOG) will be on hand with around 70 examples of the Malvern-built sports cars.
While Chevrolet celebrates 100 years, the far younger Jaguar XK8 marks a 15th anniversary. More extensive displays already confirmed will include 200 Mazda MX5s, 200 Lotus Sevens (another of the shortlisted finalists) and 120 cars from Club Lotus.
“Back in 2005 we had just 75 classic cars displayed on the infield; this year we will have well over 100 car clubs exhibiting more than 7000 of the world’s best automotive creations,” enthused Wigley. “Silverstone is a huge venue allowing us to accommodate a massive display of car culture and history – it’s a truly incredible sight that just gets bigger and bigger every year.”
BRITAIN’S BEST SPORTSCAR – FINAL 15 SHORTLIST
Aston Martin DB5
Austin Healey ‘Frogeye’ Sprite
Austin Healey 3000
Lotus Elan Sprint
Morgan Plus *
Source Silverstone Classics