Can You Name These Famous British Cars Without Their Logos?



By: Zoe Samuel

7 Min Quiz

Image: Wiki Commons by Akela NDE

About This Quiz

The automobile industry is dominated by marketing. Margins on cars are actually pretty small, and with all car companies making more or less the same thing, branding is necessary to differentiate products. The brand identities of cars is intrinsic to our beliefs about them. Someone looking for speed probably isn't going to go to Volvo first, and someone looking for safety isn't necessarily going to head straight to Dacia.

Britain's automakers are anything but anonymous. To serious petrol-heads, every automaker, tuning shop, and backyard mechanic's work evokes specific emotions. Aston Martin, for example, has a Royal Warrant, meaning it is named as an official supplier to the crown. Even if the brand didn't have this, it would still be famous for being the preferred car of James Bond, with all the branding that comes with that.

These brands are so valuable that they even put their badges on things that have nothing to do with cars, like shoes, watches, towels, and even cologne. But what if you couldn't tell cars apart by the badge? What if the badge that makes a perfume cost 200% more were taken out of the equation? Would you still be able to identify British cars by their basic shape and styling? To find out, take this quiz!

Can you identify this car which was styled by Posh Spice?

When the Range Rover Evoque hit the market, it was a curiosity. It is essentially a hatchback on stilts. Unlike most hopped-up hatchbacks, it has the kinds of off-road bells and whistles (hill descent control, etc.) that one expects from Land Rover. Is it a Range Rover? Yes, in name. Range Rovers are the top of the range for Land Rover, with space to spare and uncompromising luxury and off-road ability. The Evoque is intended as an entry-level car, at an entry-level price, but with an aspirational name.


Can you name this street sleeper?

The little brother of the Ford Sierra RS500 Cosworth, the Sierra RS Cosworth was Ford's best shot at winning Group A racing in Europe. Americans can be forgiven for not recognizing this car, but anyone can understand the effect it had on Ford. Once entered into the DNA of Ford's lineup, it resulted in some spiritual descendants everyone knows well, including the Ford Focus RS, the hottest hot hatch Ford ever hatched. Still, even today, the Cosworth can cut it.


Can you name this go-anywhere box?

The Land Rover Defender is one of the most important vehicles in automotive history. It defined the look of the British military after WW2 and is the forefather, along with the Jeep, of all SUVs. Defenders came in many versions. Aside from the military spec Defenders, they also came designed for tradesman, as off-road vans. They were customized for search and rescue, for safari, for arctic weather, and for towing. Unlike the Mercedes G-Wagon, it never went fully luxury, leaving that to the Range Rover series.


Can you ID this car, which has an electric motor as powerful as a whole GTI?

When McLaren decided to embrace hybrid technology as a performance booster rather than a mileage booster, it decided to make a car that would be the spiritual heir to the legacy of the McLaren F1. The P1 has since been surpassed in various performance specs by other McLaren models, but one thing is sure, the P1 was a milestone. It didn't just put hybrid technology to use in a supercar. It combined everything McLaren could do into their apex machine.


This strange car was a hit with urbanites, but what was it?

The Ford Ka is not what an American thinks of when they think of the company with the motto "Built Ford Tough". A microscopic little car, the Ka looks like something Mr. Bean would drive if he didn't own a Mini. Despite not having much passenger room or storage, the Ka was considered a practical city car. It wasn't powerful, so it didn't guzzle gasoline, but other than that and its novelty, it didn't have much to recommend it, so it was killed off by Ford a few years ago.


Can you spot the car whose birth signaled the death of a corporate partnership?

When Jaguar was sold from Ford to Tata, it was time to move on from the Ford parts bin. Under its skin, the Jaguar S-Type was effectively a Ford Fusion (or Mondeo to the rest of the world). The XF was, therefore, a statement. The XF was the brand moving fully away from Ford components and platforms, in one fell swoop. A wonderful driving car, the midsize executive saloon was on brand for Jag. It was dramatic, fast, and luxurious.


This car had a polarizing look and a German corporate parent. What was it, though?

The Bentley Continental GT was, for a time, the car every highly paid professional footballer in Europe drove. It was as luxurious as a Rolls-Royce and had the power of a freight train. The Continental GT3-R was a special edition of this special car. Coming out in 2014, the GT3-R was lighter and more powerful, but it also had new features that were just coming into fashion with other brands, like torque vectoring, where the car would modify the torque going to the wheels to facilitate more accurate cornering. The car cost over $300,000.


This family hauler could haul you over a mountain. What do you think it is?

Land Rover makes wonderful, iconic off-road vehicles, but it also makes Range Rovers. Since its introduction in 1970, Range Rover has been the upscale cousin to the Defender. The Range Rover has conquered frozen wastes, burning deserts and fearsome jungles, but it is best known as the way suburbanites with too much money deliver their children to school, or the way (in its armored form) dignitaries get around in discreet style.


Enzo Ferrari once said this was the most beautiful car in the world. Which name do you think suits the beauty?

Jaguar was always on the cutting edge of automobile design, but when it released the E-Type in 1961, it changed the game for everyone. Based on the D-Type race car, the E-Type was very fast and handled well, but it also put Jaguar on the map the world over, with customers flocking to buy them. Interestingly, the E-Type is also credited with helping bring about the trend of low-slung cars with low roofs, which helped cause men to stop wearing hats, in the 1960s.


This car could tell you what it is, but then it would have to kill you. Do you have any thoughts on what it is?

In the original James Bond novels, 007 drives a Bentley, not an Aston Martin. When Ian Fleming started to get fan mail, some of it came from domain experts. First, he changed Bond's gun, but soon thereafter he changed his car as well, and this change became iconic in the James Bond films. The Aston Martin DB5 is the car most associated with Bond, and for good reason: 007's DB5 was not just based on the beautiful machine but had rockets, guns, ejector seats, and all sorts of other gadgets to help 007 complete his missions. Sadly, those options are no longer available.


This "antique" is powered by a V-Twin made from the same parts as a Harley-Davidson engine! What do you think it is?

Morgan is famous for making cars that wouldn't look out of place on "Downton Abbey." Many of them have more wood in them than a fireplace, more leather than a dictator's wardrobe, and enough nostalgia to make you consider going back to the gold standard. The current 3-Wheeler was designed by an American design student, picked up by Morgan, and put into production. It's not practical, but it's fun, it's not too fast to handle, and it looks like almost nothing else. Almost.


This oddball is powered by a BMW engine. But what is it?

The Morgan Plus 8 is a natural fit for the Morgan lineup. A kissing cousin of the Aero, it is the spiritual heir to the Plus 8 of the 1960s. Of course, this is a 21st-century car, and with a big BMW V8, and the old frame from the 1960s wouldn't do, nor would drum brakes. The solution? A car that looks old, but has enough safety equipment to sell as new in the USA, blast down a highway, and still look like it came out of a time capsule.


This little charmer won the hearts of the nation when it won touring car races. Which name matches its cuteness?

When the British Motoring Corporation released the Mini in 1959, it did not realize quite what it was starting. The "original Mini" stuck around more or less unchanged until the year 2000! In that time, it was featured in motion pictures and television shows, but it made its bones in the world of touring car racing, where its light weight, high revving motor, and diminutive size both helped it win against muscle car juggernauts and made those wins look even more improbable. 5.3 million Minis were built.


This winner is a bit transatlantic. Any thoughts on what it is?

When the Ford GT40 first hit the road, it was a disaster. Ford had rushed it into production to compete with Ferrari on the racetrack, revenge for Ferrari pulling out of an acquisition. Once Carroll Shelby took a swing at fixing the GT40, it became a dominant machine, crushing Ferrari the following year at Le Mans. Cars called "GT40" have been made since the close of production in 1969, but none fully managed to capture the spirit of those early, elusive machines.


What manner of antique is this tiny toy?

Even in the interwar years, British car makers knew there was a market segment that wanted smaller cars. At the time, many cars were huge, and if you didn't want one of those, you just got a motorcycle and a sidecar. The Austin Seven covered the compact market segment, yet managed to retain all the refinements people of the time expected from a modern car, and it was a hit, just as the Mini and the Fiesta would be decades later.


This car just looks evil! What do you think it is?

Co-designed by Jaguar and TWR, the XJ220 was perhaps the coolest supercar of the 1990s. It was a two-seater. It was a Jag. It could go faster than 200 mph. All of this before 1995! Sadly, that timing was awful. The car was hugely expensive, even when emissions laws demanded it trade its V12 for a V6, and with the 1990s recession, things didn't go well. What's remarkable about it is that it looks cutting edge, even today.


Can you ID this car, which was restyled by a mad genius?

The Aston Martin Vanquish Zagato, which came out as a 2017 model only, was arguably the nicest special edition of the Vanquish. It wasn't meaningfully different in terms of power, but it looked remarkable, thanks to the intervention of the Italian design firm Zagato. What sets it apart among special edition Aston Martins is that you could buy one as a coupe, a drop-top, shooting brake or speedster (which is like a targa). It could even give the One-77 a run for its money on performance, for a tiny portion of the price, and with better looks, too!


Which car do you think was this massively popular British car?

Ford's UK car market lineup had to replace the Anglia in the late 1960s, and the car that replaced it was the Ford Escort. The Escort was one of the great tuning platforms built by Ford. It was inexpensive and practical as a family car, but it was also easy to modify. There were several professionally tuned versions created by the likes of Cosworth, but it was also easy enough to wrench on that your average gearhead could make modifications at home.


This car is, shockingly, road legal! But what is it?

Ariel is a tiny English car company that makes several bare-bones cars that are designed for fun, but road legal. Ariel made its bones with the Atom. Originally powered with a small Honda engine, it eventually came out in a V8 version. The Atom's advantages were that it had very little weight or aerodynamic inefficiencies, so it cornered like a Formula 1 car, and those same properties also meant it was very fast. The drawbacks? The windshield is extra, and there's no AC option. Or roof option. Or door option.


This beauty was coveted by kings. What do you think it is?

The first Rolls-Royce Silver Ghost is possibly the most valuable car on Earth. Back in 1906, Rolls-Royce didn't give cars cool names, but an early Rolls-Royce marketing genius decided that the badly named 40/50 hp should be painted silver and renamed. The name came from the fact that this car was (for a car of the time) very quiet, like a ghost, and of course, silver. In an age when most cars were black, silver was a real statement. The Silver Ghost made its name by making an endurance run from London to Glasgow almost 30 times in a row, and the Silver Ghost entered automotive legend.


Can you ID this dream machine which has an engine bay lined with gold?

The McLaren F1 is unlike any other car ever made. The driver sat in the middle of the car. The car was almost entirely made of carbon fiber. Yes, the engine bay was really lined in gold. It was incredibly powerful and fast. Was it easy to live with? Ask Rowan Atkinson, who owned one, talked about how it was easy to live with, and then totaled it shortly thereafter. The F1 redefined the supercar.


Can you guess this car's name, which sounds like a kind of nordic breakfast food?

The Nissan Qashqai may have a Japanese badge, and it may be just a regular car in many ways, but it both stands out and is as British as they come. It was engineered in Britain. It was styled in Britain. It was built in Britain. It sold like crazy in Britain. More importantly, it is one of the very first love them or hate them crossovers, starting a trend that extends to nearly every automaker these days.


This car is a rally car modified to drive on public roads! What is the name of this insane thing?

The Land Rover Bowler EXR S is a long way of saying "crazy fast car". It started out life as a rally car built by Bowler, a rally car builder based in England. After its run, someone decided that if it weren't a spartan hellscape on the inside, it would actually be a lot of fun for normal people. As a result, some slightly less spartan interior elements were added, along with the basics to make it road legal (turn signals, etc,) and it was suddenly a shouldn't-be-road-legal machine that could beat many a fancy sports car at a track day race.


If you're amazed that this car hasn't rusted into oblivion, you're not alone! But what is it?

The Jensen Interceptor FF was one of the few very cool cars to come out of the wacky world of non-luxury British car manufacturing in the 1960s and 1970s. The factory where it was made wasn't known for discipline, and some of these cars were made with the wrong steering racks, or other parts. What made this car incredibly cool was that it was a slightly longer version of the already cool Jensen Interceptor, but with the addition of ABS brakes and full-time all-wheel drive, both of which were brand new technical innovations.


Can you name this wacky car, designed by a British racing guru?

Gordon Murray's work in Formula 1 resulted in what he termed the iStream production process, which uses simpler forms to make frames and bodywork that are lighter, stronger, stiffer, more aerodynamic, and perhaps most importantly, cheaper to make. Naturally, only one manufacturer decided this was worth an experiment, and that company was Yamaha, which hired Murray to design the Motiv using this remarkable process.


This lightweight car was a road version of a racecar. Do you know what it is?

Ginetta is a small car company based out of England, and the G40R is the road version of the G40 race car with which they made a splash around 2010. Tipping the scales at just over a thousand pounds, you'd think it would be an absolute beast on the highway, and you'd be wrong. It's not that the G40R is slow, but it is only 175 horsepower, which means that while it accelerates very quickly for cars of its time (hitting 60 mph in nearly 6 seconds) it can't go faster than 140 mph. Of course, unless you spend all your time at a track, you'll likely never care about that.


This dramatic car is unlikely to flip, since it's not meant to be driven like a sports car. What model do you think it is?

In 2007, Rolls-Royce, the marque that has become a byword for the highest quality of craftsmanship and luxury, released this radical version of the Phantom, which was followed by a pure coupé version (a hardtop with two doors) the following year. With its long, flowing lines and unmistakable grille, it is hard to mistake the drophead for anything other than a Rolls-Royce, but taking away the Spirit of Ecstasy does make you have to look twice.


This car looks like a prototype! What is it, though?

The Radical RXC was an attempt at making a Le Mans car for the road. It is a street-legal car that, obviously, is meant to earn drivers points on their licenses. Unlike some similar cars, the RXC produces enough downforce at low speeds that it's quite happy to zip around under 50 mph while giving the driver total confidence. On the other hand, if you put your foot down, it produces downforce equal to its entire weight, making it feel totally planted.


This car was made in very small volumes, but does that speak volumes as to what car it is?

The Noble M600 came out of a tiny shop with just over a dozen people working on each one. It cost more money than a Ferarri 488, and frankly, didn't look amazing. It was really fast and nimble, though, and for a small volume car, its interior was actually very pleasant. Considering that it was faster than a McLaren F1, yet got 18-25 mpg in daily driving, it was a bargain, and it was desirable for bragging rights alone.


Do you think you can guess the identity of this car, which was built like a plastic model?

As the 20th century drew to a close, Lotus found itself making the bulk of its income from consulting as an engineering firm, not selling cars. Released in 1996, the Lotus Elise served two purposes. First, it was a new car to sell to Lotus enthusiasts, and sell it did. Second, it was almost a sort of concept car; a technical platform on which Lotus could demonstrate what it was capable of. One of the achievements of the Elise was the way it was constructed, with a frame that was glued together, saving weight.


This car would force you to stay awake at the wheel, and hours later at home, recovering. What do you think it is?

The TVR Tuscan was not a wonderful car to drive on a daily basis. It had typical TVR issues, like dials that sometimes worked, or windows that sometimes rolled down, or roofs that sometimes leaked, or a user interface that made stealing the car completely impossible. It was also brilliant. Powerful and aerodynamic, it was not meant to win races but put smiles on faces. It was not a car that assumed you could afford it because you were a 70-year-old oil executive, so it demanded actual driving skill, and if you didn't have that skill, it would punish you.


What has roughly 1105 horsepower per ton and looks like this?

The Caparo T1 was designed and built by a team of ex-McLaren engineers to be a road-legal car that was as close as one could get to driving an F1 car on the road. At 575 horsepower, it boasts just over 1,105 horsepower per ton (US) and looks guaranteed to turn heads everywhere. At about a quarter of a million dollars, an almost two-seater with nearly no storage doesn't seem like a smart investment, but then, if you want to humiliate Ferrari owners at the track, this is the only way to go. Just make sure you've done a safety check. In testing, one caught fire at 160 mph.


This car isn't named for a racetrack but a racing driver! What is it, though?

Alberto Ascari was an Italian racing driver who died in 1955. Ascari the car brand was a short-lived venture in Southern England that produced some ridiculous vehicles, the last of which was the A10, which celebrated its anniversary, and sadly, demise. The A10 was based on the Ascari KZ1, but unlike the KZ1, it was road legal. The KZ1, in turn, was named for Ascari's founder, Klaas Zwart, so really, even though both the KZ1 and the A10 are alphabet soup cars, they're really named cars honoring automotive legends.


This madness is distinctly before the computerized car era, and it shows. What is it?

In 2005, when the Marcos TSO GT2 came out, computerized all-wheel drive was just coming online, and driving meant skill, not just having the money for launch control. The Marcos TSO GT2 was very much an insane car emblematic of that unsafe era: no drivers aids, gobs and gobs of power, aerodynamics that made it go faster but not handle better, and the ability to cheer up anyone lucky enough to sit at the wheel. It may have wanted to crash with every fiberglass of its being, and it may have been incredibly uncomfortable inside, but it was awesome.


This machine looks like something out of a science fiction movie! What car is it?

The BAC Mono is one of a kind, with a monocoque chassis ("Mono", get it?), and a name that sounds like a virus people get in college. With its small footprint and low center of gravity, it looks like a toy. It isn't a toy. It has a power to weight ratio that puts it on par with the most powerful supercars in the world. Is it fast? You could say that. If 305 horsepower doesn't sound like much, consider that this made-to-measure car only weighs 1,090 lbs without a driver.


This car was a spin on an American cousin, but what do you think it is?

The Bristol Fighter V10 S took a while to emerge, between its announcement and when the very few made finally found their way into the hands of (mostly anonymous) buyers. The Fighter was a high-end car made from lower-end parts, in part. It had a frame that was all custom, mixing steel and aluminum, but its engine and some of its other parts came from the Dodge Viper. When it was finished, it took a rich owner donating his car for testing in order for the automotive world to write a review, and then the car disappeared again.


This car has serious weight issues. Do you have any idea what it is?

Lotus is a company whose mantra has always been "Lose weight." The greatest example of this was in their iconic Seven, a car built for the track, and manufactured today by Caterham. The Seven was short on luxury, but with little in the way of bodywork or weight, it could round a track like nothing else, and indeed it still does. With most track day cars, you have to guess if you hit the apex of a turn, but in a Seven, you can just look and see the front wheel hitting the apex, because there's so little car in the way.


What a dramatic machine! Which car do you think this is?

The Aston Martin One-77 was created as a technical showcase, and a way to burnish the exclusivity of the brand. Made from 2009 to 2012, only the most elite in the world could afford this £1,150,000 supercar, especially in the doldrums of the economic crisis. All carbon fiber, this car combined astonishing horsepower with clever aerodynamics, light weight, a stiff chassis, and luxurious comforts. Of course, now that one of the 77 cars is totaled, they should really be called One-76s.


This beauty wore lipstick, but to what end? What model is it?

Aston Martin knows that the only way to make a special car's special edition more special is with a special special edition. The V8 Vantage N400 came out in 2007, and its successor was the N420, in 2010. Just as the N400 had 400 horsepower, the N420 had 420 horsepower, but the N420 built on the N400's aerodynamic kit with extra weight reduction of its own, racing suspension, and some other bells and whistles. Interestingly, you could spec up a regular V8 Vantage to the same level at the time (without the paint scheme) but it would cost you more to do that than get this special edition.


This car was so good, the maker's German cousin eliminated its similar design to replace it with this one! Can you name the model?

The Ford Cortina was one of the great success stories of Ford of Britain. It was practical, dependable, stylish (for its time) and appealing. In its final two years, the Ford Cortina was the best and second best selling car in Britain, respectively, and at that point in the model's life cycle it was mostly a facelift on the previous model! Loads of these cars were made and sold, many delivered after the Sierra, the Cortina's successor, hit the market. One was even sold new, in 2005.


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