History is full of memorable cars, from the sleek Ferrari, to the compact Mini. Some cars have become so iconic that we often forget about the hard work that went into creating them in the first place. There were a number of innovative car designers in Britain and here are five of the most famous.
Sir Alec Issigonis
Alec Issigonis is one of the greatest car designers of all time, having pioneered independent suspension. By making cars smaller and more efficient, he changed the automotive industry forever. His first project, the Morris Minor, demonstrated his ability to create a vehicle with mass appeal. But his greatest achievement was the Mini, as it went on to become the most iconic British car in the world.
JP Blatchley started his engineering career by designing engines for the Hurricane and Spitfire fighter aircrafts during WW2. He moved over to Rolls-Royce’s styling department in 1945 and helped to design a wave of post-war cars. His input was pivotal when creating vehicles like the Silver Dawn and Silver Shadow. Blatchy’s work went on to define the luxury and wealth that’s associated with Rolls-Royce.
Malcolm Sayer had a background in aviation, starting his career at the Bristol Aeroplane Company. After being hired by Jaguar in 1951, he applied his knowledge of aerodynamics to cars. He went on to design the famous Jaguar E-Type, which redefined the motoring world. Sayer’s legacy lives on through the other vehicles he created, such as the Jaguar XJ13 racing prototype and XJS that was launched years after his death.
As the founder of Lotus Cars, Colin Chapman is responsible for various innovations. He used his knowledge of aerodynamics to design lightweight cars that favoured handling over horsepower. Chapman also pioneered the use of struts and a rear suspension device that became very popular in Formula One.
Born in Scunthorpe, Roy Axe quickly developed a reputation for being a versatile car designer. He started his career with the Rootes Group in 1959 and progressed to chief stylist by the time he was 29. When the Rootes Group became a part of Chrysler Europe in 1966, Axe was responsible for designing the majority of Chrysler’s cars. Notable cars that Axe designed include the 1975 Chrysler Alpine, 1976 Chrysler Hunter and 1984 Austin Montego.