In the 1940s, car manufacturers were focused on the war effort. Civilian car production had lowered to below 2000 units. In November 1940, the total number of cars in the UK was 1,348,817, and many vehicles were commandeered by the Army. However, there were still plenty of British classics throughout the decade, and here are five of the most fashionable.
1949 Rolls-Royce Silver Dawn
Produced in 1949, the Rolls-Royce Silver Dawn was billed as a luxury car. It was the first Rolls-Royce car to be offered with a factory built body and it came with an in-line six cylinder engine. The Silver Dawn had a classy appearance, with a wide, elegant grille and streamlined windows. Between 1949 and 1955 only 760 were produced, and the earlier models featured a Bentley Mark VI dashboard.
1948 Jaguar Mark V
First unveiled at the 1948 London Motor Show, the Jaguar Mark V was outshined by the XK120. However, the Mark V outsold the XK120. The car featured an upright chrome grille and optional leaping Jaguar radiator cap mascot. With a 2664 cc engine, the Mark V had a power output of 104 bhp. A new chassis and independent front suspension completed one of the finest cars of the ‘40s.
1949 Austin A90 Atlantic
The Austin A90 Atlantic was the first post-war car that Austin built from scratch. Influenced by a 1946 Pininfarina-bodied Alfa Romeo cabriolet, the A90 was designed to appeal to an American audience. This wasn’t unusual for a British made car at the time, due to the Government edict of ‘export or die.’ The A90 featured a wrap-around windscreen, twin ‘Flying A’ bonnet ornaments and hydraulically powered windows.
1948 Sunbeam-Talbot 90
Produced in 1948, the Sunbeam-Talbot 90 was available as a four-door four-light sports saloon or drophead coupe. The car’s 1944 cc four-cylinder engine meant it could reach a top speed of 80 mph. The Sunbeam-Talbot 90 had an aura of elegance that was common among many cars of the 1940s.
1946 Triumph Roadster
The Triumph Roadster was created during the closing days of WW2 to compete with Jaguar. Inspired by the Dolomite Roadster, the car had a sleek body and curves. Due to the shortage of steel in a post-war world, the car was built from aluminium using rubber press tools.