As the automobile industry boomed throughout the mid-70s through to the end of the 1990s, companies such as Ford, Honda and VW grew from strength to strength. But while the fortunate few staked their reputations on the likes of the Escort, Accord and Scirocco, others found that they could not keep up with the accelerating pace of an ever-changing industry.
These companies remain gone, but not forgotten. In this article, we’ll take a look at some of the manufacturers that fell by the roadside as today’s market leaders raced into the distance.
Jensen Motors 1934-76
Based in the heartland of the British motor industry, Jensen Motors ceased trading from their West Bromwich headquarters in 1974. Established by brothers Alan and Richard, Jensen were the brains behind such classics as the 6 cylinder 541R, the monstrous CV-8 and perhaps the greatest British GT car of all time, the Interceptor. Today, only a handful of Interceptors remain on the market – so if you’ve got a spare £20,000 lying around and you fancy owning one of these legendary motors, you’ll need to be quick!
Creators of pre-war classics such as the Dolomite Roadster and the 1970s cultish Spitfire, the dismantling of the Triumph Motor Company signalled the end of an era in British manufacturing. As a household name since the early 1920s thanks to creations such as the elegant 10/10 and luxurious Super 9, Triumph made a name for themselves with a host of two-seater sports cars towards the end of the 1970s. Although it is the aforementioned Spitfire that remains a firm favourite among collectors today, there’s plenty to be said for models such as the TR6, Stag and GT6 Coupe.
Collapsing car manufacturers has never been a strictly British phenomenon. Throughout time, car companies from all over the world have gone under as quickly as they arrived – but when that car company is one the size of American giants Plymouth, things really start to heat up. Signalling the start of the US’s automotive industry crisis, the sinking ship of Plymouth took with it a huge catalogue of classics ranging from the four-door Sedan to the sporty Plymouth Laser.
With origins dating back to bicycle manufacture in 1883, Rover remains a company synonymous with British industry throughout the 20th century. During the celebrated ‘golden years’, prior to its merger with British Leyland, motors such as the P3 and the P4 became household names – with the likes of Grace Kelly famously owning one of Rover’s P4 ‘Auntie’ cars. What came next were the likes the Range Rover, the 200-series and the 800 Sterling before Rover bowed out of the market with the Rover 75 in 2005.