From dogcarts to a supercar as pricey as the Lotus Esprit, Scotland’s motoring heritage boasts an impressive line-up.
We round up 10 of the finest – and perhaps not so fine – cars to hail from Scotland.
1. Hillman Imp
The Hillman Imp was first produced at a purpose-built factory at Linwood in Renfrewshire in 1963. The first mass-produced British car to have an engine in the back, the Imp also boasted design features such as an automatic choke and temperature, voltage and oil pressure gauges. The Imp was made until 1976, selling almost half a million cars. The factory later produced the Hillman Avenger and Imp successor, the Sunbeam.
2. Argyll Voiturette
The Hozier Engineering Company was founded by Alex Govan in 1899 and it was at his Glasgow factory that the first Argyll Voiturette was produced, modelled on Renault’s version. In 1906, the renamed Argyll Motors Ltd moved to a 12-acre site in Alexandria where it produced the widest range of cars, cabs, carriages and trucks in the world. The fi rm declined after Govan’s death in 1907, going into liquidation in 1908. Production restarted in 1910 under the name Argyll Ltd with a new smaller range of cars.
3. Albion 8HP A1 Dogcart
The Albion Car Company built their first car in Glasgow in 1900, a varnished wooden dogcart powered by a flat-twin 8hp engine which cost £400. The company’s slogan ‘Sure as the Sunrise’ led to the logo, which featured on the badges of several other models between 1900 and 1915 before Albion ceased car production to concentrate on commercial vehicles. From the beginning of the First World War until 1950, Albion was famous for its reliable trucks before the marque was incorporated into Leyland Motors in 1951.
4. The Galloway
Described in 1920 as ‘a car made by ladies for others of their sex’, The Galloway was heavily influenced by the Fiat 501 and was considered a good quality, if expensive, car until the company’s demise in 1928. The factory at Tongland in Kirkcudbrightshire and later at Heathall in Dumfries was run and staffed by women. Led by Dorothée Pullinger, the daughter of Arrol-Johnston manager Thomas Charles Pullinger, the company provided training courses and apprenticeships for local women. The factory had its own hockey team, swimming pool and tennis courts.
5. The Parabug
The 1970s saw a surge in the popularity of dune buggies and The Parabug, produced in Aberdeen by North East Fiberglass, fitted the bill perfectly. Designed by Anderson Bonar Industrial Consultants of Glasgow, the military-styled fl at panel buggy bore a startling resemblance to a WWII Jeep and was based on the running gear of a 1961 VW Beetle.
6. Argyll GT Sports Car
In 1983, the Duke of Argyll unveiled the Argyll GT Sports Car. The supercar was built in a former Lochgilphead laundry by Bob Henderson and Argyll Turbo Cars and was named after the original Argyll in honour of a grandfather of one of its investors who worked in the Alexandria factory. The prototype featured a turbocharged Rover V8 engine capable of a top speed of 130mph, a fi breglass shell and, by undoing ten bolts, the entire rear end, suspension, gearbox and engine came away. The GT cost between £25,000 and £30,000, more than a Lotus Esprit Turbo or a Porsche 911 Carrera at the time.
7. The Scamp
The Scamp was a small electric city car developed by Scottish Aviation in the mid-1960s. With a top speed of 35mph and a 20-mile range between charges, it was launched in a blaze of publicity and demonstrated by Stirling Moss in London and Manchester. But the Scamp had problems with its battery and suspension, and the project was abandoned after only 12 were made.
8. AC 3000ME
The AC 3000ME is thought to be the last production car ever to be built in Scotland. A British-designed sports car, originally produced at Thames Ditton in London, the 3000 ME was launched at the 1973 London Motor Show, but many design changes meant that by the time it went into production in 1979, the design was already dated. In 1984, production moved to Hillington in Glasgow; 34 cars were built there before AC Cars called in the receivers in 1985.
Arrol-Johnston was a Scottish automobile manufacturer operating between 1896 and 1931. They produced the first automobile to be manufactured in Britain at a factory in Camlachie, in the east end of Glasgow. The six-seater Dogcart was a wood-bodied vehicle powered by a 10hp flat-twin horizontally opposed engine. George Johnston was fined in 1896 for driving his car in Glasgow’s St Enoch’s Square – at the time cars in Scotland were still considered steam locomotives.
10. The JP
Joe Potts was a British racing driver who ran an engineering business in Bellshill, which supplied motorcycle parts and, later, armament parts. After WW2, he branched out in order to produce a better racing car than his own Cooper F3. Along with his chief designer Willie Rogerson, he created the JP, a single-fuel tank Formula 3 car designed for hill climbs. It is believed that around 34 cars were produced over the five years that the JP was in production.