Car making is hard. Profitable car making is a whole lot harder, and for proof you only need run a wistful eye over the defunct marques named below.
Some were born close to the dawn of the car, when bicycle makers and blacksmiths saw money in the new-fangled horseless carriage. Dozens of opportunists founded car companies, many of them clever engineers, savvy businessmen and sometimes both.
Car making at the start of the 20th century was like internet entrepreneurialism at the end of it: plenty jumped into the pool, but only the fittest survived in a market that many didn’t understand.
But other car makers have gone despite early successes. Recessions killed many and bundled others into doomed liaisons. Misreadings of the market, the complacency that came with selling sub-standard cars to Britain’s colonies, destabilising government policies, failure to spot the competition and poor management all contributed to the demise of car makers.
But what annihilated great chunks of the British car industry from the 1960s through to the century’s end was a poisonous mix of politics – from communist-agitated unionism to catastrophic government meddling and cost-obsessed management who couldn’t see that building a genuinely better car might build a better business.
Sydney Allard built almost 2000 cars between 1946 and 1959, many of them fast, American V8-engined sports cars, although there were plenty of saloons and even a woody wagon.
A maker of between-wars, high-quality sports cars in its heyday. Duller saloons followed, but the Graber-styled TC to TF series of coupés and roadsters were a handsome swansong. It was bought by Rover in 1965, but car production ended two years later, Alvis becoming a military vehicles maker. It was swallowed by BAE Systems in 2004.