Scotland isn’t the place you think of first when you think of automobile production, but over the course of its history, Scotland produced a few cars, some way cooler than others. Some were just out there. In honor of the Scottish peoples’ decision to remain as a part of the United Kingdom, here’s a look at a few, courtesy of the Scottish Motor Museum Trust:
In the early days of motoring, just about ever sizable town in the developed world had a car company, so it stands to reason Scotland was cranking out vehicles of its own. Between 1899 and 1932, Argyll built cars in Alexandria, West Dunbartonshire. It built a model called the 12/14 that was in use as a taxi as far away as New York City.
Arrol-Johnson was by far Scotland’s most successful car builder. In 1896, George Johnson constructed the first automobile built in Great Britain. He teamed with Sir William Arrol to form the MoCar Syndicate, which became the Arrol-Johnson Car Company Ltd. in 1905. At one point, Arrol-Johnson was the fifth largest auto manufacturer in the UK. The company also developed a car designed to travel on ice and snow for Ernest Shackleton’s Nimrod Expedition to the South Pole. The company produced vehicles until 1931.
No, that’s not a typo. Argyll was resurrected in 1982, when the Duke of Argyll launched a new sports car company on the grounds of Inveraray Castle. The car eventually went into production six years later, but few were made. Its fiberglass body was made by Solway Marine. According to the Scottish Motor Museum Trust, the structure was a combination of box-section chassis and tubular space-frame, and by removing 10 bolts, you could remove the entire rear differential, suspension, gearbox and engine. The Argyll was powered by a Rover V8 and was good for a top speed of 130 mph.
It’s no secret now that women buy a ton of cars. But nobody marketed a car “built by ladies for others of their sex” until Galloway came along. The factory — located in Tongland, Kirkcudbrightshire in 1923 — originally built airplane engines during World War I. T. C. Pullinger, the manager of Arrol-Johnston, was persuaded by his daughter to keep the factory open after the war to ease unemployment strains. Dorothée Pullinger was became the director of Galloway and developed training and apprenticeships specifically for women. The apprenticeships were condensed to three years from the normal five, because the women proved themselves to be so adept at their trades. Galloway produced cars until 1928.
After Bruce Meyers achieved such success with the Meyers Manx in the 1960s, the dune buggy craze launched in a big way. The Parabug was Scotland’s answer to the Meyers Manx, based similarly on a Volkswagen floor pan and running gear. It bridged the gap between a traditional dune buggy, a Jeep, and cars like the Mini Moke. Parabugs were built by the Aberglen Company in Aberdeen.
Joseph Potts Limited of Bellshill designed and built Scotland’s most successful racing car, the J.P. It was on elf the early entrants in the original Formula 3, a low-cost, single-seat racing series for cars with engines smaller than 500cc. J.P. cars used Norton motorcycle engines, and were built between 1950 and 1954.