2019 Review of SMITHS Blogs and News

2019 Review of SMITHS Blogs and News

The interest in classic cars continued to reach new levels in 2019 with announcements of reworked originals and even electrification of some classics.  Interest in SMITHS gauges also reached new highs with car renovators and enthusiasts keen to keep the same brand of instrumentation in their classic car.  During 2019, we told the stories to celebrate some of the world’s most famous cars.


In January, we celebrated the 60th birthday of the Mini.  The world’s most-loved small car has never been so popular.  SMITHS association with Mini dates back to the beginning in 1959 and we still manufacture and sell those gauges in 2019.


In 1951, Jaguar launched the C-Type solely to race and with the aim of winning the 24 Hours of Le Mans.  As with many classic Jaguar cars of the time, SMITHS designed and supplied the instrumentation.

In late 2018, car enthusiast Rowan Atkinson returned as a bungling British secret agent in the movie Johnny English Strikes Again.  One of the starring roles in the movie was filled by a rare 5.3-L Aston Martin V8 Vantage Oscar India sports car and our blog looked back at what is widely perceived to be ‘Britain’s First Supercar’.


Between 1924 and 1930, Bentley dominated the 24 hrs of Le Mans and our blog charts this period of British dominance in endurance racing.

SMITHS has a long-standing history of supplying gauges to Lotus.  In 1966, Lotus released the Europa, which was the first road vehicle to feature a mid-engine design.


Our celebration of the 60th anniversary of the Mini continued by identifying some of the famous celebrities who owned the British classic Mini.


There are some classic cars that simply exude Britishness and the Jaguar 420 is but one.  The 420 and the Damiler Sovereign both feature a dashboard with SMITHS instruments.

British sports car manufacturer TVR has an amazing history and in 1990 reintroduced a new version of the classic Griffith.  The new Griffith 500 was something special.

In 1952, the British Motor Company (BMC) established a joint venture with the Donald Healey Motor Company and launched the Austin-Healey Model 100.  The classic 100 remains exceptionally popular with classic car enthusiasts in the USA.


The blogs in June focused on two new gauges.  Ready for the Goodwood Festival of Speed, CAI launched the digital speedometer for the classic Jaguar E-Type.  Even though it is digital, the gauge is designed to appear mechanical, keeping the style and feel of the original gauge.

Owners of the classic Mini could now obtain a speedometer featuring a bespoke face design such as a Union Jack.  The new initiative allows Mini enthusiasts to put their own identity into their car.


The first motorcycle story of 2019 appeared in July with a review of the Triumph Trident motorcycle, widely regarded as the world’s first ‘superbike’.

In January 1996, after extensive and rigorous tests, the British government announced the purchase of approximately 8,000 new Land Rover Wolf Defender XD 4x4 vehicles.  The design is stronger and more reliable that the original Land Rover and perfectly equipped to operate in some of the toughest environments in the world.


September was all about Aston Martin.  When Aston Martin released the V8 Zagato in 1986, they planned to produce only 53.  12 months later and the V8 Zagato Volante appeared with only 37 ever produced.  This car is one of the rarest Aston Martin classic cars ever produced.

When the Aston Martin DB6 was released in 1965, critics deplored the design saying it was dated.  Only time would tell those critics that they were wrong.  The DB6, although living in the shadow of the DB5, is an amazing example of British and Aston Martin styling and design.


To celebrate 100 years of Bentley, we looked back to 1952 and the launch of the R-Type.

There was a renewed focus on the Mini with the story of the restoration of a 1978 Austin Morris Mini Pickup by Somerford Mini.  The restoration took place at Somerford facility in Wiltshire.

Lesser-known British car manufacturer Bristol Aeroplane (later known as Bristol Cars) produced the Bristol 406 luxury sports car between 1958 and 1961.  A stunning and rare classic sports car.


The Triumph TR5 was the first British sports car to feature fuel injection.  Even though production of the TR5 lasting just over twelve months, the sports car is widely regarded by enthusiasts as the best of the full-width TR models.

Before joining forces with Carrol Shelby and creating the AC Cobra, AC Cars of Thames Ditton had a reputation of producing high-performance sports cars.  In 1953, they released the AC Ace, a two-seater roadster that would feature in three races at the 24 hours of Le Mans.


There were many classic cars celebrating significant birthdays in 2019.  We looked at six that featured SMITHS instrumentation in their dashboards including the Mini, Jaguar Mk2, and Austin-Healey 3000.

A seventh classic car celebrating a milestone birthday as was the Rover P4.  When released in 1949 the car was widely acclaimed as one of finest cars in the world at the time.  The P4 design was inspired by Studebakers and surprised many motoring critics.

We hope you have enjoyed reading our news and blogs in 2019.  With our rich SMITHS history we have plenty of stories to tell in 2020.  In the meantime, if you are interested in receiving further information on any of the articles or details on new or classic gauges, please contact us on:

Via the contact form on our website

Email:  [email protected]

Phone:  +44 (0) 1639 732200

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Tags: AC Ace, Aston Martin, Austin Healey, Bentley, Bristol 406, Jaguar C Type, Land Rover, Mini, Somerford Mini, Triumph TR5, Triumph Trident

Categories: Case Histories

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