Once a powering Jaguar, the home-owned UK car industry has long since morphed into a Reliant Robin - and the front wheel has finally fallen off.
In 1950, British manufacturers exported three times as many cars as the US and six times more than Germany. Accelerate to 2004, and the US, Germany and Japan produced more than 14 million vehicles between them, the UK 1.6 million. MG Rover, the only British volume carmaker left, has now gone to Nangking, as the workers at Longbridge hang up their overalls.
The biggest producers in Britain are Nissan, Toyota and Honda. We're left inhaling the exhaust while other countries race off with the profit. Even TVR has gone - now, like a certain football team, owned by a young Russian.
But there's good news. Nissan's Tyne and Wear car plant is the most productive in Europe, making nearly 320,000 cars in 2004. How long until a British film director remakes The Italian Job with Nissans?