Frederick Simms was a fascinating man. Around the turn of the 20th century, among many other achievements, he built the world’s first armoured car, became a director of Daimler (today the parent company of Mercedes) and founded what is now the Royal Automobile Club.

As if that wasn’t enough to be getting on with, in 1902 he established the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders. According to its own website, the SMMT arose from Simms’s vision to create “a UK representative body to provide leadership, protection and direction to the British motor industry”, which is exactly what it still is.

Since 1965, the SMMT has also been the leading source of information on how popular car models are in the UK. It’s important to remember that this is based on registrations rather than sales, but it does give a broadly accurate idea of how successful a particular car has proved to be.

The SMMT has kindly provided a list of the yearly winners over the last half-century-and-a-bit, so let’s delve into that.

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