Little British sports cars are kinda lovable, in the same way that a friendly dog who gets sick all the time with random unexplainable symptoms is lovable, but for the most part they sputtered off the assembly line- and past the jeering picket line of striking British Leyland employees- with about 1/3 the horsepower they deserved. But drop a V8 into one- say, a Ford 260 into a '62 AC Ace- and everything changes. The folks at BritishV8.org have compiled dozens of examples of such madness on their site (and not just V8s; you can see Mazda rotary Spitfires, Chevy V6 Midgets, and so on). Some super-sanitary factory-looking jobs with small-blocks and 6-speeds, some howl-at-moon tubbed big-blockers, and plenty in between.
British V8 Photo Gallery [BritishV8.org]
Brits Tout British-Built Cars' Popularity in Britain [internal]