Farewell Bristol Cars
Bristol Cars, the small, quirky British manufacturer with a die-hard following, has officially been dissolved, and it looks like for good this time, unfortunately.
Bristol was a low-volume maker of hand-built cars based in Surrey, U.K., in operation since just after the Second World War, and an off-shoot of the Bristol Aeroplane Company. It all began with the Bristol 400, a swoopy luxury two-door saloon with a 2.0-litre version of a BMW inline-six with hemispherical combustion chambers that produced 80hp. From there, the company built a range of luxury sports cars with the BMW engine until 1961, when Bristol switched to larger Chrysler V8 engines.
In 1966, Bristol Cars separated from the aircraft industry to become a private entity, and continued developing low-volume cars until 2011, when it entered administration. 22 jobs were lost when the factory was shut down. But it formed another company to sell off assets, and that company was bought by Kamkorp and restructured. In fact, Bristol debuted a brand new car, the Bullet, at the Goodwood Festival of Speed in 2016, complete with a BMW-sourced V8 and gearbox, giving hope for the beleaguered brand. But alas, no production models were built, and the bell has finally rung for this small carmaker; it’s officially gone into liquidation of its assets.
The last of Bristol’s glorious productions was the 525hp V10-powered Fighter from 2004 to 2011, and it also had Zagato and Pininfarina develop beautiful bodies for some of its cars. The company also raced at Le Mans from 1953 to 1955. It’s a sad end to a small but remarkable carmaker.
*Images courtesy of Bristol Cars Lts. Special thanks also to Ian Wood, whose Bristol 411 Series 2 you can read about HERE