Bristol Cars : Another British car manufacturer goes into administration

Keith Adams

Bristol Beaufighter

Bristol Beaufighter

After more than 60 years of car production, Bristol Cars Limited has fallen into administration. Tom MacLennan and Trevor Binyon from RSM Tenon have been appointed as Administrators and have told the BBC: ‘While there have been a number of immediate redundancies due to the financial position of the company, we are maintaining the sales and service operations so customers will continue to be supported. We would urge any interested parties to make contact with us as quickly as possible and are confident that we can secure the future of this iconic British brand.’

The company was formed immediately after World War Two when the Bristol Aeroplane Company Limited decided to enter the car-making business and acquired the rights to the various pre-war BMW models. By 1948, it was building the streamlined, fast and luxurious 403 using aviation principles of construction.

The prestige machines continued thereafter, being expensively handmade in small numbers for well-heeled customers. Chrysler V8 engines were introduced with the 407 of 1961. All Bristols are known for being somewhat eccentric: the 412, Beaufighter and Beaufort had breeze block styling and were built from 1975 to 1994 – 1976’s 603 was still nominally in production today as the Blenheim, alongside the Fighter sold through the company’s Kensington showroom.

Bristol enthusiast, Andrew Elphick, recalls: ‘During a chance conversation I had in their showrooms about three years ago I awkwardly asked “Has the credit crunch affected you?” The polite, but firm reply was “Not at Bristol Cars, sir…”‘

More news as we get it.

[Source: Autocar]

Keith Adams

Keith Adams

Editor and creator AROnline at AROnline
Created www.austin-rover.co.uk in 2001 and built it to become the world's foremost reference source for all things BMC, Leyland and Rover Group, before renaming it AROnline in 2007.

Is the Editor of the Parkers website and price guide, formerly editor of Classic Car Weekly, and launch editor/creator of Modern Clsssics magazine. Has contributed to various motoring titles including Octane, Practical Classics, Evo, Honest John, CAR magazine, Autocar, Pistonheads, Diesel Car, Practical Performance Car, Performance French Car, Car Mechanics, Jaguar World Monthly, MG Enthusiast, Modern MINI, Practical Classics, Fifth Gear Website, Radio 4, and the the Motoring Independent...

Likes 'conditionally challenged' motors and taking them on unfeasable adventures all across Europe.
Keith Adams

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Posted in: AROnline News
Keith Adams

About the Author:

Created www.austin-rover.co.uk in 2001 and built it to become the world's foremost reference source for all things BMC, Leyland and Rover Group, before renaming it AROnline in 2007. Is the Editor of the Parkers website and price guide, formerly editor of Classic Car Weekly, and launch editor/creator of Modern Clsssics magazine. Has contributed to various motoring titles including Octane, Practical Classics, Evo, Honest John, CAR magazine, Autocar, Pistonheads, Diesel Car, Practical Performance Car, Performance French Car, Car Mechanics, Jaguar World Monthly, MG Enthusiast, Modern MINI, Practical Classics, Fifth Gear Website, Radio 4, and the the Motoring Independent... Likes 'conditionally challenged' motors and taking them on unfeasable adventures all across Europe.

70 Comments on "Bristol Cars : Another British car manufacturer goes into administration"

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  1. Jonathan Carling Jonathan Carling says:

    Bristol Cars are a bit like Woolworths – always there. Like Woolies, it’ll be hard to believe they’ve gone. Let’s hope it doesn’t come to that.

  2. Dr Bobby Love says:

    I know I’m about to open myself up to a lynching but I won’t miss them.

    I’ve never known a brand to get the styling so consistently wrong for so long and survive as long as they did.

    Perhaps, if they hadn’t done silly things like turn James May away because of the company he keeps, they’d not have gone pop.

    I’ll never, ever understand who bought these cars. I’m deeply sorry about the jobs that may be lost but the cars themselves will not, in my opinion, be missed.

  3. Karl says:

    A sad day…

  4. Paul Taylor Paul T says:

    I always felt that Bristol cars were an anomaly in the car industry and could not work out how they could possibly be a viable business.

    The cars LOOKED like they were made by a warplane builder, but there was something about them that made you think ‘no-one will be able to hurt me when driving this thing’. They look like they weigh about 4 tons and god knows what spec engine was needed to get to a decent speed!

    That said, it is sad that another iconic British car builder has hit the skids – I really hope something is salvaged from the situation and they can continue as an independent and not be another ‘brand’ within a huge multinational.

  5. Lord Sward says:

    I an utterly, utterly devastated. Bristol cars fill a hole in my heart that old girlfriends, holidays, drinking sessions and pop music could only hope to attain. I am now without ambition in life. This is the closure of MG-R all over again.

  6. Andrew Elphick says:

    Sad news indeed – I hope the immediate redundancies can be met (sadly) by the loyal members of staff working long past the prescribed age for retirement.

  7. Tony says:

    Very sad. How many people work at the production facility?

  8. Doug says:

    Incredibly sad news. I remember the first time I saw a Bristol – I was about nine years old and on a summer family outing to London. I was walking down a road near St. James Park with my Dad and there was a navy blue Blenheim parked up at the side of the road. Obviously I didn’t believe him when he told me what it was – I knew “everything about cars”!

    This is an extraordinarily sad day for those who ‘get’ Bristol and, even for those who don’t, it’s the day the car industry lost something different.

  9. Richard PS says:

    Let’s hope the Administrators find a new owner for the company pdq and it is someone who respects the brand and wants to build on it. No city slickers or chancers please!

    I have driven one Bristol and ridden in another – they really are very special.

  10. David 3500 says:

    Bristol cars are lovely but eccentric British grand tourers which I always admired for being so quinessentially out of tune with modern trends, right down to still using 1970s style rocker switches.

    I am told that Bristol Cars’ Chairman, Tony Crook, was almost as eccentric as the cars themselves, but was fiercely protective of his company.

    I really do hope that Bristol Cars is saved and remains in British ownership. The company deserves to be bought by someone who understands why its products are so individual.

  11. Keith Adams Keith Adams says:

    I hope that it’s not in bad taste to mention this, but we have an amazing interview with Tony Crook in the next issue of Octane. Getting an interview with him was a rare privilege and it all seems slightly tragic now.

  12. Keith B says:

    Such a shame, typically British and eccentric to the last. The cars always looked “odd” to me but someone loved them! A sad day.

  13. DM Southampton says:

    In January, I happened to stumble upon the Bristol showroom near Olympia; having not heard much about them in many years, my first thought was ‘blimey, are they still in business?’

    I grew up around cars and, as a child in the Eighties, felt then that Bristols were anachronistic so seeing these great bulks in a 21st Century showroom shocked me. I viewed them as esoteric playthings of those foolish with their money – you’d have to have money to waste if you wanted to fritter it on one of these.

    Good riddance Bristol, you have produced ugly and irrelevant cars for far too long and are a further example of a British company that lived in the moment, finding that the rest of the world has moved on, invested in the future, and developed its industry.

    The British don’t make many cars any longer, but I take my hat off to Morgan who, at least, recognised the importance of R&D and the desirability halo that new models create – perhaps Bristol would be around today had they stepped out of the moment and into the future (or, at least, the present).

  14. Wilko says:

    Dr Bobby Love :
    I’ll never, ever understand who bought these cars. I’m deeply sorry about the jobs that may be lost but the cars themselves will not, in my opinion, be missed.

    Well, if I had that sort of money to play with, I would certainly favour a Bristol (understated class) over a modern Bentley or Rolls-Royce (chavvy bling).

    Doesn’t it tell you all you need to know that, not only does no national newspaper appear to be carrying this story today, but also that the BBC’s website, whilst carrying stories about Bentley, Rolls Royce, Nissan and GM on its business page, has this sorry tale nowhere to be found? It’s only on their local webpage for the Bristol area. Disgraceful…

  15. Chris C says:

    Bristol Cars is a company with a high level bespoke quality performance heritage and a brand image worth saving/developing – it would be a good fit for Aston Martin, Bentley, Morgan or Rolls Royce – as long as we don’t get another TVR…

  16. I wonder whether the Bristol marque would compliment the BMW Group’s existing brand portfolio – I rather like the historical symmetry of that idea…

  17. Lord Sward says:

    I think Clive is absolutely spot-on. The BMW Group has no overtly sporting rival to, say Aston Martin or VAG/Bentley. Look at how BMW supports Morgan and used to support McLaren. It makes total sense, especially when you look at Bristol’s heritage.

  18. Wilko says:

    Lord Sward :
    I think Clive is absolutely spot-on. BMW has no overtly sporting rival to McLaren-Mercedes and VAG/Bentley. Look at how BMW supports Morgan and used to support McLaren. It makes total sense, especially when you look at Bristol’s heritage.

    Perhaps so… However, given B*W’s outrageous record with Rover, it makes the total, 100 per cent opposite of sense to like the idea.

  19. Lord Sward says:

    I know, I know. Spoils of war and all that. Sadly, Germany is the cash rich manufacturing country, we’re not.

  20. Paul Taylor Paul T says:

    I suppose in this case BMW could almost say they would be reclaiming THEIR heritage!

    Whatever happens, the business needs to be viable going forward. I don’t know how many AROnline readers watched a serial called Chancer with Clive Owen in the early 1990s. It centred around a family-run car builder (Douglas Motors) which refused to move with the times and reluctantly had to adapt or die.

    Hopefully, Bristol will learn whatever lessons there are to be learned from this situation and ensure they never find themselves in this position again.

  21. Richard Rose says:

    For me, Bristol would not be Bristol if it was owned by a massive corporation such as BMW.

    The marque would then just be another hollow marketing tag, with its amazing history being smeared all over a fancy landscape-gardened stand at one of the big Motor Shows, with faceless, sharp-suited donks (who had never even heard of it till their boss told them to man the stand a fortnight earlier) bigging up how its ‘aviation heritage is communicated through the new design language’… That would just be hideously awful.

    I reckon that, if no barmy, deep-pocketed English one-man-band can be found to take the company on, then it should allowed to die with dignity.

  22. Wilko says:

    @Richard Rose
    I agree with your sentiments entirely – although I would hope that it would be possible for the company to have a parent company which allowed it to run itself independently as a small, albeit profitable, concern.

    Maybe not.

  23. Wilko says:

    Clive Goldthorp :
    @Wilko
    Rolls-Royce Motor Cars Limited seems to have thrived under the BMW Group’s ownership so, perhaps, Bristol Cars Limited might as well.

    They may have thrived in profit terms but I would argue that their products are no longer in keeping with the company’s tradition.

  24. KenS Ken Strachan says:

    Well, perhaps BMW could reskin the 6 Series with a pretty body, rather than the current, hideous blimp… The 403 to 407 looked good, but Bristol lost their way since then.

    We should bear in mind that Bristol make about three cars a week – that makes development, tooling and homologation very expensive per vehicle. Additionally, having many of their body tools stolen a few years ago probably didn’t help.

  25. @Wilko
    Sadly, in today’s Automotive Industry, the quest for financial performance tends to exert an ever-increasing influence on how brand values are interpreted…

  26. Chris C says:

    I could see space being made for a completely new Bristol at Goodwood – there are bound to be loads of Senior Engineers/Executives wanting any excuse to develop a new luxury hardtop sports car/coupe. Then again, Ron Dennis might have a few quid spare…

    A lot of Bristol Car’s business seems to be refurbishing/maintaining old models and somebody’s bound to pick that work up.

  27. Andrew Elphick says:

    BMW as a suitor? The PR team would have a breakdown after they had researched the two companies’ intertwined history!

    However, an ideal, recently resurrected manufacturer of sporting saloons with a Bristol connection does exist: Frazer-Nash.

  28. Two R8s says:

    Some publicity at last…

  29. Chris C says:

    Frazer Nash somewhat bounces around on the edge of car manufacturing rebirth – a bit like AC, although, like PRM Newage and Riley, it survives in a different form/market.

    Anyway, as Andrew points out, a BMW takeover could effectively be history going full circle, but I suspect some of the model names might not survive…

  30. DaveyC says:

    I don’t think I want BMW to buy Bristol after the way they trashed Rover. VW maybe, but really who would want this now irrelevant company?

    Looks like the workforce are now paying dearly for Tony Crook’s wrecklessly self indulgent management.

  31. Carl Maynard says:

    A great shame… I’m not sure that any of the big players would be interested as I rather doubt that Bristol has a strong brand following worldwide.

    I do not believe that anyone would be interested in buying a Bristol which was made anywhere other than in Britain as they are a VERY British brand, rightly seen as more than a little eccentric.

    Let’s hope than someone with the best possible business credentials wants to develop the marque properly, yet cautiously..! Perhaps one of the independent F1 teams would be a possibility… Anyone got Mr. Williams’ number?

  32. Richard Brant says:

    I’m absolutely gutted to hear this. A friend and I were overtaken by a Fighter a few years ago when I was in the Tickford. That car was no real slouch but the Bristol came from nowhere, slowed behind me and then flew past as though I wasn’t there with a fairly awesome sound.

    I’d wanted one of the older ones before that but, since then, a Fighter T was to be my “fast” car (along with an XJ220) if and when I ever won big.

    It will be a massive shame if the company doesn’t make it through this.

  33. Tim_Burgess Tim Burgess says:

    A crying shame… Here’s hoping that a buyer can be found quickly.

    I have always had a soft spot for Bristol Cars – I’m a Bristolian and I lived for most of my life no more than two miles as the crow flies from the “factory”. I remember seeing a Fighter outside the service facility in Chiswick and thinking “I don’t care how it drives I just want one”.

    Their cars were always a leftfield choice – even amongst leftfield choices – but, to me, they were just magnificent examples of British craftsmanship in an age when style is all too often put over substance.

  34. Richard Moss says:

    I’ve always felt that Bristol’s styling was much less impressive than their engineering. Mind you, if you can sell them at a big enough profit to stay in business, that doesn’t matter.

  35. Mike C says:

    Didn’t Tony Crook sell Bristol Cars to new owners a few years ago? It’s always dangerous when new owners take over an eccentric car company, as with TVR 🙁

  36. Liam Cawley says:

    Didn’t Bristol have a production line “stolen”, literally overnight, a couple of years or so ago?

    How odd…

  37. Jemma says:

    Bristols looked good, sounded good (you could get the 440 6-pack if you were nice to Chrysler apparently) and went well…

    However, they were chronically overpriced, the company had no reserves to speak of and people ‘stayed away in droves’… It’s a shame, but its not something that wasn’t expected if people are honest about it.

    Small hasn’t worked for a long time – and it certainly doesn’t work when you are making a niche product out of what is effectively someone’s lock up.

    I liked and like the styling of the Fighter when it came out – but within three months of its launch it might as well not have existed, no advertising, no word of mouth…

    Bristol Cars is not the first company to have made that mistake with a car – Renault is one, and they’ve done it more than once – but Renault had options to take when they screwed things up. Sadly, Bristol probably don’t.

    It’s a shame, but whoever said life was about happy endings was either on something or Steve Jobs’ Accountant.

  38. Dennis says:

    @Clive Goldthorp
    Actually, Rolls-Royce cars isn’t ‘really’ under BMW ownership – they just build large BMW limousines in their factory at Goodwood with R-R badges on them.

    BMW Group simply bought a licence from Rolls-Royce PLC to use the name and logo on cars of their own design. The former Rolls-Royce Motor Cars company is now Bentley under VAG.

  39. KeefyB says:

    @Dennis
    I hate to admit it, but BMW is the logical choice for Bristol.

    A great deal of type approval and development cost comes from “hidden” core components shared with more common or garden models. Rolls-Royce and MINI have become successful once more but the problem with Rover was that its product range almost completely overlapped BMW’s in the C/D segments.

    Bristol could become the “New Bentley” to Rolls-Royce, permitting more sportiness and experimentation based around the same platforms.

    Incidentally, the current Phantom is much more unique and distant from the BMW range than the Bentley Continental is from the VW Phaeton and so to state that they are BMW limousines with R-R badges is a bit OTT.

  40. Marty B says:

    Sad news, but hardly surprising in this day and age.

    I remember one of the models fairly well because it had pug ugly Vauxhall Senator rear lights – they ruined the whole look of the rear end to be honest.

    Oh, and yes, telling Captain Slow to ‘clear orf’ was a big whoops – we all know he would have waxed lyrical for hours over the car if he had been able to buy one and it would have given the firm free worldwide airtime.

    A sad day indeed… I hope they do get rescued though.

  41. Simon Woodward says:

    I think Bristol shot themselves in the foot by not shouting about the Bristol Fighter more.

    I happened to pass the showroom yesterday and there is a silver Fighter in the window along with a collection of older models spanning the last forty years. The Fighter has that unique British eccentric, hand-built quality you only seem to get with cars like the Morgan Aero.

    Sadly, to survive in the fickle ‘Must Have An App For That’ world which we live in today, small car companies have to find a balance between providing handmade craftsmanship and some mainstream for people who need to be told what style is. The Fighter served this perfectly by retaining Bristol eccentricity but then providing some big BHP for the ‘i’ generation.

    Anyway, for those who don’t know that part of London, the Bristol showroom is little more than a large corner shop but it is a hell of a location – the traffic that passes that junction must run into the tens of thousands each day, 24/7. I know in your face advertising is not the Bristol way but it would help if they put the lights on! The showroom always looks shut to me.

    The James May incident is a sad one as, for all his sins by association – not in my eyes – May is and has always been the typical type of bloke who would purchase a Bristol. Long before May was on TV he was a classic car journalist and a good one at that. He has become a stand alone TV presenter with shows like ‘James May Toy Stories’ in which he drives to locations in a Classic Bright Red 911 – it would have been far better if he was in a Bright Orange Fighter instead.

    There was a Bright Orange Fighter on display in the showroom a while back and I bet a fair few thousand people gawped whilst sitting in their ‘Black and White Mono Chrome Euro Box’ trudging to work each day.

    I bet there isn’t “an App For That!” Good luck Bristol – I hope a buyer turns up soon but, next time, switch the bl**dy lights on.

  42. Wilko says:

    @Simon Woodward
    Everything you say makes a lot of sense on the face of it – but I think I’ll mourn the unique eccentricity of the whole operation as much as the cars.

    A lot of people seem to be suggesting that Bristol has gone under because of their failure to conform to industry norms. I would argue that, on the contrary, it is because of that refusal to go with the crowd that they have lasted as long as they have. When you are that small you HAVE to be different and one of the ways Bristol set themselves apart was by maintaining an air of mystery and exclusivity like no other manufacturer.

    I just hope that someone who understands the company and what it’s about is able to invest and give it another chance to survive.

  43. Simon Woodward says:

    @Wilko
    Yes, that is a very good point but I think there has to to a harmony and a compromise between new and old in order to survive.

    Morgan has done this well in recent years by providing old and new style cars. The re-introduction of the 3 Wheeler is a master stroke in its quest to keep itself fresh in the public eye.

    The 3 Wheeler is a a great weekend car, though if I had one I would be tempted to use it everyday, which offers a great alternative to a motorbike, classic car or a Caterham-type vehicle. Its introduction has kept the Morgan brand in the limelight for generations to come and will therefore bring much needed turnover to a small company.

    Any small company needs a regular stream of cash-flow in order to survive but without having to become a mass producer. It’s a fine balance but all the hard work has been done with the Fighter. Surely, if they sell a hundred Fighters a year worldwide, then exclusivity could be retained and the cash-flow generated would help Bristol continue its craftsman tradition.

    I make/design one-off furniture for interior designers but I probably only make, on average, three pieces a month. The rest of the time I restore antique clocks as it provides not only much needed cash-flow but also keeps my brain and hands occupied.

    Many of the smaller car manufacturers have followed the same track and, to be honest, it’s where I got the idea from. During lean times Zagato made electric trucks, AC made those old Blue invalid carriages and there is a French F1 constructor which makes Tractor Cabs but I can’t remember the name of that one.

    You have not but some others have suggested that Bristol could become a Aston or Bentley alternative with help of say BMW. I’m not sure that is the right direction but a look at Morgan’s business model might suggest a direction to follow.

    Nothing to do with this story but for Mini and old Land Rover Series 1 followers, I was also at Bonhams Auctions Oxford yesterday and there are a MINI CLUBMAN MARGRAVE complete with twin lights and a very early S1 Land Rover up for auction this week. Both were in barn find condition but, at a glance, great projects to restore. You should be able to get the details if you go onto Bonhams’ website.

  44. Simon Woodward says:

    Sadly, the 1981 Wood & Pickett Mini Margrave is Lot No. 251 estimate £2500-£3000 in today’s sale but it may not meet its reserve so a second chance may come up.

  45. Simon Woodward says:

    Paul T :
    I suppose in this case BMW could almost say they would be reclaiming THEIR heritage!

    Whatever happens, the business needs to be viable going forward. I don’t know how many AROnline readers watched a serial called Chancer with Clive Owen in the early 1990s. It centred around a family-run car builder (Douglas Motors) which refused to move with the times and reluctantly had to adapt or die.

    Hopefully, Bristol will learn whatever lessons there are to be learned from this situation and ensure they never find themselves in this position again.

    Was the car featured in Chancer a JBA Falcon kit car?

  46. Paul Taylor Paul T says:

    @Simon Woodward
    I am not 100% sure, to be honest, but it certainly looked familiar.

    The cars used in the show certainly looked liked kits, as you did get to see them in various stages of “production” within the “factory”.

    The cars certainly used the Ford Pinto engine – possibly a 1600 as I think it had the blue cam cover!

  47. Alistair says:

    I haven’t checked my Euromillions ticket yet but I would save the Bristol company and brand if I could.

    The most exciting and relevant model to come out of Morgan is not the new 3 Wheeler (although that’s fantastic) but the Eva GT Concept which should, we hope, look the same in production guise.

    Bristol needs a car like that to bring to market. The Eva GT is the perfect balance of heritage and modernity. The 6 cylinder BMW unit planned is not only powerful and swift for a GT car but also promises exceptional emissions and MPG for that kind of vehicle.

    Please, let a rich and savvy petrolhead save Bristol and keep it relevant for today’s market yet independent and quirky enough to remain a British icon.

    Some of those Euromillions winnings may well go into a W&P Margrave too!

  48. Wilko says:

    I’m lobbying for a Morgan takeover!

  49. @Wilko
    Ah, but if the Morgan Motor Company Limited was to acquire Bristol Cars Limited the chances are that any new Bristols might well use BMW Group-supplied engines.

    History would, in that case, really be repeated – I guess, though, that is where we came in at the start of this thread!

    Incidentally, Alistair’s comments on the Morgan Eva GT Concept are, in my opinion, pretty much on the money. I have just watched the “Eva GT Exclusive Trailer” on Morgan’s website and was struck by the visual similarities between that and the Bristol Fighter.

  50. David Evans says:

    Well, Tony Crook, who ran Bristol, was certainly an eccentric. I have known two Bristol owners personally, one of whom could not say a good word about him, despite starting as a great enthusiast.

    He acquired one very individual Bristol, with which he had various problems. However, he said that, when he contacted Crook about them, he didn’t want to know. Frankly, he was totally disgusted with Crook’s attitude to the situation, which doesn’t speak well of a special premium car.

    The other Bristol owner switched to a Jensen – the curvey one with the big American (Chrysler?) engine – something like the 531? – at 73 my memory isn’t what it once was.

  51. Andrew Elphick says:

    @Paul T
    Yep, it’s a JBA, set up by ex-Fomoco Engineers. Actually, the box set of Chancer is on the shelf – it’s aged quite well! There is a good ITN Source video on the JBA start up, but I’m damned if I can find that now!

  52. Andrew Elphick says:

    @Simon Woodward
    Ironically, Bristol was importer for the electric Zagato city cars in the 1970s – I’m sure one still resides in the Service Department.

  53. Andrew Elphick says:

    Actually, the three chaps who developed the JBA were former British Leyland Engineers! I have now found this ITN News clip dated the 24th September, 1982 on ITN Source.

  54. Simon Woodward says:

    @Andrew Elphick
    I have a very vague memory of reading about the Zagato at the Bristol factory – it was a interesting but simple vehicle and it’s a shame there aren’t more like it.

    I think it was a JBA Falcon in Chancer – I did some googling after I wrote the post and I reckon it is.

    Anyway, Paul T makes a very valid point as, although it was a long time ago when I saw Chancer, from what I remember there are a lot of similarities between Bristol and the fictional car company in that series.

    Talking of similarities, Clive Goldthorp’s comparison between the Morgan Eva and the Bristol Fighter is spot on. The Eva GT is a seriously gorgeous car – a sort of modern day Bugatti Atlantic or the Riley with the sloped back from the same period. What was that one called?

  55. Dr. Richard Croft says:

    I’ve never seen one in the metal and so am not sure how important this loss is – other than for the impact on the workforce.

  56. Simon Woodward says:

    @Clive Goldthorp
    You get my respect – always have and always will. Keep up the good work on what is probably the most entertaining automotive site on the web.

    It’s probably best to all calm down and agree to disagree. The problem with blogging is that misunderstandings are frequent because, unless a person knows the individual personally, it’s all too easy to put your foot in it.

    Anyway, on a lighter note people want to try being a Lanky Dyslexic Brummie like me – that’s largely unknown thanks to Clive’s excellent editing skills saving me a lot of blushes!

  57. Dr Bobby Love says:

    Wilko :

    Dr Bobby Love :
    I’ll never, ever understand who bought these cars. I’m deeply sorry about the jobs that may be lost but the cars themselves will not, in my opinion, be missed.

    Well, if I had that sort of money to play with, I would certainly favour a Bristol (understated class) over a modern Bentley or Rolls-Royce (chavvy bling).
    Doesn’t it tell you all you need to know that, not only does no national newspaper appear to be carrying this story today, but also that the BBC’s website, whilst carrying stories about Bentley, Rolls Royce, Nissan and GM on its business page, has this sorry tale nowhere to be found? It’s only on their local webpage for the Bristol area. Disgraceful…

    Your buying NEW cars with your cash? 😉 Seriously though, I’ve never understood who buys Bristol cars. I completely get the class and exclusivity thing but buy something rare and desirable. I do “get” the “anything you’d like, sir” element of the company as well but, with that kind of cash, it’s not hard to have any car modified to your requirements.

  58. Dr Bobby Love says:

    Simon Woodward :
    providing handmade craftsmanship and some mainstream for people who need to be told what style is.

    I don’t think it’s that simple – Bristols have always been fundamentally unbalanced on styling and, in my own opinion, a bit half-baked in the looks department with strange shut line positions and, in complete disagreement of your statement, trying to hard to not stick out by “blending” in.

    Another point which I feel the need to raise is this: has anyone on here actually driven one? I’ve never seen any evidence that they can handle well. That’s probably down to the lack of publicity to keep the exclusive image though…

  59. Wilko says:

    Dr Bobby Love :

    Your buying NEW cars with your cash?

    Good point – I do tend to prefer to let other people take the initial depreciation hit!
    I think if I could have any car in the world, a well-sorted, used Bristol 411 would be a serious contender. But I can certainly see how they are an acquired (or perhaps just unusual) taste!

  60. Simon Woodward says:

    @Dr Bobby Love
    I did struggle with that sentence after I wrote it – it did sound a little pretentious.

    The quirky styling is probably one of Bristol’s selling features to people who love and own them. It’s most definitely it’s biggest turn off for people who have no desire to own one. I did think that the craftsmanship may be a selling point but reading some of the blogs since has now confused that thought as well, as you have pointed out with the shut lines.

    I have, as I am sure others have, tried to glean some more information from the web. I found a handful of videos on YouTube and the usual stuff from various owners’ sites, Wiki etc. and that’s about it. There appears to be a promotional video on YouTube if you put Bristol Fighter in the search engine.

    I have never driven one but have seen a Fighter up close – somehow it looks very long, low and narrow and not what I expected. I like the Fighter, to be honest, but I have always wrestled with the rest of the range wanting to like them but then start thinking things like ‘Why don’t you stick the spare wheel in the boot to clean up the wing line’ but perhaps that feature is one of the selling points to people who love them.

    I think a Bristols are one those ‘Marmite’ cars. Maybe a buyer can be found with a new broom to sweep it clean by taking at look at Morgan’s business model. What any new buyer can’t do is alienate the marque’s current customer base but people grow old and you need keep a healthy supply of new enthusiasts. Sometimes that means taking off the blinkers and looking at a slightly bigger picture.

  61. Richard Moss says:


    @Wilko

    Rolls-Royce Motor Cars Limited seems to have thrived under the BMW Group’s ownership so, perhaps, Bristol Cars Limited might as well.

    It could be equally argued that Bentley have done well under VW and that they have retained more of their traditional values than Rolls-Royce have. I’d prefer VW to run Bristol as I think they’d have a better idea of what the brand is about.

  62. Nick Graves says:

    One of the great things about the way Bristols (used to) look is that they separated those with an understanding and appreciation of automotive engineering from the vapid and superficial fashion-victims.

    I have never been fortunate enough to drive one, but the Fighter seems to be the perfect modern supercar. LJKS was right about many cars (I have a 4WS Prelude in the collection) so I have every confidence in his opinion on Bristols.

    Admittedly, the gap with ordinary cars was much closer than it was in the 1960s and, sadly, the age of good manners and class is long passed.

    RIP Bristol.

  63. You’re ALL Mad! Bristol are another great (albeit quirky) British marque to go under. Just look at the end of the recent episode of Top Gear in which they showed the empty TVR factory full of classic sports cars, some of which, if made using modern technology, would be snapped up by many buyers wanting a proper sports car.

  64. Wilko says:

    Keith Adams :
    Clive Goldthorp puts in a serious amount of time and effort into AROnline‘s news and events coverage, and does so entirely voluntarily. He has been moderating comments in the past and as it’s all been for the sake of such things as spelling and company names for instance as he truly believes that the quality of the site should be maintained at all times.

    I have the view that free speech is of primary importance and believe that comment moderation is a bad thing, as it stifles people’s creativity and their willingness to comment.

    However, I fully support Clive’s motives and actions in tidying up comment spelling, and will continue to do so. We’re a big community, and the website – and this community – are a credit to us all.

    Regards,

    Keith

    To be fair to everyone, Keith (including Clive), I don’t think anyone, at any point, in any of these comments, has disputed or questioned Clive’s commitment to the site, or the time and effort that he puts in. I’m sure all of us, as regulars here, are grateful for that.

    The only thing that has been questioned is what, in many people’s view, was an over-reaction to an innocent remark. And with all due – and genuine – respect to the job Clive does for AROnline, I’m sure he would be the first to recognise that he was the person who initiated that debate (with a post which, it seems, has now been deleted).

    I agree entirely with your points about moderation and “moving forward”.

  65. Keith Adams Keith Adams says:

    Wilko,

    I’ve made the decision that this story will be much better served by having all the off-topic stuff de-approving. It’s not deleted, just not publicly viewable anymore.

    /K

  66. Jonathan Carling Jonathan Carling says:

    @Keith Adams
    Excellent, thanks Keith.

  67. Paul Taylor Paul T says:

    Hear, hear!

  68. Dafydd Griffing says:

    The Bristol ‘Fighter T’ is anything but irrelevant… and looks to be heading in a very positive direction. I wouldn’t think twice about backing Bristol and might do just that.
    Current ownership is a bit quirky, but are true auto enthusiasts who know their stuff… And where would Bristol’s place in the world be if not for quirkiness?

  69. Owen Luder CBE says:

    I had a test drive in a Bristol Beaufighter with Tony Crook in 1980 and due to his very laid back approach to selling the car I said I have had them all Mr. Crook – maybe yours. His reply was “Mr. Luder you will buy a Bristol and you will never by antrhing other than a Bristol again. He was right for the next 25 years I had a White, a Blue and a maroon Beaufighter and only changed when my wife wanted to start driving again and insisted the Bristol was too big. Also I couldn’t buy ba new Beaufighter only a recondition car oldr than the one I sold. The Beaufighter was a magnificient touring car. It had great acceleration certainly for a car of its size and weight. Of course it cost an arma and a leg to service and repair and on petrol but was a joy to drive whether in town. It had a remarkable turning circle for such a large car. It was also very distinctive. My last Beaufighter was parked outside in Smith Square and I was known as the man who owned the Bristol. Lorry drivers at traffic lights would often ask from a distance “what is it?” I gave the cockney rhyming lang for Bristols and they knew immediately. I have many happy memories of my Bristol Beaufighters. I sold it to an enthusiast who had already joined th Bristol Ca Owners Club before he had even bought a car. I was sad to see him drive off in it – but glad I had sold it to a Brisol nut – like myself. Sad to see such a distinctive car maker go – but inevitable I suppose. Also Mr. Crook who was eccentric in some ways and the opposte to the normal car salesman – but a character and loved the product he was selling.

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