Bristol Cars : The new owner spells out the marque’s future
Keith Adams via Octane magazine
Kamkorp Autokraft, part of the Frazer-Nash Group, the new owners of Bristol invited members of the Bristol Owners Club and the press to its UK headquarters for an exclusive gathering of historic cars – using the opportunity to spell-out the future for the partnership. The collection of cars gathered at Bristol’s West End dealership and convoyed to Frazer-Nash’s headquarters, where they were enthusiastically met – and pored over – by Kamkorp’s owner, Kamal Siddiqi, and the company’s staff.
The marriage of Bristol Cars and Frazer-Nash under the Kamkorp umbrella came as a surprise to the car industry when it was announced in April. However, thanks to the history of innovation from Bristol Cars’ new owner, the passion of its boss and engineers, and the research into alternative energy propulsion being undertaken at the company’s base in leafy Mytchett Place in Surrey, the future of this fledgling partnership is looking good.
Frazer-Nash has been pushing ahead with electric vehicle research for the past 20 years and among its innovations are the digital differential system – for electronic torque split between single wheel motors, brushless electric motors, the DC-DC converter and the Wankel range extender. The company is currently working on developing a range of EVs and range extenders for Proton Cars and all its technology is developed in-house – making the company genuine systems innovators.
That it’s partnering Bristol Cars is fitting – the two marques’ histories were certainly linked in the early days and the cars produced under Tony Crook’s and Toby Silverton’s watches have produced a number of firsts in their time. In fact, in 1977, Bristol became the world’s first manufacturer of an off-the-shelf dual-fuel car, when it offered the 603 and 412 in LPG form.
The current restoration and sales business continues with Toby Silverton at the helm and he confirmed that there’s still considerable interest in the Fighter, especially after its showing at the Goodwood Festival of Speed. ‘There’s definitely a place for our tailored cars,’ Toby said. ‘And it’s business as usual at Kensington.’
Speaking with Kamal Siddiqi, it was clear that the company wants to roll-out Frazer-Nash technology in future Bristols. ‘We have 20 years of research into electric vehicle technology, we’re world leaders, and will apply this to the cars we introduce in the future. It’s still early days and we’re still feeling our way, but we have big plans for Bristol Cars,’ he said.
He also confirmed that all new cars will be built in the UK. ‘We looked at several overseas operations, but concluded that there’s only one place we can build them and that’s the UK,’ he said. The enthusiasm for Bristol Cars and Frazer-Nash at Mytchett Place is palpable – and we expect big announcements from the new bedfellows sooner rather than later.
More at: www.frazer-nash.com