Bristol Cars : The new owner spells out the marque’s future

Keith Adams via Octane magazine

Bristol convoy en route to Mytchett

Bristol convoy en route to Mytchett

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

Keith Adams

About the Author:

Created www.austin-rover.co.uk in 2001 and watched it steadily grow into AROnline. Is the Editor of Classic Car Weekly, and has contributed to various motoring titles including Octane, Evo, Honest John, CAR magazine, Autocar, Diesel Car, Practical Performance Car, Performance French Car, Car Mechanics, Jaguar World Monthly, Classic Car Weekly, MG Enthusiast, Modern MINI, Practical Classics, Fifth Gear Website, and the the Motoring Independent... Likes 'conditionally challenged' motors and taking them on unfeasable adventures all across Europe.

26 Comments on "Bristol Cars : The new owner spells out the marque’s future"

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  1. Will says:

    Electric Bristols…

    Will they only sell you a car if they like your electric socket?

  2. Paul Taylor Paul T says:

    @Will
    That first line sounds like something from a “Carry On…” film!! Sorry…

  3. KC says:

    I hope they continue to exist in whatever form, because they operate entirely in their own world apparently unconnected to the rest of us.

  4. Andrew-P Andrew-P says:

    This is wonderful news.

    Long live Bristol Cars and their uniquely British eccentricity.

  5. Michael Jolly says:

    The first picture shows the car I would love. I hope the company continues to produce cars – after all, a world without Bristol would be a little less interesting.

  6. Wilko says:

    This is fantastic news – a so much better result that anyone expected.
    Let’s hope this partnership sees an eventual return to Bristol’s glory days.

  7. Jonathan Carling Jonathan Carling says:

    An electric Bristol would be a great trailblazer. By the way, I love the top picture!

  8. Simon Hodgetts says:

    The grey car in Picture No.9 is stunning! What is it? I’ve never seen a four-door Bristol before…

  9. Nick Graves says:

    @Simon Hodgetts
    That’s a 405 – LJK Setright ran one for years.

  10. Simon Hodgetts says:

    @Nick Graves
    LJKS then later moved on to a Honda Prelude – what on earth happened there?! Mind you, I do remember his love for the Citroen CX… LJKS is a sadly missed motoring writer and was a true enthusiast.

  11. David 3500 says:

    What? No ambitions to reinvent the wheel, replace the current model line-up within three years or bring back the 405? Kamal Siddiqi is someone who is a realist and he clearly understands what makes Bristol Cars so endearing to its loyal customers.

    I think that this is, perhaps, a positive sign that Bristol Cars may well continue to survive under his guidance. I really hope so. Good luck!

  12. Mikey C says:

    Those old cars show how good-looking the early Bristols were – and how ugly the recent bluff fronted ‘saloons’ have been!

  13. James Riley James says:

    Who on earth forked out for that 2009 model? I have to say Bristol cars just appear to be a joke in the UK – I mean I can honestly say I have never seen one.

    The company doesn’t publish sales or production figures and what it DOES sell appear to be 30 year old models with very cheap-looking, facelifted bumpers and off the shelf, antique stock Lucas lights. Horrific…

    I am not aware that Bristol cars handle like supercars and so it begs the question: who on earth spends a fortune on something so ugly, outdated and, frankly, ridiculous? Are we happy to just pass it off as British eccentricity again?

    However, I do agree that the very early models are very stylish…

  14. James Riley James says:

    Though I agree the very early models are very stylish…

  15. Andrew Elphick says:

    @James
    The same people who will spend MG6 money on a watch… Have a look, for example, at Roger W. Smith Limited’s website.

  16. Andrew Elphick says:

    Hopefully, this is good news, but could Kamal Siddiqi spend a few quid on a new sliding door (Picture No.3) – trust me it’s hard work sliding that thing shut!

  17. Jim-Bob says:

    @James
    Oh, come on now! Does this mean that you think that the Chrysler 360 V8 out of a mid-1990s Dodge truck (and dating back to the 1960s) is not state of the art and befitting of a car with the Bristol’s pretensions?

  18. Graham Ariss says:

    @James
    It’s a case of function over form and follows Bristol’s approach of applying aircraft industry engineering to luxury motoring. Yes, it’s a design that has not changed significantly in 40 years (whereas a car now rarely exceeds 8 years), but then you could say the same about the 747 and even a A320 is nearly a 30 year old design.

    The truth is that most of the features and aerodynamic tweaks which manufacturers put on modern cars are, in reality, just for show and at best do not achieve anything to justify the extra weight. This is, for instance, why an airliner does not have recessed wiper blades even though it travels at over 500mph!

  19. Dave Hargrove says:

    I do hope the new owners revamp the dealership – it looks somewhat underwhelming!

  20. Shannon says:

    I’m glad to hear that Bristol Cars has an optimistic future. However, with the new technology referred to in the article, I wonder if they will still source certain components from Chrysler – they have been dealing with that company for 50 years now.

  21. DaveyP says:

    It’s good to hear Bristol is to continue. Let’s hope that, this time, they employ a professional car stylist.

  22. Jon says:

    Bristols are brilliant cars, totally individual – if you ever get the chance to drive/ride in one do so, you won’t be disappointed.

  23. Michael Jolly says:

    A bit sad but i found this Video

    Enjoy!

  24. alexscott says:

    nice looking cars didnt even know they existed. I looked up their website , interesting…mostly 5900 cc engines. sounds better 🙂 alex

  25. Mike Pryce says:

    Found this website which shows the Filton factory gutted and tooling being scrapped:

    http://www.28dayslater.co.uk/forums/showthread.php?t=67135  

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