Bristol


The History of Bristol

   

Bristol Cars is a manufacturer of hand-built luxury cars, based at Filton, near Bristol, England. Bristol Cars has no distributors or dealers and deals directly with customers. They claim to be the last wholly British-owned luxury car builder. The cars have never been made in large quantities. The most recent published official production figures were for 1982 and stated 104 cars were produced that year.
With their small production numbers, lack of glamour and no advertising, most even in the UK would not recognise a Bristol. This exclusive obscurity is very appealing to a certain class of buyer. Second-hand Bristols are generally considered to be "classics" and good value considering their quality, rarity and cost when new.
The history of Bristol Cars began in 1945. Forecasting an excess labour capacity postwar, the Bristol Aeroplane Company (BAC) began working with AFN Ltd, makers of Frazer Nash cars, on plans for a joint venture in automotive manufacture. By July 1945 BAC had created a Car Division and bought a controlling stake in AFN.
By mid-1947, Bristol severed its ties with AFN, returning control of AFN to the Aldington family. Earlier in 1947 BAC had registered the company Bristol Cars Ltd although it continued for several years to market its cars as made by the Bristol Aeroplane Company.
The first car, the 1947 Bristol 400, was heavily based on pre-WW2 BMWs. The body looked very like the BMW 327, while its engine and suspension were clones of BMW designs (engine and front suspension based on those of the BMW 328, rear suspension from the BMW 326). Even the famous double-kidney BMW grille was carried over intact.
Until 1961 all Bristol cars used evolutions of the 6-cylinder BMW-derived engine. This well-regarded engine also powered a number of sports and racing cars, including all post-war Frazer Nash cars (apart from a few prototypes), some ACs, some Lotus and Cooper racing cars, and several others. In 1961, with the launch of the Bristol 407, the company switched to larger Chrysler V8 engines, which were more suitable for the increasingly heavy cars. All post-1961 Bristols including the current Blenheim and Fighter models use Chrysler engines.
From 1960 to 1973, former racing driver T.A.D. Tony Crook and Sir George White owned Bristol Cars; In 1973, Sir George sold his stake to Tony Crook. In 1997, Toby Silverton came on board and there followed the greater level of development of cars seen in recent years (particularly, the new Bristol Fighter). Crook eventually sold the company to Silverton in 2001.

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Latest Bristol cars

   
Bristol 405 Saloon
1955 Gwynedd
GBP57,500
Trade sale Views: 11
Bristol 411
1972 Pennsylvania
US$50,000
Trade sale Views: 514
Vehicle sold
Bristol 400
1948 Gloucestershire
GBP48,000
Trade sale Views: 2512
Vehicle sold
See all Bristol cars

Most viewed Bristol cars

   
Bristol 405 Saloon
1955 Gwynedd
GBP57,500
Trade sale Views: 11
Bristol 400
1948 Gloucestershire
GBP48,000
Trade sale Views: 2512
Vehicle sold
Bristol 411
1972 Pennsylvania
US$50,000
Trade sale Views: 514
Vehicle sold