- Written by webmin
From England comes the unhappy news that Bristol Cars, a maker of handbuilt, high-performance cars for discriminating (and wealthy) buyers for more than 60 years, has gone into bankruptcy. Up for grabs are all of Bristol’s assets, including its sole showroom in High Street Kensington, West London; its factory and restoration shop at Filton, just north of Bristol; its spare parts; its trademarks; all of its machinery; a number of used Bristols and the Web domain www.bristolcars.co.uk.
The sale is being handled by Wyles Hardy & Co., which set a deadline of last week to receive expressions of interest from potential owners. The current owner of Bristol Cars, Toby Silverton, told The Telegraph of London: “It has not been possible for the company to continue to trade in its present structure. While the decision has been taken regretfully, I am confident that a future for the business will be found.” The Telegraph reports that 21 of the company’s 27 workers have been laid off.
Bristol had four models in production: the Fighter V-10 two-seat sports car, the Blenheim V-8 sedan, the Blenheim Speedster and the Series 6 V-8 sedan (pictured below), which is a classic V-8 Bristol stripped down and rebuilt with modern conveniences. The cars are priced at £150,00 to £250,000 — the equivalent of about $240,000 to $400,000, if you could buy them here, which you can’t.
Bristol’s beginnings were as an aircraft manufacturer; its twin-engine Bristol Beaufighter night fighter was pivotal in defeating the Luftwaffe’s nighttime bombing raids, and operated in every major campaign of World War II. After the war, Bristol Cars was launched to keep the factory, and its workforce, busy. In 1960, when Bristol joined others to form the British Aircraft Corporation, later British Aerospace, the automotive branch was spun off and sold into private hands.
Bristol has a devoted and knowledgeable club, and has traditionally attracted discerning buyers who preferred not to be seen behind the wheel of flashier alternatives.
Can Bristol avoid the fate of that other British builder of exclusive sports cars, TVR, and return to building cars again? Let’s hope so. But, unfortunately, we wouldn’t bet on it.