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The Frazer Nash and Bristol display, Geneva Salon 1948, via BOC Heritage Trust.
We mentioned China Car Times‘ April Fools’ about Bristol being purchased by Xinjiang No 1 Tractor Company in our coverage of the Shelby American joke, but the truth turns out to be far stranger: Frazer-Nash has bought the assets of the insolvent, 101-year-old Bristol.
You’re forgiven for not knowing that Frazer-Nash is still around, but today’s Frazer-Nash Research, Ltd., is a direct successor of the company that started making cars in 1924 (technically, the new owner is Kamkorp Autokraft, a subsidiary of FNR). They’re even still making cars, occasionally: FNR is a successful hybrid and electric powertrain company and has built several roadgoing concept cars in recent years.
Frazer-Nash and Bristol go back a long way, to 1946, when Bristol, a longtime aircraft maker, got into cars with engines based on the pre-war BMW 328, which was imported into England by Frazer-Nash. For several years, the cars were even badged Frazer-Nash Bristol.
Now, they’re back together. We talked with a PR representative who said FNR is being extremely quiet about their plans, but that the idea behind the acquisition was to produce cars, as well as ensuring the Bristol heritage was preserved. William Chia, FNR group’s Director of Operations said in a statement: “Bristol Cars is a British institution and an important part of our national motoring heritage. Over the next few months, we will start to reveal the details of our plans to combine Bristol Cars’ tradition and iconic marque with Frazer-Nash’s pioneering technology to showcase our cutting-edge electric and range-extended powertrains.”
We’ve heard that before, most recently with Connaught’s Type-D hybrid, but FNR is a big, healthy concern that is actively producing most of what makes a car go; they’re known for manufacturing all their components, including internal combustion engines, in-house. It’s a surprising and seemingly unlikely way for Bristol to be saved, but we’ll take it. Now about that Railton-TVR merger…