03 November, 2017

Britain's Greatest Car Manufacturer - Bristol Cars

Coming up now is a manufacturer whose innovative designs wrote their own story into the history books. Bristol Cars are next in our series.

The Story of Bristol Cars

Bristol Cars started as the British Aeroplane Company in 1910 by George S.M White. The conclusion of the World Wars led to an Armistice which greatly affected the British aircraft industry which raised an imperative need to discover new alternatives. The company started to manufacture vehicles under aircraft standards and re-named itself as Bristol Cars. The first vehicle they produced as part of their 400 series was called the 400. This series was in production for 29 years.

For over thirty-five years, Brits "in the know" have considered the obscure automaker's products to be the embodiment of English hand-built quality and understated exclusivity. - Robert Farago, The Truth About Cars

Early Models of Bristol Cars

  • The 400 was a close-coupled two-door saloon. With advances in aviation, the car became quite agile and was a successful rally car reaching speeds of 95 mph.
  • The 401 followed and was released in 1948 and became the first production saloon to achieve 100mph. 
  • the 402 was nicknamed the Hollywood special due to its popularity with actor Stewart Granger. 

Iconic Models From Bristol Cars

Bristol Cars started naming their new cars after famous Bristol Aeroplane Company planes.

  • The Blenheim, released in 1993, was a modern passenger car which boasted multi-port fuel injectors to reach speeds of 152mph.
  • The Fighter, released in 2004, was able to reach 210mph. The car contained design features which can be found on aircraft, high-speed missiles and submarines.

The Return of Bristol Cars

The manufacturer had been quite dormant and changed ownership in 2011. Bristol Cars have since been preparing for a comeback with what has been considered  'the ultimate barn-find' called the Bullet.

“Open top, highly luxurious, lightweight and full of torque, it really is the ultimate driver’s car.” - Julian Ramshaw review of the Bullet.

Next in our Series

Bristol Cars just like the Bristol Aeroplane Company made themselves prominent in the areas they served but is it enough to be considered the greatest car manufacturer in Britain? The next in our series will explore the story of Caterham.


Britain's greatest car manufacturer Bristol Cars
Britain's greatest car manufacturer Bristol Cars
Britain's greatest car manufacturer Bristol Cars
Britain's greatest car manufacturer Bristol Cars