Bristol Cars Facing Extinction as Funds Run Out

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Bristol Cars Facing Extinction as Funds Run Out
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Eccentric British car firm Bristol has run its business unlike any other car company. They have no dealer network, so all the sales are handled by the factory owned store in Kensington, near London, U.K. They also don’t give out cars to journalists for reviews, stating their customers know what they are buying and that the cars speak for themselves.

Well it seems their old-fashioned ways of doing business (not to mention the out-dated technology found in these vehicles) has caught up to them. According to latest reports out of U.K., Bristol cars has gone into administration – a fancy legal term that essentially means they’ve run out of money. A last effort to save the company is being explored at the moment, but it seems the company will end up being reduced to running just the service and parts side of the business. For now, the administrators are confident that a new investor will come and save the company.

For the longest time, Bristol Cars was owned by the eccentric racing driver Tony Crook, who was famous for his arrogance and his lack of interest in modernization of the brand.

Bristol Cars was then sold to Toby Silverton in 2001, who had tried to modernize the brand with cars like the Fighter (pictured above), while retaining their aeronautical roots (they made fighter airplanes that were used in World War Two). Despite being a capable supercar, the Fighter could not shake-off the fact that its V10 engine came from a much cheaper car, the Viper SRT-10.

Will the company be now scooped up by one of the German automotive giants (like pretty much all of the British car industry) or will it be consigned to the history books? Time is running out on this 65-year old brand.

[Source: Evo]

  • Christopher Balfour

    Please see my book, BRISTOL CARS, a very british story, second edition available HAYNES or AMAZON, etc.
    (or even now on e-bay).
    There was a sensible reason why Tony Crook did not modernise. With tiny funds available, he did not waste a single penny. He knew there were drivers who appreciated the cars as they were for the driving experience, the simple owner maintenance, the potential very long life and the low depreciation. Different animals to the production line vehicle. The Fighter still has these qualities and many more.

    If current circumstances means less demand for new, a continuing service facility would be a satisfactory outcome for a brave British venture. I have driven and owned the cars for 50 years.

  • Mangkusubroto

    Bristol cars are superb- the problem is so few potential wealthy buyers (read USA, Arabs and Russians) have never heard of it.The major problem with Bristol is its managerial and marketing arrogance.
    Rather than meet the needs and demands of clientele- they have opted to be as pretentious and aloof as possible- a position not even Rolls Royce ever took.
    Whomever takes over the company will reverse the perverse self-defeating mentality of the PR-Management- if German- would be very keen to retain the traditional artisan skills of the workers (all hand-skills are highly valued by the Germans- who may even get EU subsidy to avoid these skills from dyingout)

  • Jon

    Still going?!
    I’ve only ever seen two Bristols in my life, one owned by a our lodger in the 60’s and one in a Birmingham car park 6 months ago, neither were new.

    This is a bit like finding a Dodo just before they shoot it.

  • steve

    Tony Crook had it spot on, and it was a tremendous company. Toby Silverton, by contrast, was an accident waiting to happen. Think spoiled rich kid, who had the company bought for him. He ran the business and the factory staff into the ground, and has shafted a lot of dedicated and knowlegable people.
    He is still running the showroom and service centre, company Jags for the old cronie sales team, huge commision etc…
    A very sad happening for Britain, and for Bristol the City.

  • Mark Richardson

    This is a quirky little company that should be saved. They make superb cars and like they say, there buyers know what there buying. Unfortunately ignorant Foreigners don’t understand this kind of gentlemanly way of doing business, Mr Farooq and Jon if your going to pass comments at least have the backbone to fill in your full name.