Car com­pany looks to the past for its fu­ture, but only 70 will be made

Classic Car Weekly (UK) - - This Week - Richard Bar­nett www.bris­tol­

Bri­tish icon Bris­tol has un­veiled its first model in more than 12 years.

Dubbed Bul­let, the new speed­ster marks the 70th an­niver­sary of Bris­tol Cars and its looks draw ex­ten­sively from the orig­i­nal Bul­let car, the new model fea­tur­ing sim­i­lar front end treat­ment and small fins. It rep­re­sents the first car built un­der Bris­tol Cars’ new parent­age, Fraz­erNash Re­search, who took over the com­pany in 2011.

The chance find­ing of a for­got­ten special built by Bris­tol Cars in the mid-1960s has played a sig­nif­i­cant part in the cre­ation of the revived com­pany’s new model and is spear­head­ing its mar­ket pres­ence.

The new car, which is made in Chich­ester, fea­tures body­work made from car­bon­fi­bre that of­fers light weight, strength and rigid­ity. Un­der the bon­net a mod­i­fied BMW 4.8-litre V8, called Her­cules af­ter a 14-cylin­der Bris­tol air­craft en­gine, de­vel­ops 370bhp and of­fers a 0-60mph time of 3.8 sec­onds.

The use of BMW en­gines brings an end to Chrysler V8s that were in­tro­duced in 1961 in the 407. Man­ual and au­to­matic ZF trans­mis­sions are avail­able, the man­ual gear­box us­ing a gear lever rather than pad­dle shifts. The in­te­rior is trimmed in leather. There are no plans to in­tro­duce a hard­top for own­ers in harsher cli­mates.

Just 70 Bul­lets will be built, with pro­duc­tion start­ing in early 2017. Prices are yet to be an­nounced.

Bris­tol par­tially re­vealed the car at this year’s Good­wood Fes­ti­val of Speed on 23-26 June, al­low­ing a highly cam­ou­flaged ver­sion of the car to take to the hill­climb.

Sir Ge­orge White, who be­came chair­man of Bris­tol Cars in 2012 and whose fa­ther was the found­ing man­ag­ing di­rec­tor in 1945, says: ‘It sig­ni­fies the re-birth of the mar­que with a de­sign and char­ac­ter re­spect­ful of the com­pany’s rich her­itage in Great Bri­tain – in avi­a­tion, com­mer­cial and lux­ury au­to­mo­tive – de­liv­ered with a mod­ern ap­proach to per­for­mance and com­fort.’

The new Bul­let pays trib­ute to this lit­tle known pre­de­ces­sor.

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