Myth Buster

Bris­tol Beaufort

Classic Car Weekly (UK) - - This Week - Giles chap­man

1 IT WAS JUST AN­OTHER NAME FOR THE BEAUFIGHTER

The Beaufort de­buted at the 1984 Bri­tish Mo­tor Show and most peo­ple as­sumed that it was just an­other ver­sion of the four-seat targa-topped Beaufighter. In fact, the Beaufort was an ad­di­tional model. It used a Beaufighter lower body but, in­stead of that car’s de­tach­able roof, dou­ble roll­bar and fold­ing can­vas rear roof sec­tion, it was a full con­vert­ible, with an elec­tri­cally op­er­ated soft-top roof. Rigid­ity lost by re­mov­ing the Beaufighter’s roll­bar was re­placed by us­ing a heav­ily re­in­forced wind­screen frame.

2 IT WAS PART OF A FOUR-CAR RANGE… THE­O­RET­I­CALLY

The £54,995 Beaufort was meant to join the £45,847 Beaufighter and Bri­g­and/Bri­tan­nia saloon. One key dif­fer­ence was a huge fuel tank, en­larged from 18 to 30 gal­lons, for long jour­neys. Cu­ri­ously, though, the Beaufort was al­most never seen again and, al­though listed for a few years as a ‘pro­duc­tion’ car, only the beige pro­to­type (pic­tured) and per­haps one other ex­am­ple seem to have been pro­duced. It was the­o­ret­i­cally avail­able for cus­tomer or­ders but none were forth­com­ing. The price was quoted in Ster­ling but the car was said to be ‘for ex­port only’.

3 IT WASN’T ROAD-LE­GAL

The mys­te­ri­ous fate of this roomy four-seater con­vert­ible can be at­trib­uted to the re­moval of the roll­bar. With­out its struc­ture, there was nowhere for the seat­belt mount­ings to be po­si­tioned, so the Beaufort wasn’t road-le­gal in the UK or con­ti­nen­tal Europe. It would prob­a­bly have been fine for Mid­dle Eastern coun­tries lack­ing some con­struc­tion reg­u­la­tions; no doubt that was Bris­tol’s aim, but the Beaufort per­haps lacked the req­ui­site ‘bling’ to tempt any Arab sheikh.

short-lived Beaufort was much bet­ter-look­ing than the Beaufighter.

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