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Bristol Fighter PDF Print E-mail

Standing in a bar recently with a fellow toper, he began extolling the virtues of Bristol.? Not the English West Country city, nor its rather dubious football teams, but the superb, hand-built motor car of the same name.? And also one of the fastest.

Bristol was originally an aircraft manufacturer (it started life as the British & Colonial Aircraft Company) established at Filton, near Bristol, to serve Britain?s fledgling aviation market. A series of successful aircraft designs saw rapid expansion, especially during the 1st and 2nd world wars. Between 1939 and 1945, Bristol turned out a total of over 14,000 aircraft, including the Blenheim fighter bomber. Image

When war ended, the company decided to use some of its surplus engineering and production capacity for the manufacture of autos and began making cars in 1945, but initially they were sold under the banner Frazer Nash-BMWs, having been designed to run with the BMW 328 engine.? By 1946 the name reverted to Bristol complete with a 1971 cc engine developing 85 bhp (63 kW).

In 1960 Bristol Aeroplane Co., merged with Hawker Siddley, thereby acquiring auto maker Armstrong Siddley.? It was decided to make a more affordable Bristol but Sir George White, grandson of the founder of the airplane company, and former fighter pilot Anthony Crook opposed the idea.? The two entrepreneurs formed a new company, Bristol Cars Limited, and in 1973 Crook became the sole owner until he was ousted a couple of years ago after Tony Silverton bought the company in 2001.

Currently the company produces the Blenheim and the Fighter models, both powered by lazy yet powerful Chrysler V8 engines.? The Bristol Fighter T though has an eight liter V10 engine, equipped with twin turbochargers.? Bristol, it should be noted, introduced the UK?s first turbocharged auto ? the Beaufighter ? in 1980. The turbo unit in the latest Fighter T delivers a staggering 1012 bhp (745 kW) and a massive 1406 Nm of torque.? This torque figure is arrived at when the big V10 is turning at just 4,500 rpm; at 3,500 rpm it still produces in excess of 1200 Nm.

The standard Fighter is mated to an automatic Chrysler-produced transmission, whereas the turbo version features a six-speed manual gearbox to cope with the increase in torque. Bristol claims the car has a potential maximum speed in excess of 430 km/h, but in the interests of safety this is electronically limited to just 360 km/h.

Obviously with this kind of performance on tap the aerodynamics are of crucial importance and the Fighter does not feature drag-inducing wings, but relies on a carefully shape silhouette with a sharply cut off tail to ensure straightline stability. There is however a rear diffuser which reduces the drag factor to a remarkable 0.25. In addition, the Fighter T has a 30 percent stiffer chassis, firmer springs, a 10 mm lower ride height and a stiffer front anti-roll bar.


The teardrop form of the passenger area ensures the lowest possible lift and drag. It also offers uninterrupted all-round vision whilst the dramatic gullwing doors are an intelligent solution on a sporting car to ensure easy entry and exit even in confined spaces.

The interior of the cars is much like a gentlemen?s club with sumptuous, albeit lightweight, leather seats and instrument faces colored to match the leather, while the instrument and center console are in engine-turned aluminum

The company does not engage distributors, nor any overseas agents.? All sales are conducted through its Kensington, west London showroom and the majority of buyers are previous Bristol owners.? One such ? and probably others too ? buys a new Bristol whenever they become available, but refuses to dispose of the previous ones.? This gives an idea of the wealth level required to become a Bristol owner.

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© 2019 Jeff Heselwood. All rights reserved.
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