- The Bristol Bullet, first shown in 2016, was intended to revive the company, but never materialised.

Bristol Cars looks set to be brought back from the dead

After launching "remastered" versions of the Fighter and 411, the new owner of the company is looking to bring out a new Dodge-powered GT car called the Buccaneer.

5w ago

Since you're here reading DriveTribe, the chances are you'll best know Bristol Cars as simply being a quirky small-scale manufacturer that wouldn't sell James May a car simply because he knows Jeremy Clarkson.

First founded in Bristol – obviously – in 1945 and producing hand-made luxury GT cars, it's a company that's been more of an outsider within recent memory, although that's certainly not prevented it from being upsetting to see the company enter administration back in 2011 (before being bailed out by Kamcorp), and then liquidation last year.

However, as Autocar reports, the name looks set to be revived by Essex-based businessman Joey Wharton, an enthusiast of the brand, who has hopes of giving it a unique new lease on life after acquiring the intellectual property rights for the brand, along with some useful equipment.

Rather than look directly towards launching a new car, Wharton first hopes to establish an "atelier-style" division to restore and support Bristol models of all ages, along with launching "remastered" versions – think along the lines of the Aston Martin Vanquish Callum 25 – of the Fighter and 411 during 2022.

The Bristol Fighter (above) and 411 (below) are two models set to be "remastered" by the new company which will fit them with modern V8 drivetrains, along with other revisions.

The Bristol Fighter (above) and 411 (below) are two models set to be "remastered" by the new company which will fit them with modern V8 drivetrains, along with other revisions.

However, the plan beyond that is to launch an all-new model in the middle of the decade that revives the name of an ill-fated project the brand's previous owners conceived – Buccaneer.

With Wharton telling Autocar that, "Our all-new car will be a four-seater very much in the traditional Bristol mould, but it will make extensive use of modern technology and materials," it's likely set to sport a Dodge/Chrysler powertrain given Bristol's links to Chrysler as an engine supplied dating back to the 1960s.

That's also likely as the remastered Fighter and 411 – which are set to be hand-made in batches of eight – will feature the 6.4-litre HEMI V8 and eight-speed automatic transmission used in the likes of the Dodge Challenger Scat Pack and Chrysler 300 SRT, along with a host of other upgrades such as independent rear suspension for the typically live-axle 411.

Regardless, Wharton is planning to "take his time" on the Buccaneer, ensuring that it is specified exactly the way a car of its kind should be. Despite this, however, he claims numerous potential buyers have come to him with "expressions of interest" despite not knowing the car's specification or even it's price tag which will likely be deep into six-figure territory.

With Wharton on the brink of appointing a head of engineering with experience in low-volume manufacturing and hopes to gain access to the former Bristol company's archives – which are currently for sale, but which he believes would be better kept with the Bristol Owners’ Heritage Trust – here's hoping that the project works out, as a big, brawny, British GT with an American heart is exactly the sort of car we'd love to see before the ban on selling petrol cars in 2030. Good thing Wharton isn't worried about that, either, as he expects there to be a sufficient array of hybrid and EV donor powertrains to be available to small-scale manufacturers by then.

Now, let us know...

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Comments (21)

  • We are seeing another Spyker and TVR like story here. They are capable of making great cars but I just don't think its gonna work. Great article as always, Patrick

      1 month ago
  • Predictably... I'm going to suggest that fitting a Chrysler engine is in itself a bloody awful idea. They aren't what they were in Bristol's heyday, they've turned into unreliable piles of pooh (just listen to Scotty Kilmer on YouTube!) I'd also urge the new owner to stick to Bristol's 'principles', not it's old tech. It was always offering understated transport that was pretty much the best amalgam you could get technologically. Start off from a clean slate to build a new model, but make it a modern EV, with hyper-range, super comfortable and no 'flame-surface' styling or winglets, just super desirable like a handmade suit.

      1 month ago
  • I hope so.

      1 month ago
  • If Wharton needs an accountant I can work remotely. I’d love to see the Fighter and others back in action!

      1 month ago
  • Bristol started right way, but then it became too big and too luxurious. Sudden move from sporty BMW-engined cars to massive Chrysler V8's with automatic only transmission was a very big step in very wrong direction. If they will go back to basics, i.e. small, light, simple, powerful car for enthusiasts, a la Morgan, they should do well. Otherwise, don't bother. There are far too many Supercar in a crowded market already.

      1 month ago