Bristol fighter

Series production cars come in many forms, and production volumes vary tremendously. 16.5 million Model T Fords were made, and 23.5 million VW Beetles left their factories across the globe. At the other end of the scale, we know of only 6 Bugatti Royales and 37 Ferrari 250 GTOs. Now, among modern supercars, one particular car must hold some kind of record. It was in production for 7 years, and in that time only 13 were made. There's now only 9 left, according to the owner of this example I snapped at Bicester Heritage among it's more traditional stablemates.

A slippery shape, gullwing doors and a "ram air" effect to increase power at speed. What else do you need?

Since 1961, most Bristols have been propelled by Chrysler engines. The Fighter continued with tradition, albeit with a little more power, courtesy of a modified Dodge Viper 8 litre V10 engine. 525bhp originally, with the later Fighter S allegedly putting out 628 bhp (660 bhp at high speed using the ram air effect). Seems adequate enough, I suppose. This power was then fed through a choice of either the 6-speed manual from the Viper, or a quant/antiquated/old 4 speed automatic. The combination of this power with the aerodynamic bodywork enabled it to reach a claimed 210mph. Amusingly, Bristols were tailored for the taller gentleman, so a person up to 6ft 7in could be accommodated behind the wheel.

Other than the Fighter, most Post-war Bristols have avoided flashy styling, and some have been hideous.

Despite it's aeronautical heritage and prodigious performance, the Fighter never took off in sales terms, and the company which made it folded in 2011. There are new owners and a new car about to enter production (the Bullet), but it's unlikely we'll see something quite as extraordinary as the Fighter again. More's the pity.

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