Bristol Cars, the British sports car brand, has been placed into administration. Bristol Cars was formed from the aircraft industry in 1946 and operated through a single showroom on Kensington High Street in west London. Since then, the firm has maintained a constant, eclectic presence. Tom MacLennan and Trevor Binyon from RSM Tenon are the appointed administrators for the company.
In an interview with BBC Bristol, MacLennan said that there have been several immediate redundancies because of the Bristol Cars’ financial status but they are making sure that customers will still be supported and are maintaining the sales and service operations.
MacLennan also said that of the 27 Bristol Cars employees, 22 were made redundant, including the entirety of staff at the firm's manufacturing plant in Bristol. He is urging interested parties to get in touch with them immediately. He added that he remains confident that they will be able to “secure the future” of the brand.
BBC also talked to Steven Wiltshire, who has been with the firm for 14 years. Wiltshire said that the employees of Bristol Cars were treated “very, very badly.”
Bristol Cars’ current model line-up is composed of the Fighter, Blenheim, Blenheim Speedster and Series 6. Bristol’s flagship vehicle is the Fighter T, which is powered by a twin-turbocharged, Dodge-derived V10 motor that has a max output of 1,012 bhp and peak torque of 1,036 lb.-ft.
It is rare for the company to issue any production figures. In fact, Bristol Cars has never offered any of its vehicles to the media to be evaluated.
Bristol Cars started off as a car division established in 1945. In 1941, there have been proposals for a post-war car manufacturing division, as made by George S. M. White, the son of Sir George Stanley White, the managing director of Bristol Aeroplane at the time. Among the car manufacturers considered for acquisition were Alvis, Aston Martin, Lagonda, ERA and Lea-Francis. Eventually in 1945, Bristol Aeroplane took over Frazer Nash, created a car division and bought a controlling stake in AFN. This led to the birth of Bristol Cars.
Bristol Cars was sold when the British Aircraft Corporation (BAC) was created in 1960. Merged with Bristol Siddeley Engines, Bristol Cars already marked for closure when it was bought by George S.M. White. White sold 40 percent of the company to Tony Crook, a leading Bristol agent. In 1973, White sold his majority shareholding to Crook.
In February 1997, Crook sold a 50 percent stake in Bristol Cars to Toby Silverton. In 2007, Crook parted with Bristol Cars.