British businessman to revive Bristol CarsJanuary 13, 2021
The British entrepreneur will revive Bristol Cars, which became famous for its fast and luxurious touring cars in the post-war years, but went bankrupt last year. Before releasing a completely new car, the Englishman will rework the old Bristol models.
Jason Wharton, an Essex-based property developer and enthusiast based in Bristol, plans to quickly revitalize traditional car manufacturing in Bristol and create an atelier-style division that will sell, restore and support Bristol models of all ages. If all goes according to plan, the new concern will be located next to the company’s original home in Filton, on the outskirts of Bristol.
Wharton’s idea is to release “refreshed” versions of the two-seater Fighter and four-seater 411 during 2022, and then introduce an all-new Buccaneer mid-decade, restoring the name that previous owners used for the never-born new model.
“Our all-new car will be a four-seater in traditional Bristol style, but it will make extensive use of modern technology and materials,” Wharton said.
Wharton recently completed the purchase of the intellectual property rights needed to begin building his improved versions of existing designs, as well as a set of useful equipment such as chassis and body fittings. He hopes to gain access to the Bristol company’s archive, which is currently up for sale, although he thinks he is better off owning and managing the Bristol Owners’ Heritage Trust.
The updated Fighter and 411 models will be handcrafted in batches of eight. If necessary, they will be completely modernized – for example, the old drive rear axle 411 will be replaced by an independent rear suspension. Both will use Chrysler’s 6.4-liter Hemi V8 petrol engine with an 8-speed automatic transmission, although the original Fighter used an 8.0-liter Dodge V10.
Wharton says he will soon appoint as chief engineer “someone with experience in small-scale OEM manufacturing,” whose first critical task will be to build and prototype each “remastered” model, ready for service by the end of 2021. The last 411 will be called Series 8.
Rumors of plans to revive Bristol have already reached the ears of some owners and enthusiasts, with the result that Wharton began collecting “expressions of interest” before potential owners knew about price or specifications. When the first phase of production is complete, Wharton said, it will “take time” for him to finalize the specifications for the new Buccaneer.
The new design will rely heavily on safety, chassis refinements, air purification equipment and the electronics of a suitable donor vehicle. However, the custom design, exclusivity and hand-build of the new model could push the price up to £ 295,000 minimum.
The businessman is not “straining” about the planned ban on the sale of new cars with internal combustion engines by the UK authorities in 9 years, as potential customers are still signaling overwhelming interest in V8 engines. Moreover, by the time the ban is introduced, the V8 will be a suitable donor engine for electrification. In his opinion, the urgent task at the moment is to preserve the unique heritage of Bristol, which began as an offshoot of the dynamically developing post-war aviation industry, and “to do everything in his power to support the truly wonderful traditions of this country.”
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