The beleaguered British brand went into liquidation in 2020, 75 years after its inception and after two years of almost complete dormancy.
Now, Essex-based real estate investor and developer Jason Wharton has acquired the intellectual property rights of Bristol Cars and plans to transform it into ‘Britain’s leading electric vehicle’ by 2026, the 80th anniversary of the brand.
As first announced by Autocar in January, the new Bristol Cars will initially launch “remastered” versions of “built-to-order” historic cars, including the 411 Series 8, Fighter and Speedster. Each will use a 6.4-liter Chrysler Hemi V8, mated to an eight-speed ZF automatic transmission, and feature a series of suspension modifications, electric and interior upgrades.
In keeping with their modernized fundamentals – and likely an improvement in performance – each will get a “slight facelift”. Prices will start from £ 495,000 before taxes, and further details will be revealed when homologated prototypes hit the road for testing later this year, ahead of deliveries to customers in 2022 and 2023.
The remastered series, Bristol claims, will be “Bristol Cars’ last internal combustion engine ever made” as In 2025, the brand will revive Bristol Buccaneer’s stillborn nameplate for a historic first EV.
Wharton told Autocar earlier this year that the Buccaneer EV will be “a very good four-seater in the traditional Bristol mold”, but with “heavy use of modern technology and materials”.
He is able to move forward with Bristol’s recovery plans following its acquisition of chassis manufacturing jigs, production models and an internet domain – as well as intellectual rights – when Bristol sold its assets in a auction in 2020.
In spring 2022, the resurgent brand will appoint a CEO, a chief engineering officer and two non-executive directors, alongside a “significant capital increase”. Wharton has not confirmed its financial targets, but the company aims “to attract new investment to revive the brand in a UK leader in electric vehicles as it celebrates its 80th anniversary in 2026”.
Production of the EV and remastered cars is set to take place in Filton, Bristol, where the brand was originally based, although a London showroom is also planned.
Wharton said: “Bristol is a quintessentially British brand that was renowned for creating luxurious and distinctive vehicles. We want to revive and reinvigorate this iconic brand, preserving its heritage, while fully remastering it for the 21st century.
“This country has a remarkable tradition of creating low volume, handcrafted vehicles and Bristol Cars has for too long been unable to realize its potential. We want to change that.