SHIP-SHAPE AND BRISTOL FASHIONED

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SHIP-SHAPE AND BRISTOL FASHIONED

FRAZER-NASH RESEARCH PLANS TO PUT BRISTOL CARS BACK INTO PRODUCTION

N MARCH 2010 CAME the news that the administrators had been brought into Bristol Cars.

To some it was no surprise, as rumours had been circulating for a few years That very few cars were being built, let alone sold. Come that spring though and various articles talked about The sad loss of a very British and very eccentric marque. But Bristol Cars is back, having been bought by Frazer-Nash. Before you question my sanity, and that of the owners of a car manufacturer that

hasn’t made a car since 1957, let me explain.

Yes, Frazer-Nash has bought Bristol Cars, but the Frazer-Nash we’re talking about is the technological arm of the old Frazer-Nash Group, which specialises in electric and hybrid vehicle technology. It isn’t to be confused with the Frazer-Nash Consultancy, also spawned from the Frazer-Nash Group. That is now owned by the Babcock international Group and is a separate entity. To confuse matters still further, the owner of Frazer-Nash Research British businessman Kama! Siddiql also owns the rights to Frazer Nash the car company. However, this is just a ‘sheet of paper” nowadays according to William Chia, group director of operations at Frazer-Nash Research and the new director of Bristol Cars.

“We heard that Bristol Cars had gone into administration and were saddened by the news,” said Chia after I’d driven down to the Froze rNash HQ near Farnborough in a convoy of Bristols. “It was an opportunity for us though and we put in a bid that was thankfully successful.”

Does this mean that we’ll not only see a new Bristol on the roads soon, but also a new Frazer Nash? “We did think about making a modern Frazer Nash,” says Chia. “But Bristol has been making cars until recently, Frazer Nash hasn’t. It makes more sense to build cars under the Bristol name. We want to strike a balance: we’re going to use the best bits of Frazer-Nash the technology and the best bits of Bristol the name and its ability to build cars. “We are already in the design phase and in terms

of what the car will be, watch this space. We’re also reviewing the business model and we need to take that forward as well as look after its rich heritage and existing customers. Yes, we will need a lot of resources in terms of time and money, but we’re still exploring all the options. How much will be done in-house and how much will be outsourced is still to be decided.”

It’s clear the new Bristol car(s) will feature some interesting hybrid technology, as that is where Frazer-Nash Research’s expertise lies. But we’ll have to wait and see whether it can find a niche in that already-overflowing market.

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