Classic British car marque takes flight again with Bullet speedster
Storied British car marque Bristol has launched a new model to celebrate its 70th anniversary. The Bullet signals the rebirth of the brand after it was saved from insolvency five years ago, and recalls its heritage in aviation and luxury car production.
Bristol Cars came into being in 1945 as the carmaking subsidiary of the Bristol Aeroplane Company. It has been producing cars since 1947, but the Bullet is its first since 2003, before it went into administration.
The concept for the Bullet is said to have come about when the company's new owners found a neglected speedster model under a tarpaulin in the old factory. The car has a thickset form reminiscent of the recent Rolls Royce models, but it is pulled together with more graceful and refined curves.
There are striking features, including hunched front fenders that house circular front lights and that flow back along the length of the car before tapering into two pointed rear wings. Others, like the well-proportioned, deep-set grille and the arched bonnet with its slitted air intake, reputedly reference Bristol's history of aircraft construction.
The Bullet's body is formed of carbon fiber composites, so as to achieve high strength and rigidity, with a low weight. Inside, the dashboard can be finished in wooden paneling, a modern herringbone carbon-fiber weave or a hand-laid unidirectional carbon-fiber weave. Contoured sports seats, finished in British hide, are aimed at providing comfort and support over long distances.
Despite the classic style of the exterior, the car's interior boasts a number of modern features. A multitouch screen on the dashboard, for example, is used to control the digital radio, as well as smartphone, Bluetooth and Wi-Fi connectivity. Playback over Wi-Fi is said to offer a high-quality audio experience, while screen-mirroring from supported mobile devices allows drivers to use their preferred audio playback and navigation applications.
The Bullet is powered by a 4.8-l V8 (the V8 being traditional for Bristols) Hercules engine that kicks out 370 hp (275 kW) and maximum torque of 490 Nm (370 lb-ft). It can hit 62 mph (100 km/h) from a standstill in 3.8 seconds and reach a top speed of 155 mph (250 km/h).
Production is scheduled to begin during the first quarter of next year.
Source: Bristol Cars