Stories of Cars & their Owners

The Bristol 403 – the definitive Bristol

I shall always blame Robin Pitman for inspiring my interest in Bristol cars. He was my revered art master at school who gave a design tutorial in 1953 to 20 young boys on the virtues of the new Bristol 403. After an hour of design analysis all us boys came away with a dream of owning an aerodyne (as they are known) one day. It took me until 1972 to realise this dream when “The Bristol”, as it is known by the family, came into our lives and continues today to be a cherished mode of transport in the Manley household.
Read on……

Personal experiences with my Bristol powered race cars                   
by Bill Watkins
I began sports car racing on May 1, 1955 in my 1954 Triumph TR2. Six weeks later, I saw an Arnolt-Bristol for the first time at a race that was held at Hansen Dam Park in the San Fernando Valley region of Los Angeles County. It was owned by Rudy Cleye; restaurateur, and later the builder of Riverside International Raceway, who was helping in the pits that day as was I. I was impressed by its appearance and later, as I attempted to compete against their 120 horsepower with my 90 horsepower Triumph, with their performance. In early 1957 I saw an advertisement for a used Arnolt Bristol at a dealership in Scottsdale, Arizona, about 400 miles away.
Read on….

My Experience in Preparing and Racing Arnolt Bristols
by Bill Watkins
Over the years, I have owned and raced four Arnolt Bristols and a Cooper Bristol. In addition, I bought a D2 engine and gearbox that was removed from an AC Bristol coupe. I have raced these cars from California to New York and in Mexico, England and New Zealand.
During that time, in an attempt to improve performance and reliability as well as to replace components that were scarce or too costly, I have made certain substitutions.
See more

From Godfrey Oxley-Sidey’s archives.
I came across this carefully handwritten document  while  trying to catalogue Godfrey Oxley-Sidey’s archives. It was alongside some drafts of the  instruction manuals for  2 Litre  cars  so may have been intended for inclusion in one of the instruction manuals. See more

Quest to recover rare Arnolt-Bristol roadster spans 50 years, 2 continents
A story about an Arnolt-Bistol and the quest to retrieve it. Contains a lot of information on the Arnolt-Bristols. See more.

The Bristol Freighter
The Bristol Type 170 Freighter was an all-purpose workhorse developed  just after the war. See more

My Bristol 400,
by Dr. Stefan Cembrowicz
A story of how a young impecunious junior doctor invested in a Bristol. See more.

Treasures from the archives
Among Tony Crook’s papers very kindly donated to  the Heritage Trust by his executors we came across this yellowing  contemporary advertising feature. See more .

The Automobile photo shoot at the Brabazon hangar in 2017
A report on the Autobobile photo shoot in the Feb. 2017 issue. See more

2012 – Treasures from the archives – the 1953 450 team.
An item in the archives is a small red pocket sized exercise book.  This contains  a handwritten list of drivers and team members as well as other useful contacts for the 1953  Le Mans 450 works team. Jack Fairman and Lance Macklin are recorded on the front page with details of their blood groups and (cheerfully) their next of kin. See more.

Article for the Bristol Aero Collection Newsletter, May 2014
“Didn’t they used to make cars here ?” I  once heard a visitor  to Filton ask. Read more

On a Bristol 412, (“translated” from an article in a German magazine)
What speaks in favour of a Bristol? A question any car connoisseur has to pose himself sometime. Read more

Bristol 400 delivered to Sweden in a Bristol Freighter
Read more

Interview with Dave Allen, 24/4/2008
Dave worked at BAC between  1958 and 1964. Read more

The Beutler Bristol 401
by Brian May. January 2016
Back in the 1960s, anyone interested in collectibles and secondhand items – cars, motorcycles, bicycles, guns, clocks and almost anything else you can think of, made sure they had early sight of the Exchange and Mart magazine that appeared on the bookstalls and newsagents shelves every Thursday morning.
Read more

Interview with Ivor Halbort: Reminiscences of a Bristol Enthusiast, 2008
On life, Bristols and other cars. Read more

A Chance Meeting of Two Bristols
by Dave Dale
I spend Mondays at Brooklands Museum acting as a steward ( talking to visitors and keeping an eye on the exhibits to prevent the visitors wrecking them or stealing bits – yes it does happen! ). Read more

The Bristol 405 Motor Car
by Chris Sherwood
My relationship with the Bristol 405 commenced at an early age, and indeed did not start well.  In the late 1950’s and early 1960’s, as rear seat passengers, my 2 brothers and I suffered the weekly trip to the family cottage in Wales. Read more

The Bristol 402 and my “Blue Dutchess”.
by Teb Marius,
Many tales are told of the model 402 as the “Hollywood Special”, but the true virtues of the only series-built convertible body by the Car Division of the Bristol Aeroplane Company have never been disclosed. Read more

Remembering the Bristol 404,
by Sir George White
I was five years old when the Bristol 404 was announced to the motoring press. Because my father had been the inspiration behind the founding of the Bristol Aeroplane Company Car Division and was variously its managing director, chairman and in later years its owner, I was privileged to travel widely in RAE 345 (Chassis No. 404/2001), the first of the line.  Read more