Monday, 24 December 2012

A Christmas card from Bristol Cars

It was a nice surprise to find a Christmas card from Bristol Cars included with the Club’s December newsletter.

This is yet another welcome sign of the manufacturer forging closer links with the club and the owners of their cars. This started shortly after their acquisition of the company in April 2011 with a stunning parade of Bristol cars from throughout the marque’s history, spanning almost every model ever built. Since then they have taken great care to preserve everything of historic interest from the old factory including spares, specialists tools and the bucks used to shape the bodies. Regular features in the club’s Bulletin and sponsorship of a fully catered marquee at the Club’s concours are further signs of their support.

The card depicts the cover for the 1948 Christmas issue of the Bristol Aeroplane Company’s in-house magazine, the ‘Bristol Review’. The watercolour painting shows the company’s headquarters at Filton with an array of its products; piston and jet aero-engines, aeroplanes (Brabazon, Britannia and Freighter), the Type 171 helicopter, aluminium pre-fabricated schools and housing, and of course, 3 Bristol cars; Type 400, 401 and 402.

Bristol’s ambition is to design and manufacture a new car, capable of equalling the quality and exceeding the performance of the cars that built the marque’s reputation. The car is being developed in great secrecy so little is known of the design, but what is certain is that it will combine Frazer-Nash’s advanced hybrid drive-train technology with the styling cues that have always made Bristol Cars so distinctive.

So on that note I would like to wish you all a very happy Christmas and I look forward to what 2013 may bring.

Sunday, 9 December 2012

Bristol Owners' Christmas Lunch

A bright, crisp first Sunday in December was the perfect backdrop to the East Anglian section of the Bristol Owners’ Christmas lunch at the Ravenwood Hall Hotel in Suffolk.

Driving there along the A14 a familiar shape appeared in my rear-view mirror as Churchill the 411 closed in behind. As we made our way up the drive to the hotel we saw several other cars had beaten us to it and were making an impressive statement parked right outside the entrance.

I parked next to Churchill and the above photo shows the Chairman’s 410 nearest the camera alongside Warwick Banks’ 404, Nick Challacombe’s 407 and Richard Phillips’ 411 - recently the runner-up in Classic Car Weekly’s Classic Car of the Year competition.

The roads on the way back home were dry but the temperature was falling and after we had turned off the A14 onto the A137, bound for Manningtree, we encountered one of Essex County Council’s gritters coming in the opposite direction. There was an awful racket as it sprayed my bonnet with grit and rock salt but thankfully there was nothing that Neil couldn’t polish out.

The good weather had certainly encouraged a good turn-out with 23 club members arriving in 10 Bristol cars, ranging from a 1948 400 through to a 1979 603. A few more next year and we will be able to take over an entire room in the hotel!

Here’s to a very happy Christmas and a Bristolling new year.