The car is the new, long-awaited, much-anticipated, slightly-late 2017 Bristol V8, the iconic all-British firm’s first new car since the Fighter of 2004. Driven at FoS by famed Frazer Nash pedaller Gillian Carr, the car aims to be an all-new and hi-tech reprise of the original “gentleman’s express”, with plenty of nods back in time to Bristol’s roots. It is timed to mark the firm’s 70th anniversary (actually in 2015) and funded by its new parent, the Frazer-Nash Group which took over in 2011.
So, what’s the car like up close?
Ian Wallace, Bristol’s marketing head, leads GRR down a narrow muddy track through the trees to a fenced off-enclosure where waiting for us is Project Pinnacle and the car’s programme manager Paul de Santis – one of few ingredients in the new car that’s not British.
Paul is an Aussie engineer from Holden – his last project down under was the VH platform that underpins another new car at FoS this year, the scarily powerful Holden-turned-Vauxhall Maloo ute.
From ute to speedster is quite some leap. But speedster is definitely what the new Bristol is: a big two-seater with aeroscreens and rollover cowls behind the seats. The car is launching first in this form, but a second model – something with a coupe – is promised to follow quickly.