Belfast Telegraph

Bristol Cars set to reveal new model to mark firm's 70th anniversary

Luxury British manufacturer Bristol Cars is to unveil its first new model since 2004.

The Bristol Bullet will be a limited-edition sports car built to celebrate the founding of the company 70 years ago.

A concept version of the model took to the track under the name Project Pinnacle at last month's Goodwood Festival of Speed in West Sussex.

The firm is promising the finished product will be "a sublime British sports car" with unique characteristics and powered by a 4.8-litre BMW engine.

It will be fully unveiled at an event in central London on Thursday.

John McIlroy, deputy editor of Auto Express magazine, said images he has seen of the Bullet being developed suggest it will be "pretty well judged" by being "different and not for everybody".

He told the Press Association: " It will split opinion as Bristols always should, because they have never been a mainstream product.

"The styling looks pretty retro with fins above the rear lights, a fairly retro looking front end with a gaping grille and round headlights, which aren't exactly the norm in modern vehicles."

Bristol Cars began hand-building luxury cars in Filton in 1946 as a division of the Bristol Aeroplane Company.

It grew a reputation for the high quality of its craftsmanship and chose to remain small and exclusive rather than expand into mass-market territory.

The company has just one showroom, on Kensington High Street, west London, and its high-profile customers have included Sir Richard Branson, Bono and Liam Gallagher.

Mr McIlroy said the manufacturer has always adopted a "personal approach" to its customers, being on first name terms with almost all of them and even refusing to sell to those it does not like.

"It was almost like a gentlemen's club," he added.

"They have a consistency of standing aside from the perceived norm."

The firm went into administration in 2011 but was rescued by technology company Frazer Nash.

The Bullet will be the first new model from Bristol Cars since its two-seater Fighter in 2004.

It will be built in Surrey with production set to begin early next year.