No V10s or gullwing doors this time, but still pretty cool.
Of all the oddball car companies past and present, few can claim to be as unusual as Bristol. Even when you factor out the idiosyncratic antics of its late former boss, Tony Crook, the activities and produce of this most unique of motor manufacturers are still enough to rank Bristol in at least the higher echelons of most gearhead's "Car Makers You Can't Help But Have A Soft Spot For" lists. Understandably, then, we were very surprised to see a Bristol prototype on display at the Goodwood Festival of Speed this year.
If you hadn't known beforehand that Bristol would be back at Goodwood, we won't blame you. The company isn't exactly renowned for its media savvy, and the earliest we knew the car was present at Goodwood was when onlookers suddenly noticed a camouflaged, retro-styled roadster had joined the supercar run convoy somewhere on the loop route between the paddock and the start line. It's not the only tradition that's been retained in this new Bristol, either. Instead of the electric powertrain that has been mooted in the past, this two-seater droptop's exhaust pipes emitted the distinct rumble of a large V8 engine. Bristol hasn't said which engine it is, though it sounded a lot like the Morgan Aero 8's 4.8-liter unit to our ears.
Indeed, a UK vehicle registration plate listing reveals this allegedly blue Bristol has a 4,799cc engine under the hood, putting it on par with the Morgan's BMW-sourced motor. And, as with Morgan, it looks like Bristol will be placing as much an emphasis on interior craftsmanship as it will on retro exterior styling, with the fit and finish on the prototype looking pretty good to us. How soon it'll be before Bristol officially pulls the wraps off this new roadster that looks an awful lot like a more recent "Speedster" model remains to be seen, but our guess would be that the car's presence at Goodwood means we should see the finished version some time in 2017. Keep your eyes peeled for more Bristol news in the not-too-distant future.