NEW Bristol Bullet. Only 70 to be built

BMW V8-powered Bristol Bullet speedster marks the UK firm’s 70th anniversary. Reserve one of just 70 being built for $330,000.

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Step aside Morgan, another eccentric British manufacturer has elbowed its way into the public sphere, courtesy of Bristol and its new Bullet speedster.

Bristol Cars, founded in 1945 and rescued from insolvency by new owners in 2011, has unveiled the new Bullet to mark both the company’s 70th anniversary and its first new model since the Chrysler-engined Fighter of 2004. Though teaser images first surfaced two years ago, the new Bullet only made its camouflaged debut at this year’s Goodwood Festival of Speed, under the pseudonym Project Pinnacle.

Understandably, the new Bullet leans heavily on the Bristol Aeroplane Company’s history that begat the car division shortly after the second world war, particularly with the name and design: ‘Bullet’ was originally a world war one biplane, while the design drew heavily from the mid-1950s Type 405, particularly the ‘Bristol mouth’ and bonnet scoop.

Hand-made in the UK, the body panels, much like most of the cockpit, is crafted from carbon fibre. Beneath this lies a bonded aluminium chassis, plus all-independent coil-over suspension from the same team who worked on the GT with Ford. Expect those admittedly distinctive looks to part the room when discussion on the design is brought up at dinner: the only word we have on the designer for instance is that he is “an eminent Italian designer who chooses to remain anonymous.”

Much like the Morgan Plus 8, the Bristol Bullet packs a BMW-derived 4.8-litre naturally aspirated V8, with claimed 369bhp and 361lb ft of torque figures. Interestingly, said V8 has been dubbed ‘Hercules’ by Bristol, a further reference to the company’s aviation history and, more specifically, the 14-cylinder Bristol Hercules radial engine. Power is sent to the rear-wheels via a six-speed manual transmission, and given that the Bullet weighs just 1130kg – around 250kg less than the similarly sized BMW Z4 – top speed is a reasonable 250kph and 0-100kph takes just 3.8 seconds. Inside BMW-sourced sports seats and switchgear come as standard, as does ‘luxury bespoke instruments’.

Exact numbers remain unclear at present, Bristol claiming only that ‘quite a few’ of the assigned 70 Bullets have been sold for around $330K a pop to both left and right-hand drive markets. The first production models are expected to drop early next year.

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