Luxury British automobile manufacturer Bristol Cars has been placed into administration, with 22 of the marque’s 27 employees made redundant late last week.
Bristol Cars has been hand-building vehicles at its Filton factory in Bristol since 1946 and is the last wholly British owned luxury car manufacturer.
At its height, Bristol was believed to be selling around 200 cars per year (it has withheld sales figures since 1982) and had waiting lists of 18 months. Famous Bristol owners include Bono, Tina Turner, Liam Gallagher and Sir Richard Branson.
In recent years, however, sales are believed to have decreased to only around 20 vehicles per year out of its one and only UK showroom on High Street in London.
It currently sells four different vehicles: the Fighter, Blenheim, Blenheim Speedster and the Series 6. Each of them is styled to look like it comes from a different era, ranging from the ’60s to the ’90s, although its lack of a vehicle that belongs in 2011 is among its downfalls.
RSM Tenon’s Tom MacLennan and Trevor Binyon were appointed as administrators on Friday as production was suspended, and remain hopeful of getting Bristol Cars back on track.
“While there have been a number of immediate redundancies due to the financial position of the company, we are maintaining the sales and service operations so customers will continue to be supported,” Mr MacLennan told the BBC.
"We would urge any interested parties to make contact with us as quickly as possible and are confident that we can secure the future of this iconic British brand.”
At the very least, the Blenheim models are expected to be killed off, although the ultra-performance Fighter models have a better chance of being saved.
The current Bristol Fighter T is one of the wildest production vehicles in history.
Powered by an 8.0-litre all-aluminium V10 engine, it produces 755kW of power and 1405Nm of torque. Acceleration from 0-100km/h comes up in less than 3.5 seconds and, despite being limited to 362km/h, Bristol says the Fighter T would be capable of more than 435km/h (quicker than the Bugatti Veyron Super Sport’s 431km/h record).