above: the blenheim 3S.
but given the company’s 64-year commitment to craftsmanship and engineering, not to mention its reputation as the world’s only handmade luxury automotive company, it probably ought to be.
Bristol is also the only remaining luxury car company under British control, a fact they’re extremely proud of and don’t hesitate to mention at every possible opportunity. But with cars hand crafted by engineers with backgrounds in aviation, I suppose they’ve earned their fare share of bargain rights.
The fleet of Bristol cars is intentionally small. Their entire lineup consists of six models, each made to order for its particular buyer. This process can take up to four times as long as a factory-made car, but these are “handbuilt cars for individuals,” a very special group indeed who favors the company’s low profile, their aversion to advertising and their single, teeny-tiny show room in London.
They cater to the kind of person who would pay $260,000 for the Blenheim 3S, a pretty ordinary looking car from the outside that can make 0-60 in 5 seconds and if properly maintained, will outlive its driver. Not only will Bristol devotees gladly pay for the privilege of driving one of the 100-125 cars they produce each year, but they’ll wait in an 18-month-long queue to do so.
“By deliberately restricting production to a handful of cars per week we ensure exclusivity and excellence of manufacture. The labor hours to build the Blenheim 3 are three to four times more than those of any other specialist luxury cars. This we happily accept as the cost of perfection.”
above: for those wanting something a bit flashier than the blenheim series there’s always the “fighter”.
above: reaching speeds of up to 200 mph, the fighter takes design cues from airplanes, which is what bristol used to produce before they turned to cars. cost $521,000 usd.
above: of course, if $521,000 just isn’t in your budget there’s the “blenheim speedster”, a retro two-seater that can still do 60 in 5 seconds and figured prominently in last year’s flick, an education.
With standards this exacting, it comes as no surprise that Bristol doesn’t sell their cars to just anybody. Even if you have the money and the patience to sweat it out on the wait list, you must still be approved, a screening process as vague as it is secret. But for all their English exclusivity the car itself is an awe-inspiring piece of machinery, and once you drive it they swear you’ll never want to drive anything else.