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1987 Bristol Brigand

Lot 39 (Imperial War Museum Duxford, 26th July 2017)

Estimate
£40,000 - £50,000
 

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Lot details
Registration No: E693FLD
Chassis No: 603S308525086
Mot Expiry: May 2018

- Formerly the property of the musician and actor Will Young

- One of just sixteen survivors known to the Bristol Owners' Club

- Treated to a bare metal respray by Spray Tec and previously fitted with a new engine by Bristol Cars plus a re-trim

'There is nothing quite like a Bristol. It's not as common as a Rolls-Royce or Bentley, it's more exclusive than a Jaguar or Mercedes-Benz, less ostentatious than an Aston Martin. It represents a blend of quiet, under-stated good taste allied to a high level of equipment, impeccable finish and dramatic performance. We called the Beaufighter "an English gentleman's very high speed touring carriage," no better soubriquet could be suggested for the Bristol Brigand; it's as simple as that' (Motor Sport magazine, January 1984)

Bristol Cars named the third series derivatives of its accomplished 603 design after two of its former parent company's aircraft namely the Britannia passenger airliner and Brigand dive bomber. Introduced in 1982, the four-wheeled newcomers were underpinned by a massively strong box section chassis equipped with independent coil-and-wishbone front suspension, a torsion bar-sprung 'live' rear axle and four-wheel disc brakes. Form followed function when it came to aesthetics but the result was a commanding driving position, usefully narrow track when navigating city traffic and excellent all-round visibility. Suitably luxurious, the duo's interiors were craft from the finest leather upholstery, wood veneers and plush carpets. Both were powered by a 5.9 litre Chrysler V8 allied to three-speed automatic transmission. However, the Brigand's use of a Rotomaster turbocharger gave it an emphatic performance advantage. Bristol Cars may have declined to quote outputs for the more potent engine (which others have estimated at circa 300bhp / 400lbft) but they did credit the turbocharged four-seater with the ability to sprint from 0-60mph in 5.9 seconds and onto 150mph. Priced at a faintly ludicrous £49,827 (when an Austin Metro could be had for £3,000), hand built production of the Brigand was somewhat limited. Today, the Bristol Owners' Club know of just sixteen survivors (though, several of those have lost their force-fed induction).

Arguably the finest of the sixteen, this particular example - chassis 8525086 - was supplied new to barrister turned property developer David Holland. Thereafter, it passed to yacht designer Donald Starkey, private banker Louis Greig, fund manager John Mant, H. Ross-Parker, retailer David Medler and businessman Andrew Wilson before being purchased by the musician and actor Will Young in 2009. Prior to the Brigand being registered in his name, Mr Young had Bristol Cars respray and re-trim it in Grey with Oxblood leather upholstery as well as carry out a thorough service and attend to the suspension and brakes etc. The work took two months to complete and cost £26,249.91. Returned to its maker's service centre during February 2010, the four-seater underwent a carburettor overhaul and further fettling totalling £2,587.80. Shortly afterwards a very dapper looking Mr Young was pictured alongside his Brigand and fellow interviewees Lewis Moody, Mark Webber and Craig David for a Daily Mail article in which he revealed that his love of cars came from his Jaguar XK and Bristol owning grandfather. Unfortunately, 'E693 FLD' suffered an oil leak induced engine failure during October that year. Returned to Bristol Cars once more, it was fitted with a new engine and overhauled automatic transmission at 95,589 miles for the subsided sum of £7,053.42 (the company's then Chairman Toby Silverton authorising a £3,730 + VAT discount).

The vendor purchased the sports saloon from Mr Young during December 2011 but did not receive its V5C Registration Document for another year or so! In the meantime he entrusted it to the renowned Spray Tec Restorations Ltd of Wellinborough for a bare metal respray in Aston Martin Black Pearl and sundry minor trim work. Spray-Tec founder Adrian George has notoriously high standards and was displeased with the body's profile once it had been stripped back. However, he honoured the pre-agreed labour quote of £20,000 and simply carried out the extra work free of charge. The total bill was £27,933.40. Having had Bristol Cars' service manager Brian Marelli confirm the soundness of the Brigand's chassis and supply copies of its factory maintenance records, the seller dispatched 'E693 FLD' to marque specialist Brabazon Motors in Summer 2013 where it was debugged to the tune of £2,360.70 including the installation of a new windscreen and two tyres. Part of an impressive private collection for the past five years or so, more recent work has seen the turbocharged Bristol benefit from a new voltage regulator, reconditioned ECU, rejuvenated starter motor, servicing and fresh engine gaskets (£5435.73, November 2016) plus the addition of a battery isolator and wiper arm etc (£933.60, May 2017) courtesy of R.E. Mills Motor Engineers of Rothley. Starting readily upon inspection, 'E693 FLD' has covered just 500 miles since the transplanting of its new engine and so still requires a degree of running-in!

Riding on correct-type alloy wheels, this decidedly smart and well-cared for Brigand is offered for sale with V5C Registration Document, factory service history, Brabazon / Spray-Tec invoices, CD documenting Spray-Tec's work and MOT certificate valid until November 2017 not to mention the rather extravagant but neatly concealed stereo that Mr Young had fitted.

 

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