The Bristol Aeroplane Company grew fairly rapidly from small beginnings. What had been a tentative effort to serve the fledgling aviation market was so successful in design and engineering that it was perfectly placed to respond to the needs of the Royal Flying Corps during the First World War. By the Second World War Bristol was a household name, and during the hostilities the firm produced over 14,000 aircraft, including the Blenheim fighter-bomber. After the war the company first became involved in the production of motor cars, and in 1960, when the aircraft division was amalgamated into the newly formed British Aircraft Corporation, the automotive division, Bristol Cars Ltd, became an entity in its own right. The partners were ex-racing driver Tony Crook and the grandson of Bristol's founder, but thirteen years later Tony Crook became the sole proprietor. It is his philosophy that has established the unique character of the Bristol motor car. Never a volume seller, never available through dealers, the marque's exquisite products have been entirely successful in their niche market.
Their existence alone, in this era of multi-national corporations and global product lines is extraordinary enough; their continued success, while flying in the face of accepted wisdom, more so. With the aid of over 200 photographs the author sets out to capture the essence of a very special motor car, and to set it in the context of its illustrious history.