Generations Timeline, Specs and Pictures
Bristol introduced the Brigand in 1982 as a high performance version of the all-new Britannia model.
The car’s Chrysler 5.9L V8 engine benefited from improved output via a Rotomaster turbocharger (the car’s exterior look betrayed its presence by a hood hump) while it’s front grille also featured a larger radiator grille and headlights as compared to the Britannia. The Bristol Brigand received some slight exterior updates in the early ’90s with redesigned bumpers and revised bonnet. Both Britannia and Brigand models were discontinued in 1994 and replaced by the all-new Blenheim (also based on the 603 chassis).
Bristol was one of the last British car-makers that evolved from aircraft manufacturers during WWII and it survived until it entered in liquidation in 2011.
In the mid-’70s, the British industry still looked strong and Bristol started the engines of the 603 coupe model. In 1976, the City of Bristol celebrated 603 years of recognition. That is where the name came from. It was an odd inspiration name, but it worked well for the latest coupe built by Bristol under new management, which started in 1973 when Tony Crook bought out Sir George White’s shares in the company.
The V8-powered coupe had a four rounded headlights design and a simple grille with no fancy elements. Just straight, horizontal, black plastic lines. The car was narrower than a Rolls Royce Silver Shadow but longer than the Jaguar XJ-S coupe. It featured a long wheelbase to ensure a comfortable ride over long distances.
Inside, there was room for four adults. Unlike many other four-seat vehicles from the era, the rear occupants could sit well, with enough leg and headroom. The leather-covered seats were handcrafted and stitched. The instrument panel was flat and the big, round dials were mounted on a wood panel.
The car was powered by a 5.2-liter V8 engine which was replaced later on the 603S version with a Chrysler sourced 5.9-liter V8. The suspension and gearbox were the same as in the much known Jaguar XJ-S.