Bristol Britannia (car)

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Bristol Britannia (1984)
Bristol Britannia (1984)
Production period: 1982-1993
Class : Upper class
Body versions : Coupe
Engines: Otto engine :
5.9 liters (294 kW)
Length: 4910 mm
Width: 1770 mm
Height: 1444 mm
Wheelbase : 2900 mm
Empty weight : 1710 kg
Previous model Bristol 603
successor Bristol Blenheim
Rear end: taillights from the Bedford Van

The Bristol Britannia was a two-door sports car produced by the British car manufacturer Bristol Cars Ltd. which replaced the Bristol 603 . Sometimes the Britannia also is called as the Bristol 603 S3 . A twin brother of the Britannia was the Bristol Brigand , which had a turbo-charged engine . With the Britannia, Bristol continued the tradition that began with the Beaufighter of naming its cars after the traditional aircraft of their own company.

The concept

The Bristol Britannia was based on the Bristol 603 presented in 1976 . It showed clear similarities to its predecessor, but received some contemporary style elements and made a much more modern impression overall.

In fact, the Britannia only took over the roof, the doors and the front and rear windows. All other body parts were redesigned, although the deviations from the 603 were limited to details. The most obvious deviations were at the front and rear. At the front two - or, depending on the customer's choice - four rectangular headlights borrowed from the Talbot Tagora were installed, with a black radiator grille in between, the elements of which were again designed in the style of the well-known toaster grill. The taillights were now from the Bedford CF2 Van; they were wider and now included the reversing lights. These changes gave the Bristol Britannia together with the much wider, mostly chrome-plated bumpers a much more modern appearance. However, later models were also available with black painted bumpers on request; a white painted vehicle is said to have been delivered with white bumpers.

In contrast to the Brigand, the Britannia was factory-fitted with a flat bonnet; A clearly arched bonnet was necessary there to make room for the turbocharger. However, there is evidence that some Britannias were also delivered with the domed hood of the Brigand.

The standard equipment had been significantly improved compared to the Bristol 603. Air conditioning , central locking and electric seat adjustment were now part of the standard equipment.

On the engine side, the Britannia retained the 5.9-liter eight-cylinder from Chrysler , which was already used in the 603 and, since 1977, in the Bristol 412 . The mixture preparation was still a four-way carburetor from Carter. As before, Bristol relied on a three-speed automatic of the TorqueFlite type from Chrysler for power transmission . From 1986 the Britannia could optionally be equipped with an (unregulated) catalytic converter ; these models were mainly exported to continental European countries, especially Switzerland .

The production

The Bristol Britannia was produced from October 1982 to September 1993. Only little things changed during this time. The phase of rapid modifications, which was characteristic of Bristol's model policy in the 1960s and 1970s, was thus over. The Bristol Britannia was sold at £ 46,000 in 1984 and the Brigand was £ 3,000 more expensive. The conventionally powered Britannia was by far the more successful model; the charged Brigand was produced comparatively rarely.

During this time, tests or driving reports on the Britannia were rare; most of the reports dealt with the technically more attractive, but far more expensive and rare brigand. Motor magazine published a driving report of the Britannia in November 1986. The following performance data was given:

  • Top speed: 135 miles per hour (= 220 km / h)
  • Acceleration from 0 to 60 mph: 8.1 seconds.

The testers praised the Britannia's handling characteristics, which were generally considered comfortable and relaxing. However, the Britannia does not achieve the perfection of a Jaguar XJ or a Mercedes-Benz 500 SEL when it is used for sporty purposes : when the load is higher, shift jerks and chassis noises are clearly audible. However, the processing quality was generally described as excellent.

As usual, there is no factory information on the scope of production. The Bristol Owners Club estimates that an average of around 12 to 15 vehicles were produced each year; the magazine auto motor und sport reported in an article on European luxury vehicles from 1987 that not a single Bristol was said to have been produced in 1986.

The Britannia was replaced by the Blenheim in September 1993 .


  • Rule Britannia : Driving report for the Bristol Britannia in: Motor, November 1, 1986 (engl.)
  • True Brits : Introducing the Bristol Britannia in: Performance Car, June 1991
  • RM Clarke: Bristol Cars: A Brooklands Portfolio: 132 Contemporary Articles Drawn from International Motoring Journals , UK 2001 (engl.)
  • LJK Setright : A private car , 2 volumes, UK 1999 (engl.)

Web links

Commons : Bristol Britannia  - Collection of images, videos and audio files

Individual evidence

  1. [1] Forum post on (English).