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Bristol fights on. Image by Bristol.

Bristol fights on
Bristol's Fighter doesn't come cheap, but it promises to be rather special.
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In an industry that can't support MG Rover making value-for-money cars, it is amazing to find that Bristol Cars manage to survive by selling cars that cost 200,000. This week sees the announcement of new versions of the Bristol Fighter supercar.

You'd be forgiven for not knowing what the Fighter is. It is not a supercar in the traditional, difficult to drive, park and own sense. Bristols have always been practical, down to earth cars, and the Fighter is no different. However, this car can supposedly knock on the 200mph door thanks to a thumping great V10 engine under the bonnet borrowed from the Dodge Viper.

The 'basic' Bristol Fighter costs 229,125 and comes with a 525bhp version of the V10. There are now three further packages that can be fitted individually or together. The Fighter S gains a significant power upgrade, with 628bhp quoted, though apparently the engine can produce 660bhp when subjected to the ram effect of the air intake at high speeds. It is no wonder that Bristol is billing this car as "probably the fastest front engined road car ever made". The S engine specification reads as follows:

- Maximum power of 628bhp at 5900rpm (660bhp at speed).
- Maximum torque of 580lb.ft at 3900rpm.
- Ported inlet manifold.
- Compression ratio increased from 9.4:1 to 10:1.
- Lighter valvetrain components (valves, rockers, tappets, valve springs) allowing higher engine speeds.
- High lift inlet camshaft.
- Revised exhaust system.

Next up is the 'R' package, aimed at tightening up the Fighter's handling for drivers willing to compromise the standard car's comfort. Externally, this package is marked out by the fitment of tasty 19-inch 5-spoke alloys (as shown) smeared with 285/35 tyres at the front and 305/35 at the rear. Ride height is reduced by 10mm and the dampers and anti-roll bars are firmer. There have also been changes to the caster and camber settings. Bristol says that to accommodate the larger tyres, the exhaust has to be rerouted to exit just under the driver's window...

The final step is the 'C' package (standing for competition, though Bristol has no plans to enter motorsport). Body enhancements in the C-spec Fighter supposedly reduce the co-efficient of drag to just 0.255, which Bristol claims is the lowest of any production car. That is quite a claim, and if true would substantiate the rumoured 200mph+ top speed.

The R package adds 18,947 to the Fighter's price, with the C package an additional 19,740. Not cheap then, but pretty exclusive.

Shane O' Donoghue - 1 Jun 2005

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