News that Bristol Cars, the car company spun off the similarly named aeroplane company 75 years ago, is to be wound up, makes me think – happily and sadly – of its sometime owner and backbone Tony Crook, who this year would have celebrated his centenary had he lived beyond the grand old age of 94.
The liquidation of Bristol adds a final straw to a modern saga of false starts, uncertainty and failure that dogged the former maker of 'gentlemen’s grand tourers' since Crook’s heyday of the 1950s to 1990s. He operated the company day-to-day until he was forcibly retired – by heavy-handed new owners who changed the locks on his beloved Kensington showroom – in 2007.
Documents recently sent to Companies House show the High Court decided last December that the Bristol should be liquidated, with its assets sold to offset debts of about £7 million.
It was most recently owned by Kamkorp, a technology group operated from a Surrey estate by millionaire Kamal Siddiqui, who also owns the Frazer-Nash name. Kamkorp attempted to revive Bristol in 2016 by launching a BMW V8-engined speedster called the Bullet, but it came to nothing.
However, High Court documents show that no-one attended the December hearing to represent the old car company.