Bristol Cars - Owners and Enthusiasts Forum  

Go Back   Bristol Cars - Owners and Enthusiasts Forum > Bristol Forums > Bristol News & Other Bristol Discussion

Bristol News & Other Bristol Discussion About the company, clubs, car owners, and Bristol discussion not specific to the 6,8 or 10 cyl cars.

Its all Over.

Reply
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread Display Modes
  #1 (permalink)  
Old 03-03-11, 09:23 PM
Member
 
Join Date: Sep 2010
Posts: 12
Default Its all Over.

They've gone into Administration. Did anyone see this happening?

BBC News - Bristol Cars goes into administration

Bristol Cars in administration - Autocar.co.uk

I only drove past the place last Thursday.
Reply With Quote
  #2 (permalink)  
Old 04-03-11, 08:27 AM
Member
 
Join Date: Sep 2008
Posts: 87
Default

To be honest I never believed the production figures they quoted for the last 30 years of 2 or 3 cars a week - more like 2 or 3 per month - but I thought that they had received enough funding for years to come. However, the economic turndown and the associated costs with producing the Fighter (didn't someone say £30m!?) must have hit hard and the company was probably in strife long before Tony Crook decided to look for investors - such is Bristol that this obviously wouldn't have been public knowledge to customers and enthusiasts. Hopefully the administrators won't take too much of a hard nosed view of things as they sort through the inevitably eccentric workings of the production process.
Reply With Quote
  #3 (permalink)  
Old 04-03-11, 01:00 PM
Member
 
Join Date: Apr 2009
Location: York
Posts: 808
Default Maybe over -- Maybe not

Maybe 3 or 4 a month is optimistic as well ! :-)

I don't hear a fat lady singing yet so stand by your beds and look forward to the next episode !

A lot of potential valuable options for potential buyers and can you ever rule out Mr Crook buying his life's work back ?

My sympathies and admiration go out to the to the Silverton family for having the courage to take on such a task and of course all the loyal staff at Bristol that deserve a future.

I imagine that some of the " specialist " Bristol car garages could use their services if a takeover is not imminent.

Onwards and upwards -- hopefully
Reply With Quote
  #4 (permalink)  
Old 04-03-11, 03:55 PM
Member
 
Join Date: Sep 2008
Posts: 5
Default

Surprising and not really, Joe Lewis has pulled his funding as he would in the end if it didn't stack up, I'm surprised that the Silvertons got in so deep really. A real shame, hopefully it will survive
Reply With Quote
  #5 (permalink)  
Old 04-03-11, 05:18 PM
Ex Member
 
Join Date: Nov 2008
Location: CANADA
Posts: 131
Default

There has been talk that they are looking for investors to "save" the company. Typically investors are not overly concerned with history, so one has to wonder of how much of an "investment" would it be?
Regards,
Dorien
Reply With Quote
  #6 (permalink)  
Old 04-03-11, 05:49 PM
Member
 
Join Date: Sep 2009
Location: Bologna, Italy
Posts: 95
Default

I've visited the Geneva Motor Show last Tuesday and was amazed by the number of supercar manufacturers that brought their new jewels there: probably there has never been a place for the Fighter in this context, against so many very serious world-class players.

The future of Bristol CL looks bleak to me, because I don't think that Germans would be interested in such a peculiar Marque, and Japanese have a lot of trouble nowadays. On the other hand, if Germans or Japanese buy it, this would mean good news for the staff and bad for the Marque, as it would quickly become another German Marque with a 'foreign' name. Ask Lamborghini for details.

I'm afraid that this means that some Far East (read: Chinese) manufacturer will acknowledge the opportunity of buying a real piece of British automotive history for what would be just pennies (pennies for these guys I mean). The best idea would be that mr Crook buys it all back, but I'm afraid that this would be only a dream. Let's hope for the best,

Stefano
Reply With Quote
  #7 (permalink)  
Old 04-03-11, 08:01 PM
Member
 
Join Date: Oct 2008
Location: Monschau/Germany, near the Belgian border
Posts: 107
Default

If there had not been a lack of financial funds for serious investments at Bristol Cars already in the nineties or earlier Mr. Crook would probably not have called in Toby Silverston and Tavistock in the first place. So I don't see any perspective for him buying back the company. It would just be as underfinanced as before.
I think the products, i.e. the cars are very good and above all unique and there is no doubt there has been a renewed interest in the marque over the last few years. The idea of rebuilding older cars was also fine, Jensen is doing the same now. But probably Mr. Lewis was losing patience, as I think he has not yet got much back from his investments into Bristol Cars.
Or it is more a personal matter between Mr. Lewis and Mr. Silverton. Such things are difficult to judge from outside.

Regards,
Markus
Reply With Quote
  #8 (permalink)  
Old 05-03-11, 12:38 AM
Member
 
Join Date: May 2008
Location: Melbourne, Australia
Posts: 1,086
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by Markus Berzborn View Post
Or it is more a personal matter between Mr. Lewis and Mr. Silverton. Such things are difficult to judge from outside.
The story is that Toby was married to Joe Lewis' daughter when Joe invested in BCL, and apparently that marriage has been over for some time, so maybe the way Joe views his "investment" has changed.

Apparently Joe Lewis lost a lot of money (even by his standards) on Bear Stearns in 2008 and last year his investment in Mitchells & Butlers wasn't looking too flash either, so it's likely he didn't have much appetite for a business such as BCL where the potential downside was probably always going to outweigh the potential upside.

It's a shame Toby's sister Philippa (aka TLF799R) is no longer here to set us straight

Like Greg, I think someone will buy BCL, because it is too much of a unique brand to let it go under completely. But it may lose it's appeal if it doesn't remain in British ownership.

Could be an interesting liquidation auction if no one steps up to the plate!

In the mean time, I assume they are still trading?
Reply With Quote
  #9 (permalink)  
Old 05-03-11, 01:18 AM
Member
 
Join Date: Apr 2009
Location: York
Posts: 808
Default

Maybe a famous owner like Richard Branson ! although " Virgin Bristols " needs work :-)

Sort of good fun to speculate but I believe the funding will turn up to re structure the business.
Reply With Quote
  #10 (permalink)  
Old 05-03-11, 07:51 AM
Member
 
Join Date: Jul 2008
Location: Auckland, NZ
Posts: 41
Default

What would be interesting would be to learn what the company is worth?
Reply With Quote
  #11 (permalink)  
Old 05-03-11, 09:14 AM
Member
 
Join Date: Sep 2008
Posts: 87
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by Peter Grace View Post
What would be interesting would be to learn what the company is worth?
I remember Car magazine 'guessing' this 10 or so years ago - £10m was mooted, but it wouldn't be that now. They apparently own the freehold of the showroom in Kensington but I am not sure of the factory and workshop (which may have been up for sale during the relocation for financing?). The company may not be a complete basketcase - just a problem of cashflow and investment - who knows? They may come out the other end, but all the interesting stuff which made the company what it is will be replaced.
Reply With Quote
  #12 (permalink)  
Old 06-03-11, 02:18 AM
Member
 
Join Date: Jul 2008
Location: Auckland, NZ
Posts: 41
Default

As I understood it, everyone who met Toby Silverton was impressed with his business skills. The business was considered to be in capable hands.

If, more through family problems than business problems, the funding has just dried up, then Mr Silverton might simply have been caught out with, as Kevin says, an 'overdraft' problem. I think anyone who has run their own business would be sympathetic with that.

It does seem strange though, if again the stories of a two year waiting list are true, that they would close the Patchway plant, when that is surely generating real income for the company. This implies expenses are wildly out of control, or debt is?

It is also somewhat ironical that the servicing and parts business is considered the one worth saving in the interim, that the old Bristol community might, in the short term at least, be giving the old firm some hope?
Reply With Quote
  #13 (permalink)  
Old 06-03-11, 02:29 AM
Member
 
Join Date: Jul 2008
Location: Auckland, NZ
Posts: 41
Default

Slightly off topic, but not a lot off topic, this documentary might make some people feel a bit better.

Patrick Grant is the new owner of Savile Row tailors Norton & Sons and E Tautz. Buying an old established company of tailors is not the same as buying an old car manufacturing company, but I suppose the risks were pretty high.

If PR was a measure of success, then he has done very well so far.

In this series he tours Britain meeting the suppliers to his business, including the weavers of his fabrics (Harris tweed and flannels), sockmakers, shoes, wallet makers et al.

He is very funny, in that odd way the Brits are, with long monologues born of Python and Joyce and vaudeville routines.

Textile Factories Video Tour - Manufacture - Esquire
Reply With Quote
  #14 (permalink)  
Old 06-03-11, 11:07 AM
Member
 
Join Date: Sep 2008
Posts: 87
Default

A few people have mentioned in other forums MOD contracts Bristol were doing that were cancelled which I never knew, although I think possibly the fact that the cars were manufactured near BAE and RR and the associated sensitive developments may have caused confusion in this respect??
Reply With Quote
  #15 (permalink)  
Old 06-03-11, 06:58 PM
Member
 
Join Date: Nov 2010
Location: Vineyard Lodge Sydenham Hill
Posts: 52
Default

How sad that after all this time they should fail.
Christopher Balfour wrote a very interesting and in most ways thoroughly comprehensive
history of the company titled A Very British Story which is ironically and poignantly prophetic
as it turns out.

Bristol started to produce cars in the 1940s and from the 60s was owned by the ex-racing
driver Tony Crook after about 10 yrs as a distributor for the company.
(You gotta have some self-confidence to sell cars with the name A. Crook!) Tony Crook is
now in his 90s and jealously guarded Bristolís heritage until he gradually sold out to Toby
Silverton who apparently is going to let the company go.
Crook continued to work for the company but it would seem his strong will and Fawlty
ways annoyed tímanagement so much that arrived at his Kensington office one morning
in June 2007 to find that he was unceremoniously locked out. Poor chap Ė heart-breaking
after being devoted to the company for so long and one of their dealers for ten years or so

Although, as Iíve said previously, Balfourís book was very comprehensive it did miss out one
very important episode.
Theft threatens UK's most exclusive car maker - Auto Trader UK - News and Reviews Hub
ie in July 2007 some very important presses were stolen.
This was not mentioned in the book which for such a momentous event was surprising nor
can I find any evidence that it was mentioned anywhere ever again.
Although the author and I corresponded for a while, an enquiry to him to get to the bottom
of this was not fruitful and indeed all correspondence then ceased.

I wonder why the incident was not mentioned in the book?
I wonder where the presses are now?
I wonder if the loss of the presses contributed to the failure of the business?

I wonder what really happened?
Reply With Quote
  #16 (permalink)  
Old 06-03-11, 07:36 PM
Member
 
Join Date: Oct 2008
Location: Monschau/Germany, near the Belgian border
Posts: 107
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by Barrie View Post
I wonder if the loss of the presses contributed to the failure of the business?
I would consider that highly improbable.

Regards,
Markus
Reply With Quote
  #17 (permalink)  
Old 06-03-11, 07:47 PM
Member
 
Join Date: Apr 2009
Location: York
Posts: 808
Default

I don't see how the stolen presses made any difference. Blenheims and Fighters were built after that date as well as specials.

If they were stolen by scrap metal thiefs, they would have been melted down within 48 hours and be untraceable. If anything, the insurance may have given a financial boost.

I think too many people think that this is the end. Let's wait and see..

Maybe Toby didn't want to put any more re-finance money in until he had total control ! Can't be easy working with family Mafia !

Jenson, Aston, Jaguar died many times and came back -- let's try some optimism.
Reply With Quote
  #18 (permalink)  
Old 06-03-11, 08:45 PM
Member
 
Join Date: Aug 2008
Posts: 21
Default

Jenson Button

Jensen Cars
Reply With Quote
  #19 (permalink)  
Old 06-03-11, 09:01 PM
Member
 
Join Date: Sep 2010
Posts: 12
Default

I believe the stolen presses were 're-acquired'.
Reply With Quote
  #20 (permalink)  
Old 06-03-11, 10:03 PM
Member
 
Join Date: Nov 2008
Posts: 183
Default

The presses didn't make any difference to production as far as I understand, they were stored out in the yard as there were sufficient panels in stock. As Greg said they would have been melted down before the factory opened that Monday. I did hear BCL were significantly underinsured at the time though.

It is hard to know what the future for the factory might be as the staff have been laid off and much of the expertise and know how will have left as they walked out the gate. The BOC Heritage Trust is talking to the administrators to assist in preserving as much as possible.

It is a well understood principle that the way to make a small fortune in car manufacture is to start with a large fortune. Very true unfortunately

Paul
Reply With Quote
Reply

Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is Off
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off


All times are GMT. The time now is 08:42 PM.


This is the live site

Search Engine Friendly URLs by vBSEO 3.6.0 PL2