After staring at the recent teaser photo of the forthcoming 2015 Bristol Project Pinnacle, for far longer than is healthy, I feel it’s time for some fact-light speculation. Just what could this Project Pinnacle – set to celebrate the marque’s 70th anniversary – be?
Not long after the company was acquired by its current owners, an interesting nugget briefly appeared on the Bristol Cars website. It talked about a short-run of Bristol 404s – undoubtedly the Filton marque’s most beautiful and appealing model. (Even Bristol’s most ardent critics, odd creatures that they are, seem unable to level criticism at the 404’s perfectly-formed diminutive self.) Said text mentioned steel framing in place of the 404/405 timber framing, however, shortly after I asked some questions this passage was vanquished from the site.
Compare and contrast the image of Project Pinnacle with a 404 and there are some strong similarities. Ignoring the bonnet straps and badge – which don’t look quite right to my eyes – and what you have is a 404 without its front wings. The bonnet shut lines, carburettor air-intake and canted radiator air intake for the Type 100B/C ‘six’ appear identical. Even squinting above the numberplate – sporting a new interpretation of the antique ‘Bristol’ script – and it looks like the PP even bears the chrome escutcheon as fitted to the 404’s starter-handle.
Look at the top right or left of the image, and PP would appear to be somewhat slab-sided, but there is not much else you can deduct from the image.
Could this be a deliberate ploy to mislead? Is PP a reinvigorated 404? I would certainly imagine that all the tooling and jigs for the conventional 9ft 6in long Bristol A-frame chassis were rescued from the Patchway plant during the closure. Making it fairly easy to recreate the short 8ft 6in chassis as used on the 404 and the Arnolt Bristol Bolide. However, the same cannot be said about the 404’s body buck which was modified for the construction of the unique prototype 406S – a Filton-bodied car – which it and its Zagato-bodied sister sat on a 9ft chassis. Hmmm…
The more aggressive 406S bears no frontal resemblance to the 404 – so what Bristol Cars might be tempted to do, is to fit a 404 nose to the 406S – but that still doesn’t answer any questions about motive power. Sadly, although no-one knows for certain, it is thought that the tooling for the Bristol Type-85/100 was scrapped many years ago in preparation for the introduction of the still-born Type-160 ‘six’.
Alternatively, we could be welcoming a reinvigorated, racier, 2015 version of the short-lived Chrysler V8-packing Bristol Speedster from the last days of Tony Crook’s stewardship. A most suitable tribute to the man who, single-handedly, kept the company going for many decades.
All of which means, I’ve probably just wasted 10 minutes of your life because I really don’t have a clue as to what Project Pinnacle will eventually end up looking like. Perhaps it’s time to make some phone calls…