By the early 1980’s the temporary austerity enforced on the global economy by the oil crisis ten years earlier was giving way to a new era of prosperity that would be characterised in the immortalisation of Gordon Gecko in “Wall Street“.
Likewise in the motor trade cars were becoming seemingly exponentially faster thanks to widespread use of turbochargers which had the benefit of boosting horsepower of small motors without the cost of having to develop new large motors, additionally turbochargers could give executives a powerful model with a small motor typically 2 litres / 122 cui without the tax liabilities and inefficiencies of a 3 litre model.
Many manufacturers like Lotus naturally made sure everybody new your car was fitted with a turbocharger, though later a more discrete approach was introduced by some like Volvo. Amongst the Créme de la Créme unsurprisingly Bristol chose to take the more discreet approach with the turbocharged variant of it’s 603 model which was differentiated from it’s less powerful brethren by; standard alloy wheels, a visually inconsequential power bulge in the bonnet / hood and the “Brigand” name on the boot / trunk lid.
The series 3 603’s introduced in 1982 were among the first to be given names used by Bristol’s early owners the Bristol Aeroplane Company, the normally aspirated 603 Series 3 is known as the Britannia after a turbo prop airliner with the Brigand named after a ground attack bomber. The Brigand equipped with a 5.9 litre / 360 cui Chrysler V8 and a Rotormaster Turbocharger was said to be capable of reaching 60 mph from rest in 6.1 seconds and a top speed of 150 mph.
Brigands like today’s 1985 example, seen at the Bristol Classic Motor Show at Shepton Mallet a couple of years ago, were manufactured from 1982 to 1994 with minor exterior revisions, no production numbers for these cars was ever released some believe there may be 16 left while How Many Left.com shows only an extremely conservative 2 as taxed for use in the UK !
If you think the tail lights look familiar that probably show’s that at some point in your life you have sat behind a Bedford Commercial CF2 van.
Thanks for joining me on this “Turbo Mopar Under The Hood” edition of “Gettin’ a li’l psycho on tyres” I hope you will join me again tomorrow when I’ll be looking at an agricultural BMW powered Mopar. Don’t forget to come back now !