Every once in a while I stumble across something that leaves me speechless as I struggle to ditch old assumptions and or beliefs. Until I visited the M-Shed Museum on the sight of Bristols Docks last week I was absolutely convinced that the oldest car bearing the “Bristol” name dated back to no earlier than 1947 in the shape of a Bristol 400 not unlike the 1948 example that featured in very first post 2 years ago.
So you can imagine my surprise when I stumbled across the placard for this 1906 Bristol 16/20 Type T Tourer that was manufactured in 1906 by the Bristol Motor Company !
It turns out that the Bristol Motor Company was founded by a cycle maker William Appleby and his assistant Arthur Johnson and that the company built at least four different models between 1902 and 1908 when they focused on distributing motor vehicles for other manufacturers including Morris from whom Johnson was to order their first model having only seen the blueprints.
Only 18 hand built 16/20 models are thought to have been built, this 1906 example is fitted with coachwork by Perry & Co who used to operate in Stokes Croft from a site that has long been an eyesore in the area thanks to a fire that destroyed an abandoned office block that stands behind the coach works frontage.
Colonel William Rolleston is thought to have replaced his horse drawn carriage with this car which was chauffeur driven by a Mr Harold King. 14 years after it was first purchased the Colonels car was converted into a pick up for an engineering company in Bedminster called Keetch & Turner.
The car eventually found its way on to blocks on a farm and one of the rear wheels was attached to a drive belt which powered a sawbench. The Bristol Motor Company which had long since stopped manufacturing motor vehicles acquired the car again and in 1937 presented it to Bristol Museum.
Fred Lester and Bob Lewis are responsible for restoring the car to it’s former glory.
Thanks for joining me on this “The Worlds Oldest Bristol ?” edition of “Gettin’ a li’l psycho on tyres” I hope you will join me again tomorrow when I’ll be looking at a 1949 MG. Don’t forget to come back now !