The Bristol Type 603 'Brigand' was launched in 1976, as a replacement to the 411. The 603 and the Zagato-built 412 represented the first major new models since the introduction of the 406 and the considerably more streamlined designs improved the aerodynamics of the vehicles whilst offering more head, leg and shoulder room than any previous Bristol.
Whilst the late 1970’s fuel crisis led to the introduction of more economical engines for the Bristol range, the dawn of the new decade and a general economic upturn paved the way for a new era of performance motoring. As a result, the Bristol Brigand was launched in 1982 with a 5.9 litre turbocharged V8 engine from Chrysler, capable of 0-60 MPH in 6.5 seconds and 150 MPH which firmly established the model amongst the fastest cars of its day. The Brigand remained true to the Bristol ethos of understatement and was differentiated from the less powerful models only by a subtle bonnet bulge, a chrome strip on the bumpers and the alloy wheels that came as standard.
On the road the large turbo allows the car to remain tranquil at low revs, but depress the accelerator and feel the progressive and linear power delivery becomes rapidly apparent. The torsional stiffness provided by the chassis and low centre of gravity provided by the aluminum bodywork all helped to produce a car that was as agile as it was cosseting. A true wolf in sheep’s clothing, the Brigand remains a serious performance car to this day.
‘For the well-heeled enthusiastic driver with absolutely nothing to prove, there is probably nothing else that comes close.’