"Historically, the Bristol Brigand was a British anti-shipping/ground attack dive bomber aircraft, developed by the BAC as a replacement for the Beaufighter. The same company, in peacetime then diversified into cars. Many models then evolved, all well-built and powerful, then finally in 1982 the 412's morphed into the Beaufighter and the same trick was used on the 603 to become the Brigand. The arrival of the Brigand saw Bristol adopt the names of the famous Bristol Aeroplane Company models for its cars. The Brigand was superbly appointed; power supplied by a turbocharger propelled this luxury coupé to over 150mph. It was distinguishable from the Britannia by the bulge in the bonnet needed to accommodate the turbocharger, alloy wheels were standard.
The Bristol Type 603 ‘Brigand’ was launched in 1976, as a replacement to the 411. This example was vehicle number one off the Brigand production line and was the factory demonstrator. Finished in Peacock Blue with blue leather interior this handsome coupé is powered by a turbocharged Chrysler 440 V8 under the bonnet, which is mated to an automatic gearbox. These are well appointed cars with electric seats, air conditioning and cruise control. On the road the turbo allows the car to remain tranquil at low revs but depress the accelerator and the progressive and linear power delivery becomes rapidly apparent. The low centre of gravity provided by the aluminium bodywork 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. With the recent demise of Bristol as a motor manufacturer these quintessentially British cars have the potential to become highly sought after.
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