Saturday, February 11, 2006

Bristol F[re]ighter

In 1985 I worked in Wellington, NZ. Like San Francisco, it's a hilly city on a bay. The airport is built across a peninsula inside city boundaries, with one end of the runway on the bay and the other end bounded by the ocean. Even though the airport is just two miles from downtown, there's very little airplane noise since the flight path is over water.

But then there was the Bristol Freighter: This twin radial engined plane has it's origins in WW2. Twice a week a Bristol would fly out of Wellington to the Chatham Islands 500 miles east of NZ. The engines exhaust notes would thrump in and out of synchronization and echo off the hills as the plane circled the bay gaining altitude. That was my favourite city sound.

Bristol still exists, but they make cars now. I mentioned Bristol cars here, and I guess the photo I took in London was of a prototype Fighter chassis.

Jalopnik mentions the Bristol Fighter here, with a link to a road test, and there's more information on the Bristol website.

I think Jalopnik readers miss the point of the car. Like the Jensen Interceptor, the Fighter is not a sports car. It's a gentleman's GT, best at high speed long distance trips on motorways. It's the car you own for the rest of your life.


Update January 24th 2009:
I'm delighted to discover that this aircraft is being prepared to fly again after being parked as a static display for twenty years (top left photo).

No comments: