Category Archives: Iconic Car

Title: The Most Popular Cars of the 2010s

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Summary: With the imminent arrival of 2017, we’ll very soon be entering the decade’s final quarter. Let’s take a look in the rear-view mirror and reflect on five of the cars we’ve loved to drive over the past seven years.

Meta Title: Most Popular Cars In The UK

Meta Description: With the imminent arrival of 2017, we've decided to take a look at the most popular cars of the decade so far. Click through to find out which cars have made the cut.

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With the imminent arrival of 2017, we’ll very soon be entering the decade’s final quarter. It’s been quite a year for plot-twists, with relegation-favourites Leicester City capturing the Premier League title and the national imagination. Let’s take a look in the rear-view mirror and reflect on five of the cars we’ve loved to drive over the past seven years and see whether the courses they’ve taken have been anything like as unpredictable!

5) The Nissan Qashqai

nissan-qashqai

With the Qashqai, Nissan continue to combine exceptional handling and a sturdy build. Balancing quiet engines with smooth movement and enjoying superb fuel economy, the Qashqai has consistently proven a dependable and durable companion on every long journey. It’s a favourite for families and great for holidaying: while you’ll be able to hear the plaintive cries of “Are we there yet?” in the highest definition, the generous storage provisions and spaciousness that Nissan provide will keep all other complaints to a minimum.

4) Volkswagen Polo

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As early as in the 1990s, the Volkswagen Polo enjoyed an iconic status in pop culture. Beginning the decade by winning the “World Car of the Year” award in 2010, the Polo continues to show no signs of slowing down. With the fifth generation debuting in 2009, the Polo’s most recent iterations enjoy a compact size and excellent handling. They’re a superb choice for any journey: their size makes them adept at manoeuvring through the city’s rushes, while their resilience means that you’ll still enjoy a leisurely drive on harsher surfaces. As the decade draws to a close, it’s safe to say that the Polo remains a fashionable choice today.

3) Ford Focus

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There are few words that relate more to high-quality car manufacturing than Ford, whose Focus range continues to be incredibly popular. Coupling the beautifully fluid handling for which Ford are world renowned with its robust frame, the Focus deftly handles the challenge of any awkward inner-city corner and equally excels on rougher countryside terrain. In 2012, the Focus pipped the Toyota Corolla to the plaudit of the world’s bestselling automobile. So, the Focus certainly takes the people’s vote!

2) Vauxhall Corsa

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Though Ford’s reign as the decade’s leading car manufacturer remains intact, one vehicle that continues to challenge their ascendancy is the Vauxhall Corsa. With few competitors being able to match the quality of its design, the Corsa is a reliable and relaxing vehicle to drive, with excellent movement and spaciousness for passengers and driver alike. Newer models feature a “City” mode that enhances the sensitivity of the car’s steering and brings its manoeuvrability in urban areas to an even higher level.

1) Ford Fiesta

ford-fiesta

We did say that Ford retained the top spot, and nothing to date has crashed the party that the Ford Fiesta continues to enjoy. One of the nation’s most cherished cars since its 1970s debut, the Fiesta’s exceptional design and visual pallet make it one of the most responsive and comfortable vehicles the roads have seen, creating experiences in the spirit of its name everywhere it goes. Check out our timeline of the Ford Fiesta’s history to see when the party started, and how it grew into the vehicle we love to drive today!

Author: Fusion

Title: Decade Defining Cars

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Summary: From humble beginnings in the late nineteenth century, the automobile had to make quite the journey to become the car we drive today.

Meta Title: Decade Defining Cars | Most Iconic Cars

Meta Description: Take a look at some of the most iconic cars of all time in our decade defining cars list, from humble beginnings in the 1800s to the cars we know and love today.

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From humble beginnings in the late nineteenth century, the automobile had to make quite the journey to become the car we drive today. Below, we’ll check out the cars that defined the decades, looking at how they reflected or rejected the fashions of their era on the way!

1880s – The Benz Patent-Motorwagen

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In January 1886, the German mechanic Karl Benz patented the Benz Patent-Motorwagen, a three-wheeled car with a 954cc single cylinder engine. Though the rest is history, Benz’s car only achieved notoriety after Bertha Benz took the Patent-Motorwagen on a 194 kilometre round trip, driving to the city of Pforzheim to see her mother. Benz’s journey, the first ever long distance drive, is now commemorated as the Bertha Benz Memorial Route, and the Benz legacy endures in the form of Mercedes Benz today.

1890s – The Ford Quadricycle

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In a poorly lit garage behind his marital home in Detroit, 1896, the 32-year-old engineer Henry Ford completed work on his first prototype vehicle, the Ford Quadricycle. Unlike the Benz Patent-Motorwagen, the Ford Quadricycle was a four-wheeled, two-seat roadster, and the first incarnation of the vehicles we drive today. Ford wasn’t actually the first Detroit local to build a prototype vehicle. That honour goes instead to Charles Brady King, who also invented the jackhammer!

1900s – The Ford 999

By the turn of the century, Henry Ford had massively increased the potential speeds his vehicles could reach. With the promise of speed came a desire for it and Ford began to design cars specifically for the purpose of racing. His first racer, The Arrow, ended in tragedy when its driver crashed during a race, but it was with Ford’s second design that he took platitudes. Named after the Empire State Express train that broke the land speed record, the Ford 999 could reach speeds of over 90 miles per hour. Though a far cry from the racing cars of today, with unchallengeable pace and painted a coat of bright red, the Ford 999 fully deserved its menacing moniker: “the Red Devil”.

1910s – The Ford Model T

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Cars had made sufficient tracks in public consciousness by the 1910s, but they remained too expensive for the public to buy. Ford’s solution to this problem took the form of one of the most iconic vehicles ever made: the Ford Model T. With a keen eye for modernisation, Ford continuously restructured the process of the production line, so that by 1915 a Model T could be assembled from scratch in just ninety minutes!

1920s – The Rolls-Royce Phantom

Not all car manufacturers shared Ford’s dream of empowering the everyman. To the glitz and revelry of the roaring 20s emerged the Rolls-Royce Phantom, the successor to Rolls-Royce’s earlier model the Silver Ghost. With haunting names that spoke to the quietness of their engines, the Rolls-Royce cars were luxury sedans that held efficiency and aesthetics in equal esteem.  For these cars, Rolls-Royce provided only the chassis and the engine. With the coach and seats left entirely to the buyer’s preferences, there was significant variation between every model, although no variation of the enormous price.

1930s – The Talbot Lagot 1937 T150 SS

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As the glamour and bustle of the 20s crumbled in the wake of the Wall Street Crash and the Great Depression, many car designers began to prioritise robustness over image. However, some designers refused this pragmatism and became more zealous than ever in their pursuit of the car as art. Ranking among the most gorgeous cars the road has ever seen, the Talbot Lagot 1937 T150 SS, built of smooth waves and flowing arcs, marked a defiant stance against the harsh angles and rigid builds of the time.

1940s – The Jeep

Across the globe, the outbreak of World War 2 brought civilian car development to a total standstill. When the USA entered the war in 1941, the US army requested the nation’s most prominent car manufacturers to develop a four-wheeled vehicle suitable for reconnaissance and command. The Jeep remains a feature of modern infantry. The most notable Jeeps in use were the Ford Model GPW and the Willys-Overland Model MB.

1950s – The Morris Minor

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Just as the USA prohibited civilian car development, so did the English government, requisitioning all car manufacturers to serve the Ministry of Supply instead. However, this wasn’t enough to stop a handful of engineers at the Morris Motors company who secretly continued their work on civilian vehicles throughout the war. What they went on to create became the life of every 1950s road and street.  Much like the Ford cars of the 1910s, the Morris Minor was designed for the everyman, to provide for the struggling working classes a car that was both pragmatic and comfortable. The designers gave their covert project the codename “Mosquito”, which was to be the car’s actual name until the Morris Motors executives decided that “Mosquito” might prove a little too sinister for the public’s tastes.

1960s – The Mini

From the swinging sixties’ flower power a range of subcultures bloomed, but there was only one car in which they all arrived. Being the car of choice of all four Beatles and enjoying the cameras, lights and action of Hollywood in The Italian Job, the Mini made an enormous impact across all walks of 60s life. Associated today with the era’s mobility and free spirit, the Mini was initially a response to the 1956 Suez Crisis, which led to the renewal of oil rationing!

1970s – Volkswagen Golf

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The 1970s saw the tumultuous politics of the time once again force the automobile industry’s hand, with the 1973 oil crisis creating further fuel shortages. Following the inlays the Mini had made, the 70s witnessed a range of hatchbacks enter into the marketplace; these were smaller cars that enjoyed superior fuel efficiency. One car to boldly ride the hatchback wave was the iconic Volkswagen Golf, whose successes have been such that the Golf remains incredibly popular today.

1980s – The Third Generation Ford Escort

Throughout automobile history, Ford has always pushed the frontiers of vehicle development. The 80s was another period where Ford enjoyed particular popularity, with the release of the third generation Ford Escort. Following the tracks of the Mini and the Golf, the third generation Escort was a highly efficient hatchback. Just as Volkswagen had developed a sports model of the Golf, so too did Ford produce a sports equivalent of the Escort. Ford painted all of the Escort sport models in a cool white finish, other than a single unit that they painted black for one of the era’s most beloved icons, Princess Diana. Her 1981 Ford Escort Ghia, an engagement gift from Prince Charles, was considered one of the most sought-after cars on the planet.

1990s – The Mazda RX-7

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There are several worthy winners for the title of the 90s’ most definitive car, and all of them come from Japan. The 90s marked the most significant foray of Japanese vehicles onto Western roads to date. Models like the Mazda RX-7, the Toyota Supra, the Mitsubishi 3000GT and the Honda NSX lived and breathed the decade’s pallet, sporting blocky and energetic colours with exceptional engineering that ensured these cars excelled at substance and style. To this day, franchises like Fast and Furious, Gran Turismo and Need for Speed ensure these vehicles’ immortality in popular culture.

2000s – The Toyota Prius

The noughties saw the emergence of a range of cars that remain incredibly popular today, such as the Škoda Fabia, the Vauxhall Corsa and the Fiat Punto. At the other end of the speedometer, super-charged cars were breaking records, with the Bugatti Veyron reaching a mind-blowing 267.7 mph. Yet, it’s for the advent of hybrid cars that the decade will be remembered. While they can’t fly or transport their cargo back to the future, vehicles like the Toyota Prius, using a combination of different power sources, enjoy great fuel economy and energy efficiency. Their production marked a decisive stage in the evolution of car design.

2010s – Ford Fiesta

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Powering our crystal ball with magic alone, it seems that hybrid and electric cars will continue to make an impact on the automotive landscape for years to come, with a whole host of brands investing in electric vehicles, from the Hyundai Ioniq to the newest Ford Mondeo. However, our car for this decade to date sees us return to vehicles’ roots with the iconic and ever-popular Ford Fiesta. Built in the spirit of the parties it takes for its namesake, the Fiesta is a triumph of an automobile engineering, balancing sophisticated mechanical design with comfort for passengers and driver alike. Just as Ford remain at the fore of car development, the Fiesta remains a national and worldwide favourite. And we can’t see Ford’s party ending any time soon!

Author: Fusion

Title: The Cars That Time Forgot

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Summary: Sometimes, when a new car hits the scene, it is so ground-breaking and innovative that it lights up the automotive industry and breathes new life into its entire class. However, through no fault of their own, some cars fall into the potholes on the road to automotive glory.

Meta Title: The Cars That Time Forgot

Meta Description: Some cars slip through the cracks on the road to glory - the cars that time forgot. Read on and salute the unsung heroes of the motoring industry.

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Sometimes, when a new car hits the scene, it is so ground-breaking and innovative that it lights up the automotive industry and breathes new life into its entire class. When a car of this calibre hits the road, it is highly likely that its legacy will grow through the years and it will flourish over generations of new models and trims, as the Ford Fiesta is currently perfectly exemplifying.

However, some cars slip through the cracks; cars that fall into the potholes on the road to automotive glory. Below, we have compiled a list of some cars that, through no fault of their own, have been left out of the limelight. Read on and salute some of the unsung heroes of the motoring industry – the cars that time forgot.

Volvo 480 Turbo

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A wild card for Volvo, the 480 Turbo was the Swedish manufacturer having a bit of fun, in a bid to change its image to appeal to a new market. The 480 was the first front-wheel drive car by the carmaker, and had exceptional handling thanks to its Lotus-designed suspension. The Turbo version hit the scene in 1988, adding an extra 10bhp. Production ceased in 1995, after over 80,000 cars produced

Vauxhall Astra GTE

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As far as hot hatches are concerned, the 80’s were dominated by the heightening competition between Volkswagen’s Golf GTi and Peugeot’s 205 GTi. However, the often overlooked Vauxhall Astra GTE was an excellent car in its own right, whether that’s MK1 or MK2. The Astra GTE received acclaim for both its stylish exteriors and its joyous handling.

Peugeot 3008

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The Peugeot 3008 is still in production; however it has slipped out of the public eye due to a focus on other Peugeot projects. Don’t let the lack of attention fool you, the 3008 is an excellent and unique vehicle. The compact crossover was showcased in 2008 and was praised by motoring magazines far and wide, with ‘What Car?’ awarding it ‘Car of the Year’ in 2010.

Mazda MX6

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The second-generation Mazda MX6 was unwrapped in 1991, and shared the brand new ‘GE’ platform with the Ford Probe. The MX6 was released worldwide in three different trims; A-spec, E-spec and J-spec, which debuted in the US, Europe and Japan (no points for guessing which trim went where). Despite its elegant looks and the great reviews it received, the MX6 was discontinued in 1997 and you’d be lucky to see one on the road today.

Alfa Romeo 164

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The Alfa Romeo 164 was a stunning four door executive saloon released by the Italian automaker back in 1987. The entry level engine was the brilliant 2.0 L Twin Spark I4 engine with two spark plugs per cylinder. The 164 benefitted from improved build quality in relation to previous Alfa Romeos, thanks in part to the 164 being the first Alfa to use extensive computer aided design.

Citroen AX GT

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Lightweight and economical, the Citroen AX GT was launched at the 1986 Paris Motor Show. The supermini was perfectly suited to UK roads, and was raw and powerful, with punchy engine options and minimal safety equipment making it a huge hit with enthusiasts. Outside the motoring community, the AX GT was largely overlooked.

Peugeot 309 GTi

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In another article on the Bristol Street Blog, ‘Is Your Car A Future Classic?‘, we mentioned the Peugeot 205 GTi, which is (rightly) considered one of the greatest hot hatches of all time. Its sibling, however, is overshadowed and often forgotten, despite its formidable performance. The two cars are actually very similar, except the 309 has a larger rear.

Author: Fusion

Title: Is Your Car A Future Classic?

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Summary: When buying a new or used car, many people overlook one key aspect of a car’s appeal: its potential for being a future classic.

Meta Title: Future Classic Cars

Meta Description: When buying a car, many people overlook its potential to be future classic. Take a look at our rundown of future classic cars here.

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When buying a new or used car, many people overlook one key aspect of a car’s appeal: its potential for being a future classic. The most obvious benefit of gaining the title of ‘classic’ is that a car will hold its value excellently, and may in some cases even increase in value. So, what makes a car a classic? There’s no solid definition, but the general consensus is that a classic car is an older vehicle with enough of a history that it is considered worth collecting and restoring as it ages. A car that is over a hundred years old will typically be considered an antique, and will be incredibly desirable to collectors.

Another important factor in determining a car’s likelihood to become a future classic is the amount of acclaim the car has received in classic car magazines. While there is no single authority able to dictate what a classic car is, these magazines are trusted voices on the issue, and any car they throw their weight behind will usually find its selling price staying extremely strong.

Many people in the UK spend time purchasing cars that are currently unpopular albeit unique, in the hopes that as the years roll by, the price tag will roll up. For example, a well looked after, high-end trim of a car with a value impacted by high running costs would be a likely candidate for eventual classic status. In these situations, it’s best to purchase the car while it is new and affordable, then to wait until they become older, rarer, and more collectible. In many respects, it’s a well-informed venture: buying the right car and playing the waiting game.

So which cars should you be looking at? Across various classic car publications, there is some shared agreement on cars which are likely to hold/increase in value in the not-so-distant future. Here are a handful of examples to give you an idea of the kind of cars you should be looking into.

Mazda MX5

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The MX5 should by rights be a classic already, owing to its sterling reputation and its rave reviews from critics and fans alike. However, high production numbers means that the price does not yet reflect the car’s high status. Over the next few years, as more models are retired, it’s highly possible we will see the price rise as classic status creeps in.

Ford Capri

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If you see one of these going for a good price, don’t hesitate to snap it up. The endlessly cool Capri was all the rage throughout the 70’s, but production had petered out by 1986 due to a change in the style of the time. There are only several hundred left on the UK’s roads today, and, while still comparatively wallet-friendly, their value has almost doubled in the past 18 months alone. Is it any surprise when they just look so… awesome?

Peugeot 205 GTi

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Well maintained 205 GTi’s are already seeing their value slowly creep higher, making it a strong contender for future classic car status. The 205 has been showered with critical acclaim since its initial production, having been declared ‘Car of the Decade’ by CAR Magazine in 1990. The GTi version was arguably Peugeot’s most successful GTi of all time – and they’re still reasonably affordable.

Renaultsport Clio 182 ‘Trophy’

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The 182 Trophy may look like your average Clio at a glance, but don’t be fooled: only 500 were ever produced for the UK, and it is widely considered one of the greatest hot hatches of all time.  These are two reasons why the 182 Trophy seems destined for a place on the classic car podium.

Alfa Romeo 156 GTA

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The 3.2-litre Busso V6 engine and the stunning exteriors of the 156 meant that it was snapped up by car enthusiasts as soon as it went on sale. This typically means low mileage units are fairly easy to find, which can work wonders in helping a car become a future classic.

Author: Fusion

Title: The History of the Ford Fiesta

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Summary: Over its 40 years of life the Ford Fiesta has grown to become one of the nation’s favourite cars, picking up a wealth of awards along the way. But how did the humble Fiesta build such a lasting legacy?

Meta Title: History of the Ford Fiesta | Bristol Street Motors

Meta Description: Over its 40 years of life the Ford Fiesta has grown to become one of the nation’s favourite cars, but how did the humble Fiesta build such a lasting legacy?

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Over its 40 years of life the Ford Fiesta has grown to become one of the nation’s favourite cars, picking up a wealth of awards along the way. But how did the humble Fiesta build such a lasting legacy? Take a look at our illustrated history of the Ford Fiesta below to find out.

Author: Fusion

Title: Ford Fiesta: Britain’s Favourite Car

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Summary: 'The most outstanding small car the world had ever seen.' That was the aim when, back in 1972, Henry Ford II gave the green light to the car that would become the Fiesta.

Meta Title: History of Ford | Britain's Favorite Car | Bristol Street Motors

Meta Description: Over 40 years the Ford Fiesta has come to be one of the most recognisable cars on the road today. Find out about the history of the Fiesta here.

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What’s in a name?

Well, in the case of the Ford Fiesta, quite a lot, actually. The Fiesta, meaning ‘Party’ in Spanish, has had a history as lively and euphoric as its name suggests. Over its 40 year run, the Ford Fiesta has grown to become one of the most instantly recognisable cars on the UK’s roads. It’s perhaps one of the nation’s favourites too, with car buyers young and old giving in to the Fiesta’s charms. The Fiesta picked up a wealth of awards ranging from the UK Design Council’s ‘Efficiency Award’ back in 1978, all the way to winning the 2016 Car of the Year award at WhatCar, with countless more in-between. But how did the humble Fiesta build such a lasting legacy?

‘The most outstanding small car the world had ever seen.’ That was the aim when, back in 1972, Henry Ford II gave the green light to the car that would become the Fiesta. The goal was to create a car with a longer wheelbase than the current offerings by competitors, while
staying shorter than the Ford Escort. Not one to rest on his laurels, Ford committed to producing 500,000 Fiestas every year, and opened new factories in Valencia, Spain; Bordeaux, France; and Dagenham, England.

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At that point, the car was known as the ‘Bobcat’, as the Fiesta name was held by General Motors and the Oldsmobile Fiesta. Other names thrown around for the iconic hatchback including the fairly ill-suited ‘Bravo’, which was vetoed by Henry Ford II in favour of Fiesta, which was granted to Ford free of charge.

The Fiesta was unveiled to the world at the 24 Hours of Le Mans in 1976, and delighted drivers worldwide… with the exception of UK motorists, who were left chomping at the bit until 1977, when the car finally arrived on British shores with a right hand drive version.

The Ford Fiesta hit the UK’s roads to a chorus of applause, dove headfirst into bestseller lists, and has remained there ever since. Over the next 4 decades, the Fiesta would undergo an almost complete metamorphosis, while still retaining the characteristic flair and performance that made it such a runaway success.

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Each new iteration of the Fiesta brought about new improvements, with Ford constantly refining their winning formula to grow the car’s appeal across the market. The Fiesta Mk2 introduced a diesel option, and the Fiesta soon became a byword for fuel economy. The Mk3 was the first Fiesta 5-door version of the model, winning over not just families but What Car? Magazine’s ‘Car of the Year’ 1989. The Mk4 was Britain’s best-selling car from 1996-98, thanks to its revolutionary new body style and now-iconic curves. In 2001, Britain’s best-selling supermini was the Fiesta Mk5, face lifted with crowd pleasing design cues taken from the much-loved Ford Focus.

The Fiesta Mk6 was sold and produced 2002 and 2008, retaking the crown as Britain’s favourite supermini in 2006-7. The Mk6’s new advanced on-board tech made it one of the most useful (and affordable!) cars around. The Mk6’s gadget wizardry consisted of tech including power folding mirrors, automatic windscreen wipers, trip computer, and voice controlled Bluetooth, to name but a few, attracting a new tech savvy set of drivers.

In 2008, the Mk7 was produced, arriving to resounding critical acclaim, and winning itself a bulging sack of awards in the process. In 2014, the Mk7 became Britain’s best-selling car of all time, having sold 4,115,000 in its then-38 year lifetime, appealing to generation after generation of car drivers.

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At this point, you’ve probably read enough to realise that the Ford Fiesta is fairly popular. But what is it that drivers young and old, new and experienced, love about it?

Well, the Ford Fiesta Mk7’s design is a uniting factor for drivers from all walks of life. It’s sleek exteriors and eye catching styling means that the car suits every kind of driver, looking smart, bold and fresh all at once. The commitment to offering exteriors sleek enough to appeal to new drivers, whilst functional enough to fit new drivers, families and older drivers alike is perhaps one of the main reasons the Fiesta has remained such a common sight on the roads; it really is a car for the whole family to enjoy.

What’s more, no comfort or space is sacrificed to achieve this image. The Ford Fiesta is a revelation to drive, breathing new life into driving thanks to its steering wheel controls, in-car entertainment system, and much-loved economic engine options, especially the 1.6L Duratorq TDCi diesel. The ST trim has received much praise as well, named as Top Gear’s Car of the Year in 2013, with an engine capable of 0-62mph in a mere 6.9 seconds.

Of course, there’s perhaps an even bigger factor than the crowd pleasing styling, commitment to new tech, and fuel economy keeping the Fiesta a common sight on the road – its affordability. A Ford Fiesta is one of the most affordable new cars around, from the initial purchase price, to the economical running costs, to the crowd pleasing insurance costs; the Ford Fiesta ticks the boxes for a wide range of buyers. Plus, at Bristol Street Motors, we take pride in making one of the most affordable cars on UK roads even more affordable, with hassle free financing options, contract payment, and leasing deals.

With such a glittering history behind it, and with new trims and styling options regularly released, it looks like things are only going to get better for the plucky little subcompact. Ford Fiesta, we salute you.

Whether you’re looking for your first motor, a family car, or a vehicle with real history, why not take a look at the Ford Fiesta deals we can offer you at Bristol Street Motors, and let us help you on your new car journey today.

https://www.bristolstreet.co.uk/new-car-deals/ford/fiesta/

Author: Fusion

Title: Iconic Car of the Month – Aston Martin DB5

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Summary: It's time once more to explore the mythology of one of history's most iconic vehicles. This month, it's a car that’s long overdue for discussion. This car consistently tops top ten lists the world over for its looks, its illustrious history, and its status as a bona fide legend. It is rare that a car can be classed as a celebrity, but the mere sight of this vehicle on the road is enough to send pedestrians flocking for a closer view, cameras at the ready. This month, we present to you the endlessly elegant, perpetually stylish Aston Martin DB5.

Meta Title: Iconic Car | Aston Martin DB5 | Bristol Street Motors

Meta Description: Bristol Street Motors presents this month's iconic car: the achingly cool Aston Martin DB5

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It’s time once more to explore the mythology of one of history’s most iconic vehicles. This month, it’s a car that’s long overdue for discussion. This car consistently tops top ten lists the world over for its looks, its illustrious history, and its status as a bona fide legend. It is rare that a car can be classed as a celebrity, but the mere sight of this vehicle on the road is enough to send pedestrians flocking for a closer view, cameras at the ready. This month, we present to you the endlessly elegant, perpetually stylish Aston Martin DB5.

The DB5 is named for Sir David Brown, who headed Aston Martin between 1947 and 1972. The car is a British luxury grand tourer produced by Carrozzeria Touring Superleggera, an Italian coachbuilder with a long track record of making jaw-droppingly beautiful cars. The DB5 was released in 1963, as an overhaul of the popular DB4. The main differences between the DB4 and its successor are the enlarged engine, up to 4.0 litres from 3.7L, three SU carburettors, and a tough ZF five-speed manual gearbox. The engine produced a whopping 282bhp, and gave the car a top speed of 145mph, with a 0-62 of 8 seconds.

The car is certainly exceptional in its own right. It’s fair to say, however, that the Aston Martin DB5 owes the lion’s share of its fame its most famous driver: that sharp suited, serial supervillain-thwarter, James Bond. The DB5 first appeared in a Goldfinger in 1964, driven through airy mountain passes by a smirking Sean Connery. Despite its inclusion in the films, the DB5 wasn’t intended by the series’ creator, Ian Fleming, to be Bond’s wheels. Originally, the books has Bond behind the wheel of another of our Iconic Car of the Month winners: the Bentley Blower. However, by the time the films were produced, the international playboy super spy would have looked a little odd driving around in a car that was a couple of decades out of date.

The car seen in the films was specially altered by Oscar-winning SFX expert John Stears, who conceptualised the deadly DB5 seen tearing through mountain passes with ease. The film version of the car was weaponised, with all manner of gadgets added in true Bond fashion, including, famously, hidden machine guns on the front of the vehicle. Since its debut in Goldfinger, the DB5 has made several appearances throughout the franchise, showing up in films including Thunderball and GoldenEye. Most recently it appeared in Skyfall, in which Judi Dench complains it is uncomfortable and is eventually blown up in the course of saving the day (the car, not Judi Dench). A fitting send off for a silver screen legend.

The car’s use in the world famous franchise has catapulted the-already exceptional vehicle to international fame, which has lasted the five decades since it first graced our screens. The luxury tourer deeply ingrained in British culture, with everything from television series to video games lining up to pay homage. Down the decades, the DB5 has been revered in pop culture as the ultimate vehicle: exuding style, oozing charm and individuality.

Author: Dan Hackett

Title: Iconic Car of the Month: Bentley Blower

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Summary: For this month's Iconic Car feature, Bristol Street Motors will be stepping back in time to the glory days of British racing, that sepia-toned time of giant racing goggles, soot-covered faces, and an attitude towards safety that was blasé at best – and this month's Iconic Car is the epitome of the whole era. May we present to you the most British car you'll ever lay eyes on, the race winning, heart capturing, Bentley Blower.

Meta Title: Iconic Cars Bentley Blower | Bentley 4.5 Litre | Bristol Street Motors

Meta Description: This month Bristol Street Motors presents another iconic car: the Bentley 4.5 Litre or, more specifically, the supercharged version known as the Bentley Blower.

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For this month’s Iconic Car feature, Bristol Street Motors will be stepping back in time to the glory days of British racing, that sepia-toned time of giant racing goggles, soot-covered faces, and an attitude towards safety that was blasé at best and often veered towards downright maniacal. This was an age of rugged vehicles and humankind’s unrelenting pursuit of automotive power and speed – and this month’s Iconic Car is the epitome of the whole era. May we present to you the most British car you’ll ever lay eyes on, the race winning, heart capturing, Bentley Blower.

To tell the story of the Bentley 4½ Blower, it’s also necessary to tell the story of its owner, Sir Henry “Tim” Birkin, hero of schoolboys everywhere and the sweetheart of the nation throughout the roaring twenties. Once described as “the greatest Briton of his time” by W.O. Bentley, the company’s chief engineer, Birkin was an aristocrat who had fought in the First World War and returned home with a thirst for adrenaline and a complete disregard for danger.

The public followed the news of his madcap exploits with reverence. In 1928, he completed Le Mans with a lap with an average speed of 85mph – despite the fact that one of his tyres had blown, and he was racing on three wheels. Another story goes that Sir Henry drove the Blower up the main staircase of the Savoy Hotel during a glamorous dinner. Rarely if ever in history has a person been so intrinsically linked to a vehicle. Pope Francis has the Popemobile, the Queen has her Land Rover Defender, and Birkin had the Blower.

The Bentley Blower is a supercharged version of the classic Bentley 4½ litre, which was first produced in 1927, with 720 being made before its discontinuation in 1931. The Bentley 4½ was, like other Bentleys, mainly purchased by buyers for use as personal transportation. It came in a variety of body styles; usually saloons or tourers. Before he ever got ejector seats installed in his Aston Martin, James Bond drove a Bentley, with the car appearing in the original Casino Royale novel.

Publicity for the car was most notably increased by its participation in high profile races such as Le Mans, competing against rivals including Bugatti and Lorraine-Dietrich. It was a widely acknowledged fact that a victory in such a race massively boosted a carmakers reputation. Throughout the 1920’s, a dedicated group arose, earning adoration from the British public. The ‘Bentley Boys’ were a group of well-to-do daredevils who rocketed Bentley to motoring fame and notoriety with their racing achievements. British financier Woolf Barnato was one such Bentley Boy, and when the brand faltered financially in the 1925, Barnato purchased the company. The purchasing of the car manufacturer by a fabulously wealthy speed demon was a key factor in the development of the supercharged Bentley 4½ – the Blower.

Out of the 720 4½ Litres produced, 55 of these were supercharged, with a Roots-type supercharger added by engineer Amherst Villiers. However, chief engineer and company founder W.O. Bentley refused to allow the engine to be modified, which meant they had to find a different way to incorporate the supercharger. The solution was to place the supercharger in front of the crank shaft and radiator grille – giving the car its completely unique, slightly-unfinished, mechanical appearance. This also influenced the cars handling, as the weight of the car was now distributed more toward the front. In a car as enormous as the Blower, 14ft and 4.4 inches long, the extra weight meant the car had a tendency to understeer.

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Sir Henry Birkin and his Blower, named ‘No. 1′, raced together for several adventure packed years. In 1929, Sir Henry entered a 500 mile endurance race, continuing to race even after a cracked exhaust caused a fire on board. In the 1930 24 Hours of Le Mans, he famously overtook the Mercedes Benz SSK of formidable race driver Rudolf Caracciola, driving over grass at 125 mph despite throwing a tyre tread. The Blower’s finest hour came at the French Grand Prix when Sir Henry beat almost the entire Bugatti line up, in what is considered his greatest ever race, despite coming second place. The incident lead a red-face Ettore Bugatti to heckle Bentley as “the fastest trucks in the world”.

The Blower No.1 won Le Mans twice, in 1929 and 1931, with its faithful companion Sir Henry at the wheel. Sir Henry ‘Tim’ Birkin passed away in 1933, and the Blower No.1 was auctioned to watchmaker George Daniels. In 2012, the car was sold to an unnamed bidder for £5,042,000, which makes it the most expensive British-built car ever sold. With such an illustrious history behind it, it’s not hard to see why.

Author: Dan Hackett

Title: Iconic Car of the Month: Jeep Wrangler

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Summary: It's that time once more for Bristol Street Motors to welcome another vehicle to the hallowed halls of the Iconic Car of the Month. This time around, we have an all-terrain 4x4 that's been in production since 1986. Used across the globe on landscapes ranging from windswept tundra to searing desert, this vehicle has helped humanity accomplish astonishing feats thanks to its boundless energy and Herculean endurance. Ladies and gentlemen, put your hands together for the Jeep Wrangler.

Meta Title: Iconic Car | Jeep Wrangler | Bristol Street Motors

Meta Description: Bristol Street Motors presents this month's iconic car: the rugged, all-terrain Jeep Wrangler

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It’s that time once more for Bristol Street Motors to welcome another exemplary vehicle to the hallowed halls of the Iconic Car of the Month. This time around, we have an all-terrain 4×4 that’s been in continuous production since 1986 (that’s thirty years by the way, just to make everyone feel old). Used across the globe on landscapes ranging from windswept tundra to searing desert, this vehicle has helped humanity accomplish astonishing feats thanks to its boundless energy and Herculean endurance. This General Purpose vehicle is loved the world over, and common usage of its name brought about the acronym GP, which was shortened by lazy GI’s to – you guessed it – Jeep. Wrangler, to be precise.

In 1940, as the Second World War gripped the world, the US military issued a notice to all automakers, asking for designs for a new lightweight reconnaissance vehicle. The army’s modified Ford Model T’s weren’t cutting it, and a new, contemporary design was crucial. Three carmakers rose to the challenge: Willys Overland, Ford (duh), and The American Bantam Car Manufacturing Company. The three rival manufacturers put forward their designs, and all three were commissioned for use in the field. It was the Willys Quad, however, which was favoured by military personnel.

Eventually becoming known as the Jeep by the GIs, the 4×4 gained popularity across the board with allied forces, eventually becoming the most-used vehicle in the War. Doug Stewart commented on the car’s popularity:

“The spartan, cramped, and unstintingly functional jeep became the ubiquitous World War II four-wheeled personification of Yankee ingenuity and cocky, can-do determination.”

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The first civilian Jeeps were produced in 1945. Roughly 640,000 Jeeps were produced during the war, accounting for almost a fifth of all cars built in the US over the six year period. In the years since, multiple manufacturers have drawn inspiration from the Jeep to create their own light utility vehicles, including giants such as Land Rover. The early Jeep produced for civvy use was the CJ, a two door/no door 4×4 with a single piece windshield, a Willys Go Devil’ 2.2 litre engine, and a name that sounds like the nickname that weird kid in school kept trying to make everyone call him.

After 42 years of careening all over mountains and sand dunes like ants on a dropped lollipop, the CJ was discontinued in 1986. The king dead. Long live the Wrangler. The Wrangler rumbled onto the scene in ’86, the same year we admired Tom Cruise‘s oiled torso as he pranced around in Top Gun, and the year Daniel-San once more punched his way into our hearts in Karate Kid Part II. The Wrangler YJ was released with a choice of three impressive powertrains: a 2.5 L AMC 150 I4, a 4.0 L AMC 242 I6, or a 4.2 litre AMC 258 I6. The Wrangler represented several changes to the CJ formula. While physical design cues were taken from its father and grandfather, the Wrangler’s suspension, drivetrain, and interiors were borrowed from the Jeep Cherokee.

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The Wrangler has amassed an army of trims over the years, including the American-pleasing 4.0L ‘Freedom‘ edition and the nerd-saliva-inducing ‘Tomb Raider Edition‘ which has since become one of the most collectible Jeeps of all time, thanks to its unique accessories and classic stylings. The Lara Croft inspired SUV features a light bar, riveted fender flares, a diamond plated bumper guard, and Tomb Raider badging. It’s unclear whether there’s a feature that allows you to tear around ancient Nepalese monasteries dangling out of the window and shooting people.

In 2015, the Wrangler gained an array of new colours so varied and bold it’d make Van Gogh cut his other ear off with envy. Additionally, the SUV gained a new standard eight-speaker audio system and Torx tool set as standard for all models, which allows users to park up, whip out the old tool box, and unhinge the doors and windshield whenever they fancy getting closer to nature, or just have an urge to dangle their legs in the breeze as they hurtle down the motorway.

The Wrangler has consistently garnered rave reviews from critics and drivers alike over its lifespan. In 2007, a Wrangler set the Guinness World Record for highest altitude achieved by a four-wheeled vehicle when it bounded its way up the world’s highest volcano. Magazine Four Wheeler has awarded the Wrangler with multiple awards, including Four Wheeler of the Year, and the impressive 4×4 of the Decade. Multiple other institutions have adorned the Wranglers metaphorical chest piece with silverware, including Forbes and Business Week, who dubbed the Wrangler “One of the Most Iconic Cars of the Last 20 Years“. We’re in agreement there, Business Week.

As the Wrangler effortlessly powers its way up the vertical sides of the Bristol Street Iconic Car podium, it looks as though the plucky SUV has a long, adventurous future ahead of it.

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Author: Dan Hackett

Title: Iconic Car of the Month: Mazda MX-5 Miata

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Summary: This month, our iconic car of the month originates from the land of the rising sun. This car is a lightweight, two seat roadster, from a manufacturer that has brought a huge array of cars into the forefront of motoring. The saviour of the roadster class, this car made the two seater cool again. With over one million cars sold since its birth in 1989, ladies and gentlemen, give a warm welcome to the one and only, Mazda MX-5 Miata.

Meta Title: Iconic Car of the Month | Mazda MX-5 Miata | Bristol Street Motors

Meta Description: Bristol Street's Iconic Car of the Month hails from Japan, a two seat roadster with over a million cars sold: it's the Mazda MX-5 Miata!

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This month, our iconic car of the month originates from the land of the rising sun. This car is a lightweight, two seat roadster, from a manufacturer that has brought a huge array of cars into the forefront of motoring, as well as other little-known offerings such as the ‘Bongo Friendee‘ and the ‘Scrum Wagon‘. The car is often lauded as the saviour of the roadster class, and made the two seater cool once again, ready for a new generation of drivers. With over one million cars sold since its birth in 1989, ladies and gentlemen, give a warm welcome to the one and only, Mazda MX-5 Miata.

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Let’s hop in the Bristol Street DeLorean and whiz back to 1976. Bob Hall, a journalist at Motor Trend magazine, travelled to Japan and met up with two head honchos of Mazda’s Research and Development team, Kenichi Yamamoto and Gai Arai. When asked what car he thought Mazda should produce, Hall replied that a “simple, bugs-in-the-teeth, wind-in-the-hair, classically-British sports car doesn’t exist anymore”.

Mazda liked the idea, and five years later Hall met again with Yamamoto, now the chairman of Mazda, and once more the two discussed the idea of a sporty, affordable two seater. A year later, Hall was given the green light to start research and planning for the new car, over in the Stateside branch of the manufacturer, Mazda USA. The Californian engineers proposed a car with a front engine, rear wheel drive layout, taking inspiration from the ghosts of British roadsters past. Their Japanese counterparts preferred front wheel drive, but were overruled following a competition featuring the presentation of full size clay models.

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Through its secretive development, the car’s myriad aliases and codenames would have put Bond to shame, however ultimately the name MX-5 was chosen, standing for ‘Mazda Experiment Number 5‘.  An extra word was added later for the US market; ‘Miata‘, which means ‘reward‘ in Old High German. No, we’re not really sure how that’s relevant either.

Mazda worked to an ancient Japanese mantra while crafting the MX-5: Jinba ittai (人馬一体) which, for those of you whose Japanese is a little rusty, roughly translates to ‘rider horse one body’. This credo stems from ancient horseback archers, and the bond they would develop with their horses. Seeking to emulate this symbiotic feel, Mazda developed several key design rules, including:

  • The car must meet global safety requirements while remaining as light and compact as possible.
  • The cockpit would accommodate two adult occupants, without any wasted space.

Such a stringent design brief may seem unnecessary, but Mazda’s hard work and vision paid off. The MX-5 debuted to universal acclaim, winning Wheels Magazine’s ‘Car of the Year‘ award in 1989. Sports Car International named it in their ‘Ten Best Sports Cars of All Time’, and the MX-5 has made Car and Driver’s ‘Ten Best‘ list a whopping 14 times. Jeremy Clarkson, automotive critic and tabloid-headline-generator extraordinaire, wrote of the MX-5:

“The fact is that if you want a sports car, the MX-5 is perfect. Nothing on the road will give you better value. Nothing will give you so much fun. The only reason I’m giving it five stars is because I can’t give it fourteen.”

We’re inclined to agree. The current, fourth generation MX-5 was unveiled in 2014, and it’s a beauty. Tipping the scales at a slender 1,000kg (well, slender for a growling hunk of metal), the newest MX-5 has two engine options, 1.5 and 2.0-litres, with a top speed of 130mph and 155bhp for the latter engine. In the millennium, the Guinness Book of World Records labelled the MX-5 as the best-selling two-seat sports car of all time, having then sold 531,890 units. As of April this year, that number has doubled, with Mazda’s plucky roadster passing the one million mark.

With glowing reviews, adoration from fans and critics alike, and earth shattering sales, the MX-5 Miata has truly earned its place on the coveted Bristol Street Motors Iconic Car podium. Give yourself a pat on the boot, Mazda.

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Author: Dan Hackett