Tax bill sees classic Bristol Cars sputter to a halt

Iconic British motoring brand Bristol Cars has ceased trading after 70 years following a winding up order from HMRC over unpaid tax

HMRC brought a winding up order against the company, whose luxury cars were favoured by celebrities including Sir Richard Branson, Bono, Liam Gallagher, Tina Turner and fashion designer Paul Smith, earlier this year.

An application by the car manufacturer to rescind the order was unsuccessful, and Jeremy Frost and Patrick Wadsted of Frost Group Ltd have been appointed joint liquidators.

The company was founded in the late 1940s and grew out of the Bristol Aviation Company. Its first cars were built using BMW parts, and it developed a small volume business producing bespoke cars, with the marque gaining a strong following among motoring enthusiasts.

Bristol Cars went into administration in 2011 and was then bought out and reformed by its current owners, Kamkorp Ltd, headed by Kamalk Siddiqi.

The company has had only limited activity since, but in 2016 unveiled a prototype £250,000, 4.8-litre V8-engined sports car called the Bullet, which was shown to the public at the Goodwood Festival of Speed that year.  The car was set to be hand-built in Chichester using BMW-sourced engines and gearboxes.  However none ever went into production, although there remains a market for second hand Bristol Cars amongst enthusiasts.

According to its most recent filing at Companies House, for the year ending 31 December 2018, Bristol Cars Ltd owed around £7.4m to creditors, including £153,000 to trade creditors, £1.8m to other companies in the group, £69,000 in tax and social security payments and £5.3m to others.

The accounts noted: ‘The main source of finance for the company continues come from K Siddiqi, director, and from the Kamkorp group of which K Siddiqui is a director and controlling shareholder.

‘K Siddiqui has pledged his financial support to the company and the Kamkorp Group for a period of at least 12 months from the signing of the accounts.’

The accounts also stated that management had produced cashflow forecasts for the period to 31 December 2020 which indicated the company had sufficient working capital to meet its liabilities as they fell due.

Jeremy Frost, director of Frost Group Ltd and joint liquidator, said : ‘It is with regret that we have seen another iconic UK brand failing to deliver in a changing world.

‘We have already received numerous enquires relating to the company’s assets and we are hopeful that we will be able to salvage some value for creditors as well as allow some memory of a former giant of British Industry to remain.’

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