Thomas Anthony Donald Crook




Thomas Anthony Donald Crook (T.A.D.C. or ‘Tony’) was born on 16th February 1920 in Rusholme, Manchester, Lancashire as the second child and only son of a local coal merchant and mining family.

His early years were spent as part of a successful local family in and around Hoghton in Lancashire.  After the death of his father when he was six, Tony was brought up by his Mother and Aunts and an early treat was being taken to see motor racing at the nearby Southport Sands.  At that point Tony decided to become a racing driver.  Juvenile driving exploits whilst at school, Clifton in Bristol, with his first car (MG – Magnette) bought before he was old enough to drive only whetted his appetite.  From Clifton to Cambridge to study      and onto the RAF.

Tony’s racing driving hero of the time was Raymond Mays but other key cars and personalities from this early time included Robert Arbuthnot, racing driver and car dealer who sold him a 2.9 litre short chassis Alfa Romeo in 1943.  Tony had also bought a BMW 328 which he used extensively during and immediately after the War.

Tony did not want to join the family business and decided that some kind of garage business would pay for his racing, so after the War Tony decided to move South to Caterham in Surrey being near Kenley Airfield where he could keep his plane and his cars.  So he bought premises and turned them into a garage and workshop.  At this time he met and was associated the Aldington Brothers, owners of Frazer-Nash, and responsible for importing BMW’s into Britain before the War.  Their short-lived association with Bristol Aeroplane led to Tony becoming one of the first Bristol Dealers.

Tony’s life then entered its busiest phase, building a business and racing activities as well as being a family man.  Tony had married Diane straight after the War and their daughter Carole came along.

His racing highlights included the first Prescott Hill Climb with his BMW 328 (2nd place), the first post-War race at Great Gransden Lodge on 15th June 1946 organised by the Cambridge University, Automobile Club (1st place), participation in the first race at Silverstone in 1949, Alfa Romeo,1st place and the 1952 Prix De Monaco where Tony came 3rd overall in his Frazer Nash Le Mans Replica.  Tony credited his success to his faithful mechanic John Dennis who battled constantly with the factory preparation.

During the ten year period 1945 to 1955 Tony calculated that he had participated in over 400 races, sprints, hill climbs and long distance record attempts.  Although closely associated with Bristol cars at the time, Tony’s racing sponsorship from ESSO required him to drive in 1953 for Frazer Nash at Rheims rather than Bristol who were sponsored at that time by (Shell or BP?).

Tony had promised to give up racing after the 1954 season but was talked into entering the 1955 Goodwood 9 hours race in his famous Cooper Bristol.  Late in the race Ken Wharton (Ferrari) broke a con rod going into the chicane and spun.  Moss (Porsche) behind unavoidably hit the Cooper in the side, throwing Tony out of the car and cracking his head.  A two week hospital stay ended Tony’s racing career.


This allowed Tony to concentrate on business and having established ‘Anthony Crook Motors’ at Caterham the need for space prompted a move to Hersham in ( date    ).

At that time Tony carried Bristol, Simca, Fiat distributorships; was UK concessionaire for Zagato and Abarth; was agent for AC, Aston Martin and Lagonda, Piper Aircraft and Brantly Helicopters as well as running a multi-pump Esso Petrol Station on both sides of the road.  A turning point came again in late 1959/early 1960 when, George White (3rd Baronet), took the lead by acquiring Bristol Cars from the rapidly reorganising British Aircraft Corporation with Tony as the Junior Partner.  The relationship endured and Tony’s relationship with George produced the 407, 408, 409, 410 and 411 Cars.  Tony would reminisce about the ‘Golden Days’ and say that the two never had cross words and only two policy disagreements (the first about automatic gearboxes – George won and secondly about the need to continue producing and storing spares – Tony won).  Their relationship changed again after George’s terrible accident in 1969 and in 1973 Tony acquired George’s shares to become sole proprietor.  This step, together with the oil crisis, required Tony to sell the freeholds on his other businesses to concentrate on Bristol’s.

Tony’s busy life at that time was based at Headquarters in Kensington with Service Facilities at Chiswick and manufacturing at Bristol which Tony would visit 3 to 4 times a week.

Thanks to Tony’s enormous capacity for hard work and an enormously loyal workforce Bristol survived and thrived through the economical disruptions of the 1970’s 80’s and 90’s.  Production rates undoubtedly fell but Bristol’s loyal customers continue to support Tony and his staff with the 603, 412 and the named cars, Beaufighter, Britannia, Brigand and the last of the ‘Tony era’ cars the Blenheim.

In 1997 Tony took the advice of Brian Trubshaw, his friend and Concorde Test Pilot and made arrangements to sell Bristol Cars to Joe Lewis’s Tavistock Group with Toby Silverton at that time Joe’s son-in-law as his co-Director.

Tony never met Joe Lewis despite requests.  Tony had the security, he believed, of an employment contract until his 90th Birthday and that gave Tony the confidence to sell the final part of his share holding to Tavistock in 2004.  Business continued much as usual at first and Tony was confident that he had found a suitable successor.

Things were not be, and despite the interest shown in the Fighter little happened between 1997 and 2007 when Tony left the Company.  He told me that he had turned up for work one morning, only to find a security man on the door barring his way and the locks changed! Naturally he was devastated and at Christmas that year his card said:

  • He did not ‘voluntarily retire’
  • He is not ‘working from home’
  • He had not ‘been ill and having a rest’

Later in 2008 an announcement appeared ‘due to a disagreement on the future running of Bristol Cars, Tony Crook who had been with the Company for over sixty years, most of the time as the sole shareholder, was dismissed’.  These matters were settled at mediation on 7th April 2008.  Bristol Cars Limited went into administration in 2011.  Tony’s sadness and disappointments were tempered by the continued loyalty of his secretary of 46 years standing and his friends and he continued to make appearance at various historic car events, speaking for instance to the Frazer Nash Car Club in 2009 and he was at the Goodwood Revival in 2012, sixty years after competing in the Inaugural Meeting in September 1998.

In 2008 he reminisced “in 1948 the Duke of Richmond and Gordon – the present Earl of March’s Grandfather – opened the course in my Bristol 400 and the same car was used to open the course at the Inaugural Revival Meeting in 1988 so I have fond memories of the Sussex circuit despite ending my racing career there in 1955”.

An enduring and endearing aspect of Tony’s personality was his great sense of fun – almost schoolboy humour – might say some.  Tales of dressing up as an Arab and placing orders for cars on competitors stands.  Tales of paying tramps to visit the Bristol stand, having animated conversations as they apparently placed orders to watch them be pursued by the competition abound.  On many occasions people misdialed and rang the Showroom thinking they were onto Motorail and Tony would book their car onto the train, asking them what colour their car was and, irritated, they would ask what has that got to do with it, to be told that Motorail were not taking green cars on the day.  This amused him for years until mercifully Motorail moved to Euston.

Tony’s wife Diane died in May 2011 after prolonged illness and he is survived by his daughter Carole and his elder sister Margaret.

Michael W Barton

February 2014

Pegasus parts news


One of our members refurbishing his brakes on his 403 enquired whether Pegasus knows of a supplier of the banjo bolts that fit into the wheel cylinders and copper sealing washers to fit these bolts.

I gave him the following company:-

Stevson Motors
Unit 1, 2A Harrow Road
Selly Oak
B29 7DN

Contact: Derek

Tel: – 0121 472 1702

They can supply refurbished, lever arm shock absorbers, stainless braided flexible hoses of all kinds, brake fittings and thick wall rubber tubing as used on our 2 litre vacuum wiper systems.

Derek could not help with the banjo bolts but he recommended another company. They were able to supply them and he stated they stocked other Bristol bits.

John Lawley
Spares & Technical Support Officer

BODA stand at 2013 NEC

BODA are once again present at the NEC classic car motor show.

The stand looks amazing and is generating a great deal of interest.



This years AGM was held in Gloucester.  The weekend started with a trip to the Gloucester waterways museum.  The picture below shows six of the 10 cars on display outside the museum, drawing considerable interest from locals and tourists alike.BODA AGM 2013


Members were treated to a cruise down the Gloucester canal, followed by a tour of the museum.

The throng eventually moved on to the Cheltenham Chase Hotel where good company, good food and the odd tipple ensued.

On Sunday we held our second AGM after a good nights sleep and a full English.  Minutes of the meeting will be posted on this site shortly.  In the meantime is is suffice to say that the mood was very positive, sound progress having been made to grow the membership and expand the services of the club.

A big thank you must go out to Gale Barton for arranging this event so brilliantly.


BODA at Petwood 2013

The BODA get together at the Petwood classic Concours event was once again a great success.  A total of seven cars made the long journey to Lincolnshire to enjoy a sun filled day at the home of the dam buster pilots during the second world war.

Those attending included:

Warwick Banks           404

Stuart Risebrow          411

John Grindon              411

Richard Baines            411

Michael Barton           Beaufighter

Richard Levene           Blenheim


water ways museum

Our AGM will be held at 11am on Sunday 6th October 2013 in the Cathedral Room at the Cheltenham Chase Hotel, Shurdington Road, Brockworth, Gloucestershire, GL3 4PB.


The arrangements for the weekend are as follows:


2pm Saturday 5th October, meet at the Gloucester Waterways Museum, Llanthony Warehouse, The Docks, Gloucester, GL1 2EH, (reserved parking) for a canal cruise and guided museum tour (combined price £8).


For general interest, it is also the beginning of the Times Literary Festival that week in Cheltenham.


7pm, Saturday 5th October, private 3-course dining at the Cheltenham Chase Hotel, with accommodation & breakfast (£60 per person, £25 single room supplement, dinner only £25 per head, wine not included). The hotel has ample parking and we will set aside an area for Bristols. There are leisure facilities (including swimming pool) at the hotel.


10:30am onwards, Sunday 6th October, coffee & biscuits prior to AGM at 11am (£2.85 per person payable to the Hotel).


Booking arrangements as follows:


Waterways Museum, please advise Gale Barton if you plan to attend by completing and returning the form attached to,  01524 33476, 07702 249 888 or by post.


Hotel & Dinner, please contact Q Hotels Central Reservations Desk (0845 074 0060) quoting ‘Bristol Owners & Drivers Association/Cheltenham Chase Hotel/5th October 2013’ and reservations will require full payment at the time of booking. Also, could you let Gale Barton know (, 01524 33476, 07702 249 888) if you plan to join us for DB&B or dinner only as we need to manage numbers. We have reserved 15 rooms but they will be released 4 weeks before if not taken. Could you also let Gale know if you have any specific diet requirements. Dinner only bookings should be made by completing and returning the enclosed form, by email or post.

Click here for booking form

Welcome to the new BODA website

m and churchill at Felixstowe

Welcome to the new club website.  You will notice that I have changed the style and layout of the website considerably.  I hope you like the changes we have made and that the new site will prove a valuable tool for its members.

Please note you MUST log in as a member to see the majority of the content we currently hold for our membership.

The main aim of the website is to be able to bring you the latest news and information from within the club.  The latest articles and news will appear in the centre section of the home page.  You can access the information through the tabs at the top of the page (Hover over a tabs to bring down the sub-menu).  You can also type a word into the search box to find articles on a specific topic.  Finally content teasers and links can be found on the left and right side bars.

All the technical archives from the old site have been imported and can be found under the maintenance tab.  Note that the sub-menu now allows you to choose all articles for a particular area of a car or a particular car model.

We now have a Facebook page and this can be visited by clicking the Facebook icon the the right.  This page is in its infancy.  Expect news to be added throughout 2013.

Finally, there is no doubt that there will be a few bugs or errors to be corrected over the next couple of weeks.  Please do email me with any suggested corrections or fixes.

Stuart Risebrow, Webmaster





Nearing 70 years old ? – UK driving licence regulations ( current at March 2013 )

UK DRIVING LICENCE RENEWAL  ( Correct at March 2013 )

 The BODA membership list does not show the ages of the individual members. However, I surveyed a sea of youthful faces in front of me as I gave the FBHVC report to the BODA AGM in October last year. If the attendees at the AGM were representative of the membership as a whole we are indeed a youthful club. Nevertheless, there may be just one or two UK members reading this article who may have an interest in the following. The FBHVC gives guidance on UK driving licence renewal at age 70 years.

What happens to my driving entitlements when I reach 70?

At age 70, driving licences expire and must be renewed every three years thereafter. From 1998, new drivers have been required to pass additional tests for categories B+E, C1, C1+E, D1 and D1+E but existing holders of a general car licence at that date were effectively given ‘grandfather’ rights to the new categories until renewal. These ‘grandfather’ rights, however, are not renewed automatically, so if you wish to retain them after 70, you must ask to do so and will need to provide a medical certificate with the renewal request. (A medical certificate is not required for categories B + E alone).

The new categories mentioned are as follows :


Motor cars and light vans up to 3500kg maximum authorised mass   (MAM) with no more than eight passenger seats. Also allowed to tow a trailer   up to 750kg gross provided the total MAM of vehicle and trailer does not   exceed 3500kg.

B auto

As B, but limited to vehicles with automatic transmission


As B, but with a larger trailer than allowed under B. MAM of   trailer must not exceed unladen weight of towing vehicle and total MAM of   vehicle and trailer may not exceed 3500kg.


Medium sized vehicles between 3500 and 7500kg MAM with no more   than eight passenger seats. Also allowed to tow a trailer up to 750kg gross.


As C1, but with a larger trailer, up to total 12000 kg MAM. MAM   of trailer must not exceed unladen weight of towing vehicle.


Mini buses with minimum of 9 and maximum 16 passenger seats.   Also allowed to tow a trailer up to 750kg gross.

D1 + E

As D1, but with a larger trailer, up to total 12000 kg MAM. MAM   of trailer must not exceed unladen weight of towing vehicle.

( MAM = Maximum Authorised Mass )                                                         

 I have recently replaced my licence and find some of my previous entitlements have been lost: why – and what can I do about it?

In some cases, previously held entitlements have been dropped either when renewing at age 70 (see previous question) or when notifying a change of address. In other cases, the loss of entitlement is usually related to motorcycles and almost invariably results from the holder failing to submit their pass certificate within the relevant time period. At one time, this had to be done within 10 years of the test pass but this generous period of grace was subsequently reduced first to three years and is now two years. If an applicant can provide an old licence showing that an entitlement was valid and properly notified, DVLA will reinstate it. Otherwise, there is no option but to submit to a new test.

BOC members may therefore benefit from the knowledge that some categories of the licence have to be requested upon renewal – or they will be lost.

Whilst on the subject of licencing entitlements, I wondered which types of vehicles I can legally drive on UK roads with my category B  UK driving licence. The FBHVC provides the following answer:     ( For the record, I also have a category A entitlement (unlimited motorcycle) – although my Triumph Bonneville and Norton Commando days are long gone ).

What kind of large (or unusual) vehicles can I drive on a normal car licence?

At the present time, the holder of a full category B licence may drive the following vehicles without seeking further qualification:

Steam vehicles; goods vehicles made before 1960 used unladen; buses or coaches over 30 years old carrying no more than 8 passengers; road construction machinery, digging machines & engineering plant; works trucks; tractors & agricultural vehicles; certain breakdown vehicles.

Dave Dale.   BODA representative to the FBHVC.   1st. March 2013

The material for this article has mainly been gleaned from FBHVC

publications and kindly allowed to be reproduced here by the FBHVC.


National Car Show 2012

This was the first year that BODA had a stand at the Classic Car Show at the NEC.  We were partnered with the BOC on adjacant stands so there was a great gathering of Bristols for the public to feast their eyes on.  Kevin Fee brought his 401 down from Newcastle, Cyril Millward brought his 405 from ‘distant’ Solihull and the team from Brabazon brought the Sir George White 410 from Bristol.


This gave a great spread of cars which really did justice to the mark.  We were supported by Bob Bradbury from Saxon Design who provided the backdrop which did rather raise the whole tone of the stand.  If anyone needs a great exhibition display, do think of Bob and his team.  The stand was supported each day by a wide range of members coming from all parts of the UK.  We were all kept very busy informing people of the real joy of Bristol ownership.

During the 3 days, a number of new members joined the Association, including a new member from Austria and Hungary who has a number of later Bristols.  He had some interesting tales of the period of change in Hungary and the value of having a Bristol,  while the Mercedes and Audis were being stolen within week of arrival, no-one bothered with his Bristols.

Thanks to contacts with a number of other clubs, we were able to source some rare light units for the early  cars while also finding sources of remanufactured light units which also fit some of the V8′s.  We were also able to display some of the parts which we can supply including gaskets, oil pumps, exhaust nuts, throttle linkage plates, door handles among other parts.


We hope to repeat the exercise in 2013, so put the date in your diary and think about coming to help on the stand, all enthusiasts are wlcome.