Car dealer Bristol Street Motors celebrates 100th birthday with special event

  • Bristol Street Motors celebrates 100th birthday
  • Dealer group hosts special centenary event at its first ever showroom in Birmingham
  • Local dignitaries, former employees and sporting heroes all present at the celebration

Time 6:23 am, March 24, 2024

Dealer group Bristol Street Motors has celebrated its 100th birthday with a special centenary event in Birmingham.

The famous old company, which now forms part of Vertu Motors, was founded in the Midlands city way back on March 18, 1924.

The firm’s first dealership – Bristol Street Motors Birmingham Ford – still stands and was the site for the group’s special birthday celebrations.

Among those in attendance was John Meddings, a 100-year-old former colleague; Andy Street, the Mayor of the West Midlands and former Aston Villa captain Dennis Mortimer, who was sponsored by the group in the 1980s.

To mark the occasion, the dealership underwent a transformation into a mini museum showcasing the brand’s rich heritage.

The exhibition featured archive photographs of the dealership and notable events, including the Birmingham Superprix where the site served as the pitlane in the 1980s.

Visitors were also treated to a collection of classic cars, as well as a treasure trove of newspaper articles, advertisements, posters, and marketing memorabilia from the last 100 years.

Meanwhile, for sports fans, Mortimer even brought along his replica European Cup, which Villa won in 1981.

Reflecting on the history of Bristol Street Motors, Robert Forrester, the company’s CEO, said: ‘Over the last 100 years, Bristol Street Motors has been a name synonymous with the best of the motor industry, and when we started the Vertu Motors group nearly 18 years ago, Bristol Street Motors was our first acquisition.

‘As a Midlands lad, I was over the moon to take on such an iconic brand.

‘We have grown the business to become a key player within the industry; with more than 100 Bristol Street Motors dealerships across England, the name has become one of the most recognisable motor retailers in the country.

‘While preparing for these celebrations, we have uncovered documents, photos and memorabilia linking us with names like Noddy Holder, Ken Dodd, and Aston Villa legend Dennis Mortimer.

‘We’ve also found various advertising campaigns and newspaper articles that are hugely interesting, and show that our approach to being a positive force in the local community has remained consistent.

‘Who knows what the motor industry will look like in another 100 years, but we feel the Bristol Street Motors brand has such longevity, that perhaps it will still be supporting drivers in another 100 years.

‘Though a lot has changed since 1924, including the technology we use and the vehicles we sell which have evolved considerably, our core principles remain the same; provide excellent customer service and brilliant deals, and you’ll always be on to a winner.’

A ‘made in Birmingham success story’

There are more than 100 Bristol Street Motors dealerships across England, with 189 dealerships in total nationwide across the wider Vertu Motors group.

However, the outfit has never forgotten its roots and has now been hailed as a ‘made in Birmingham success story’.

Andy Street, Mayor of West Midlands, said: ‘It’s been brilliant to be here and celebrate one hundred years of Bristol Street Motors, a Birmingham brand that has gone national.

‘People in this region are so proud of their heritage, and what we have given this country. This is another made in Birmingham success story.

‘All the memorabilia tells us that this brand has been a part of history throughout the last century. I actually learned to drive in a car supplied by Bristol Street Motors Birmingham Ford!’

Ian Harrison, operations director for the Ford Division at Bristol Street Motors, added: ‘Ford and Bristol Street Motors are synonymous with one another.

‘Ford has been an incredible partner; we sell every model of car and van. The brands have been intrinsically linked for over a century now – from celebrating the Model T into the future with all-electric vehicles.

‘We’re delighted to continue representing Ford, a fantastic partner of Bristol Street Motors.’

Jack Williams's avatar

Jack joined the Car Dealer team in 2021 as a staff writer. He previously worked as a national newspaper journalist for BNPS Press Agency. He has provided news and motoring stories for a number of national publications including The Sun, The Times and The Daily Mirror.

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