The BOC: Our history
The Bristol Owners’ Club has a long and proud history, dating back over half a century. While there have been developments in the world we live in over the years, particularly in technology, our dedication to the cars has remained central – and we’re thrilled to share this with new members as we grow.
The Bristol Owners’ Club (BOC) was officially recognised by the Royal Automobile Club in September 1964. This followed the growth of Bristol car owners within the BMW Car Club, which had formed in 1952 among motorists interested in BMW design, engineering and history.
After being properly constituted on 6 November 1964, the first BOC committee was elected from many of the office bearers of the BMW Club. This included Godfrey Charles Oxley-Sidey, ex-Chairman of the BMW Club, who was later elected Chairman of the BOC chapter.
It was agreed that the BOC would be operated as a separate section of the BMW Car Club, thereafter sharing a dual badged quarterly magazine.
The two car clubs amicably separated in 1970, after six years of working in tandem. Subsequently, Godfrey Oxley- Sidey was awarded the position of first Honorary President of the BOC – a post which he held until his death in March 1999.
During his tenure as Honorary President, Godfrey wrote two books: The Quiet Survivor and Bristol: An Illustrated History. These were published as limited editions and are now long out of print, yet remain a lasting testament to his enthusiasm for the marque.
When the internet entered mainstream use in the 1990s, BOC General Registrar Bob Charlton recognised it as a great opportunity for the club. Not only did he transfer the old paper records of the car registry into a computer database, but also created a public area filled with historical information and Bristol car descriptions.
This was an eloquent demonstration of Bob’s encyclopædic knowledge of Bristol Cars, which provided strong foundations for the club’s public face today.
During the 2000s, a new chapter in the BOC’s story saw Geoffrey Herdman take the reins. Under his enthusiastic and enterprising chairmanship, overseas tours, cultural events and the annual Chairman’s Dinner became additional highlights of members’ lives. He also presided over a far-sighted expansion of the BOC’s online presence and functionality, and as the Club’s Honorary President, Geoffrey circumnavigated the globe in his Bristol 405DHC.
The role of Chairman of the BOC passed to Geoff Hawkins and then Mark Alford followed by Peter Campbell. Currently, Mark Alford is at the helm again. A recent review of the club’s structure, resources and aims has resulted in this version of the website that you now see, as well as the continued development of club events – locally, nationally and internationally.