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Old 05-26-2014, 02:48 PM
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Bristol 401/402 1948-1953

The Bristol 401 saloon and Bristol 402 cabriolet are British luxury sporting cars, produced by the Bristol Aeroplane Co. between 1948 and 1953. They were the successors to the initial Bristol 400.

Although mechanically the 401 and 402 used an improved version of the BMW engine used in the 400, the styling was a huge advance on the pre-war bodies of that first Bristol model. It was inspired by the Milanese designer, Carrozzeria Touring, and its most notable feature was that the door handles were not exposed and to open the doors the owner pressed a button into a groove in the door. The body also was more spacious than the 400 and was a full five-seater.

At the front the 401 and 402 were also quite distinctive with their headlights moved quite a distance into the centre of the body on either side of the narrow grille, which resembled BMW a little less than did the 400. They were also deeply curved at the front: this, along with the then-unique door handle arrangement, is believed to give the 401 a drag coefficient of less than Cd 0.36 — competitive even by today's standards and remarkable for the time.

The engine was the same 2-litre in-line six-cylinder petrol unit of the 400, but was upgraded through improved Solex carburettors to increase power by 5 bhp (3.7 kW) to 85 bhp (63 kW), which improved the performance further beyond what was achieved by the aerodynamics.

The suspension is independent at the front using a transverse leaf spring and wishbones and the rigid axle at the rear uses torsion bars. Steering is by rack and pinion. The brakes are Lockheed hydraulic with 11 in (279 mm) inch drums all round.

Although the 401's production figure of 611 is still the largest of any Bristol model, the 402 is regarded as one of the rarest classics among cars of its day. In a recent survey, 13 of the 23 produced could be accounted for.

A saloon tested by The Motor magazine in 1952 had a top speed of 97.3 mph (156.6 km/h) and could accelerate from 0-60 mph (97 km/h) in 15.1 seconds. A fuel consumption of 20.8 miles per imperial gallon (13.6 L/100 km; 17.3 mpg-US) was recorded. The test car cost £3532 including taxes. Referring that road test in a subsequent ‘classic car’ feature, the journal summarised the 401 as a “Medium-sized car offering very high standards of comfort and performance”.

info from wikipedia


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Bristol 401 Coupe 1951
85 bhp, 1,971 cc Bristol Type 85C OHC inline six-cylinder engine with aluminium cylinder heads and hemispherical cylinder heads, triple Solex downdraught carburettors, four-speed manual gearbox, independent front suspension with transverse leaf spring and upper wishbones, live rear axle with lateral links, A-bracket and longitudinal torsion bars, and Lockheed hydraulic four-wheel drum brakes. Wheelbase: 2,896 mm (114")

• Rarely seen at auction; powered by the famous OHC Bristol six
• A Geneva, Switzerland-based car its entire life; 55 years in same family
• Tool kit, numbered workshop manual and spares

Bristol Cars, a division of Bristol Aeroplane Company, began automobile production in 1946 with the Bristol 400. As bespoke hand-crafted automobiles, they continue to be revered for high-quality engineering and painstaking detail, a legacy of excellence that continues with the recent 200 mph, V-10 Bristol Fighter. When new, three Jaguar XK120s could be purchased for the cost of one Bristol 401, which was summarised by The Motor as “…a medium-sized car offering very high standards of comfort and performance”.

Having spent its entire existence in the Geneva, Switzerland area, this Bristol 401, with production number 231 and chassis number 401/ 823, was supplied new to Mr Henry Favre and first registered to him on 31 January 1951, as GE 17542. It was sold in 1955 to Clifton J. Stanford, a resident of Geneva, and registered to him on 20 July 1955, as GE 23923. Mr Stanford retained it, and following his death, it was inherited by his niece, from whom the current owner acquired it.

The Bristol has remained in storage for many years, and although it will need to be properly recommissioned, it is expected to be in running order at the time of its sale at auction. Handsomely presented in RAF blue paintwork, complemented by the original beige leather trim and tobacco carpeting, it presently shows 19,939 km (presumably 119,939 km) and comes with a cache of original spares that Mr Stanford had accumulated, plus its tool kit and numbered, hard-bound workshop manual.
Attached Images
File Type: jpg Bristol 401 Coupe 1951 01.jpg (969.3 KB, 7 views)
File Type: jpg Bristol 401 Coupe 1951 02.jpg (998.7 KB, 6 views)
File Type: jpg Bristol 401 Coupe 1951 03.jpg (856.7 KB, 5 views)
File Type: jpg Bristol 401 Coupe 1951 05.jpg (934.9 KB, 1 views)
File Type: jpg Bristol 401 Coupe 1951 06.jpg (944.7 KB, 1 views)
File Type: jpg Bristol 401 Coupe 1951 04.jpg (984.5 KB, 2 views)
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