Lot 168 - 1948 Bristol 400
|Odometer reading||62,697 miles|
|Estimate||£39,000 - £44,000|
- Rare example
- Matching numbers
Although there was undoubtedly a significant input from the bright aeronautical engineers at Bristol, the 400, which commenced production in 1947, was effectively a synthesis of three pre-war BMW designs, with a chassis derived from that of the 326, an engine from the 328 sports car and an aerodynamic bodyshell similar to that of the 327 coupé.
The 1,971cc six-cylinder engine of the BMW 328 featured an ingenious new cylinder head, designed by Rudolf Schleicher, incorporating hemispherical combustion chambers and inclined valves without recourse to overhead, or twin camshafts. Instead, the Type 319 engine's single block-mounted camshaft and pushrod valve actuation were retained, thus avoiding an expensive redesign. Two rocker shafts were employed, one situated above each bank of valves, giving the engine an external appearance almost indistinguishable from that of a twin-overhead-cam design. Downdraught inlet ports contributed to the motor's deep breathing, and its tunability made it a popular choice for British racing car constructors, most notably Cooper, during the 1950s. Externally, Bristol's Type 85A clone of the BMW motor differed little from the German original, the most obvious difference being the adoption of SU, rather than Solex, carburettors part way through production. The most significant changes made by the Bristol designers were metallurgical, their utilisation of the highest quality materials contributing to increased engine life. A maximum output of 80bhp at 4,200rpm was claimed, which was good enough for a top speed of around 95mph.
The 400's aerodynamically efficient body was constructed of steel panels on a wooden frame, with the doors, bonnet and boot-lid skinned in aluminium. Beneath the skin, the chassis boasted independent front suspension by single upper wishbones and lower transverse leaf-springs, whilst torsion bars located within the chassis members controlled the live rear axle. Contrasting with the exterior's modern appearance, the traditional wood-embellished interior was reminiscent of an earlier age.
In total, 474 Bristol 400s were made between 1947 and 1950 with, it's believed, around 120 still on the road.
This lovely example of this iconic British sports car is presented in gleaming dark red with cream leather interior and dark brown piping which looks very tidy indeed. Its striking aesthetic looks are enhanced by the rear mounted spare wheel stylishly under its moulded coachbuilt cover. It has suicide doors with cream leather door cards, wooden dashboard, exterior mounted semaphore indicators (currently not working) and its exterior paintwork is in good condition. The car has retained some original tools. The car had previously been in long term ownership when various works were carried out, full details of which can be found in the history file. There was a Vehicle Inspection Report carried out in 2018 which provides various comments on the car’s condition, concluding that it is indeed a tidy example with a few modifications and non-standard additions.
Interested parties should note that the private plate currently on the car is being retained. The car has been inspected by the DVLA on 20th September 2022 and the original number plate is being reassigned to the car.
Interested parties should satisfy themselves as to the description and condition of each Lot prior to the sale. Accordingly, buyers are on notice that each vehicle is offered ‘as is/as seen’ subject to the Terms and Conditions for the auction. All registration numbers, engine and chassis details are sourced from registration documents provided to Historics by the client or representative or HPI checks and buyers are to satisfy themselves as to the accuracy of these details. Buyers are advised to inspect the vehicle in person or use a professional to carry out this service. Historics will not entertain disputes over descriptions.