2021 Shannons Winter Timed Online Auction
1949 Bristol 400 Saloon
Result: PASSED IN
This lot is no longer available
Founded in 1945 as an offshoot of the Bristol Aeroplane Company with a view to employing its workforce after World War II, Bristol’s first model – badged the 400 – was introduced the following year, employing technology from BMW after the British obtained the rights to the German manufacturer’s engines and car designs as war reparations. Bristol chose to base its first model on the best features of two outstanding pre-war BMWs, using the 328's engine and the 326's frame. Over these it used a mainly steel body but with aluminium bonnet, door and boot skins, the only Bristol to be so fitted, and had flat glass but for the curved rear window, which was glazed in perspex, and available with a top hinge. This feature was popular in warmer climate export markets, where the sliding door windows provided only marginal ventilation. It also wore a very BMW-like grille on its long nose and a spare wheel located at first in the boot but then in later cars recessed into the rear-hinged boot lid under a cover. The Bristol 400 featured a modified version of BMW's 1971cc six-cylinder pushrod engine with its hemispherical combustion chambers and very short inlet and exhaust ports, which was good for 80hp at 4500rpm and able to push the 400 coupe to 148 km/h. The gearbox was a four-speed manual with synchromesh on the upper three ratios and a freewheel on first, it featured independent front suspension with a transverse leaf spring. A live axle, located by an A-bracket over the differential case and using longitudinal torsion bars with transverse arms and brackets were fitted at the rear. Production continued until 1950, though its 401 successor was introduced in 1948. Just 487 Bristol 400s were built.