Grace's Guide

British Industrial History

Grace's Guide is the leading source of historical information on industry and manufacturing in Britain. This web publication contains 148,162 pages of information and 233,682 images on early companies, their products and the people who designed and built them.

Bristol Cars

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1948. 2 Litre.
October 1949.
October 1949.
2-Litre. Reg No: SPF 11.
2-Litre. Reg No: JSG 615.
Reg No: YEE 85.
Reg No: KOR 777.
Reg No: SXI 411. (SX 1411).
Reg No: SXI 411.
Reg No: SXI 411.

Bristol Cars of Filton, Bristol are a manufacturer of hand-built luxury cars.

1945 With excess labour following WWII the Bristol Aeroplane Co began working with A. F. N., the makers of Frazer-Nash cars, on plans for a joint venture in automotive manufacture. By July 1945 the Bristol Aeroplane Company had created a Car Division and bought a controlling stake in AFN.

Early in 1947 BAC had registered the company Bristol Cars Ltd although it continued for several years to market its cars as made by the Bristol Aeroplane Company.

By mid 1947, the Bristol Aeroplane Company severed its ties with AFN, returning control to the Aldington family.

1947 The first car, the Bristol 400, was heavily based on pre-WW2 BMWs. The body looked very like the BMW 327, while its engine and suspension were clones of BMW designs (engine and front suspension based on those of the BMW 328, rear suspension from the BMW 326). Even the famous double-kidney BMW grille was carried over intact.

1947 Type 401 Salon and Type 402 Convertible were launched at the Motor Show.

1951 Exhibitor at the 1951 Motor Show in the Car Section.

1955 Bristol Cars Ltd became a private company, subsidiary of Bristol Aeroplane Co.

1959 Bristol Siddeley Engines gained Bristol Cars as part of the merger of Armstrong Siddeley and Hawker Siddeley[1]

Until 1961 all Bristol cars used evolutions of the 6-cylinder BMW-derived engine. This very well regarded engine also powered a number of sports and racing cars, including all post-war Frazer Nash cars (apart from a few prototypes), some ACs, some Lotus and Cooper racing cars, and several others. In 1961, with the launch of the Bristol 407, the company switched to large Chrysler V8 engines, which were more suitable for the increasingly heavy cars. All post-1961 Bristols including the current Blenheim and Fighter models use Chrysler engines. [2]

1961 Makers of the "Bristol" sports car. [3]

1963 Motor Show exhibitor. Showed Type 408 5-litre saloon. (Full description) [4]

List of Models

  • 401 1949-53
  • 400 1946-50
  • 402 1949-50
  • 403 1953-55
  • 404 1953-55
  • 405 1954-58
  • 406 1958-61
  • 406 Zagato 1960-61
  • 407 1961-63
  • 408 1963-65
  • 409 1965-67
  • 410 1967-69
  • 411 1969-76
  • 412 1975-80
  • Beaufighter (412 S3)/Beaufort 1980-92
  • 603 1976-82

See Also


Sources of Information

  • [1] Wikipedia
  • British Motor Cars 1950/51
  • A-Z British Cars 1945-1980 by Graham Robson. Published by Herridge and Sons. ISBN 0-9541063-9-3
  • British Car Factories from 1896. Paul Collins and Michael Stratton. Published 1993. ISBN 1 874105 04 9