Offered by Artcurial | Paris, France | February 5, 2021
Bristol’s “400” line of cars began with the company’s first vehicle, the 400, in 1947 and continued through the 412, which was built through 1981. And, until now, we’ve featured an example of each one in the sequence, except for the 409 and this, the 405.
The 404 and 405 were built roughly alongside one another, with the 404 being a two-seat coupe, and the 405 was available as a ragtop or a sedan. It was the better seller, with 308 built between 1955 and 1958. Only 43 of those 308 were convertibles.
This one is powered by a 2.0-liter inline-six rated at 125 horsepower. It was restored decades ago and entered its current collection in 2006. The pre-sale estimate is $125,000-$185,000. Click here for more info and here for more from this sale.
AC’s first post-war product was the 2-Litre, a kind of frumpy-looking thing using an engine that dated back to 1922. In 1953, they decided to put a sports car into production that was based on a John Tojeiro design. That same dated 2.0-liter engine was the initial underhood offering, but things soon got more exciting.
Beginning in 1956, AC offered a 2.0-liter inline-six from Bristol that made 120 horsepower. Sadly, this engine was also based on a pre-war design, but it made the car capable of 116 mph, which really upped AC’s sports car cred. They won their class at Le Mans and were popular on the sports car racing circuit. By 1961, a Ford-based 2.6-liter inline-six was offered for a short time. AC also offered a coupe version called the Aceca.
The Ace ceased production in 1963, but by that point, an American called Carroll Shelby had found the car and stuffed a V8 into it and called it the Cobra. The Ace name would also reappear in the 1990s on a different car.
In all, 463 Aces were built with a Bristol powerplant, the most common of the three engines offered. But it’s still rare, and it’s still “one of those cars.” It’s sports car royalty, and it’s for sale by Bonhams for $423,164. Click here for more info.
Offered by Historics Auctioneers | Ascot, U.K. | March 7, 2020
The Bristol Type 603 was introduced in 1976 as one of the replacements for the 411. It was a pretty big step, style-wise, for little Bristol, especially considering how their designs had evolved up to that point. The third series of the 603 was called the Britannia, and an upgraded version of that car was sold simultaneously as the Brigand.
The Brigand name was lifted from a Bristol ground attack plane from the 1940s, which is pretty cool. In car form, it was powered by a turbocharged 5.9-liter Chrysler V8. That turbo, and its associated hood bulge, is what set it apart from the Britannia. Top speed was 150 mph.
By the time this car was built, Bristol had ceased publishing production figures, so the true number of Brigand examples built is unknown. It was available from 1982 through 1994, and for a long period of that time, they sold approximately three of these. Per year. So yeah, they’re rare. Still, this car is estimated at $29,000-$34,000. Click here for more info and here for more from this sale.
Offered by Brightwells | Leominster, U.K. | September 4, 2019
Another Bristol! The 412 was the successor to the 411, and we’ve featured four of those so far. This model was produced in two series between 1975 and 1981. Production figures were never released to the public, but its thought about 80 were produced before Bristol slightly revised the 412 and renamed it the Beaufighter.
The 412 was built side-by-side with the 603, and the cars were very similar. This car uses a 5.9-liter Chrysler V8 good for 170 horsepower. Top speed was 140 mph. The body of this Bristol was actually designed by Zagato, and it’s a targa.
Remarkably, for a handbuilt car this rare, the pre-sale estimate is only $18,000-$22,000. Click here for more from Brightwells.
Offered by Historics at Brooklands | July 13, 2019
The Bristol 411 was produced in five different series between 1969 and 1976. Series III cars went on sale in 1972 and were succeeded in 1974 by the Series IV. The main difference from the Series II was some revised styling, including a shift to four headlights and that kind of cool front grille treatment.
The 6.3-liter Chrysler V8 also received a lower compression ratio for 1972. Series II features, including a self-leveling suspension, were retained. Still though, after seven years and five different iterations, Bristol only made 287 examples of the 411.
This one was restored in 2012 and purchased by the consignor in 2017. It should sell for between $45,000-$54,000. Click here for more info and here for more from this sale.
Offered by Bonhams | Paris, France | June 30, 2019
The Arnolt-Bristol was the result of a collaboration between Stanley Arnolt’s company of Chicago, Illinois, Bristol Cars of England, and Bertone of Italy. Bristol supplied the engine and chassis, Bertone the body, and Arnolt the money, spirit, and marketing.
The cars use the chassis and the 130 horsepower 2.0-liter inline-six from the Bristol 404 (okay, the engine actually could trace its roots back to BMW). Bertone designed the two-door body. Three trims were offered: Bolide, DeLuxe, and Competition. The DeLuxe was similar to the Bolide except it brought side windows, a convertible top, a glovebox, and instrumentation behind the steering wheel.
These cars were serious racers in their day, taking class victories at Sebring and Le Mans. Only 130 examples were produced, and this one was delivered new in Mexico. Restored, it is eligible for historic events such as the Mille Miglia. It should bring between $320,000-$370,000. Click here for more info and here for more from Bonhams.
Offered by Bonhams | Chichester, U.K. | April 7, 2019
We are slowly filling in the gaps of the Bristol model history. We’ve previously covered models 400, 401, and 402. And here we have the 403. Largely an evolution of early cars, it was built between 1953 and 1955. Only 287 were made (or 281, depending on who you ask).
Like earlier cars, and a few following it, the 403’s powerplant is based on a pre-war BMW six-cylinder engine, specifically a 2.0-liter straight-six. Horsepower now cracked three figures for the first time, at 100. It could also do over 100 mph.
Other improvements included work on the suspension and brakes, to add some credibility to the “sport” part of the “sports saloon” they advertised it as being. This is a rare two-door post-war British sports sedan that should command between $62,000 and $66,000. Click here for more info and here for more from Bonhams.
Offered by H&H Classics | Duxford, U.K. | March 20, 2019
The Bristol 404 and 405 were a 2-door coupe or a 4-door sedan/2-door convertible, respectively. In 1958, they gave way to this, the 2-door 406 coupe. Naturally, it would be replaced by the 407 in 1961.
The 406 was the final Bristol to use the, by then, antiquated BMW-based 2.2-liter straight-six. While the engine was larger than in previous models, the power output was unchanged at 105 horsepower, which left the Bristol in the dust of most of its competitors. So the company had to make up for it in luxury and engineering. For instance, it was one of the first cars to receive 4-wheel disc brakes.
The 406 is not all that rare by Bristol standards, with a whopping 174 units produced in its short production run. This nice example is selling at no reserve. Click here for more info and here for more from H&H Classics.
Offered by Brightwells | Leominster, U.K. | November 28, 2018
This is a Bristol 410. It looks an awful lot like the Bristol 408 (and the 409 in between). So what’s different about this car? Well, it’s a little more aerodynamic and not quite as upright. It still used the same Chrysler V8 that dated back to the Bristol 407.
In this case, the engine displaced 5.2-liters but still puts out 250 horsepower. The increased aerodynamic efficiency resulted in the slightly higher top speed of 130 mph. Only 82 examples of the 410 were produced, and this one should bring between $36,000-$41,000. Click here for more info.
Offered by H&H Classics | Buxton, U.K. | November 28, 2018
The Bristol 408 was a model offered by Bristol Cars between 1963 and 1966. It came after the 407 and, guess what, before the 409. It was mechanically identical to the 407, but featured significant exterior design changes.
The engine is a 5.1-liter Chrysler V8, supposedly making 250 horsepower. Top speed is said to be about 122 mph. The company only churned out 83 examples, which is sort of the average output for a model from this small company. This example has been repainted but is otherwise original. It should bring between $45,000 and $58,000. Click here for more info and here for more from this sale.