1948 Bristol 400
The car division of the Bristol Aircraft Company had been commissioned to make high performance cars to aircraft standards. The Bristol 400, a BMW based car, was launched in Geneva in 1947 with streamline bodywork still reminiscent of the BMW 328 and of course now such a valuable collectors motor car! In 1949 the Bristol 400 competed in the Mille Miglia, coming 3rd in class. The success of the Bristol 400 in motorsport transpired into sales and started the success of the Bristol Motor car company which is much revered today. The 400 is designed to be a luxury car from the outset, it was the first car made by the Bristol Aeroplane company after the second world war by its newly formed car division and went on to be the Bristol Car Company in its own right. These Bristols combine the best features of two outstanding pre-war BMWs namely the engine from the 328 and the frame from the 326. The Bristol 400 featured a slightly modified version of BMWs 6 cylinder 1971 CC engine. This engine considered advanced for its time developed in excess 80bhp at 4500rpm. This gave the top speed of the 400 model at 92 mph with impressive acceleration to match. This wonderful engine is mated to a 4 speed manual gearbox with synchromesh on the upper three ratios and a free wheel feature on first. The 400 featured truly independent front suspension with a transverse leaf spring and live rear axle. The car offered for sale today is arguably one of the very best preserved and most original Bristol 400s to be offered for sale in recent years. A matching numbers car retaining its original three SU carb head and benefiting from a fabulous re-trim in leather. The car is a joy to behold. As an early Bristol 400, it is well suited for an application to join the Mille Miglia. Prior to being delivered to a new owner the car will be subject to meticulous checks and full engine out detailing. I have to say the colour combination works extremely well and very much reflects the elegance synonymous with the Bristol 400. Interior details and exquisite engineering leave absolutely no doubt as to the heritage of the marque. This particular car has been dry stored for many years, having spend some of its early life in Italy and is a car wonderfully original and extremely well preserved.
As the Mille Miglia develops as an international event, a cars eligibility is very much a consideration for those with aspirations to take part. Cars, which ran in period are given start numbers according to the years in which they took part. The Bristol 400 participated in 1949 as such the motorcar offered for sale is uniquely suited to an application for the Brescia event.
As part of our preparations before the car goes to a new owner the engine and drive train will be meticulously checked, so as to be well prepared for the thousand Kilometre event. Key items such as the cars cooling and braking systems and fuel lines will be fully overhauled so as to bring reliability. All routine service items will be replaced and the engine bay will be detailed to a show winning standard. The car drives superbly giving a wonderful exhaust note and very much encourages a driver with enthusiasm. With good space, a comfortable interior, super driving position and all importantly a useable luggage space for both spares and luggage, the car is perfectly well suited to any number of world wide regularity events and for sure would make a welcome participant for 2018 Mille Miglia.
It is possibly an important point to mention that as the classic car market is increasingly driven by investment minded individuals who aspire to own cars eligible for the worlds most prestigious events, the Bristol 400 has been perhaps a bit of a sleeper! in the world of classic cars. Not only is this a bespoke model from one of the very best manufacturers of the period. The wonderful engine which was used in a number of models at this time has been synonymous with a significant increase in values for such cars. The Bristol engined AC Acecas having recently shot up in value along with early post war BMWs are now both out of reach for some, the Bristol 400 is perhaps a very clever purchase and I have no doubt that its eligibility for the Mille Miglia would be a factor in the car finding a new owner quite soon. Certainly, we would have no hesitation to assist with a Mille Miglia entry and can of course provide event support and put a package of on-event technical support together to suit any individual’s requirements.