Bristol Car Reviews and Road Tests

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Bristol

Bristol Cars Ltd have an esteemed reputation as low volume manufacturers of superbly made, prestigious cars. It is a reputation that was justly earned in the company's very early days and is one that has remained with them ever since. The Car Division of the Bristol Aeroplane company was formed in 1945 after a link up with the company AFN (Archie Frazer Nash) who were before the war, the importers of BMW cars. It was mainly due to the determination of George White, the grandson of the aircraft company's founder that this took place.

His vision was to produce high quality cars, built to the demanding standards employed in the aircraft industry. Bristol Cars launched its first motorcar, the Bristol 400 2-litre saloon in 1947. It was shown at the Geneva Motor show in March of that year shortly after the link up with AFN dissolved. It had definite styling similarities to the pre war BMW 328 to which Bristol held the rights, and the 6-cylinder engine was a much modified and re-engineered version of the BMW unit.

The new engine was used in many famous British sports cars, and had great success in races all over Europe. The pinnacle was the 2.2 litre unit fitted to the Bristol 406, a car today highly regarded as epitome of older British aristocracy, defining the upper-class penchant for cars that offered speed, dignity and comfort.

This engine was to power many more Bristol models throughout the 1950's and was very popular, with Bristol supplying them to many other British manufacturers for use in their cars, including AC and Lotus. Bristol used the 6-cylinder engine in all their own cars up until 1961. All later Bristol models were fitted with an American Chrysler V8 engine in varying capacities. In 1956 the Bristol Car Division became a separate subsidiary of the Bristol Aeroplane Company.

It was in 1960 that George White and former Grand Prix racing driver Anthony Crook acquired the Company, which then became Bristol Cars Ltd, and in 1966, they formed a partnership. Throughout the following decades, Bristol continued to set new benchmarks in performance and luxury, with the cars still being built to the exacting standards that had first been envisaged by George White in 1945. In 1973, when the now Sir George White retired, Anthony Crook became the sole owner, and Bristol reverted to being a Limited Company. Bristol continues to produce high quality cars to this day, and a new model - the "Fighter" Is soon to be launched with an anticipated price tag of £175,000.

Also see: The History of Bristol
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Bristol 400  

Bristol 400

1946 - 1950
The Bristol 400, a sporting 4-seater saloon, was the car that launched the Bristol marque. It went into full production late in 1946 after being unveiled to the press a few months earlier. More>>
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Bristol 401  

Bristol 401

1948 – 1953
The Bristol 401 2-litre saloon was introduced in 1948 and was the second car produced by the still very new company. The main difference between this car and the earlier 400 was that the body panels were now all aluminium and were fitted to a tubular steel framework that was attached to the steel box section chassis. More>>
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Bristol 402  

Bristol 402

1949 – 1950
Information being compiled. More>>
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Bristol 450  

Bristol 450

1952 – 1955
The terse success story of the Bristol Car Company's three-year campaign in two litre racing was almost unknown outside the small circle of factory personnel and racing enthusiasts who witnessed it, yet it was one that produced the wildly imaginative Bristol 450s. This was due to the tight-lipped policy of the Bristol Aircraft Company's car-making branch. More>>
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Bristol 403  

Bristol 403

1953 – 1955
Information being compiled. More>>
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Bristol 404  

Bristol 404

1953 – 1955
Information being compiled. More>>
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Bristol 405

Bristol 405

1954 – 1958
Information being compiled. More>>

 

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Bristol 405

Bristol 411 Series V

1975 – 1976
IIn the early 1970's, the Bristol 411 was claimed by some to be 'the fastest true 4-seater touring car' made. The series V Bristol 411 represented all that was 'grand' in British grand touring cars. More>>

 

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Bristol 603

Bristol 603 and 603S

1976 – 1982
IThe Bristol 603 was both unique, and exclusive even when in production - and for the enthusiast that is always a very good thing. First and foremost very few were built, production usually ran at around three a week, and the Bristol was without doubt one of the world's most exclusive cars. More>>

 

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