1975 Bristol 411 Series V £55,000. This V8 gentleman’s express looks the full ticket, and offers plenty of grunt, says Ben Wanklyn. This Bristol is fresh from the vendor’s workshops, following restoration of its bodywork, during which its colour was changed from white to metallic burgundy. Its black grille and low-key brightwork identify this as a Series V.
Chrysler-sourced powerplant pumps out 264bhp and holds the correct temperature
Creased leather seats add a touch of charm to the 4TTs very well-presented cockpit
The alloy body panels are smooth and bubble-free, including the often corroded sill and front valance areas, with the bonnet and bootlid both fitting perfectly into their apertures. It’s a similar story with the doors, opening and shutting easily yet with a solid thud. The mirror-like paint finish has evidently been expertly applied, although small flecks of corrosion have attacked both bumpers. The grille-mounted Bristol badge is present and correct, as are the flawless brightwork trim strips on the sills and body flanks, but the driver’s mirror base is pitted.
Opening the lockers in the lower front wings reveals neatly welded repairs to their steel inner structures. The underside is straight-looking, with the front crossmember and substantial chassis members appearing to have escaped corrosion.
A modest odometer reading of 44,800 miles backs up the 6556cc V8 engine’s impression of good health. Rumbling into life, it displays a strong 50lb ft of oil pressure, and quickly warms up to sit at 90 degrees Celsius on the dashboard dial. This mighty lump pulls the car along in a docile manner, but responds with vigour under kickdown. There’s an absence of external oil leaks or exhaust smoke, although the ignition light flickers at idle.
Although the gear selector lever’s top is worn, the transmission itself is smooth and jolt-free in operation, taking up drive promptly. The unusual but original- specification stainless steel exhaust system, with four dummy tailpipes, has a rattling mount beneath the passenger’s footwell.
The power steering operates without fault, moving from lock to lock without squealing or juddering, while the twin-servo-assisted disc brakes pull the car up squarely and firmly, needing only light pedal pressure.
The vendor has refurbished the correct Avon alloy wheels, which are shod with a new set of Dunlop tyres. Inside, the black leather trim is free from damage or wear, save for a light creasing to the front seat faces. The rear seat looks barely worn and is fitted with a pair of inertia-reel seatbelts. Yellowing around the rear windscreen lets down the headlining, although the dashboard and door capping timber is unmarked and boasts excellent lacquer. All the black-rimmed dials operate as they should, as do the Philips radio and electrically raised aerial, while the boot has recently been recarpeted.
The asking price seems high - but with excellent coachwork and mechanicals, it presents a good case for itself.
CHOOSE YOUR BRISTOL
► First of the V8 Bristols, the 407, is unveiled in 1961. Similar looks to straight-six 406, but reworked body, plus power from 5130cc Chrysler V8 and three-speed automatic transmission. All-new coil spring front suspension, but Watt’s linkage rear suspension from 406 and same old Bristol chassis.
► 1963-onwards 408 has restyled nose, Rootes rear lights and Armstrong Selectaride rear dampers; larger 5211cc engine and lighter transmission with 1965 Mkll. 409 also offered, with 250bhp, higher gearing and softer springing, plus trapezoid front grille. Power steering standardised from June 1967.
► 410 follows in 1967, with faired-in headlamps, smaller 15in wheels, revised disc brakes and floor- mounted gear selector. 6277cc V8 and limited-slip differential help propel 1969 411 to 140mph. Also new three-spoke steering wheel and revised grille.
► Series II version of 411 from 1971 has self-levelling suspension, but Series III in 1972 has dramatically restyled front end, with rectangular grille, smoother bonnet and front wings, plus four 7in headlamps. Engine compression ratio lowered, but 1974 Series IV offers 6556cc powerplant to compensate.
► Production ends in 1976, with 614 of the 407-411 series built over 15 years.
Contact Fender Broad Classic Cars, (fenderbroad.com, 07909 565868)
Engine 6556cc OHV V8
Power 264bhp @ 4800rpm
Torque 335lb ft @ 3600rpm
Top speed: 140mph;
Fuel consumption 16mpg
COMPREHENSIVE, 5000 MILES PER YEAR, GARAGED CALL: 01277 206911
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