• CAR: #1956-Bristol-405D / #Bristol-405D / #Bristol-405 / #Bristol / #1956 / #Bristol-100B

    Year of manufacture 1956
    Recorded mileage 25,852
    Asking price £175,000
    Vendor Pendine, Bicester Heritage, Oxfordshire; tel: 07770 762751; http://pendine.co

    WHEN IT WAS NEW
    Price £3189
    Max power 105bhp / DIN
    Max torque 112lb ft / DIN
    0-60mph 14 secs
    Top speed 102mph
    Mpg 23

    This splendid and rare convertible (43 built, out of 308 405s), bodied by ED Abbott of Farnham, was originally dove grey – but when the previous owner saw another in this colour she had it resprayed, by the factory, in 2011. It was specced from new with overdrive, heater, windscreen washers plus fog and spotlamps, and has been owned by Simon Draper.

    The paint remains very smart, over a straight body that’s only slightly rippled when you sight down the sides. Door fit is good, as is the bumper chrome (and H4 lights). The hubcaps aren’t dinged, but the doorhandles are lightly pickled. The refinished wheels are shod with 2005 Cinturatos and the spare is unused. It’s very clean underneath, with fresh-looking exhaust.

    Inside, the leather still seems fairly new, with the driver’s seat squab going a little baggy and the rear seat base lightly cracked. The dashboard veneer is excellent apart from some flaws in the lacquer near the original Radiomobile, and there are some small nicks in the leather at the edge of the instrument binnacle. One tonneau pin is missing from the top of the left door. The boot is neatly trimmed though smells a little musty.

    The motor, a standard 100B unit, has been refinished and abounds with thoughtful touches, such as the spare fanbelt already clipped into place around the water pump, and the lockwiring to the pump’s lubrication plug, plus spin-on oil filter. The carbs appear to have been rebuilt, with no leaks, plus there’s a new distributor cap and fuel pipes. Coolant is to a good level, oil golden and to the ‘High’ mark; there were two small drips on the floor.

    It starts instantly with no nasty clatters or smoke, though it takes a while to warm up sufficiently to idle cleanly. It drives sweetly, with fluid steering and chassis, nice brakes and gearchange, plus overdrive working promptly on top. As ever, you marvel that such a substantial-looking car does so well on 2 litres, but lightness (1240kg) is on its side. When warm, oil pressure is 40psi at tickover and 80psi at 3000rpm, with the ammeter showing a strong charge. Temperature struggled to get up to 70ºC. The 405 will be sold with invoices from Bristol totting up to £28k since 2007.

    SUMMARY

    EXTERIOR Paint still good; decent chrome
    INTERIOR Leather just settling in nicely
    MECHANICALS Drives well, with strong oil pressure; lots of recent bills

    VALUE 7/10

    For As the advertisement says, ‘a noble European tourer’
    Against Potential ongoing upkeep

    SHOULD I BUY IT?

    This 405 has no issues, needs or worries and, with only 25 thought to remain, these don’t come up for sale often.