1949 Bristol 400
Only 4,500 miles on rebuilt engine; current owner 10 years; various useful upgrades including overdrive gearbox, electronic ignition, servo brakes; maintained regardless of cost; a really lovely example all round
Considering that only around 400 Bristol 400s were ever made, mostly for the export market, and that there are currently perhaps fewer than 50 still UK registered today, it is quite remarkable that Brightwells have successfully sold 10 of them over the last 15 years, including two in our last sale only a few weeks ago. We are thus well placed to know a good one from a bad one and we can confidently say that this particular example is right up there among the best ones we have seen.
Dating from 1949, not much is known about the early history of the car but documents on file suggest that it formerly bore the Bristol-issue number plate, LHY 376, and was resident in Northumberland by 1974. At some point thereafter it made its way to Belgium where it reputedly spent some time as part of a museum collection and where, in 2011, it was treated to a rebuilt engine, a replacement cylinder head and a brake overhaul at a cost of 15,577 Euros, as documented in photos and invoices on file, the engine currently fitted being the later, more powerful 85C type rather than the original 85A.
The following year it was brought back to England by respected Bristol aficionado and dealer, Alastair Hacking, who immediately sent it to marque specialist Spencer Lane Jones for a thorough check-over and to address any faults. As it turned out, the car was in remarkably good condition and needed very little attention, as confirmed in a detailed three-page report on file. A new set of tyres were fitted, some repairs made to the brakes and the front suspension plus a couple of other minor jobs at a cost of £1,781.
Our vendor acquired the car from Hacking in July 2012 and sent it back to SLJ for some further improvements including getting the brakes uprated with servo assistance, a new master cylinder, detailing of the engine bay, fuel pump rebuild, new engine mounts, attention to the charging system, repairs to the exhaust, chassis cleaned and painted and a new Perspex rear windscreen, the cost for this lot coming to £4,385.
During his 10-year ownership the car has continued to be maintained regardless of cost, the bulk of the servicing being carried out by licenced aero-engineer Richard Kimberley of Essex with numerous invoices to document the work done. This has included the fitment of overdrive on top gear for more relaxed high speed cruising, Aldon electronic ignition, spin-off oil filter conversion, carburettors overhauled, new leather gaiters to the front suspension springs, regular servicing plus much else besides.
As you can see in the photos, the car is in lovely condition throughout and we are told that it has only done around 4,500 miles since the 2011 engine rebuild. Starting promptly and running beautifully as we have moved it around on site, with good 50psi oil pressure, it also has a 2015 valuation letter from Bristol specialist Andrew Blow stating that it had an insurance value of £75,000 – we told you it was a good one!
On offer here at a fraction of that amount, it also comes with a technical guide to the overdrive gearbox and a copy of an original Bristol 400 maintenance manual. What more could you want?
For more information contact James on 07970 309907 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
Reg No: 702YUM
Chassis Number: 400-1-454
Engine Number: 85C2224
Engine Size: 1971
Docs: V5C; one old MOT; numerous invoices; photos; 2015 insurance valuation; overdrive gearbox guide; copy maintenance manual etc
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