Built in 1958
by renowned engineer Bryan Wingfield, this racing special was
used extensively in the late 1950s and early 1960s for hillclimbs, sprints and
track events. It was driven by Miss Jill Hutchinson, Bryan Wingfield himself and
The origins of the car were based on XGA 876, which started life in Glasgow as a regular daily driver, but the car we see here is a long way from that today.
A letter from Bryan Wingfield dated September 1987 explains how the car came about. He built the chassis himself and fitted suspension units fore and aft which he acquired from Frank Elliot of Middlesborough who was running a 1955 Lister Bristol sports racing car at the time, 4 CNO. Elliot had acquired them as spares for his car direct from Lister.
The chassis was designed as a part monocoque and used some stressed skin too. It was loosely styled on the Syracuse Connaught, widened out to a two-seater, although has morphed quite considerably since. The brakes were initially Dunlop calipers ex-Connaught, but these were soon replaced by TR2 units and then aluminium Girling calipers which were identical apart from the material from which they were made.
It was extensively campaigned, mostly in Scottish events driven by Wingfield - Bo Ness, Rest and be Thankful, Crimond and Charterhall. At Charterhall Wingfield first met with Jill Hutchinson who was racing a Lotus 6 at the time. They attended the same events for some time, and they ended up sharing the Bristol.
When Wingfield later joined The Ford Motor Company, he had to change his allegiance to his employer's brand and in his own words: 'had decided he was no good as a driver' arranging for the experienced Tony Densham to take the hot seat.
All this time, it was known as the Bristol Special, with further outings at Brighton Speed Trials and Weston-super-Mare. It was for a while referred to as the Lister Bristol which Bryan stated was incorrect and is now known as the Wingfield Special after its builder.
The rolling chassis was eventually sold to a couple of medical students for £150, the engine moving to a hot 403 which was used for hillclimbs and sprints. The students paid £50 up front, but that was the last Bryan heard of them.
It was offered in a small ad in the Exchange & Mart as a project in 1978 and purchased by Peter Williams who put it all together and ran it for the next three seasons with the HSCC - usually entered as 'The Lister Bristol'. It was then advertised under this name in Thoroughbred & Classic Magazine in 1981 for £6,800. It was traded to Bristol exponent John Bradburn who had a use for the engine, the rolling chassis moving on to a gent in Glasgow.
He called Brian to enquire about an engine and gearbox, and when informed of their value, decided the project was not for him. After further questions, it became apparent what the rolling chassis was and a deal was struck.
It was soon up and running and used regularly, albeit with a few sensible mods to increase the cockpit size.
In 2012/13 Brian came to an agreement with Peter Campbell, former Managing Director of Bristol specialists, Spencer Lane Jones, who extensively refurbished it over the winter of 2012/3. It was used extensively in FISCAR events at Silverstone and Castle Coombe with the VSCC and BDC.
A few years ago it was decided to give the engine a solid upgrade, work undertaken by Lee Keller at Spencer Lane Jones which included using a 100-series block, a NOS Arnolt crank, lightweight titanium rods and modified Cosworth pistons.
Lee also undertook extensive flow work to the head and carbs and focused attention on reducing the weight of the whole engine (lightening studs etc) which took more than 25kgs out of the standard unit, the weight loss programme being carried through to the bell housings.
Large valves were fitted along with copies of the Bristol 400 Le Mans car rockers. Carefully set up on a rolling road, it produced 140+bhp with a lovely power delivery.
The gearbox is a BW unit with a McPherson high ratio gear set (a direct copy of the Bob Gerard Cooper Bristol gear set) and the diff is from a later 411 which is thought to be a 4.1:1 in a 3HA aluminium bodied axle (super rare).
Since then, the car had a brief spell on the track at Castle Coombe, but is essentially ready to go having been fully and professionally refreshed.
This historic Bristol is highly capable on track and has been beautifully prepared by Spencer Lane Jones.
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