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dmc1 28-08-18 12:34 AM

401 engine sugestions.
Hi all i am new to this forum and want to ask,
does any one know what engine i can put in a 401 1950 model.With out to much modification.

Claude 28-08-18 01:41 AM


Originally Posted by dmc1 (Post 9432)
Hi all i am new to this forum and want to ask,
does any one know what engine i can put in a 401 1950 model.With out to much modification.

The normal answer will be any number of other brands like Nissan or even BMW. However, before you go very far, consider giving Kamal Siddiqi a call at KamKorp, the parent of Bristol Cars and ask if they would consider a JV with you to install an electric motor and battery instead.

Or do it yourself. Lot's of good information on the web, just google it.

Wonder what happened to this project:

Geoff Dowdle 28-08-18 07:02 AM

I have never converted a Bristol engined car to another power but have coverted two back to Bristol power from other fitted engines and gearboxes.

I suggest you find a Bristol 85C engine and gearbox to bring the car back to standard . There will be no modifications necessary and although the cost will initially be higher , the value of a 401 with another period or modern engine will be well under that of one that is totally original .
Depending on your location it should not be too difficult to locate a 85C engine .
Various owners have fitted small V8 engines like Daimler SP250, or Rover 3500 which probably give good power but no doubt the gearbox cross member might have to be removed to fit the mating gearbox . The front of the torsion bars attach to that cross member and I suggest you need an engineer to advise you before thinking about cutting that cross member .
Other things to consider are new/modified tail shaft , firewall mods , gearbox tunnel and floor mods , speedo & tacho adaption/modification , exhaust system , possible electrical mods , larger radiator etc etc

Alfa 1750 /2000 with 5 speed box MIGHT fit .

A few Bristols have been converted to Jaguar XK power but there are major mods needed and I would hate to think what the handling would be like with all that cast iron up front.
Unless you are a competent home mechanic/restorer the cost of all the above will be greater than buying a Bristol engine .
And after doing all those mods what do you have ?? A modified 401 that might be worth half an original .
With good original 401's bring over GBP50 do your maths !!

Do you own a engineless 401 or are you considering buying one ?

Good Luck

Geoff Kingston 28-08-18 11:17 PM

The ultimate would be an early 50's BMW V8 engine and box but now in the same price range as a Bristol engine and box but it would give you the sort of car AFN wanted and might be worth as much as a standard car if done properly.
Dropping expectations of value and price/cost of conversion Rover V8 engines and gearboxes went into several cars from the early 80's onwards but in my view the best option is the Triumph 2000/2500 engine and gearbox which goes in with as I understand it minimal chassis mods.
I missed a few days ago the opportunity to photograph such an installation in a friends car at the Dorset Steam Fair in this case a conversion on a 403 that suffered terminal engine failure.
The owner has a standard 403 , ran the car in question for many years in standard form and really praises the way the 403 drives and performs with the 2.5 Triumph unit. It looks neat though not as tall as the Bristol unit, the gearbox appears longer but seems to be accommodated in the engine bay, gear lever is well positioned and the car sound really nice.
This car is in regular use over most of the west country shows as support vehicle to the owners Vintage tractors, this speaks volumes about the suitability of the conversion and the way you should enjoy a Bristol, sadly lost on some of the trophy hunting brigade.

alistair 28-08-18 11:17 PM

401 Engine Suggestions
A perfect example of Geoff Dowdle's point about values can currently be seen on Car and Classic - hopefully the following link will take you there but if not select Bristol and then search 405.

Geoff Kingston 29-08-18 12:04 PM

When initially advertised the converted 405 was available with the option of a correct Bristol engine and gearbox to return it to original specification, obviously at a price reflecting the value of those components but a viable proposition compared to the value of the more expensive car as the starting point appears to be a good on the road car which looks as though it would not require any other restoration or work.
Contrast that with the 405 project sold by Brightwells a few months ago, it needed a lot of work and although there was a Bristol engine and gearbox with it they were from an earlier car, an 85A block with 85C head and a non overdrive Bristol syncro box, it made under £8k, or about the value of the engine and gearbox to the buyer as the rest of the car, i.e. the rolling body shell was on eBay 2 weeks later for spares, a pity as it was basically sound.
It would have made a good basis for an engine conversion and if it still survives it is perhaps its only hope, it may have had a better fate if it had been offered without the wrong spec engine and gearbox.
In the BOC there are several cars now with different power units, the most recent I have seen is the 406 fitted with a Rover V8 engine and gearbox by Spencer Lane Jones, the owner a long standing owner of another standard 406 is very pleased with the outcome so yes a conversion may knock the value but you might end up with a better car in terms of performance than could be achieved with a Bristol engine without spending mega bucks on it.

Philip 29-08-18 05:42 PM

Geoff - I believe the red saloon at Brightwells was bid to £8k, but was unsold - it was previously bid to £14.5k at an earlier Brightwells sale, but, again, was unsold.

Geoff Kingston 29-08-18 06:46 PM

It did sell the second time round as it appeared in the Brightwells results for their sale of the 11th April at £7840 and appeared on ebay shortly afterwards (early May) without the engine and gearbox and with "no identity" as the chassis plate was said to be missing.
I had viewed the car before it went to the Brightwells sale at that time it was available without the 85 series engine and gearbox and had I owned a spare overdrive box would probably have bought it, at that time the bulkhead identity plate had been removed from the car and was with the paperwork, I don't know if this made it to Brightwells as the owner was quite ill and family members were dealing with the sale. By the time it got onto ebay it was being advertised for spares , I contacted the advertiser who said they were selling it for a customer but he had second thoughts about braking it and had decided to hang on to it for the time being.

Philip 29-08-18 07:01 PM

You’re quite right, it is listed in their sale results - shame about the outcome as it looked very restorable.

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