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6 cyl Bristol cars Type 400 to 406 - restoration, repair, maintenance etc

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Old 30-10-20, 06:41 PM
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Default Howdy All

Greets from California USA.

Bristol?....that's a WW II aircraft, right?...thought that until I bought it...damn thing turned out to be a old car!?@?#

Seriously...knew/know very little about the brand.

I've always wanted to own a R-hand drive UK/AU classic. RMSotheby's just had a no-reserve auction, "Elkhart Auction" that had some beautiful cars offered. The entire collection was owned by a crooked CEO who used other people's money to buy & maintain them...around 40 million (US) worth! I figured that if the guy was using free money, he would maintain the cars to excellent condition. I thought I stood a better than average chance in buying a sight-unseen car w/o being ripped off. I don't show my cars, but drive them...they're automobiles, right?. From the photos of the collection, most looked to be in #1 & #2 condition.

After my 2 first picks (much cheaper than the Bristol) & the over-100k(US) cars went over market value, I realized there were a lot of More-Money-Than-Brains folks among the 2,500 bidders. I pretty much gave up on buying anything.

At the bottom of my list was the Bristol. I didn't bother researching it since it was estimated at more than I wanted to spend...but man...what a cool, like new vehicle, inside & out.

When it came up, I joined the bidding & figured to stay in as long as it was under the low estimate. I was Shocked!...Shocked I tell you!...when others quickly dropped out & I got it. It happened in a blur. The sale took maybe a minute.

I knew a couple of really neat Aussies in the past so I know that a few of you are just rude enough to say, "Shut up & tell us what you paid!"....actually it's public knowledge if you register for the site. My bid was US $55,000...unfortunately, it doesn't stop there. With the 12% commission, tax, shipping 2,400 miles, etc it was over US $68,000.

I can live with the price as it's a bit__'n car. I'm waiting on the delivery & hoping that the drive-train is as good as the rest of the car looks...we'll see, eh?

Very happy to find this forum & have had email correspondence with your helpful Admin, Kevin. There's not a heck of a lot of info out there & if it shows up w/o a owners manual, my first question will be, "How the hell do I start this & what's the Shift Pattern? "

In the meantime, here's a couple of pics from the auction site...lots more there.

ďG'dayĒ...ain't I cool?...OK, google helped..
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File Type: jpg MY BRISTOL.jpg (1,019.8 KB, 49 views)
File Type: jpg MY BRISTOL-interior.jpg (519.0 KB, 45 views)
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Old 30-10-20, 07:34 PM
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Location: Caldy, Wirral.
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That is truly a very beautiful car. Iíve owned several and I know youíll love owning it. I hope it gives you many years of joy.
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Old 30-10-20, 08:21 PM
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Originally Posted by Calibrator View Post
That is truly a very beautiful car. Iíve owned several and I know youíll love owning it. I hope it gives you many years of joy.
Thanks Cal...OK, if I call you Cal?...seriously..it means a lot when an experienced owner thinks that. Do you still have one now?

I'm very cynical & I'm holding any happiness back until my first drive around the neighborhood. If it drives OK, I'll let my guard down.

I should change the oil before I take it around the block. I use 15w-40 (diesel grade) in my 1960s cars, would that be OK for this? This is my first 1950s vehicle & have no experience with engines from the era or UK cars. Is this a Flat-Head? From the site photos it seems some components have been upgraded. Hopefully it's been overhauled to accept the unleaded gas we have.

I can't exactly call the owner & ask !!?#?#$

PS. Aren't you folks supposed to be asleep now?
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Old 30-10-20, 09:17 PM
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Location: Burbank, California
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Default Auction Bristol

Nice car! Where in California are you? There are several owners around the state.
You will soon hear from others that the (original?) engine is 2 l. 6 cyl in a unique valve configuration. It looks like a DOHC but a single cam operates inclined valves for the hemi-head, using pushrods that cross over. The engine is "Bristol", closely derived from the prewar BMW 328 engine.
There is a Bristol Owners Club you should join. https://boc.net/s/ They also have a forum that today linked to a (error-filled) news story about the Bristol Car Company.
I've been a BOC member for nearly 30 years; joined because my car (not a Bristol) has a Bristol engine. Jay Leno has a Bristol 403.
Cheers!
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Old 30-10-20, 09:20 PM
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Location: Bologna, Italy
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Smile

Hello,

maybe you'd like to take a look at some pages of my 403 blog...

My Favourite Cars-Bristol 403

I sold my 403 since last September to a nice gentleman and collector living in the South of France, but at least you may find what does the gear lever look like and some other interesting quirks of our beloved Bristols! Restoration of my 403 was somewhat roller coaster ride, but it worth every moment (and euro) of it. Congratulations, seriously, you purchased a fine car.

Best

Stefano
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Old 31-10-20, 01:40 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RGSchmitt View Post
Nice car! Where in California are you? There are several owners around the state.
You will soon hear from others that the (original?) engine is 2 l. 6 cyl in a unique valve configuration. It looks like a DOHC but a single cam operates inclined valves for the hemi-head, using pushrods that cross over. The engine is "Bristol", closely derived from the prewar BMW 328 engine.
There is a Bristol Owners Club you should join. https://boc.net/s/ They also have a forum that today linked to a (error-filled) news story about the Bristol Car Company.
I've been a BOC member for nearly 30 years; joined because my car (not a Bristol) has a Bristol engine. Jay Leno has a Bristol 403.
Cheers!
Quote:
Originally Posted by pasini s View Post
Hello,

maybe you'd like to take a look at some pages of my 403 blog...

My Favourite Cars-Bristol 403

I sold my 403 since last September to a nice gentleman and collector living in the South of France, but at least you may find what does the gear lever look like and some other interesting quirks of our beloved Bristols! Restoration of my 403 was somewhat roller coaster ride, but it worth every moment (and euro) of it. Congratulations, seriously, you purchased a fine car.

Best

Stefano
Thanks guys. It seems this isn't a Aussie only crowd, but an international one. I better exhibit my polite side. I figured the down-under folks could handle my weird/despicable/deviant personality, but the folks from more respectable countries (like NZ) are probably more refined! Plus, my Probation Officer is no doubt monitoring this, so I should straighten out.

It's nice knowing I have you folks watching my back on this...although I'm pretty familiar with cars & basic mechanics, this purchase really is a whole new experience. To further complicate matters, I was also dumb enough to buy a German car that I'm totally unfamiliar with (see attached). It was just so damn cute, with a low estimate that I jumped in, hoping I wouldn't get it. Wouldn't you know it! The one other bidder dropped out right away & my low-ball bid got it! That sale also took place in a blink of the eye. Now I gotta figure how to squeeze these into my garage !?@?#

RGSchmitt...I'm an hour south of Los Angeles & 1/2 an hour north of San Diego, in a remote rural area. I'm surprised that there are other Bristols in Calif. (I've seen Leno's on youtube). I thought the cars were unknown here-a-bouts. It would be fun to meet up with them.

Thanks for the engine info. Do you think it's OK using my 15w-40 oil?

Stefano...that's some restoration you've done!. Way more than I have the patience for. I'll be viewing it more closely soon. Is there a written part of your blog, or is it mainly photos? I only did a quick look, so I might have missed it. BTW...is the body aluminum or steel?

As our former Governor said, "I'll be back".
Attached Images
File Type: jpg MY TAUNUS.jpg (426.3 KB, 17 views)
File Type: jpg MY TAUNUS-interior.jpg (545.9 KB, 13 views)
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  #7 (permalink)  
Old 31-10-20, 12:16 PM
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Location: Meriden near Coventry
Posts: 67
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That looks like a really good example of a 403. I have never owned a 6-cylinder Bristol, but I do appreciate their qualities (as an automotive engineer). I hope and expect that as you get to know this car you will discover just what a brilliant and radical design it was for the 1950s. The cognoscenti always assert that the handling of the Bristol cars of this period is outstanding compared to anything else available at the time, and indeed for quite some years after.

Congratulations and wishing you many years of happy Bristolling.
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Old 01-11-20, 09:38 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pasini s View Post
Hello,

maybe you'd like to take a look at some pages of my 403 blog...

My Favourite Cars-Bristol 403

I sold my 403 since last September to a nice gentleman and collector living in the South of France, but at least you may find what does the gear lever look like and some other interesting quirks of our beloved Bristols! Restoration of my 403 was somewhat roller coaster ride, but it worth every moment (and euro) of it. Congratulations, seriously, you purchased a fine car.

Best

Stefano
Stefano

I spent some time viewing your Blog. Very nice & the restoration photos assisted me in learning about the unknown car I just purchased. As opposed to my initial quick glance of your blog, I can see that you didn't do the restoration yourself....what?...didn't you have 20 years to spare?

It turned out to be a very beautiful 403. I wish my car was silver instead of black. When I first saw it on the auction site, the color was the only detail that discouraged me....I thought it looked dark & seemed to minimize it's swooping curves & fastback design. I might add whitewalls to brighten it up.....that will probably make some here cringe however.

Your travel photos were amazing....beautiful locations & cars. However, I found them to be too dignified & stately. Don't you think a nouveau riche, brash/loud/obnoxious Yank, driving his all original brash/loud/obnoxious '66 427 Corvette with side pipes would have lighten up the festivities?......fortunately, I don't know anyone like that.....really.....trust me on this.

Seriously, thanks for the tour & info. It will assist me as I explore my 403.
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Old 01-11-20, 09:43 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Thor View Post
......snip.........Congratulations and wishing you many years of happy Bristolling.
Quote:
Originally Posted by RGSchmitt View Post
......snip......There is a Bristol Owners Club you should join. https://boc.net/s/ They also have a forum that today linked to a (error-filled) news story about the Bristol Car Company. I've been a BOC member for nearly 30 years;..........snip.....Cheers!
Thor...many thanks.

RGSchmitt...good advice. I've checked them out & will be joining as soon as things settle down here. I also had a helpful PM from another member there.
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Old 01-11-20, 11:30 PM
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Default your 403

]Nice - very nice. a late model Type 403 with the little sidelights and short gear lever. That means the c/r gearbox. Antiroll bar, and Maybe discs on the front too?
Most advanced car made in the UK for many years IMHO. Cd 0.32 in 1950 - not bad eh? Move over E Type (0.50). Note the huge one piece forged alloy bumper mouldings. Later Bristols inevitably became cheaper and less radical.
Alloy coachwork on a Superleggera frame, 50:50 weight balance, continuous cruising speed of 78-80 mph. And No,its very far from being a Flathead.
Check out our little website bristolownersht.co.uk for videos I took of the factory staff and other characters.
Id suggest you joined both clubs - BODA and BOC.
Stefan Cembrowicz
Chair, Bristol Owners Heritage Trust


[/size]
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Old 02-11-20, 01:50 AM
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RGSchmitt...aka...
(Bob)

I've been sitting on my a___ all Sunday, researching this strange car I bought. Also read through the forum's archives.

I saw u'r old post about a picnic at Woodly Park....I ran my 5 miles there for a number of years. Also went rollerskating during that era (1980s?)...alongside hot babes in short-shorts & bikini tops... ahh...the memoirs of a Legend in His Own Mind who is now past his prime....sigh...

I have friends in Woodland Hills (2 hour away) who I occasionally visit. If you or any others still get together ....let me know.....keeping fingers crossed that the 403 is up to that drive...

Do you have a Bristol now?....can u post a pic?

Peter
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Old 02-11-20, 01:58 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Stefan View Post
]Nice - very nice. a late model Type 403 with the little sidelights and short gear lever. That means the c/r gearbox. Antiroll bar, and Maybe discs on the front too?
Most advanced car made in the UK for many years IMHO. Cd 0.32 in 1950 - not bad eh? Move over E Type (0.50). Note the huge one piece forged alloy bumper mouldings. Later Bristols inevitably became cheaper and less radical.
Alloy coachwork on a Superleggera frame, 50:50 weight balance, continuous cruising speed of 78-80 mph. And No,its very far from being a Flathead.
Check out our little website bristolownersht.co.uk for videos I took of the factory staff and other characters.
Id suggest you joined both clubs - BODA and BOC.
Stefan Cembrowicz
Chair, Bristol Owners Heritage Trust
Thanks Stefan...man, that does sound like they were ahead of the times...can't wait to look underneath & check out the frame & if I have discs.

You lost me on the "c/r gearbox"....close ratio??

I'll soon be checking out your organization also.

Peter
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Old 05-11-20, 06:37 PM
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Not sure if your questions were answered.

The engine has a hemi head with a single waist level cam achieved by having a set of push rods transfer across the head to the valves on the other side.

15/40 diesel grade should be OK. Bristol recommended 30 sae over 32 degrees. Most people use 20/50
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Old 06-11-20, 01:42 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by peterg View Post
Not sure if your questions were answered.
The engine has a hemi head with a single waist level cam achieved by having a set of push rods transfer across the head to the valves on the other side.
15/40 diesel grade should be OK. Bristol recommended 30 sae over 32 degrees. Most people use 20/50
No they hadn't Peter. Thanks for that. Using what I have makes this complicated possession a tad easier.

The delivery should take place Fri. am. Since both are kinda strange cars to me, I'm keeping fingers crossed that they have an owner's manual in the glove box!

Thanks again
Peter (the other one)
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