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

401/2/3 Dashboard question.

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Old 08-11-21, 08:05 PM
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Default 401/2/3 Dashboard question.

I have noticed that while most cars have black faced dials and black knobs/switches there are some cars with white faced dials and matching controls. I imagine these are the more desirable; I certainly prefer them.

Please could someone more knowledgeable than me kindly explain which years/models have them.?
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Old 09-11-21, 12:26 AM
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Raymond,
You have a dilemma, the instruments and switches you prefer are the preserve of the early 401's , the later 401's and 403's all had black dials and switches with white lettering. It was not just these features that made them special , look at the road tests of the early 401's, the detailing was very art deco, the indicator switch on top of the steering column, the cowl over same, the lids on the door pockets, the secret internal door release button the curved bonnet front and rear, so superior in detail to what followed and now very rare. Bring a rust free one of those back from Australia and you could have an absolute gem but essential it is almost a 100% complete especially interior and exterior trim as I doubt any is now available.
Would I rather have one of those cars than a 403 hell yes, I can understand the desire to go for a 403 because they have more power but if you are rebuilding a 401 engine now things can be done to match or exceed that performance, new Alfin drums for the front brakes are available or you could convert to discs, an overdrive could be fitted and I may also be able to sell you an anti roll bar taken off a 405.
Finding a set of the original white switchgear is going to be difficult all you need for most of it is the control knobs but the ignition/light switch is rather special. The instrument faces, I am sure someone or some firm could redo them with black numerals on a white or ivory background but it might look a bit resto mod without the patina of the originals.
Geoff.

Last edited by Geoff Kingston; 09-11-21 at 12:32 AM.
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Old 09-11-21, 01:21 AM
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Thank you so much for that reply Geoff. I am now even more keen to get my present project finished and get looking for an early 401. There was one advertised on Car and Classic not long ago which you may have seen.

In making a new dash for the TC my preference for white switchgear has led me to source these expensive items as an alternative to the standard MG black. I also invested in a new white 'Brooklands' steering wheel to match.

Prototype of my new dash arrangement.

https://i.postimg.cc/Kv3HMQgY/IMG-0651.jpg

Interesting you should mention 'Alfin' brake drums as I have also forked out for those all round. (Yes, I know they are not needed on the back but they balance the look).

https://i.postimg.cc/QMm43yvf/IMG-0168.jpg

Incidentally, has anyone you know of supercharged a 401?

Last edited by Raymond; 09-11-21 at 01:39 AM.
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Old 09-11-21, 01:49 AM
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I can remember reading about a supercharger installation I think on a 403 it had some good points but not enough it seemed to get any repeat orders, not sure if anyone has tried this in Australia, Geoff D . may be able to comment.
I suspect if you wanted to go down that route you would need to rebuild an engine with that in mind. To cross topic again Alfa big end bearings were often used on 2 litre engine rebuilds in the past as were MG and other pistons, despite the fact that a lot of the parts were sourced from four cylinder engines buying two sets of parts were often cheaper than buying Bristol specific parts.
Were they inferior I doubt it.
Geoff.
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Old 09-11-21, 01:56 AM
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Delightful cabin: (Steering wheel upside down!)

https://i.postimg.cc/hP83svpF/image.jpg

Unique switch:

https://i.postimg.cc/kgnYpCp2/image-1.jpg
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