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

406 headlights

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  #1 (permalink)  
Old 26-04-23, 08:45 AM
Join Date: Apr 2023
Posts: 2
Default 406 headlights

Hi, This is my very first post on the forum - so please be gentle with me!

My boss has recently acquired the 406 that was customised on the TV show 'Ultimate Wheels' back in 2013, then displayed in the London Motor Museum, until it closed. Since then it has sat in a field looking very sorry for its self.

Although the car is structurally sound, a lot has been changed and modified, and he would like to put the car back to some resemblance of original and reverse most of the bodywork modifications.

The problem that we have run into is that all the lights had been removed and the rear lights and front indicators had been replaced with LED lights that you would expect to find in kitchen down lights rather than a car.

We have managed to find original replacements for these, however the headlights, bowls and trims had all been replaced with a modern style lamp held in by a custom made billet ring saying 'Bristol Bullet'.

We need to try and find replacements for both these lamps to get them back to as close to original as possible.

However these seem to be far wider than most classis cars of the period, we tried a 7 inch headlamp unit and the bowl practically fell through the hold in the wing, and none of the locating pins lined up with the existing holes in the wing.

Is there anyone out there who can help me, either with good used units or that can direct me to someone who can supply the bowls, lamps and trim rings?

Thank you in advance.

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  #2 (permalink)  
Old 26-04-23, 09:20 AM
Join Date: Nov 2010
Posts: 112
Default well done!

Congrats on removing these awful excrescences from such a dignified and elegant car. . I can't quite see from the photos, whether the wings have been cut back (butchered) to include larger headlights. Perhaps easiest to compare with another 406?
Very best wishes and good luck with your rescue mission. Does it have the original engine?
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  #3 (permalink)  
Old 26-04-23, 10:03 AM
Join Date: Jul 2008
Location: Sydney, Australia
Posts: 405

I just looked at the Lucas master catalogue and there are no Lucas headlights listed for the 406 .
I have never owned one but understood they could have been fitted originally with Marchal head lights . Certainly one 406 here in Australia has them fitted.
Surely a 406 owner will reply with the correct information.

Good luck with the reversal project , I just don't understand the thinking of some individuals. What ever you are able to achieve will be an improvement.

Could you please advise the chassis number of the 406

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  #4 (permalink)  
Old 26-04-23, 11:20 AM
Join Date: Apr 2023
Posts: 2

Thank you, I have heard that they may have been Marchal, but also that they were changed to another brand later in production, but who this was, i don't know.

Thank you for ruling Lucas out though, it will narrow the search down if nothing else.

I think the rear light holes may have been enlarged (probably to remove the original mounting holes) but the headlights show no signs of having been changed in anyway other than a few 'extra' holes for mounting the 'Bristol Bullet' headlamp rims.
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  #5 (permalink)  
Old 26-04-23, 04:05 PM
Join Date: Nov 2010
Posts: 112
Default 406 Marchal headlamps

And of course do try Classic Bristol Car Parts in Liphook, they hold much of the former factory stock. Graeme is very knowledgable and helpful. Yes, they were Marchal.
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  #6 (permalink)  
Old 28-04-23, 05:50 PM
Join Date: Mar 2009
Location: West Wales.
Posts: 455

The early 401's and Bentley Mk Vi R type were fitted with the larger 770 lamps as opposed to the 700 units fitted to the later cars, I would not have expected these to be on a 406 but if the wings have been cut back a bit it may offer a solution. Some of the associated parts for these early lamps are available from Holdes (new) and from Flying Spares (new & s/h ) , Holden's may also have the adapters to fit the later 7" lamps to these bowls but not sure what outer chrome rings you would need or the source, I was told the Marchal lamps in the Brian May sale made serious money.
I cant access my parts store at the moment to give you the measurements of these early units due to a bad carpel tunnel inflammation but if it improves over the weekend I will try. There were two types of the larger bowls one that fitted behind the wing and one that fitted on top.
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  #7 (permalink)  
Old 05-05-23, 02:39 PM
Join Date: Apr 2014
Location: Falmouth, Cornwall
Posts: 56

A 406 should have either

These are both in the Marchal 1959 catalogue, the ref 7966 is the earlier model 105.160 the is the successor

The Marchal units used at the time in the Bristol cars are slightly larger than 7, and the rims linked to above only fit the Marchal buckets.
Helping keep the cost down is the fact that the rims were also used on Ferrari 250 swb cars.

On my 406 I fitted p700 lights into generic buckets, I had to do a tiny bit of filing and possibly a new hole or two, but certainly nothing major, and nothing that would prevent original parts being fitted should they appear/I win the lottery. the trickiest part was finding trim rings that filled out to the edge of the wing. I tried all sorts and in the end the best I found are from a Volvo 1800s, see pic.

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