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6 cyl Bristol cars Type 400 to Type 406

New 403 owner

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  #21 (permalink)  
Old 14-02-10, 12:05 PM
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People have converted original 403's with original engines and I would bet that done well that they fetch more money.

Only a guess though.

Even Beetles and Morris Minors values increase massively once chopped and there is loads of them !!

Greg
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Old 14-02-10, 01:34 PM
Hal Hal is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Max Tone View Post
,

You might like to consider the 3-
There are rusting Humber hulks all over the place, in danger of being weighed in for scrap...........................

Rob
Hi Rob,

That sounds like an interesting idea.

From a purist's point of view, would this swap be considered "accurate" and in keeping, and also how would it effect the value ?

Is the Humber lump a reliable unit ?

Thanks
Hal
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  #23 (permalink)  
Old 14-02-10, 01:50 PM
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Default New 403 owner

Hi Kevin -

Thanks for the references. One primary consideration before doing
any work on any old car should be "motivation". Should we take on a
project because we really like the car? To make a profit? Some combination?

When a car can't be driven and a prospective owner has no experience
with the marque, it's very hard to know if it will be "liked" when
it's done. My Frazer Nash was totally inoperative from the day I
first saw it in 1975 until I drove it in 2005 (almost exactly 5 years
ago this week), so I never knew if I would like driving it until
then. I do! The entire expense of storing the car during that time,
having work done at various shops, shipping the car to NZ, etc. was
somewhat a concern, but my only rationale during that period was to
break even or not be too far "underwater". Over that period, I was
encouraged by the Bristol Owners Club, the Frazer Nash Club and
various new books that my car had some support and recognition in the
universe of cars - much different than in 1975, when my friends
thought I overpaid for a strange car and was otherwise a dreamer - it
would never be finished.

I think the same is true of any "odd" car; but a prospective owner
should still weigh their real affection and goals for the car against
the reality of much work and/or costs. Other cars I've owned,
improved, and sold were mostly driveable when bought and during all
the work. If ever took on a car like this Bristol, I'd probably try
to get an engine in it as quickly as possible to learn about the
potential enjoyment of driving it.

It's all a little crazy, isn't it?

Bob


Bob, it was on here (Clyde aka 460Special). He talks about his car
(Bristol 406) in these threads.

Replacement engines for Bristol 6

http://www.bristolcars.info/forums/6...ice-parts.html

---Quote---
PS My car was in MUCH worse condition when I found it, so don't give up.
---End Quote---
Yes, but your fully restored Frazer Nash is probably worth ten times
what a 403 would be worth!
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  #24 (permalink)  
Old 14-02-10, 01:59 PM
Hal Hal is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Claude View Post
Hal. Bristol owners have tried all sorts of transplants, and from my viewpoint, one of these days a Bristol owners contingent should approach Tony Silverton at Bristol Cars and ask that the factory come up with an "approved" solution. Unlikely that it would be remanufacture of the old Bristol 6 and transmission, because the cost would be over the top even if they had it made in China.

More likely something along the lines of what they did with Chrysler, where they are phenomenally lucky to have chosen a power plant that was in production in 1960, and remains, in almost the same form today in 2010. However, it probably needs to be a lighter engine, and I envision Bristol developing a retrofit kit with the ideal making it a bolt-in solution using a common engine with similar performance characteristics to the original. Probably Japanese if they want practical, but could be German if they want tradition.

Having said that, there may be another direction for you to go. Electric. Check out the electric car conversion business, and you find it is not all microcars. Ford and Chevy made pickup trucks that ran about 100 miles on a charge. The motor part is easy and small - it will fit into the drive bay, and typically uses a manual transmission. The battery part is the weight and cost, but a lot of this depends on range. Once installed, maintenance is far less.

There are companies that will do it all for you, if you have the checkbook. See Electric Blue Motors Conversion Services for an example, quoting about $13,000 for a car. Do it yourself seems to be around $5,000 for parts.

A few years ago, this would have been considered an off the wall idea, but times are changing thanks to folks like Tesla. The fact is that most classics are not driven over 100 miles at a time, and if you do take the long outing, a gasoline powered battery charger can extend range. The Bristol can store batteries in the two side wings as well as behind the rear seat where the gas tank goes without taking space from the passenger compartment or boot/trunk. With the side wings you could probably design a quick remove kit, so you could keep a batch of fresh batteries in the garage and swap them out in seconds.

And, if you are looking for cheap batteries, a friend of mine put a wind generator in his home on a micro-island in Rhode Island, and he bought a room full of used batteries from a nuclear power plant. Apparently they are required to replace them on a schedule, even though they have plenty of life left in them.

Just another idea to throw into the mix.

Cheers
Claude

Hi Claude,

Yes I guess it would help if there was a sanctioned transplant, at a sensible cost.

However, if Bristol gave up making their own engines, and bought in engines from Chrysler, does that mean that the engine and gearbox are not fundamental to the spirit or soul of a Bristol.

If so, are alternatives a real problem then ?

I know of a chap in the USA, in the deep south, who converted his pickup to electric.

The problem he found was that using lead acid batteries added too much weight, and the lighter batteries were much to expensive.

Using electric would simplify in many respects, and turn it into a real retro modern type of motor.

Its worth keeping in mind, and thanks for the input and ideas.

Cheers
Hal
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  #25 (permalink)  
Old 14-02-10, 02:16 PM
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Let's face it folks -- there are dozens of similar 401, 403 & 405s that are the wrong side of borderline restoration cases. As Clyde said, unless we get Bristol to sanction a particular replacement drive-train, they'll end up being broken & chassis weighed in for scrap, losing the Bristol identity for ever.

Siddeley/Humber engine design at least known to have been used by both FN & Bristol in prototypes.

Even with original engines, many of these basket-cases will be uneconomical to restore as large saloons with expensive to replace interiors, brightwork etc.

.........but as spartan "Bristol Specials" (or Bristol-Siddeley), they might have more hope of survival & be much cheaper to build on bare rolling chassis.

There are many interesting, fun & potentially more valuable end-results that could be looked at long-term.

I don't see any reason why the 9' 6" chassis can't be cut'n'shut to 8' or 8' 6" for a variety of body styles. One would need to obtain 404 torsion bars & mounts, but converting to coilovers cheaper:-

405 to 404 is a prime example. You get bigger rear window & maybe higher roofline, but shapes essentially there.

405 to Spartan Speedster as per 'Bullet' another possibility. Any of you graphics boys able to cut-n-shut some pics?

8' wheelbase also suits FN body styles, AC Ace, as well as Arnolt.

Le Mans rep rep rep rep anyone?...........chassis maybe a bit wide, though.

Hawk do an Ace body that might fit, but a bit blase. If there are enough chassis kicking around, might they be persuaded to take moulds from an Arnolt? (gotta find one first!)

At this level of restoration economics, ultimate survival must surely take precedence over originality...............

Comments?

Rob
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  #26 (permalink)  
Old 14-02-10, 04:06 PM
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Default Soul

Quote:
Originally Posted by Hal View Post
However, if Bristol gave up making their own engines, and bought in engines from Chrysler, does that mean that the engine and gearbox are not fundamental to the spirit or soul of a Bristol.
Hal
Rules about classic cars do not apply to Bristol. There are not enough of them to create a "typical" resale market, and a great deal of their fate depends on one man... previously Tony and now Toby. Tony caused the marque to fall into oblivion, keeping it going but putting it so far off the radar screen as to weaken the used market to the point where many restorables were scrapped or lie in open fields. Toby has revitalized it, so there is new interest, and I see prices higher.

The soul of a Bristol is not purest. It is an engineers car (until the recent Fighter which is sex on wheels) and a historian's car in the same vein as the Morgan, only more elegant. So when Chrysler offered their automatic transmission, and popped a motor on it to demonstrate its use, Bristol shifted to what they saw as an excellent motor. Once in, they have stayed with it because changing is complicated, and their engine has remained stable even as the company changed ownership and almost went out of business a few times.

Bristol itself does not venerate its cars. It is happy to take a 410 in and offer to refit it with the latest engine, brakes, electric devices and modern sunroof. But because it does this as the factory, it creates an official sanction that goes down in history as proper. It makes it part of the"soul" of the car.

Sometimes it takes a newcomer, and Hal, you may be the man. Not sure where you live, but I would suggest you take a flight or drive over to the showroom and have a serious chat with Toby. I would estimate there are at least a hundred engineless 400-6 cars out there that could reasonably be restored if an engine/transmission combo could affordably be secured from a donor car. The business case for Bristol is the Morgan business case. As Tony Crook said, Morgan is in the parts business. They build their cars to create market demand for parts. Put a hundred Bristols back on the road with engines and the demand for restoration parts will skyrocket.

I think it is worthwhile asking Toby to look at electric. Doing a review of the internet shows companies are now coming out with reasonable sized cars targeting 100 to 250 miles driving range. Batteries will improve. We may also see fuel cell charging systems that use gasoline better (because they run at a single rpm). From a restoration perspective, electric is easy because it fits in the engine bay and allows weight to be strategically distributed for best handling. If he can do the conversion at the current market price, they would charge about 10,000 UKP... and as all would be the same, that price could come down after the first few. Not unprecedented. When gas became a problem, Bristol sold LPG cars. And, on my last visit to the repair shop, they did have an electric micro car parked in a corner.

But if not electric, ask Toby to pick a common engine that was put in cars whose bodies broke while the engine soldiered on. It is too bad, of course that the Chrysler small-block 8 does not easily fit, but I wonder what would be involved in a factory refit kit. It may require a tin kit for the engine bay, and probably would require a stronger differential. After all they did it with the Bullet, which looks like it was a Bristol-6 chassis they modified as an engine test bed.

What do you say, Hal? Pop on over and have a chat.

Claude
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  #27 (permalink)  
Old 14-02-10, 05:31 PM
Hal Hal is offline
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Thanks guys for your replies.

Kevin:
The problem is that i've already bought a car. If i'd have engaged my brain and did what sensible people do, which is research before a purchase, then yes, buying a good one would have been the way to go.

But thats not necessarily a problem, as the restoration could be an interesting project and an excuse to learn some new skills, if i can persevere.

But as you say knowing that you could lose large amounts on the restoration before the work has even started, is difficult to stomach.

Greg:
I really like the idea of turning the 403 into a 402, and if this is half way possible, then this may well be the best reason, financially and from an aesthetic point of view.

If there's anyone you know that has had this done, or any coachbuilder that could do the conversion, i would love to hear.
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Old 14-02-10, 08:07 PM
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Hal,
Andrew Stevens from London has turned his 403 ( or was it a 401 ) into a convertible - and it looks superb. I'll attempt to attach two photos but if I fail and you would like to see them let me know via email and I'll make a web album so that everyone can see it.
Dave Dale. bristol @davedale.co.uk

Quote:
Originally Posted by Hal View Post
Greg:
I really like the idea of turning the 403 into a 402, and if this is half way possible, then this may well be the best reason, financially and from an aesthetic point of view.

If there's anyone you know that has had this done, or any coachbuilder that could do the conversion, i would love to hear.
Attached Images
File Type: jpg castle combe 003.jpg (148.4 KB, 38 views)
File Type: jpg castle combe 004.jpg (114.9 KB, 41 views)
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  #29 (permalink)  
Old 14-02-10, 08:31 PM
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The pictures of that conversion look superb!

How much do you want for the 403 Hal ?

Hope the guy I sent you on email can help. Richard James has a good name and Bristol experience as well.

Greg
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Old 14-02-10, 09:28 PM
Hal Hal is offline
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Dave,

Thanks for the photos, thats an awesome looking car. However, it does look as if its had some major major work, and clearly converting over isnt a simple process.

Greg,

Sorry matey, its definitely not for sale, now that i've seen that conversion !.
And thanks for sending me details of that chap, i'll be getting in contact with him.
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  #31 (permalink)  
Old 15-02-10, 12:09 AM
Des Des is offline
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Well now you have an objective you don't need to worry about cost effectiveness, rationality etc. these concerns have no place, it should be more an emotional thing.
I'm keeping my 403 standard, but only because that's the state I found it in and it's the easiest option, having said that I've been faffing around with it for about 7 years and haven't made huge progress. I actually bought a second (engineless) one last year, don't know what I was thinking of, but I have gazed into the empty engine bay dreaming of what might fill the gap. I would think a 'period' engine a folly, I don't think there's much that wouldn't leave the car nose-heavy, and / or gutless. It probably has to be something 4 cylinder as I doubt there's many sixes other than the Bristol short enough to fit without butchery.
The type 9 gearbox used in Sierra / Capri is a pretty strong box, bellhousings are available to give quite a few engine choices, even some wildcard FWD lumps.
Speaking of FWD, I have an old Saab Turbo I've owned for 20 years and can't bear to part with, it crossed my mind that it has a fairly compact engine gearbox unit, I didn't get the tape measure out but I think the Bristol would have to lose a couple of feet of chassis so perhaps not, although, 170 BHP, equal length driveshafts equate to a non FWD lack of torque steer.
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  #32 (permalink)  
Old 15-02-10, 01:15 AM
Hal Hal is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dave dale View Post
Hal,
Andrew Stevens from London has turned his 403 ( or was it a 401 ) into a convertible - and it looks superb. I'll attempt to attach two photos but if I fail and you would like to see them let me know via email and I'll make a web album so that everyone can see it.
Dave Dale. bristol @davedale.co.uk
Dave,

Would you know how to get in contact with Andrew Stevens, and do you know who did the conversion for him ?

thanks Hal
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  #33 (permalink)  
Old 15-02-10, 01:23 AM
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Default New member light green Bristol 403 reg. no. UPL 566

Hi all,

My name is Joseph, from Monte Estoril, Lisbon area in Portugal.
For many years that I was trying to buy a decent left hand drive 403, for a decent price. LHD Bristols don't hang on trees, so after turning down some good LHD 401's, I finally purchased the RHD light green Bristol 403 from Steven de'Ath.
My first step was to join BOC as a clubmember by the end of last year, and trying to find out what was important about choosing the right car.
Jaap Koopmans from the Netherlands has been of great help, via email and telephone.
I am still wating for the fittment of an overdrive in the UK, and hope to get the car here in a couple of weeks or so.
I intend to change it's color into a much darker shade of green.
Also the headlamps must be changed into continental type right dip. I am trying to find a pair of Lucas PF770 complete, in order to substitue the previous smaller ones. The PF770 just look glorious on these cars... Any clues where to find them? I just enquired Holden Vintage & Classic.
De'Ath's car has lots of improvements, although non-standard, they are great: 405 engine and gearbox, for example.
Recently I had the chancd to meet a 90 years old gentleman from Portugal, who owned a 403 back in the 1950's. Ill try to send a picture.

Yours for longer engine roars,
Joseph
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Old 15-02-10, 01:35 AM
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Default Old Bristol 403 in Portugal (March 1956)

Hi all,

Here is the picture of Mr. Joaquim de Vilhena, returning from the Switzerland to Lisbon in March 1956, with his Bristol 403.

This car has been scrapped many years later by next owner.

Picture has been taken at Parador EL CID in Burgos, northern Spain. On the roof of the car there were the skys, and next there was a Mercedes 220S Ponton with those lovely export german oval plates...

I wonder about those chormed "bezel" protections on the underside of the rear mudguards. I never saw any of those on a 2 litre Bristol before. Should it be original? He says they came with the car when he bought it new, and never putted any extras on the car. He was very positive, for he told me he hated tose kind of "boy racer" improvements.


Enjoy...
Joseph
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  #35 (permalink)  
Old 15-02-10, 01:35 AM
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Default New 403 owner

Having bought a few AC's with odd engines fitted & 400's without engines &
boxes over the years there always seems to be someone that has spares
available especially 85 series ex 400 & 401.

I think a few alternative motors suitable for a 6 cylinder chassis (subject
to measurement )might be a Daimler V8 of early 60's or a Rover 3500 V8 ,
both should fit behind the cross member with out major modification . They
are relatively short and light with excellent torque and should suit the car
and not upset the handling.

I've seen Holden/GM 3 litre sixes & XK Jag engines fitted to 400 & 401
chassis but major modifications to the firewall, floors & gearbox X member
are necessary.

Has anyone seen a small V8 fitted to a 6 cylinder Bristol Chassis ???

Geoff
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  #36 (permalink)  
Old 15-02-10, 01:20 PM
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Default 402 pattern

Hal,

Have you seen post re 402 undergoing restoration in Denmark? In its present stripped state, now would be the ideal time to examine how it's put together, mountings, hood, frame etc.

Maybe Greibel might take more snaps, measurements etc., or find yerself an excuse to fly to Denmark!

Rob
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  #37 (permalink)  
Old 15-02-10, 02:39 PM
Hal Hal is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Claude View Post
Rules about classic cars do not apply to Bristol.
Claude
Claude,

As a newbie, I found your observations illuminating, especially about Bristol cars not “venerating” their cars, and that the soul of a Bristol is that of an engineer.

These comments seem to make sense to me. Especially, since as you point out that they will happily modernise one of their earlier models to full modern spec. And I accept that a retrofit done by the factory, would be perceived as proper.

But if we start looking at electric, LPG etc, whether factory approved or not, surely it begs the question again of what is it that makes a Bristol. Is it the power plant? the chassis, the design or some other mechanical or design aesthetic that if we see it, we can recognise and identify as uniquely Bristol.

As a new owner, in my “ignorance” I would say that its understated cars, with good British engineering values, and cars for grown ups that are practical, and that on the whole form follows function.

But if “Britishness” is a core value, then how can they use the Chrysler bits without sacrificing this value ?

These are more questions than statements, as the answers I believe will help clarify / pin down what is lets say acceptable and what isn’t.

If it’s just engineering, then surely any and all superior engineering could be added ?

I suspect that my lack of knowledge of Bristol cars and oily bits in general would preclude me from being the one that could talk to Bristol cars. I’d probably make some daft suggestion that would get me shot or make me persona non grata, lol.

Hal
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  #38 (permalink)  
Old 15-02-10, 02:54 PM
Hal Hal is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Geoff Dowdle View Post
might be a Daimler V8 of early 60's or a Rover 3500 V8 , both should fit behind the cross member with out major modification .

Geoff
Sounds like a lot bigger engines. Could the chassis handle the horsepower, and are parts for these engines readily available ?


Quote:
Originally Posted by Max Tone View Post
Hal,

Have you seen post re 402 undergoing restoration in Denmark? In its present stripped state, now would be the ideal time to examine how it's put together, mountings, hood, frame etc.

Maybe Greibel might take more snaps, measurements etc., or find yerself an excuse to fly to Denmark!

Rob
Rob

Thats not a bad idea, and i could pick up some tips etc. I'll have to ask him to see what he says.

Thanks Hal
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  #39 (permalink)  
Old 15-02-10, 03:25 PM
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Default New 403 owner

Don't worry about the Rover engine - there are literally thousands of the
old Buick-based 3.5 litre engines available from scrapped Range Rovers and
Discovery's, and they are pretty indestructable. You could even choose
between carburetor or fuel injection.
I find it sad that many early Bristols have become just a cheap source of
6-cyl engines for AC's, FN's and Arnolt's. Like Jaguar V-12's for kit cars.
I remember helping a pattern maker chissel away at the wooden mould for the
cylinder head of that engine, in Nuneaton, I guess in 1970?
The blueprint stretched across the entire wall in his workshop!
I came across a 406 in London for less than GBP 2000 about 2 years ago, with
I believe an Opel Manta engine, grubby leather and no doubt lots of rust.
That's not a viable project in my opinion (just worked out what IMO means).
With best regards,
Andrew.
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  #40 (permalink)  
Old 15-02-10, 05:22 PM
Hal Hal is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rubbond View Post
Don't worry about the Rover engine -
Andrew.
Thanks Andrew, if the engine fits a 403 then that could be a good option, as there are lots of scrapped Range Rovers about.

Quote:
Originally Posted by rubbond View Post
That's not a viable project in my opinion (just worked out what IMO means).
Lol
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