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8 & 10 cyl Bristol cars From Type 407 onwards

Bristols best kept secret is out.

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Old 16-08-17, 10:11 PM
Join Date: Mar 2009
Location: West Wales.
Posts: 236
Default Bristols best kept secret is out.

There is a very good feature in the latest edition of Classic and Sportscar written by Martin Buckley setting out the case for the 603 which he regards as the most underrated and undervalued of the V8's. I have long been of the view that the 603 is one of the most significant Bristols as with the exception of the Beaufighter and Fighter its basic body design underpinned all the models that followed upto and including the Blenheim 3. The shape that evolved from the 406/407 managed about 17 years, the 603 eclipsed this by a significant margin managing to stamp its DNA on the next 32 to 33 years of production.
Despite what is suggested in the feature the 603 loaned for the test for the test was actually for sale for a very short period of time, this could have been down to the very reasonable asking price which I thought personally was too cheap especially as the S seems to the rarest 603 listed with the BOC, there are more E's listed despite what the article and Tony Crook used to say but both are eclipsed by the S2 which did seem to be produced in greater numbers.
I own a 603E and the 5.2 V8 is a very sweet running and reliable unit, I have tried out two Blenheims in the last year but as neither had the performance of my old 411/3 and had lost the design purity of the 603 I just could not justify the cost of an upgrade, I suppose if I did not have the 603 a deal would have been done but as I do that won't be on the cards unless I part with my 411.
Dudley Hobbs was very proud of the 603 and justifiably so, they are an easy car to maintain, not too difficult to restore as long as the structure is not too rusty and easy to upgrade to a later spec if that is what rocks your boat.
The only problem is that as the feature said they are much scarcer than people think, the secret is out so hopefully the unloved examples laid up needing work will soon get the attention and renovation they deserve, and if like me you own one don't sell it you will regret it!
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Old 17-08-17, 02:54 PM
Join Date: Oct 2010
Location: Vineyard Lodge Sydenham Hill
Posts: 39

Interesting posting.
Thanks for the heads up on the article.
First time I've seen the term 'design purity' used about the 603

I drove an E some while ago and it was a thoroughly pleasant experience from the inside
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Old 21-08-17, 12:53 PM
Join Date: Mar 2009
Location: West Wales.
Posts: 236

Design purity is a relative term, the 603 is not the best looking Bristol by a long way but nor is it the worst. The alterations for the Brigand and Britannia were an improvement in most peoples eyes and were not that radical, the changes for the Blenheim were not especially at the rear . The original car was actually well received when it came out, at the time Autocar or Motor actually described it as pretty, not something you could say about the later car for which striking might be a better description, Buckley has an interesting take on the evolution of the 603 to the last Blenheims which I think sums it up rather well.
One thing is certain drive any of these cars, or for that matter any Bristol, through any large town centre and they get the looks and the comments as mine did yesterday afternoon driving through Bath on the way back from the annual BOC concours at Yeovil.
The previous owner of my car had the back end altered during its repaint , the back wings were altered slightly to incorporate LDV rear lights mounted directly to the panel,they are smaller and look better than the lamps Bristol used on the Brigand and Britannia but the best bit is the boot lid where the outer skin has been re made without any recess except for the number plate and does not carry any lamps. The overall effect is much more pleasing to the eye though the rear track still looks too narrow though I understand some owners have used wheel spacers to alter this .
It was nice to see a good turn out of cars at yesterdays event with an example of everything except an Arnolt.
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Old 21-08-17, 01:39 PM
Join Date: Jun 2010
Location: Caldy, Wirral.
Posts: 31
Default The 603.

I had a 603S2, registered 10PNU. Loved it. Even more so after SLJ did a suspension rebuild on it for me. Expensive but it did transform the car.

In my view, as with most cars, the colour affects the look. Mine was Bristol red, with a light grey leather interior. Tasteful and it did suit the car. I also think that the car can be viewed at angles more pleasing than others. I always thought the rear three quarter view, side view and plan view showed the car at its best. The front three quarter view less so.

Most important view though is from the drivers seat, and I thought it wonderful, brilliant drivers car too. Wonder where it is now.
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