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8 & 10 cyl Bristol cars Type 407 onwards - restoration, repair, maintenance etc

Bristol 411 bodywork

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Old 19-01-11, 02:14 PM
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Default Bristol 411 bodywork

Hi All,

I am currently trying to restore the exterior of my fatherís Bristol 411. It is either a series 1 or 2 as it has 2 large and 2 smaller headlamps. I am a novice when it comes to body work, but the aim is try to do as much of the work ourselves.

I have stripped most of the paint down to the primer using Nitromors paint remover and A LOT of patience!

I am unsure of how to remove the front headlamps so as to get a proper finish to the paint stripping, and future painting. Any tips?

There is a small dent in the roof (just above where the rear-view mirror attaches). What sort of filler should I use on this? Any tips for doing this?

The car is made from aluminium so is there a special kind of primer we should use? And also special type of paint for the top coat?

Any advice, hints, tips or pointers would be very much appreciated.

Mike
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Old 20-01-11, 12:36 PM
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Pull the chrome rims off the light and remove the lights and bowls from the body.

If you are using a professional painter --- highly recommend. Let him worry about the acid etch primer and non porous filler. Just concentrate on getting all the lights and trim off - and old paint.

If you are keeping it the same colour and thee paint is sound you maybe just need to etch the surface.-- get advise from whoever is painting it.

Bristol Cars have the screen rubbers you will need. Get a glass specialist to remove and replace the glass.

Shop around for painters and look at their other work.

Good luck
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Old 21-01-11, 02:33 AM
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You will propably find that the light bowls are really rusty.
You can get new ones easily.
The same applies for the chromed surrounds.

Personally, i would not tackle the actual paintjob myself, I think you are a very brave man!

Do not forget, that those large, flat areas need to be expertly painted.
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Old 21-01-11, 03:18 AM
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Default Restoring 411

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Originally Posted by mike5352 View Post
Hi All,

I am currently trying to restore the exterior of my father’s Bristol 411. It is either a series 1 or 2 as it has 2 large and 2 smaller headlamps. I am a novice when it comes to body work, but the aim is try to do as much of the work ourselves.

I have stripped most of the paint down to the primer using Nitromors paint remover and A LOT of patience!

I am unsure of how to remove the front headlamps so as to get a proper finish to the paint stripping, and future painting. Any tips?

There is a small dent in the roof (just above where the rear-view mirror attaches). What sort of filler should I use on this? Any tips for doing this?

The car is made from aluminium so is there a special kind of primer we should use? And also special type of paint for the top coat?

Any advice, hints, tips or pointers would be very much appreciated.

Mike
Hi Mike,

Where are you located (what country) and what experience do you have in classic car restoration? If novice means very little, you really should consider finding an old, cheap aluminium bodied Land Rover and practice on it. The 411 is considered by many to be the best of the V8 classic Bristols, and the company's owner, Toby Silverton is buying 411's to turn them into 411-mark 6 rebuilt models. It really is not the best car to learn restoration on.

On dents, aluminium is better beaten out with a skilled hand than filled with bog. On painting, aluminium requires far more skill to get right. It requires an etch primer, but it also requires perfect temperature, humidity and dust controlled conditions or a few years down the road you will regret wasting the time. As others have noted, the headlamp buckets are screwed in, but it probably is all is rusted out. If so buy new buckets first and when you have them, use a grinder to destroy the rusted buckets without damaging the aluminium to which they are affixed. Also, you may have corrosion where electrolysis is the result of the aluminium body touching the steel wheel wells, and even if not, you should make sure you detail that part right by preventing the two metals from touching, or in a few years it will bubble again and mess up the paint. If you do have corrosion, which you may find behind the headlights as well, this should be repaired by a skilled aluminium welder, not bog. It's worth it to spend the money.

If I can give you advice, keep on with the messy, but essentially low-skill work of preparation. Remove all the paint and bad bog, replace all the rusted screws, take off everything that gets in the way of a painter (but have a professional remove and reinstall the glass - it's easy to break and expensive to replace). Then pay a recommended professional who knows aluminium to prepare the body, prime it, probably spend three weeks with long block sanding and top coating. It's not a prime-top coat finish, but instead will be etch coat, several prime coats, several top coats and optionally a clear coat on top of all.

Alternatively, have a professional skim and etch coat it to assure the paint will bond to the metal, then you prime it and then go to a World-War II Bristol aeroplane museum, note the military matt-colours and spray it in some tint of flat or matt green and grey with appropriate military decals. Going this route, all of the imperfections that will show up are part of the image, and when someone does invest the funds required to do the proper top coating, the protective paint will serve as a good scratch coat (used in sanding to find the high and low spots).

Claude

PS: See http://www.oldclassiccar.co.uk/forum...8e711574c8331c

Last edited by Claude; 21-01-11 at 07:41 AM.
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Old 22-01-11, 12:22 AM
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Gregg, Janne, Claude - thanks for your honest and extensive advice. We will have to discuss how best to go forwards with the respray. For now we will continue to prepare the car, ensuring everything is stripped and ready.
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Old 22-01-11, 01:27 AM
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Please be very gentle with the front widscreen. A replacement is very costly.

I forgot to ask: Are you planning to restore the whole car, ie engine, driveline, interior, everything?

I forgot to tell you: If the doors sag a little bit, replace the hinges before any preparation and paintwork. Those newly painted edges chip easily!

Last edited by Janne; 22-01-11 at 01:32 AM.
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Old 23-01-11, 06:00 PM
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Hi, the engine is pretty sound mechanically (we hope). The MOT is due late February so we shall find out then! The interior is in very good condition.

I have a few claifying questions. To remove the front lamps you say to pop off the silver housing, is this just done by levering off with a screw driver or similar? I do not want to damage the lamps as they are in fairly good condition. There is a screw I can see on the underside of the lamp housing but it is not easily accessible.

Also, the silver trim that runs the length of the car, is this glued on? I do not want to damage anything when trying to remove these.

Also the front grill, this will need to be removed for complete stripping and painting, any tips or advice for this?

I think we shall need to replace the rubber seal for the front and back windscreens, for this I think we'll have to go to a professional.

Mike

Claude - the link to that thread is great! many thanks.
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Old 23-01-11, 07:56 PM
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oCoop - Halogen Headlights - Classic Mini Cooper Enthusiasts

removal of Mini headlamp - same.

cranked screw driver items - Get great deals on Home Garden items on eBay UK!

Side trim is bolted on. Your painter may not need the grill removing.
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Old 24-01-11, 12:47 PM
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Bristol Ltd have the corect rubber for the windscreens.

I do not want to be nasty, but it sounds from your posts like you have a very limited experience with car restoration.

I am not sure you should do a Bristol as a first car.

Any possibility to post some pics of the car?
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Old 24-01-11, 03:40 PM
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Default We all have to start somewhere?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Janne View Post
Bit sounds from your posts like you have a very limited experience with car restoration.

I am not sure you should do a Bristol as a first car.

Any possibility to post some pics of the car?
Well, I am not sure that I should agree with this. Sure, the value of these cars is considerably higher than when I purchased one at the end of the 1970s as my first classic/rolling restoration.

It is, however, a constant learning experience and we all have to start somewhere and I started on my 408 (Mk. I) dealing with de-corrosion under the failed underseal (but not very much of the necessary welding), softening the leather, then replumbing the braking system and overhauling the calipers, sorting out the cooling, dealing with the exhaust system, various bits and pieces to the engine, trim, electrics and a host of other things that greatly improved my knowledge.

I went on from this to do far more to an Alvis TC21/100 (a lot of work there), another 408 (Mk. II), R-type Bentley, P4 Rovers, Singer Chamois, and three old Volvos, but so much of the basics was learnt on the Bristol.

Geo.
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Old 24-01-11, 04:15 PM
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I agree that a Bristol is no more complicated than most other classics, but you do need a pro to get the paint right.

You don't need to be an expert to strip it and send bits off for chrome and wheels for powder coating.
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Old 24-01-11, 04:45 PM
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I understand the OP is trying to restore his fathers Bristol. Personally, I would try to get a 100% perfect result. The dent in the front of the roof should be taken out from the inside. When the front windscreen is removed, this is a fairly easy thing to do. I would remove all fillers, and rectify the problems properly.
Yes, it is time consuming and takes some skill (the suggestion to practice on a Defender is superb!) but it will be worth it.

Before any paintwork, I would first start to investigate if there are any corrosion in the frame suporting the panels, any corrosion in the steel panels in the wheel arches and if at any area the aluminium is getting thin (due to corrosion).

When I restore a vehicle (I have a AR Junior, Saab 92, prewar MB 230S, prewar BMW 328, 2 LR Defenders, the Bristol and about 7 motorcycles behind me)
I first make a plan. The first decision is, shall I do just an aesthetic restoration, (OK on a lower value vehicle) or a thorough one?

If done properly, the restoration of OP's father car will not only increase the value, but will also last.

As the saying goes, we learn from our misstakes. I did learn a lot from my (many) misstakes!
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Old 28-01-11, 12:09 PM
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Hi All,

Greg Ė excellent link to the mini headlamps page, thanks!

Janne Ė youíre accurate in your understanding, I am a novice! And I therefore appreciate all the helpful advice you have provided! I will be down at my parents house next weekend so will hopefully upload some photos and you can see the current condition.

My fatherís original intention was to strip the paint to the bare aluminium and then treat with a protective coating (no paint respray), but as we strip the paint off it looks like this will not be possible (too many small scratches etc.) A professional paint job might well be the way forwards, but for now we will continue to do as much as we can ourselves.

One more question, as the car is not garaged, but under a gazebo-type marquee (no sides), could anyone recommend a reputable external car cover manufacturer?

Hopefully get some photos uploaded end of next week.
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Old 28-01-11, 12:32 PM
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http://www.blogcdn.com/www.autoblog....8/10/slr-3.jpg

If you like the idea of polished aluminium, maybe you could be the first to have a vinyl wrap on a Bristol ! you can get chrome !!

Or this one

http://gallery.seloc.org/albums/user...DSCN3854LR.jpg

Maybe for Cass !

Oop's wrong link

I mean't this one - quite like matt black

Google Image Result for http://i.ytimg.com/vi/hhHDEMy9geY/0.jpg

Last edited by Kevin H; 29-01-11 at 02:35 AM. Reason: Merged three consecutive posts
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Old 29-01-11, 04:21 PM
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The Protech shelter looks rally good, and at a very good price!

Untill my Garage is finished (June) I need to protect the paint on my car (quite sunny here), so I orderd an Auto Storm Classic cover, to arrive at the same time as the car.

Yes please, lots of pics!

Another thing I did on my headlamps was that I bought bowls made from black plastic. Will not rust.

The front grill is quite easy to dismantle. I took it to pieces, replaced the tube spacers with new ones I made, and painted the pieces individually.

One thing I learned is that in the area where the sheet aluminium attaches to the inner wings (just under the edge of the bonnet) a very common fault is that people fill the join between the wing panel and inner-wing panel. (I hope this makes sense?) so it is smooth. You should be able to see the overlap.
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Old 31-01-11, 01:17 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mike5352 View Post
Also, the silver trim that runs the length of the car, is this glued on? I do not want to damage anything when trying to remove these.
I don't know about the trim on the 411 S1/2 but on my 411 S5 the rubber section of the trim is falling off, possibly due to the heat over the last month. As you can see from attached photo.

Looking at the rusty screws underneath I am glad it did fall off, but how does the rubber stay in place? I can only assume it is glued in place!

Anyone know for sure?

Kevin
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Old 03-02-11, 07:22 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GREG View Post
Alas, it only claims to be good to galeforce 8, so would go the way of the cheap rubbish as it is g'force 10 - 11 (storm to violent storm) this evening!

Geo.
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Old 04-02-11, 11:34 PM
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I used EvoStic to glue the rubber strips
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Old 22-02-11, 11:09 AM
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Hi All,

My apologies for not getting these photos up sooner, haven't been to my parent's in a while and have been out of the country for a bit.

I have uploaded a few photos so you can see the current state of the car. Any comments are welcome!

Mike
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File Type: jpg Picture 022.jpg (112.5 KB, 38 views)
File Type: jpg Picture 024.jpg (105.4 KB, 35 views)
File Type: jpg Picture 028.jpg (96.6 KB, 33 views)
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411, body work, exterior, filler, paint

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