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

Does anyone has information on this car?

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Old 18-03-11, 08:05 PM
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Default Does anyone has information on this car?

1982 BRISTOL 603,5.9 LITRE,DRY STORED FOR 6 YEARS,MOTd on eBay (end time 26-Mar-11 22:41:30 GMT)

(I couldn't find any rules against posting this link. If it's not allowed, I'm sorry)

I would be very grateful if anyone could give me some information about this car which I contemplate purchasing as a roling restauration.

Thank you in advance.
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Old 18-03-11, 08:29 PM
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Engine bay looks ...., dirty, rust, etc
Boot is missing the carpet etc. Wires hang down (?) like a birds nest.
All that can be fixed.
The corrosion is far more serious. In worst case you need to do some extensive repairs to the Aluminium skin. If one side is bad, I would expect more problems elsewhere. Expensive repair, corrosion on the arches. Of course, you can do Plastic Padding, but then Mr Crook will haunt you......
Nice interior.

You need a test drive. Long and hard, as they say here on Island.....

And I do not like the rust on the suspention. If that is rusty, how are the inner wheel arches?
And WHY are they so rusty? Garage been flooded? Sniff in the cabin for mould.

Last edited by Janne; 18-03-11 at 08:36 PM.
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Old 18-03-11, 08:41 PM
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Thank you, it does look rather neglected. However, being a Jaguar enthousiast and former owner of a Rover P6, I've seen much worse and wouldn't be put off by that by itself. But considering the amount of Bristols made, I would imagine that the community knows a lot about a lot of cars about. I'm intersted in the history of the car and I'm always a bit worried when a car has been off the road for such a long time. I prefer a car that has seen daily use, of high mileage with some maintenance over a car that has been standing for over 6 years. An XJ 12 would recquire more than a thousand pounds just to recommission and make it stop leaking if left inactive for such a time....

You're right about having to have a good look and preferably a drive, but me being in the Netherlands and this being an ebay auction, I'm affraid that's not feasible.
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Old 18-03-11, 10:39 PM
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Hello Aleph,

If you are serious about the car I'm fairly sure that some of the Bristol specialists would be happy to give the car a professional once over for a small fee

Andrew Blow
Spencer Lane Jones
ACCS

Or maybe the marque specialist for the BOC !

Looks a good project to me but it's the unseen that costs !
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Old 19-03-11, 03:49 PM
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As much as I respect Mr Blow, I would choose Mr Spencer Jones, or rather I should say, one of his technicians.
I understand you have experience from complex classic cars, but there are a couple of major differences:
Bristol has an Aluminium skin, which is a pig to properly repair. You can not get after market panels, or find good second hand ones. That is the Negative.
The positive difference is that the Engine and Gearbox are "common" Chrysler/GM bits, so original and aftermarket parts are plentiful, also you can get upgraded parts.
Compared to a Jag engine the Chrysler one is "stone age". Not meaning in a negative way!

I do not want to push you away from your Bristol ownership. You seem to have made your "apprenticeship" on a couple of lesser cars ( and are ready for a Blue blooded car.
You will love the car.

BTW, have you thought of checking out Mr Blow's website?
Personally, I would rather pay more for a running car!
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Old 20-03-11, 12:17 PM
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No information on the car I'm afraid, just my opinion on it.
The arches will tak a lot of work, only front left looks unscathed in the (mediocre) pictures. If you know someone in the Netherlands familiar with such work, it is doable. Not really a DIY job.
Boot looks OK, no real rust there. Wires might be the same on all cars, but normally hidden behind the carpet...
Underbody looks like superficial rust, a lot of work and cost to bring up to standard, but not really necessary on a daily driver.
Interior is tidy, but I think I spot a few torn seams and marks on the leather.

All in all, it depends what you're after: a daily in tidy condition, or a car to bring up to concours condition. For the latter, I'm with the others: get a better example to start with. For the first, it's a nice proposition.

Oh, and if you DO know a good aluminium bodyworker, I'd like the address. Our Flaminia touring needs some work too...
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Old 20-03-11, 11:48 PM
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Default Returning to the question in hand

I have not seen the car for years, but it was certainly smart enough 15 - 20 years ago, but then most of us were in better nick then! It has spent most of its life being owned by members of the BOC.

In the late 1980s (and possibly earlier) it was owned by Richard Timmis in Bishop Stortford, Herts.,

in 1998 the ownership changes to Richard Sheenhan in London, SW1,

changing the following year to Graham Emmett in Northwich, Cheshire,

and the trail ends in 2006 with Bill Skinner in Nottingham.

How it then turns up in Devon is anyone's guess, but the seller's feedback would suggest he finds a fair number of restoration projects.

I was marginally tempted by this car as I want to return to Bristol ownership, but as I cannot get down to Exeter to view it and knowing just how much two friends spent renovating the corrosion in 603s (and there would seem to the casual eye to be a fair bit here anyone ever found the photographs to be less good than the reality?), I shall sit tight and look on to see what it reaches in this auction.

Good luck bidders

George
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Old 21-03-11, 12:53 AM
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Geo, I agree and also get the feeling that if it goes for 10 k that one in better order for 25k would end up working out a LOT cheaper !

I hope whoever bought the 408 from the same dealer is happy ?

I would ask Bristol Car services or ACCS to take a look.

603's drive superb when running right. 411 but better ?
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Old 21-03-11, 01:08 AM
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The suspension looks VERY rusty!

Quote:
Originally Posted by GREG View Post
Geo, I agree and also get the feeling that if it goes for 10 k that one in better order for 25k would end up working out a LOT cheaper !
That's all very well if you have 25k! But 10k, or possibly less, could get you into a rolling restoration which you can complete as funds permit.

Quote:
603's drive superb when running right. 411 but better ?
Why do they drive better than a 411?
Do they have a different chassis? (looks the same to me)
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Old 21-03-11, 01:44 AM
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Quote --That's all very well if you have 25k! But 10k, or possibly less, could get you into a rolling restoration which you can complete as funds permit. - Quote

I agree that it's maybe worth a punt at 10 k to improve over time, but It wont cost a lot to get someone that knows to have a look.

Quote --Why do they drive better than a 411?
Do they have a different chassis? (looks the same to me) --Quote

Don't know really, but I would guess they kept upgrading everything.

The Beaufighter of that era seems to handle the best because of the uprated springs and dampers.

I have a 411 and 603 and Beaufighter on the drive and you can feel the evolution and refinement. I had a ride in a Blenheim 4 today and I can assure you that the refinement continued to get a LOT better. Felt as good as my old Mercedes S600 and starting and running on LPG !!

A chassis is only part of a big equation. -- I also have a 1995 London Taxi that looks identical to a 1959 one --- it isn't !! but same chassis :-)

Last edited by GREG; 21-03-11 at 01:46 AM. Reason: x
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Old 21-03-11, 02:47 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GREG View Post
Don't know really, but I would guess they kept upgrading everything.

The Beaufighter of that era seems to handle the best because of the uprated springs and dampers.
But are you comparing apples with apples in terms of condition and the age of springs, dampers, bushes?

Even tyre type and pressures can effect ride and how they drive. I noticed a significant difference when I changed from the original steel wheels to Avon alloys on my 411. The Avons are wider wheels with wider tyres.

So for example if you compare a 411 with steel wheels to a 603 on Avons alloys that alone will make a difference in how they feel.

To my mind the only way to make a truly objective comparison is to use cars which all have their suspension parts in "as new" condition and are shod with the optimum wheels and tyres.
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Old 21-03-11, 09:14 AM
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I agree but the Beaufighter uses different springs to the 411 and changes to wheels and tyres were part of the upgrades over time.

I'm sure that you could add all the bits from the latest Blenheim to a 411 S1 and get it driving just as good, but isn't that a Series 6 ? :-)

Funny enough, next to the Beaufighter my 411 S1 with S2 wheels and 215 tyres handles the best of the 411's , even better than the ones with Avon' wheels on ! But like you say, after 40 years various owners have probably done a lot of tweaking for the good and bad and a set up that is right for me may not be to someone else's taste.

Last edited by GREG; 21-03-11 at 10:12 AM. Reason: x
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Old 21-03-11, 10:04 AM
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Thanks everyone for your replies. I have thought about it and decided I will let this one pass. I fear that the cost of mending the corroded bits will be fairly high, and I would rather spend it on a 410 411 when one comes by as I like the shape more.

Funny that a car that has been in forum members' ownership for so long, suddenly dissappears from the radar. I see that hapening sometimes on our Jaguar forum too; a member doesn't find a buyer from the forum and sells it on some site to some anonymous punter. Most of the time, unfortunately, it's the end of solid maintenance for the car...
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Old 21-03-11, 10:30 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GREG View Post
Funny enough, next to the Beaufighter my 411 S1 with S2 wheels and 215 tyres handles the best of the 411's , even better than the ones with Avon' wheels on !
It's not really the wheels that make the difference, apart from allowing wider tyres. But the width, type/tread and the pressure of the tyre can make a big difference. Probably the age of the tyre as well. There are many signifcant variables.

It would be really interesting to test some of these cars against one another in "as new" condition, but that's never going to happen.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Aleph View Post
I would rather spend it on a 410 411 when one comes by as I like the shape more.
Good decision
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Old 22-03-11, 09:43 PM
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I'm also following this sale. I've got to say, rusty suspension doesn't bother me in the slightest from experience on other 'barn finds' I've had, but I do not know about the rest of the car; I neither trust photos nor have any experience of the model to bid here.

I find the 603 to be a really interesting model and one I wish to purchase, but Exeter from Newcastle is quite a hike. I also note that this is the 3rd Bristol the vendor has sold in just over 2 weeks. Is he expecting a crash in values with the demise of the company?

I look forward to seeing the auction result.
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Old 22-03-11, 09:54 PM
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A little bit of rust is to be expected, but that car looks like it had a weekly bath!
"Drystored" ????
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Old 23-03-11, 07:17 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Janne View Post
A little bit of rust is to be expected, but that car looks like it had a weekly bath!
"Drystored" ????
It's in the UK, looks exactly as you'd expect.

Last edited by Philip; 23-03-11 at 07:32 PM.
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Old 23-03-11, 11:18 PM
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To be honest, and I realize that this point of view might be controversial. But I feel that a Bristol can and may have some "patina". Contrary to my Jaguar, which should look flawless as not to be viewed like a bookie's or a boy racer, any Bristol (again, my opinion only) doesn't need to be flawless.

Edit: Obviously, any car of mine is well maintained and serviced. And in my decision whether or not to buy any motor, the first question I ask myself is if I can afford to have it maintained properly. If the answer is no, I will not buy it. As I'm not as affluent as most of the Bristol crowd, this might mean it will take a while before I'll become an owner. But I will, eventually.

Last edited by Aleph; 23-03-11 at 11:27 PM.
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Old 24-03-11, 12:15 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Philip View Post
It's in the UK, looks exactly as you'd expect.
I lived in UK, bought a Bristol that had lived there all it's life.

But it had had owners that wax oiled the underside.....

UK had some nasty flooding last year (I think, do not live there anymore).
This car's underside looks like it has been exposed to excessive amounts of water.
If the suspention looks like this, how are the underpan and wheel arches??


OP, if with patina you mean rust and oxidation, that is a sure way to destroy it.

A Bristol was/is far more expensive, better engineered and built than a Jag pre-Ford. Of course we try to get them perfect!

If I may recommend, look through the photograps on this Forum.

Ownership of a Bristol can be expensive. Not for somebody with a small budget, trust me. I spent between UKP 40K to 50K on mine, and never did the interior (next owner did that, I will see the end result when the car arrives next week)

Last edited by Janne; 24-03-11 at 12:21 AM.
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Old 01-04-11, 06:14 PM
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Default New owner

Just to put your minds at rest I am said new owner of the 603S being discussed. See my thread on 603S Engine.

I got her for 7,780 with a high bid of 8k so a bit close on the evening. To my way of thinking I can spend a reasonable amount on her and still not be too foolish...anyway I like a challenge.

Some twenty years ago I had a 603E and always hankered after another with more power.

Me and my brother Andy, a great mechanic in Exeter if anyone needs one, are serial car resorers so nothing on this old girl scares us.

We have owned/neglected/restored some 80+ between us cars to date, yes we are that old, everything from Bentley's to Maserati's so know within reason what we are up to.

My biggest concern with her is the ali bodywork so any advice on that area of work will be much appreciated given the demise (perhaps) of Bristol.

Cheers
Will
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