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

Mystery 401 Switch hole

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Old 30-09-15, 01:16 PM
Join Date: Jan 2010
Location: Redditch, Worcester, England
Posts: 57
Default Mystery 401 Switch hole

I noticed a dent in my 401 facia and I felt no wood behind it, hence the dent. When I took the facia off, as it all needs re-veneering I found a switch hole where the dent was and in the metal backing holding facia switches and instruments, there was an open ended semi circular aperture in the metal backing plate.

This was an original aperture and NOT a subsequent alteration. The switch had been fitted on the lower part of the facia between the Rev counter and the ammeter.

Dashboard diagrams and pictures show no such switch or fitment. Any ideas? Remembering the back plate is as fitted by Bristols in 1952. My original 401 also had no switch in the same spot and being a Bristol owner for 47 years, I've never seen such a switch.

Can anyone solve the mystery?
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Old 30-09-15, 10:59 PM
Join Date: Jul 2008
Location: Sydney, Australia
Posts: 408

Looking at two different 401 Instruction Manuals I have (one early and one late 401), the location of Rev Counter on a RHD 401 is on the LH side in front of the passenger ,the ammeter on both to the right of the steering column .
Pls confirm if your 401 is like that or your speedo and tacho locations have been swapped.

The early 401 & 402 have a trafficator switch directly above the steering column with the crescent shaped operating lever between the facia & steering wheel . Is this the position you are referring to ?
A photo would help

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Old 07-10-15, 12:20 PM
Join Date: Jan 2010
Location: Redditch, Worcester, England
Posts: 57

Hi Folks,

Stupid me, I sorted it in the end. Living in the UK I never considered left hand drive! looking at the aperture for the steering column of my right hand drive there is an identical shape on the left. I never noticed until I photographed the wrong piece of dashboard and there was a very loud clang as the penny finally dropped!

However, there was a switch hole hidden in the wooden dashboard just where semi-circular "hole" was and it was covered with a thin veneer, so when it was bumped it looked like a dent. The hole will now be used (after re-veneering) for a cigarette lighter style fitment for running things of like a tyre pump/currency converter etc. etc. Not original I know but practical in this day and age.

Bob W
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