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

6 cyl Gaskets (head)

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  #21 (permalink)  
Old 20-11-10, 06:43 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Eric Brumenil View Post
Greg
Why should I agree to buy a faulty cylinder head gasket ?
I ordered and paid it to a company that claim to have 65 years of experience !
Of course I have NOT been informed about the problem
and more serious , they didn't know about this problem .
As previously written , dozens of cars have this gasket installed and I am the only one to complaint ( as always )
In case I had been informed , I would NEVER accept to buy a faulty goods or a goods that needs to be punched for the simple reason that when you touch it , for sure the supplier will make you immediately responsible of the problem and the loss of warranty .
I have never asked for faulty goods or cheap goods when .
I agree with you -- I hope you were compensated for the inconvenience.

Greg
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Old 20-11-10, 07:35 PM
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Default 6 cyl Gaskets (head)

Well spotted that man! Of course it was written in German, not german. But
then Ian wrote that.
But we still don't know what Bristol said Eric?
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Old 20-11-10, 08:08 PM
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Default British Peculiarities

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Originally Posted by Hydroglen View Post
I don't think BCL was selling a defective product. ...
The BIG issue was the lack of a satisfactory answer to the client and by
sayng he was the only one to complain, it was sort of blaming the customer.
First a nationality comment: In America the ethos on customer support is consumer heaven because it is a culture of generosity and excess. If something is wrong, they replace it or refund your money, and if they have screwed up they give you a gift to say sorry. In contrast, in England, the culture is one of scarcity and deprivation.

This is a direct outcome of the Norman Conquest where the winners confiscated all the wealth of the nation, and then allocated just enough to the losers for them to survive and keep the economy running. Over the generations, the losers (Anglo Saxons, Celts and other pre-Normans) began to integrate this scarcity mentality into their belief system. When money took over from land as the core definition of wealth, this scarcity mentality was so deeply embedded in the genetic make-up, that it continued even as the losers became wealthy. By wealth I mean all the food and clothing one can imagine, a warm home that one can own, education, suffrage, freedom and means to travel more than 10 miles from ones birthplace, an infinite choice in entertainment, etc. This embedded national psychic damage can be baffling as well as maddening for any non-Brit when they go to buy something from an Englishman.

The American attitude is lowest price, best product, best relationship with customer and give something away for free. The British attitude is highest price the market will bear, provided of course we are paying attention to price, eccentric product, relationship? what's that have to do with business?, and even if it was free to us, we'll charge you for it. Gradually this attitude is going away as GB plays in the global market and learns the new rules.

So our friend Eric is first of all encountering a cultural roadblock. He just doesn't get it.

Next distinction has to do with size. In a company the size of BMW, one has thousands of engineers and business types all working like a bee hive to make sure that everything works with precision. In a company the size of Bristol, we are remarkably reliant on the knowledge carried around inside the skulls of a few gentlemen. Not only that, but instead of just focusing on the last 10 years of their product (which is all that is required by law), they maintain a knowledge base that expands each year, going all the way back to 1944. Clearly this is not a business. These gentlemen do this because they are British. It's like cricket.

On the one hand, this is both charming and delightful, as well as useful. When one needs to know something, first-hand knowledge is there. On the other hand, it can result in the sort of problems Eric encountered. While it is easy to puff about how this is bad form or incompetence, in fact, it is a natural outcome of the structure of a small company. It is why small companies do not survive in the car industry. Bristol survives only because their price tag is not governed by competition, they have a niche.

In the end, Eric is applying the wrong standard. He should accept that in owning a Bristol based product he is working with a small group of enthusiastic men who have chosen to work to keep an eccentric, distinctly British icon alive, and as such, the problems he has comes with the territory. He can prod them to do better, and no doubt that will help in the specific case of the missing hole, but overall, these sorts of things will happen because of the inherent nature of small businesses that do their own engineering (if you doubt this, try buying software from a small company).

I do note that Eric has not complained much about the Arnolt Motor Company which is where he should be focusing his ire. After all, they commissioned and sold the products, Bristol was merely a wholesale supplier. Of course the reason he does not complain about Arnolt is death... both the owner and the company died. And that is the point. He is targeting Bristol because they are still in business, and he throws their own aspirational words back at them when they fail to attain.

Eric, my advice to you is to sell up, move on, and select a marque that has no survivor. Bond with a vintage restoration place that will make from scratch whatever you need and have more fun and less angst with your hobby. After all, vintage cars are not a necessity of life. We play with them to have fun, to enjoy the company of other collectors, be it racing, or the more genteel jaunt across the countryside enjoying bucolic vistas whilst stopping in a country inn for a meal and glass that brings great joy.

Claude
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  #24 (permalink)  
Old 20-11-10, 08:08 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rubbond View Post
But we still don't know what Bristol said Eric?
I have well understood that it is completely forbidden to say or write something against de BCL
Why should I write ( or tell you ) what was proposed ?
As I am a complete nutter , my problems are de facto fake !
It's easier to say I am threatening

As I wrote , I have the right to shut up . That's all

In my opinion , I thought that a Bristol forum is a place where it is possible to find advices or accurate information about Bristol Cars
I couldn't imagine that is a place where I will be treated as jihadist

I couldn't imagine that this forum was monitored and that some of the forumers have no openness .
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  #25 (permalink)  
Old 20-11-10, 08:57 PM
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Quote -- We play with them to have fun, to enjoy the company of other collectors, be it racing, or the more genteel jaunt across the countryside enjoying bucolic vistas whilst stopping in a country inn for a meal and glass that brings great joy. Quote --

I agree Claude. It's all a bit of a hobby and a bit of fun for most. Maybe Eric is a car dealer and profit is a major concern ? Still no reason for him to be treated badly ,but the way it is dealt with is and rectified maybe different.

Hardly any wonder that the "Nutter! comment is mentioned when one minute there are threats of legal action and adverts / web sites showing all correspondence, then weeks later, all we have is Eric's word that any of this happened but no facts ! And of course the gasket that is used by many owners but not good enough for Eric's car. ( although I agree that he should have been advised about the hole modification )

All of the conspiracy theories Eric dreams up don't help his case either -- not one correct yet ! In fact ramblings of a Nutter.

Unless Eric does what he says and shows us something, he will always be looked at with a degree of doubt.

Contrary to what Eric believes, to begin with, I think most people that read the initial postings sympathised and supported his fight for justice.

I think all the venom, accusations of collusion, rants and none of the evidence that was threatened / promised has lost a lot of that initial sympathy and interest.

P.S - I don't work for Bristol and as far as I am aware nobody else does that posts on this forum and I dislike Belgium people no more than any other Nationality.


Anyone know where I can get some 411 windscreen rubbers - quick
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  #26 (permalink)  
Old 20-11-10, 09:45 PM
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Default British Peculiarities

I think that Claude's words about 'British Peculiarities' are absolutely
spot-on and I plan to have them etched somewhere and framed, then hung on
the wall of my practice. If somebody does not understand the peculiarities
of classic British cars, why buy one? Go ahead and buy a classic racing
Porsche....then (as it happened to me 4 days ago) you will be asked Euro 350
for a manifold and Euro 2200 (twothousandtwohundredeuros....) to shoehorn it
into the engine bay. Does it mean that I feel that I have any rights to
complain with the best from Stuttgart? No. They are doing what they have to
do, that's it.

Cheers from a very rainy Italy,
Stefano
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  #27 (permalink)  
Old 20-11-10, 11:11 PM
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[quote=pasini s;3936]I think that Claude's words about 'British Peculiarities' are absolutely
spot-on (/QUOTE]


And I don't think any of us English people would apologise for that, and why should we ? It's probably why Bristol exist and have kept going :- )

Maybe we are all been mistreated and treated unfairly ! - but do we care ?

Or are the cool machines we drive around worth it ? I know a lot of makes of car that make so much more sense as a classic but ..................... don't want one.

Although my London Cab is cool also :-)
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  #28 (permalink)  
Old 21-11-10, 12:22 AM
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Default 6 cyl Gaskets (head)

In the early 80's I worked in London with a Solicitor who said that he generally preferred cats to people, reading some of the comments on this forum I understand exactly what he meant.
Depending on your point of view its getting almost as good/bad as disco web a site where owners of the product of Landrover such as myself can go for sympathy and abuse in equal measure,
Meow!!
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  #29 (permalink)  
Old 21-11-10, 12:49 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GREG View Post
all we have is Eric's word that any of this happened but no facts ! And of course the gasket that is used by many owners but not good enough for Eric's car.
It is very easy to joke when you are not concerned
In my opinion , a cylinder head gasket is good or not
but it can be in an intermediate condition
It suits or not your engine type & specification

I am interested to know how many customers would have accepted to have this type of cylinder head gasket installed if he ( she) has been previously informed .
This without any consideration of price of course !

Greg would you ?

The biggest problem they have with me is that I have written no lies
I am attacked only on my lack of English knowledge
None of my assertion on technical problems have been contradicted !!!
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  #30 (permalink)  
Old 21-11-10, 02:56 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Claude View Post
The American attitude is lowest price, best product, best relationship with customer and give something away for free. The British attitude is highest price the market will bear, provided of course we are paying attention to price, eccentric product, relationship? what's that have to do with business?, and even if it was free to us, we'll charge you for it. Gradually this attitude is going away as GB plays in the global market and learns the new rules.
Claude, I think this is an over-generalisation (I'm sure there's a better word). One could very quickly find examples of both attitudes in the US and the UK. I can think of many big UK retailers who put Australian retailers to shame.

Quote:
Next distinction has to do with size. ........... While it is easy to puff about how this is bad form or incompetence, in fact, it is a natural outcome of the structure of a small company.
No way. My experience suggests the opposite is true.

Quote:
Bristol survives only because their price tag is not governed by competition, they have a niche.
That may have been true up to recent times, say in the 60's, 70's and 80's. To my mind Tony Crook was a great marketer. He managed to sell relatively simple cars with a cheap American power train, for huge amounts of money, and with very little in the way of chassis development between models. A key part of this strategy was tight control over information and price. Which is probably why all the Bristol dealers disappeared once Crook took full control of the company and information about the cars became increasingly scarce. Mythology filling the vacuum.

I suspect Bristol was in trouble by the time Toby Silverton came along and has survived the last decade only because they were bought by a billionaire.

It would be interesting to see their current annual P&L and balance sheet.

Quote:
In the end, Eric is applying the wrong standard.
Can't agree with that one either, because of the image Bristol projects.

From the home page on their web site: "We crave instead integrity of purpose and an unmatched level of engineering perfection."

If the Eric had been told when he bought the gasket that it was not to original specification and needed to be modified before it was used on his engine, that would have been okay. Eric could then make an informed decision. But leaving the customer to find out by chance that the gasket isn't quite right is grossly irresponsible at best.

What I can't understand is why don't Bristol punch the missing hole in the gaskets before they sell them.

Like many others I am thankful that Bristol still support their older cars. And I'm not fazed by the prices they charge, because I know they have to make a profit and stocking parts for old cars on the off chance they will be needed is an expensive business. But the parts need to be right.

I too have been disappointed recently when buying spares from them. I needed some plastic inserts which go in the 411 S5 rear parcel shelf to protect the seat belts. I was thrilled to discover that they could supply them and at a price that didn't make my eyes water. Unfortunately I was disappointed when they arrived because they are nothing like the originals and frankly not fit for purpose.

The original ones were screwed in place, whereas the ones Bristol sent to me are designed to clip into place, except they don't because they are obviously not made for a parcel shelf with 10+ mm of padding. The only way to keep them in place would be to glue them to the parcel shelf covering (yuk). Furthermore, they don't cover the original screw holes! See pic attached.

Of course this gripe isn't in the same league as Eric's problems, but it is symptomatic of a company that doesn't really care anymore. They are clearly happy to sell spares which aren't really up to the job.

I didn't complain to Bristol. I will just move on and try to source some elsewhere. But just because I didn't complain doesn't mean it is right that they should keep selling this item.

They should just say, "sorry, that part is no longer available", because in truth, it isn't. Either supply correct parts or don't supply at all.

Quote:
He (Eric) is targeting Bristol because they are still in business, and he throws their own aspirational words back at them when they fail to attain.
Eric appears to be targeting Bristol because he has spent a great deal of money with them and he feels they haven't lived up to their promise. Fair enough I say. If you say you crave "an unmatched level of engineering perfection" and do a crap job, expect to be called to account.

Quote:
Eric, my advice to you is to sell up, move on, and select a marque that has no survivor.
My advice to Eric is to tell Bristol exactly what he wants from them to compensate for his wasted time, effort and expense. Reach a settlement and move on, not necessarily to another marque, but to a engineering workshop who are truly perfectionists. However, I suspect going on and on about it here isn't going to make Bristol more amenable to a settlement, Eric!
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File Type: jpg 411-seat-belt-guide.jpg (100.3 KB, 13 views)
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  #31 (permalink)  
Old 21-11-10, 04:02 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kevin H View Post
Tony Crook ...managed to sell relatively simple cars with a cheap American power train, for huge amounts of money, and with very little in the way of chassis development between models....

I suspect Bristol was in trouble by the time Toby Silverton came along...
I'm a bit confused about these two points Kevin. Tony Crook clearly did not use his car business to fund other vices, thus the price charged reflected the cost to build the cars plus a bit more to pay Tony a life income.

Are you saying the huge price of the car is too high (implying too much money) or too little (implying the reason you suspect his balance sheet was weak)?

In my view, Tony struck a good balance, enabling him to run a business for a lifetime in which the creditors never came to shut him down. He kept overhead low, R&D very limited, and maintained an exceptionally loyal staff. He did not need car magazine publicity, so he did not let them waste his time and spend his resources. If he sold through dealers, he would have to offer a wholesale price which probably would have meant a higher retail price. Given his micro-market that could be fed with one showroom, it would make no sense to have dealers. While you attribute this to being a great marketer, I suggest this is more the hallmark of an effective, albeit risk-aversive manager.

When one builds 100,000 chassis per year (for example, the Ford Crown Victoria), the efficiencies of scale kick in. Labour and amortised machinery proportionally drop substantially, as does the cost of steel and rubber. But even at that scale, under the skin the cars do not change that much. Model year changes are for the most part either visual or legislation dictated. To compare a bespoke car with a mass produced one leaves out too much to be useful. Without the Henry Fords of the world, all cars would be at Bristol prices.

To more fairly assess Bristol, it would be more proper to say that time operated on a different scale. Think of it like dog-years. In effect they made one car for the first half century or so, not unreasonable for a total production run in the four figures. They changed power train once, but without further R&D, and otherwise just played with the panel beating and a bit of tweaking. And since the original design performed rather well for its intended purpose (which in reality is about 15 mph over the speed limit on roads built to be safe for trucks which handle poorly), the market for it continued without the need for a new or evolving design.

We now are witnessing a new era for Bristol, as the Fighter represents a large investment in R&D, derived from outside capital that appears to have been motivated more by passion that the cold eye of the bank manager. Concurrent with this change, we are seeing the resale prices of our vintage Bristols rising, as more people become aware of the marque. Toby Silverton tells us the waiting list is now 18 months, thus his production goal of three cars per week is likely to be running at full tilt. It would be interesting to learn how much of that production is contracted out. A while back I bought a BMW-C1 where the No 2 at BMW in Munich told me that zero percent of the bike was actually made by BMW employees. He also said that even with production cars the BMW content was surprisingly small, although I no longer remember the percentage.

...

As an unfair crack... you say your experience with small companies is the opposite. I trust you exclude from that the small company that had your 411 for a decade or so "restoring" it. My experience with small companies is that they are good when their business is not complex. Cars and software are extremely complex with thousands of dependencies that must work together. Thus I have a different expectation for Bristol as a company than I do for Toyota.

...

And about generalisations, of course you are right. But generalisations do have their value, and it was in that spirit that I offered it.

Claude
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  #32 (permalink)  
Old 21-11-10, 07:20 AM
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Default 6 cyl Gaskets (head)

I said at the start of all this when Eric first brought up the subject that
all the people selling Bristol cylinder head gaskets are selling the same
ones which the German BMW club had manufactured some time ago to fit BMW
engines. These are far easier to fit and are better than the old steel
corrotrue type which even the works had trouble with on their racing engines.
There does not now appear to be any other types available that I know of, so
one just has to add the extra hole if it is being fitted to a Bristol engine.

While here I would like to put those people right who think that because a
2 litre Bristol radiator does not have a pressurised cap (the Bristol cap
is made by Marstons) the system is not pressurised, they are wrong. If you
look you will see a boss on top of the radiator with a copper pipe running
to the bottom of the radiator, if you remove the plug on top of the boss you
will find a bronze ball and spring underneath to give the correct water
pressure.
My regards,
Bellerophon
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  #33 (permalink)  
Old 21-11-10, 08:52 AM
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Geoff,
Please be kind enough to let me know the web address - we have 3 Landy's so
can contribute statistical proof as well!
I was told I had their first leaky sunroof, twice!
Speaking of Land Rover, they must have the quirkiest followers of all - same
models for 30 years and NEVER corrected the faults?
Andrew (alias Ian, if poorly punctuated).
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  #34 (permalink)  
Old 21-11-10, 09:01 AM
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You shouldn't complain.
Just send them back.
Having to credit you (in a small company) is probably punishment enough.
Andrew.
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  #35 (permalink)  
Old 21-11-10, 10:19 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Claude View Post
Toby Silverton tells us the waiting list is now 18 months, thus his production goal of three cars per week is likely to be running at full tilt.
Claude

Toby told me that it takes more than 2000 hours to build a Fighter
3 a week mean 6000 hours and if they work 8 hours a day , this means 750 persons are working in Filton .
Wow this is not a so small company
This also means that they are selling about 120 Fighter a year , @ about 220000 each , it is 26.400.000 GBP a year
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  #36 (permalink)  
Old 21-11-10, 10:36 AM
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Default 6 cyl Gaskets (head)

Greg,

Although my London Cab is cool also :-)

I think I might have convinced Elaine that a London Cab would
be an OK alternative for when the Brigand or the Mog aren't
best suited for going to the garden centre.

Have you been getting my private mails?

Julf
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  #37 (permalink)  
Old 21-11-10, 10:50 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kevin H View Post
It would be interesting to see their current annual P&L and balance sheet.
You can satisfy your curiosity for 18
BRISTOL CARS LIMITED incorporated 08-01-1947, registered company number 00427126. Credit report, annual accounts from Companies House and free company monitoring available
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  #38 (permalink)  
Old 21-11-10, 11:00 AM
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Andrew,

Speaking of Land Rover, they must have the quirkiest followers of all - same
models for 30 years and NEVER corrected the faults?

But the benefit is that as a new one is no better than a 30 year old,
you might as well have an old one.

Julf
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  #39 (permalink)  
Old 21-11-10, 11:00 AM
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Default 6 cyl Gaskets (head)

Toby told me that it takes more than 2000 hours to build a Fighter
3 a week mean 6000 hours and if they work 8 hours a day , this means 750
persons are working in Filton .

3 a week is probably peak capacity for all the different types
(new v8's, series 6's, restorations and Fighters) in total.

This also means that they are selling about 120 Fighter a year , @ about
220000 each , it is 26.400.000 GBP a year

I'm sure they are keeping below 100 per year to avoid all the
onerous type approval procedures volume manufacturers have to
go through.

Julf
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Old 21-11-10, 11:02 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by julf View Post
Greg,

Although my London Cab is cool also :-)

I think I might have convinced Elaine that a London Cab would
be an OK alternative for when the Brigand or the Mog aren't
best suited for going to the garden centre.

Have you been getting my private mails?

Julf
Hi Julf

No private mails !

Sorry I missed you on the last visit but I ended up in the middle of nowhere
with colleagues from Sweden / Finland.

Bad hangover when I dropped them off at Schipoll -- what a surprise

The cab would be discounted for a good home like yours :-) and maybe a lend of your trailer.
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