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

Separating 409 body from chassis

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Old 12-06-20, 02:54 AM
Join Date: Dec 2019
Posts: 39
Default Separating 409 body from chassis

I've removed pretty much all the rivets mounting the body. I would be interested in any suggestions on removing the body ... what needs to be bent for example. Can the front by removed as a single piece? What should I watch out for or avoid. Any thoughts or pictures would be welcome.

Last edited by LarryW; 14-06-20 at 02:51 AM.
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Old 14-06-20, 10:55 PM
Join Date: May 2008
Location: Melbourne, Australia
Posts: 1,168

i moved your thread to the Bristol 8 & 10 cyl cars section, as you are more likely to get a response there rather than in the non-bristol section of the site.

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Old 15-06-20, 01:59 AM
Join Date: Dec 2019
Posts: 39

Thank you!
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Old 15-06-20, 05:22 AM
Join Date: Jul 2008
Posts: 57
Default 411 Body Panel Removal from Frame

Hello Larry,
several years ago, inspired by photos of Per Blomquist's 408(or 409) I removed the body from my 411. The condition of my car's panels are poor from bad repairs from an unkown number of collisions. Per had a professional shop work on his car. An amature on my own, I did the best I could. Removal of the flush rivets went smoothly using the advised procedure from a coachbuilder(Tinmantech in California).

With the rivets removed, 2 issues needed resolving: cutting the body, and unfolding the flanges. Please take the following as a description rather than advice. Hopefully you can find a specialist who can verify any plans.


I decided to separate the front fenders by cutting the front valence below the bumper in the center, and cutting the cowl area on the left and right side just inside the plan-shape radius(actually cut them mid-radius for some reason). Finally, I made a horizontal cut across the lower part of the A-post. I used a saw blade appropriate for aluminum.

I used a heat gun to soften the front fender flange folded onto the A-post frame, and gently pried the flange open as needed using a thin stainless pry bar.


Unlike Per, I decided to cut the rear fender vertically in the middle of the rear opening.
I wasn't concerned about cutting through a pristine panel because my rear fenders were mangled from an accident, and then poorly repaired. Cutting the fender into 2 parts this way allowed me to not have to unfold the body flange at the B-post frame. Like Per, I cut the roof C-post horizontally above the fuel filler. After the cuts on the rear were completed, a great deal of back-and-forth prying was required under the car where the aluminum is attached to the boot floor frame. There was a lot of mastic sealer in this area. I may have wedged some thin boards in gaps to keep the body work from slipping back into place as I worked my way around. You will likely have to wedge some boards between the wheel opening/wheel well and the adjacent aluminum. The rear body came off in one piece with the exception of the forward pieces of the rear fenders.


The roof flange on the cant rail frame needed to be pried on one side, which was relatively easy, but demands some care to ensure the roof is splaying open rather than distorting. My roof panel has a big opening for a Webasto roof, but I don't think a solid roof panel will behave differently when prying the flange off the frame.
Attached Files
File Type: pdf BRISTOL_BODY_CUT5a.pdf (1.67 MB, 43 views)
File Type: pdf BRISTOL_BODY_CUT5b.pdf (1.76 MB, 37 views)
File Type: pdf BRISTOL_BODY_CUT5c.pdf (642.0 KB, 34 views)
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Old 15-06-20, 07:53 PM
Join Date: Dec 2019
Posts: 39


Thank you for your information. I was also inspired by Per's work.

That is an interesting idea to cut vertically at the rear fenders. And your pictures are very helpful. I'm also dealing with poor repair work from a previous owner and a huge amount of rust. Fortunately I have a very good restoration shop to weld everything back together after I cut it apart.
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Old 17-07-20, 04:19 AM
Join Date: Dec 2019
Posts: 39
Default Removing body from chassis

For California Bristol: What kind of torch did you use to unbend the flanges? My small propane torch apparently does not get the metal hot enough to bend. I'm considering using MAG or Mag/Oxygen but I'm concerned about damaging the aluminum. Your thoughts?
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Old 20-07-20, 03:34 PM
Join Date: Nov 2009
Location: Malmö, Sweden
Posts: 15

I used a torch and some homemade special tools (one made from an old c-spanner). It is very hard.
Later I read an article in a swedish classic car magasine about how to soften hard aluminum. Use a classic gas welder. Strike the area to soften with a ”black flame” so it turns black. Then heat the metal until the black surfase disaperes.
I have not tried this so I recommend that you will do some testing before you use it on your car.
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Old 16-08-20, 09:43 PM
Join Date: Dec 2019
Posts: 39
Default Front section removed in one piece

I was able to remove the front section in a single piece. This was accomplished with only minimal unbending at the rear of the fenders (wings) and no unbending required for the body in front of the windshield. The latter was accomplished by cutting out the steel piece over which the piece of the body in front of the windshield is bend. Only two inch-long cuts on the steel piece are required to remove that steel section.
Attached Images
File Type: jpg Front removed.JPG (544.8 KB, 28 views)
File Type: jpg front removedb.JPG (515.6 KB, 26 views)
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Old 20-08-20, 02:08 AM
Join Date: Dec 2019
Posts: 39
Default Removing body on 409

Rear section of the body is removed. Roof is next.

I'll rely on a professional to weld it all back together eventually.
Attached Images
File Type: jpg bare_chassis.jpg (302.7 KB, 26 views)
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