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

Type 411 s4

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Old 14-08-09, 11:35 AM
Join Date: Aug 2009
Posts: 1
Default Type 411 s4

Hi all

I was wondering whether i could get some peoples help in restoring my 1974 411s4. The car has only done 8400kms since new.

It's been sitting in my garage for the past 5 years when i decided it was about time to do something to it. Had it towed to the mechanics and just got it back today. A few things were pointed out. Apparently there is some sort of suspension pump or hydraulic missing and the mechanics thinks it was used to raise or lower the car when needed. Can anyone confirm this in the 411 and if so where could i get one in Australia?

The car seems to run pretty well but i think the suspension has sunk as the tyres occasionally scrape the body when turning so need to look into that more although it could be the tyres are too big as they were changed about 5 or so years ago. Anyone know the right size of tyre for this car?

Also he mentioned that the window washer mechanism, windscreen spray jet, heater mechanism for warm air in the car and all the window rubber seals needs replacing. Any ideas of where i can purchase these?

Also need a few other little things like the small leather pull handle for the glove box and also a new side mirror. Did the original car have any side mirrors because i've seen pictures of the 411 and many with different side mirrors?

I will post pics of the car and keep you up to date with the progress of the restoration. I will be bringing the car to the panel beaters and upholsterers in the next week to get a brand new paint job and a restored interior.

Thanks everyone for your help in advance. As you can probably tell i dont really know a whole lot but have been scouring the internet for as much information as possible.

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Old 15-08-09, 04:12 AM
Join Date: May 2008
Location: Melbourne, Australia
Posts: 1,168

Hi James,

Does your car have an odometer that measures km ? (or is it in miles and you have converted to km?) I believe it would have measured miles originally. Do you know much about the history of your car?

The S4 has a 400 cubic inch engine. Do you know what the engine number is?

The 411 had hydraulic self levelling rear suspension from the S2 onwards. The system has a reputation for leaking and really had little effect on the rear suspension unless the car was fully laden. I removed the hydraulic reservoir, pump and pipes from my 411 S5. I was advised by Brian Marelli (Bristol Cars Services) to leave the hydraulic actuators in place beneath the car.

With the car sitting on a hard level surface, distance between the bottom of the front crossmember and the road should be about 5 inches. The original tyres were 205 15VR. Overall tyre diameter on the wheel, 717mm (if the tyre size calculator I used is correct!)

What tyres does it have on it now?

If you do establish that the suspension is low, there are some suspension parts at the front which disintegrate over time. This post might be helpful. The default setting of the rear torsion bars is adjustable.

When you say the "heater mechanism" do you mean the Smiths heater box, or is it the water valve that needs replacing?

Rubber seals and weather strips for windows, doors, boot etc, should all be available from Bristol Cars in London, I bought a full set from them in the past. You might also be able to get them from Woolies in the UK if you know what seal profile you need. You might be able to source some of the rubber trim in Australia but I don't know any local sources off hand.

The windscreen washer bottle and pump were a Trico product. If you find them please let me know, because I need both (the guy who has been working on my car destroyed mine by relocating it too close the exhaust!). Bristol may have them but I haven't checked yet.

I had a leather pull handle for the glove box made here in Australia by a leather craft guy I found at a country market. This was quite a few years ago. I will send you his details directly via your site profile, although he will need something to work from.

Side mirrors - I don't think they were standard equipment. Certainly the show cars pictured in the original S4 and S5 brochures did not have any wing mirrors, although they are present on the car used to test the Avon Safety wheels, half way down the front wings - very unattractive and probably not very useful. They are also visible on just one rear view picture in the S4 brochure. I suspect they were retro fitted to quite a lot of the cars.

I have electric mirrors on mine 411 S5 from a series 3 Jag XJ6. They are mounted on the doors and suit the car much better than anything else I have seen. I will see if I can dig up some photos and I have the Jag part numbers if you are interested.

Looking forward to hearing and seeing how your restoration goes!


PS: Where are you in Australia?

Last edited by Kevin H; 15-08-09 at 04:15 AM. Reason: added comment about rear torsion bars
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411 series 4

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