Bristol - Bristol 401

The Bristol 401 was introduced in 1948. Mechanically the cars were the same as the earlier 400, the main change being the use of Solex carburettors in place of the downdraught SU's. The Bristol 85C engine was now giving a little more power at 85 bhp.  John Aldington had made arrangements to send out a number of chassis to Italy to see what could be managed to modernise the look of the Bristol for the post war world, with examples of an open topped car and closed top saloon to evaluate. Carrozzeria Touring got the job of the saloon and required a batch size of 6 cars, and in a short period delivered the finished cars, built to their Superleggera principles. These were stunning sophisticated looking works of art, but the people at Bristol were appalled at the build quality! Nothing was interchangable on the hand built bodies. No doubt as appalled as Vandervell was when he stripped the engine of his new Grand Prix V12 Ferrari GP car (to learn from and check the tolerances), but we are digressing. But perhaps Bristol didn't really appreciate that these were fast built prototypes with everything handmade and fitted, so each part was matched to each other, rather than every door lock mechanism being interchangeable. In any case of the 6 prototyped cars, 5 were sold, while one was cut up at Bristol to analyze and use as a basis to draw up before tooling up to make an Anglicised version of the Carrozzeria Touring body - which was the Bristol 401. The Bristol 401 was built up to 1953.

The Bristols 401 started life with cross ply tyre size 5.75x16.  We would recommend the equivalent radial tyre size which is the Blockley 185VR16, a high speed rated steel belted period looking tyre of exceptional quality, which is what owners fit now. See full details of this 185VR16 tyre below:

Blockley Products for Bristol Bristol 401


Blockley Radial

£196.00 (£235.20 inc. VAT)

15/16 inch Rim Band (45mm wide)

Blockley Rim Band

£3.30 (£3.96 inc. VAT)