Bristol 407

Bristol 407

The Bristol 407 was a sports car of the British car manufacturer Bristol Cars Ltd.. , Which was produced from 1961 to 1963. It was based technique and style to its predecessor, the Bristol 406, sat on the contrary, but the first time an eight-cylinder engine of American origin one. He established a tradition that continues to this day in Bristol. The introduction of the 407 was in terms of time, together with the detachment of Bristol Cars Ltd.. from the parent company, the Bristol Aeroplane.

The backgrounds

Although the Bristol produced 1958-1961 406 a solidly constructed car was, but it suffered from a noticeable lack of power: the 105 hp of the Bristol engine were clearly overwhelmed with the 1.5 tonne vehicle. The search for more performance -related ultimately a completely new engine, as the existing Bristol six-cylinder engine, whose design dated from the period before the Second World War, had in his past, Type 110 designated form undoubtedly reached the end of its development potential.

Since the mid-1950s Bristol began to develop a new, own motor. As basic data a six-cylinder configuration and a cubic capacity of 3.0 to 3.5 liters was given, a value which was located in the area of ​​contemporary Alvis engines. The power output of the first prototype, however, was not convinced; in any event, was the parent company of the opinion that the financial cost of the redesign was not proportionate to the benefits. Therefore - and because in the meantime, an alternative had opened - Bristol ended his plans for its own motor during the year 1958, the alternative came from America: A big, strong eight-cylinder engine from Chrysler.. On whom the initiative to use American engines was due, is not clear. Tony Crook in any case, the future (joint) owner of Bristol Cars, told this repeatedly following story: Actually, we have only one at Chrysler Torque -Flite want to order automatic transmission for testing purposes. Chrysler could have done to fix them an in-house eight-cylinder in addition to the ordered transmission to the surprise of Bristol staff. Bristol was then the engine rigorous testing undergone and in view of the high performance and the profitability of the concept - opted for the use of the American engine - so that was the saving of their own development costs meant. To further save costs, Bristol moved the engines not directly from the U.S., but from Canada, which belonged to the Commonwealth. This fall, when the engines were transferred to the UK, no import duties on.

The basis for the Bristol- engine an older American engine, which debuted in 1956 at the Chrysler - Plymouth brand and originally had a displacement of 260 CID showed (4.2 liters). Bristol moved into the engine blocks from the U.S. and had them complete in a Canadian Chrysler workshop manual work. There, at the same time a number of profound modifications were carried out by the distinguished, the Bristol engines from their high-volume counterparts:

  • The bore of the engine was increased from 3.56 inches to 3.87 inches. This resulted - in only marginally altered Hub - ultimately a displacement of 5.2 liters; a motor of appropriate size Chrysler had not in his series portfolio.
  • The engines are fitted with a new, designed by Bristol cylinder head, the " polyspherical " head of the Plymouth - product replaced the original.
  • Finally, the intake ports have been revised.

Overall, the engine has an output of 250 hp was off to the craft modifications. Thus, the power potential was compared with the predecessor model more than doubled. Bristol was on his way to becoming a manufacturer of sports cars.

The conversion to American Motors was problematic. Although this step was not without precedent: Facel -Vega from France had already gone down this path a few years earlier, and the British competitor Jensen was about to do the same. The conservative British customers were nevertheless skeptical, and quite a few will have seen, according to Tony Crook in a fall. Most critics have been reconciled but by the outstanding performance of the car.

Bristol's veteran 2.0-liter six-cylinder engine has been further built on the introduction of the 407, some time. He was delivered primarily at AC Cars, where he was installed by the end of 1962 in the Ace Aceca and Greyhound models.

The car

For the new car Bristol took over the handling chassis largely unchanged. Suspension, damping and steering have been adapted to the much higher weight of the car. The vehicle continued to wear a body made ​​from aluminum sheets, which were based on a solid steel frame. Unlike its predecessor, the scaffolding that company, which also produced the legendary London double-decker buses has now been manufactured by Park Royal Vehicles.

Externally, the 407 seemed the previous model 406 to correspond exactly: the naked eye hardly took himself in a direct comparison of both models was a difference. In fact, the body parts of the 407 had been almost completely redesigned - but with the proviso to keep as far as possible to the design of the 406. The reason for the change was the fact that Chrysler's eight-cylinder engine built significantly lower than the old Bristol engine. This allowed for a flatter bonnet, a lower waistline and - to keep the proportions in the Lot - a different extending roof. The Bristol Owners Club asserts that no body part of the 406 fit on the 407. If this is true, then the step from 406 to 407 was certainly one of the best camouflaged model changes in automotive history.

The 407 was initially offered with both automatic and manual transmission. The automatic was - typical of American designs of this period - from the dashboard via push buttons (push buttons ) to operate. For the critical clientele Tony Crook was beyond even a manual transmission of Pont- à -Mousson in the offer ( held their own Bristol- gear the torque of the Chrysler engine was not ); Crook later reported, however, that not a single customer had ordered the manual transmission.

The British press took the new Bristol on friendly. Praise was that the performance convinced again: The top speed of 407 determined the magazine Autocar during a test of the October 1961 by 122 mph (196 km / h), and for the acceleration from 0 to 60 mph (96 km / h) the car needed only 9.9 seconds. The consumption was on average 20.4 liters per 100 km.

The Bristol 407 remained until the summer of 1963 in production. During this time, to have been made ​​about 300 copies.

Special models

Bristol 407 GTZ Zagato

As in the case of the Bristol 406, Bristol was also for the 407 design a special body by Zagato. The result, of Bristol 407 Zagato GTZ had nothing to do with the 406 Zagato. The new design was an elongated, round body with a very low waistline, a " pelvic thrust " over the rear wheels and a lush glass hatchback. The car was much lighter than the Factory- 407 and reached top speeds of over 200 km / h

The Bristol 407 GTZ Zagato was first issued in October 1961 at the Earls Court Motor Show. The car, however, was not on the Bristol, but onto the unassuming state of Zagato. Author of the project was again Anthony Crook (and not Bristol Cars Ltd. ). From idea to finished product took only 10 weeks. However, the one noticed in the car. Much of it was improvised. This was true not only for the radiator grille with a honeycomb-shaped shield, which was obviously borrowed from a Lancia. The car was friendly, and the few journalists who were allowed to drive the car, however, criticized the Frontlastigkeit the construction. The heavy weight of the car was the American engine. Therefore extremely lightweight Zagato body led to an unfavorable weight distribution. Tony Crook, who had initially hoped for some orders, the project was in the summer of 1962, because the work did not get the problems with the distribution of weight in the handle. After all, what is known of the 407 GTZ has remained a one-off. It still exists today.

Bristol 407 Viotti

Another special model was a four- seater convertible, which established the Carrozzeria Viotti of Turin on a full-length chassis of the 407. The body was relatively simple and took in some perspective, the design of the Fiat 1500 Spider anticipated. The car was unveiled at the Turin Motor Show in 1960 on the state of Viotti. This was followed by another performance in the UK, this time at the level of Bristol Cars. The actor Peter Sellers, the estimated Bristol- vehicles, the car took over for some time and had his professional colleague Britt Ekland photographed beside the car. The Viotti Convertible was a unique piece. It still exists today.