Tuesday, 22 February 2011

Fit for a Sheikh - Bristol 405 Drophead

The Bristol 405 introduced in 1953 was the first Bristol to dispense with the BMW inspired grill and is unusual for having a single fog light placed in the middle.

There were two versions of the 405 this Drophead of which 43 were built and an imposing 4 door saloon of which 308 were built until production ended in 1958.

A 1971 cc / 120 cui straight six motor was exclusively tuned to produce 125 hp for the Drophead, the Saloon was given a 105 hp version of this engine. One blogger described the sound of this motor as being like 'a squadron of Lancasters'.

The first two 405 D's were strictly two seaters with fully retracting roofs, however all bar one of the remaining Dropheads had roofs that rested on the rear body work making space for rear seats. A one off 405 D was produced for Sheikh Yusuf Mohammed Al Tawil and shipped to Jeddah in 1955 painted gold with silver wheels, white wall tyres and an electro-hydraulic operated roof.

The slick action four speed gearbox of all 405's were fitted with a Laycock overdrive for high speed cruising operated by the large toggle switch to the right of the steering wheel.

The first 18 to 20 Bristol 405 Drophead chassis were sent to Abbots of Farnham where the bodywork was crafted. Abbots landed a large contract to build estate / station wagon version of the Ford Zephyr and Zodiac models and the remaining 405 D's were sent to Tickford, in Newport Pagnell, for body work to be built according to the Abbots of Farnham drawings. I am not sufficiently drenched in Bristol Cars lore to tell you where this particular body was crafted... yet.

I suspect I could get used to fresh air motoring in a vehicle fit for a Sheik that sounds like a 'squadron of Lancasters' how about you ?

Thanks to the owner of this fabulous vehicle for bringing it to the Sunday Service at the BMW Plant a couple of weeks ago.

Hope you have enjoyed today's fit for a Sheikh edition of 'Gettin' a lil' psycho on tyres and that you will join me again tomorrow for a Swedish tease. Don't forget to come back now !