1948 Bristol 400
From the John Malyan Collection; recent brake overhaul; quality ready to enjoy; lots of history
The Filton-based Bristol Aircraft Company was a major player, making both aeroplanes and aeroplane engines in considerable numbers up to and during WW2.
In fact, between 1936 when the Government started to focus on the build-up of armaments and the cessation of hostilities in 1945, Bristol had produced no fewer than 12,660 aircraft (5,400 Blenheims, 1,500 Beauforts and 5,560 Beaufighters) and an astonishing 101,200 engines, of which 57,400 were the mighty Hercules.
It was therefore no surprise that with demand for such items coming to an abrupt halt in 1945, provisions were hurriedly made to produce something else from their extensive facilities. The British Government managed to get their hands on the design for the BMW 328 engine as War reparations, which were handed to Bristol to go into a new car to help fill production capacity. This new car also used the best bits of other pre-war BMWs, with a tubular chassis based on the 326 and aerodynamic styling closely mirroring that of the 327.
The new car was a sensation, offering a high degree of sophistication and performance. Its first owner, a Mr S Highley was clearly seduced by this, taking delivery of his new car in September 1948 in black with cream and brown upholstery.
He kept it until 1959, the car changing hands every few years until 1969 when it came into the hands of a long-term owner who was to keep the car for over 30 years.
Paperwork on file shows its entry into the 1990 Monte Carlo Challenge Rally, an event for which it would be ideally suited.
In 2000, a new owner undertook some serious engine work, entrusting marque expert Ian Nuthall to rebuild the engine. This included hardened (lead-free) valve inserts, a vernier cam gear; a second hand sports camshaft and new pistons and rings, the bill totalling some £7,000.
DVH 902 was then sold in 2005 to a gentleman living in Cap D'Ail in the south of France, where new carpets and headlining were added by Fiordelli-Gaetani.
David Cooper of Vintage Restoration and Maintenance looked after it, with multiple invoices for time and parts to keep it ship shape and yes, you guessed it 'Bristol fashion'. It has recently had a brake overhaul and comes with a fresh MOT until April 2022 with just one minor advisory for a deteriorated steering rack gaitor.
The car carries a comprehensive tool kit and is ready to be enjoyed, having driven over 140 miles to the sale. This car has also been upgraded with the addition of an overdrive operated by a switch on the dash. This is a transformative addition, ensuring relaxed cruising at motorway speeds and making the car much more usable and enjoyable to drive.
By 2010, the Bristol was back in the UK, offered through Brian Classic from whom it was purchased by John Malyan to join his collection of esoteric and interesting motors.
The history file is most interesting, with service and parts invoices (from Bristol Cars) dating from the late 1950s when it lived in the Huddersfield area. Further bills exist from the 1970s, a bill of sale from Brian Classic along with a fascinating brochure entitled 'Bristol - Post War Development' including information on the 'Bristol Bush Bungalow' - an Colonial-style aluminium building designed to keep the factory floor on their toes...
For more information - contact [email protected]
Reg No: DVH902
Chassis Number: 400/1/519
Engine Number: 400/83/1322
Engine Size: 1971
Docs: V5C, MOT April 2022, 4 old MOT's, Photographs, Invoices.
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