One of just two cars bodied by Beutler of Thun; older
restoration; 2.2-litre 110-series engine fitted; exclusive and beautifully
Swiss-based coachbuilders Beutler are perhaps better known for their sporty, luxurious bodywork fitted to Volkswagens and Porsches. One of their more exclusive commissions came from Sir Ernest Fernando, the Chairman of the Bogala Graphite Mining Company in Ceylon (now Sri Lanka) who commissioned a special body based on a chassis supplied by Bristol.
Bristol 401 Chassis 892 was shipped to Thun in Switzerland, alongside its sister car 893 which was featured in The Autocar on 16th December 1949. This one, 892, went straight to its new customer in Ceylon.
On Sir Ernest's death, it was sold to Mrs Nina Whitfiled who imported it to England in 1960. She kept it until 1965 when it was sold to Anthony Crook Motors of Hersham.
Crook sold it to David Crawley of London's New Cross, who in turn sold it to Brian in the late 1960s. By this point the car was not in good shape so Brian laid it up awaiting restoration. As you can see, he did eventually get round to this task and it has been transformed and restored with a later 110-series engine.
Brian used it for family holidays, including trips overseas to Italy, and described it in an article as being as beautifully made on the inside as it was on the outside - who are we to disagree? Super details abound, from the portholes on the side to the perfectly symmetrical dashboard that looks like the builder had OCD...
The file includes some interesting history and articles about the car. There is also the original buff logbook from when Nina Whitfield had the car, then cream and black and registered YUL 476. This registration number is still on the DVLA database linked to chassis number 892, although the car has sported the registration 1951 BT for some years which is from a later car (1255). There are two chassis plates under the bonnet (not fixed), one for each of these and the small plate rivetted to the chassis is for 892.
As you can see, the window surrounds have been removed for work, and as far as we can tell, are present in the boot for refitting. It has obviously been very carefully stripped and labelled. Last running around five years ago, it will need some recommissioning before use once more.
Coachbuilt Bristols are highly sought after and this 'one of two' Swiss-bodied car would look sit well in any collection.
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