BRISTOL 401 REVIEW

''Undoubtedly one of the great cars of our time'' wrote The Autocar in 1949, the year the new Bristol 401 coupe joined the 400. The prime appeal of the more popular 401 of course was, and still is, its flowing lines, a windcheating and distinctive new bodywork, created by Touring of Milan on their Superleggera principles, with lightweight construction of aluminium panelling over tubular steel framing, then welded to a chassis. With further wind-tunnel bodywork refinement by the Bristol Aeroplane Company at Filton, the combination of lightweight construction of just 2,700lbs and stunning aerodynamically efficient lines meant that the robust six-cylinder power unit, derived from the famous 328 BMW, had better top-end acceleration up to 100mph, making it one of the best performing cars of the period, with close-ratio gearbox and triple carburettors. Hand built at the rate of about 150 cars a year, using high quality aircraft materials, only items like tyres, wheels and carburettors were bought in. An exclusive car, priced at £3212.13s.4d, this was a truly expensive 'business express'. With effortless cruising, comfort for four and cavernous boot, features such as flush mounted push-button door locks and body-hugging bumpers are modern even by today's standards, the innovative one-piece bonnet hingeing either to the left or to the right, to choice.

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1970
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