The Bristol Aeroplane Company's career as a motor manufacturer began in the aftermath of WW2 when the firm obtained the rights to BMW's automotive designs as part of Germany's post-WW2 reparations. Thus it came about that the Bristol 400, which commenced production in 1947, was effectively a synthesis of three pre-war BMW designs, with a chassis derived from that of the 326, a six-cylinder engine from the 328 sports car, and an aerodynamic bodyshell similar to that of the 327 coupé. But Bristol did more than simply copy the work of its German counterparts, and the application of aviation industry standards to its manufacture resulted in a car more refined and considerably better constructed than its Teutonic forbears.
Bristol's line of V8-engined sports saloons began in 1961 with the 407, though in appearance the newcomer closely resembled the preceding six-cylinder 406. The adoption of Chrysler V8 power came not before time, as Bristol's BMW-based engine had effectively been outgrown by the car's increasingly weighty coachwork. With 250bhp (more than double the 406's output) available from its 5.1 litres and a top speed of 125mph, the 407 re-established the Bristol as a true high-performance car but one which nevertheless retained all the refinement and luxury associated with the marque. The 406's four-wheel disc brakes were, naturally, retained for its successor, which came with Chrysler's Torqueflite automatic transmission as standard equipment and coil-spring front suspension in place of the previous transverse-leaf set-up. The chassis was updated and the styling revised periodically throughout the 1960s, the process culminating in the 411 of 1969.
The car offered here is an example of the restyled 408 model, only 83 of which were produced between 1963 and 1965. 'FTL 423D' was first registered on 12th January 1966. The car has the 5.1-litre Chrysler V8 engine and three-speed automatic transmission, and has been the subject of a 'ground upwards' professional restoration. Described by the vendor as in superb condition, this rare and desirable Anglo-American Grande Routière is offered with a V5 registration document.