'Whereas Rolls-Royce intend to step up production... Bristol Cars Ltd are content to protect their exclusiveness by keeping to an almost ridiculously small output of cars which some people believe to be the best engineered high-quality cars available anywhere.' - William Boddy, Motor Sport, August 1975.
Bristol's long line of Chrysler V8-engined sports saloons began in 1961 with the launch of the 407, although in both styling and running gear the newcomer closely resembled the preceding six-cylinder 406. The chassis was up-dated and the styling revised periodically throughout the 1960s, the process culminating in the 411 of 1969. After five series had been built, the 411 was phased out as the 603 saloon and 412 'Targa'-type four-seat convertible came on stream in 1975/76. Styled by Carrozzeria Zagato, the latter made a clean break from the traditional Bristol look while retaining its predecessors' chassis, Chrysler 6.6-litre engine, and Torqueflite transmission. Early cars had Zagato-built bodies while those of later examples were built entirely by Bristol Cars Ltd.
The factory claimed a top speed of 140mph and a 0-70mph time of 9.5 seconds for its new soft-top which, like all Bristols, featured aluminium coachwork and a sumptuously equipped interior boasting leather upholstery and walnut veneer trim. A hand-built, limited edition motor car, the Bristol 412 was far from cheap at £14,584; this at a time when you could drive away a brand new Jaguar XJ-6 and still have change out of £5,000. Notable developments included the switch to a 5.9-litre engine in 1978 and the introduction of the turbocharged Beaufighter derivative in 1980. The 412 remained in production until 1982 while the Beaufighter continued into the 1990s.
Running and driving well, the rare Bristol 412 offered here is an older restored example that still presents beautifully. The vendor purchased the car in August 1993 from Richard Fuggle of Bushey Heath, a well-known and respected specialist. Servicing has been carried out by Martin Barnes at American Cars and later by Bristol Cars themselves in London. This car and its stablemates have always been garaged in a dry, well-aired barn and in recent years maintained in situ by the same mechanic. The estate has a 1-mile circuit over which the cars have been regularly warmed up prior to use.
Finished in Navy Blue with original cream leather interior, silver wheels, and excellent chrome, this fine example of a true connoisseur's Gran Turismo is offered with a V5C document and current MoT expiring July 2019.