Ads on Test: 1970 Bristol 411


Classic Cars magazine

by Mike Renaut |

This recent arrival from the Netherlands makes an unusual and great-value alternative to an Aston Martin, reckons Mike Renaut

This right-hand-drive 411 Series 2 spent much of its life in Amsterdam. Still Dutch registered at the time of testing, it will soon be receiving an age-related UK number. There are very minor stone chips on the paintwork, particularly on the front offside wing, but overall the finish is smooth and shiny. There are scratches above the offside tail light, but they will be attended to before sale.

All panels are straight with excellent gaps and no corrosion. The delightfully heavy doors open without drooping and close precisely without slamming. Chrome, including bumpers and wheel trims, all appears generally excellent, the only damage being a scratch on the nearside sill trim. There are no obvious flaws in the headlights, tail lights or glass.

Classic Cars magazine
Restore or leave as it is? We say leave it ©Classic Cars magazine

The leather is cracked and faded but not torn and the seats remain comfortable yet supportive. The passenger one looks notably newer than the rest of the interior while the driver’s has a small area of damage to the top outer corner. The door card on that side is scuffed, too. The dashboard is in great condition with no obvious cracks in any of the wood trim. The period radio and electric aerial operate well and there’s no wind noise at speed or any signs of water leaks. There are a few marks in the carpet but it is still in decent condition, as is the headlining. Static seatbelts are fitted in the front only.

Classic Cars magazine
Engine and gearbox have been rebuilt recently ©Classic Cars magazine

The 383ci V8 and engine bay are clean with tidy wiring, good hoses and no obvious faults or leaks. There’s little accompanying paperwork but the vendor understands that the engine and gearbox have recently been rebuilt. Small Edelbrock decals on the cylinder heads suggest upgraded me-chanical parts might have been added.

Two brand new brake servos were fitted in addition to brake pads all round in 2019 and various service items were replaced. Koni dampers are present up front and tyres are all well-treaded Michelins.

The V8 fires immediately from cold and idles smoothly. Acceleration is decent throughout the rev range, especially with kickdown, and the engine never sounds or feels like it’s working hard. Indi-cated oil pressure is just what it ought to be; indeed all the gauges showed nothing of concern dur-ing the test drive. Gearchanges are swift and smooth, including reverse. The steering is light yet very precise and the brakes stop the car in a straight line. An occasional rattle when the car is held on the foot brake sounds like a loose exhaust mount, but needs investigating.

This imposing and unusual GT combines equally high levels of style and comfort. It drives extremely well, looks great and frankly we could happily live with that slightly aged leather interior just as it is. Bristols have always been the less obvious choice of classic and this 411 would certainly seem to represent a lot of car for the money, especially when you consider how much you’d pay for a con-temporary Aston Martin DB6 or DBS.

This Bristol 411 is one of four Ads on Test in the latest issue of Classic Cars.

Engine 6277cc V8, ohv, Edelbrock 1BHY21 four-barrel carburettor Power 335bhp @ 5200rpm Torque 425lb ft @ 3400rpm Top speed: 138mph; 0-60mph: 7sec Fuel consumption 120mpg Length 4902mm Width 1727mm

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