ADS ON TEST: Bristol 411 Series II


Classic Cars magazine

by Richard Gunn |

This Bristol is rare and beautiful yet still makes equivalent Aston Martins look overpriced, reckons Richard Gunn

There is little to find fault with on this Bristol 411; we can see why it was so successful on the club concours scene, even if some of its modern interior upgrades might prompt frowns from future judges.

The car’s accompanying paperwork file includes confirmation of several club concours awards as well as the original bill of sale from Anthony Crook Motors. And while there’s no documentary evi-dence of the car ever being fully restored there is proof of plenty of attention given to the body and paint over the years, complete with invoices from Bristol itself.

The car spent a large chunk of its life in the pleasant climate of Guernsey, which seems to have also paid dividends. The paint and chrome are both little short of excellent with the only real blemish being a stone chip on the bonnet. Panel gaps are even and tight, including the concealed front wing covers containing the battery, brake servo and Michelin spare wheel. Dunlop SP Sport FR70 R15 93H tyres are fitted to the road wheels, all with plenty of life left and no obvious issues.

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Pleasant interior has some mod-cons ©Classic Cars magazine

The interior is lovely. The expansive tan Warm Stone leather is fantastic and there are few signs of age or wear, aside from minor cracking and creasing. The cabin feels very light and airy thanks to the immaculate pale wood veneer and clean beige carpets. The modern Pioneer stereo blends in quite well because it is installed with a wood (or fake wood) surround. The same can’t quite be said of the remote control on the centre console – but that’s at least removable. The CD changer unit is concealed underneath the rear seat. The clock and fuel gauge don’t work but the well-used low fuel light certainly does.

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Chrysler V8 seems healthy, looks tidy ©Classic Cars magazine

The 6277cc overhead-valve Chrysler V8’s home isn’t quite as scrupulously clean as the rest of the car but it’s tidy and nice enough that you won’t be ashamed to show it off at shows and, being a decorated concours car, it’s all pretty stock save for a few plastic cable ties securing some hoses together so they look neater. No leaks are apparent and all the fluids are the correct colour and at the levels they should be.

Dubbed the ‘businessman’s express’ in period, the 411 offered luxury, elegance and power and this one demonstrates all of those qualities in large measure. The V8 starts well from cold but it’s wise to let it warm through before moving off. It idles smoothly and shows no signs of overheating and gear selection via the three-speed Torqueflite automatic is so light that it seems like you barely have to touch the wood-topped lever. Acceleration is impressive, especially with kickdown, but this car is also content to just pootle. The power-assisted steering handles this hefty Bristol’s weight and size well and the brakes work quickly and cleanly.

The paperwork file suggests that the car was serviced conscientiously, being sent back to the main-land from Guernsey for regular maintenance – and any other jobs needed – to be done. The chassis has been thoroughly undersealed, too.

Engine 6277cc V8, ohv, Carter Thermo-Quad carburettor Power 335bhp @ 5200rpm Torque 425lb ft @ 3400rpm 0-60mph 7sec Top speed 138mph Fuel consumption 13-20mpg Length 4902mm Width 1727mm

This Bristol in one of four cars for sale tested and evaluated in the latest issue of Classic Cars.

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