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Lot 220: Bristol Beaufighter Convertible

Collectors' Motor Cars and automobilia, Bonhams (8 March 2009)

Bristol's long line of Chrysler V8-engined sports saloons began in 1961 with the launch of the 407, though 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, a process that culminated in the 411 of 1969. After five series had been built the 411 was phased out as the 603 saloon and Zagato-styled 412 convertible came on stream in 1975/76; the latter making a clean break from the traditional Bristol look while retaining its predecessor's chassis and Chrysler engine, though the latter was later downsized to from 6.6 to 5.9 litres. In 1980 Bristol abandoned its traditional numerical nomenclature with the launch of the Beaufighter, and succeeding models would likewise use names drawn from the company's not inconsiderable aircraft manufacturing heritage. A development of the 412, the Beaufighter used a turbocharged version of the Chrysler V8, and while in Rolls-Royce fashion the power output remained officially undisclosed, it was sufficient to propel the car to 150mph with a sub-6.0 second 0-60mph time to boot. Meanwhile, the 603 saloon had been revised as the Britannia, the turbocharged version of which, launched in 1983, was dubbed 'Brigand'. Although more modern in appearance, these 1980s Bristols were hand built with aluminium coachwork in the traditional manner, much as their forebears had been in the late 1940s. The interior fully justified the Bristol's 'Gentleman's Express' sobriquet, featuring leather-upholstered armchair-like seats and acres of walnut embellishment. The use of the finest materials and the fact that each of these craftsman-built cars took between 16 and 20 weeks to complete explains the lofty price tag, which in the Beaufighter's case was approaching �40,000. Currently in the hands of only its second owner, who acquired it in 2003, this Beaufighter has been used sparingly, covering a believed-genuine 61,495 miles from new, and must be reckoned a very good example. The car was fitted with a new hood and carpets at time of purchase and had had a new engine installed prior to its acquisition by the vendor, who has subsequently fitted a turbo-charger, which the replacement engine lacked, and a new gearbox, starter motor and shock absorbers. Finished in red with black leather interior, this rare and desirable modern Bristol is offered with its original owner's manual, current road fund licence, MoT to November 2009 and Swansea V5 registration

Lot Details
Auction Collectors' Motor Cars and automobilia
Bonhams, Oxford
Lot Number220
Outcome SOLD
Hammer Price£10500
Hammer Price (inc premium)£12075
Condition rating0
Registration numberA187 KRK
Chassis number412S 307887270
Engine number9NK36038115-1
Engine capacity (cc)
Engine - cylinders
Number of doors