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Lot 305: Bristol Beaufighter Convertible

Collectors' Motor Cars, Bonhams (30 April 2012)

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 turbo-charged version of the Chrysler V8 engine and while in Rolls-Royce fashion the power output remained officially undisclosed, it was nevertheless 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 turbo-charged 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. Their interiors fully justified the '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. This Beaufighter underwent extensive restoration in 2004 while in the previous owner's hands and in September of that year was a class winner at the Bristol Owners Club's annual concours d'elegance (certificate on file). Restoration highlights (full details available) include an engine rebuild (unleaded conversion and new crankshaft, camshaft, timing gear, carburettor, oil pump, water pump, etc), turbo/waste gate rebuild and a gearbox overhaul. Upgrades include electronic ignition, Kenlowe cooling fan and stainless steel exhaust system. Turning to the running gear: the power steering box was rebuilt and new brake discs, pads, wheel bearings and hub seals fitted. The body was repainted in Jaguar Windsor Blue and fitted with a new windscreen, headlamps (x4), front indicators and side repeaters. New window lifts and cut-out switches were installed in the doors. The interior re-trim included re-upholstered seats and new carpets, roof lining, mohair hood and door kick plates. Other noteworthy items fitted at time of restoration include a new Moto-Lita steering wheel, Sony CD/radio four-speaker stereo and an electric aerial. The interior, particularly the carpets, could do with refreshment, the car comes complete with hardtop and is offered with sundry restoration and subsequent invoices, MoT to September 2012 and Swansea V5.

Lot Details
Auction Collectors' Motor Cars
Bonhams, The Royal Airforce Museum, London, UK
TypeCar
Lot Number305
Estimate£5000-£7000
Outcome SOLD
Hammer Price£5200
Hammer Price (inc premium)£5980
Year1981
Condition rating3
Registration numberPPJ 274W
Mileage-
Chassis number7890279Z
Engine number78-360-9783
Engine capacity (cc)
Engine - cylinders
Number of doors2