Bristol 400 (1947 – 1950) Review

Bristol 400 (1947 – 1950) At A Glance


+Beautiful build quality, fast and refined for its modest six-cylinder engine, parts commonality with pre-war BMWs

-Not the easiest car to work on or restore - although the factory is very obliging

The Bristol 400 is a beautifully constructed sports tourer - but then, considering its progeny, you'd expect nothing else. Its maker Cars was formed when the Bristol Aeroplane Company joined forces with Frazer-Nash’s parent company, AFN. Before WW2, AFN was the concessionaire for BMW in the UK, so after Bristol took possession of BMW’s designs after the war, AFN was the natural choice for a build partner.

The 400 was the first fruit of the combined companies' efforts, and was clearly based on a mixture of the pre-war BMW 326 (chassis) and 327/80 (body). Many changes were made – most notably the aeroplane levels of build quality, which lifted the 400 above its German ancestors. It was great to drive, hushed at speed, and thanks to careful management of its aerodynamics, quick for its relatively modest power output.