Classic Cars Phuket

High Speed Touring with a Bristol 407

June 2011

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Michael with Bristol 407

1962 Bristol 407 on the road...

Bristols are unique British luxury cars for quirky English lords who like beautifully hand-crafted automobiles which don't disclose to normal folk that they cost the same money like a Rolls-Royce. We spent one afternoon with such an exotic gem, a 1962 Bristol 407, of which just 88 units were produced between 1961 and 1963.

The 407 was the first Bristol that abandoned the old BMW-derived six-cylinder engine and instead of that featured a 5,130 cm³ Chrysler V8, built in Canada. Officially there were no figures for engine power published, but the Bristol 407 had about 250 hp under the bonnet, at a time when Porsche's standard 356 had just 75 hp. The British "Motor" magazine tested a 407 in 1961 and recorded a top speed of 125.2 mph (201.5 km/h) which was really a dazzling performance for its time.

We didn't go to the limit, but roared along the motorway with up to 160 km/h. The engine delivered effortless power with the sonorously deep sound of an American V8. All Bristol 407 had a Torqueflite 3-speed automatic gearbox which is curiously, but quite comfortably operated by small push buttons instead of the usual gear lever. Nevertheless we started sweating when maneuvering this huge car (5,05m long!) in the city without power steering.

We were very impressed by this rare and special car and also enjoyed the skeptical faces of passersby who tried but failed to find out the true identity of this great classic car.

Excentric Europeen GT: 1962 Bristol 407 with original Chrysler V( engine

Frontlight details of Bristol 407

Taillight and tailfin details of Bristol 407

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