autoevolution

BRISTOL 403 1953-1955

Body style: Coupé (two-door)
Segment: Exotic
Production years: 1953, 1954, 1955

It was the last Bristol that featured the “kidney-grille” from BMW since it was built with the inline-six engine from BMW. It was the successor of the 401 and it still shared some parts with the German car-maker.

Before WWII, BMW and Bristol were linked together. The war broke their alliance and made both sides lose their projects. After 1945, the economy started to move on and the two manufacturers restarted their cooperation. Bristol used much of the BMW technology to build its cars, starting with the chassis, drivetrain, and even the look of the car, which was similar to the BMW 327 coupe.

For the exterior, the 1953 Bristol featured a new pair of headlights on the front fenders. It was a major aesthetic look that could tell the difference between the 403 and 401 models. The aerodynamically shaped bodywork was studied by the Bristol engineers, who used to be the ones to design aircraft and bombers for the RAF (Royal Air Forces).

Inside, some elements resembled the BMW 327. First, there was the same square design for gauges. The linkage to the gearbox was via an angled gear-stick, like in the 327. The dashboard was covered in wood.

The first models were fitted with modified BMW inline-six engines. Later, the 100B series unit, featured more advanced engines, with a short shift gear-stick and an overdrive top gear.

BRISTOL 403 1953-1955 19 Photos
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BRISTOL 403 1953, 1954, 1955
  1 gasoline engine
  • 2.0L 4MT (107 HP)
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BRISTOL 403 2.0L 4MT (107 HP)

ENGINE SPECS  –  2.0L 4MT (107 HP)
Cylinders
L6
Displacement
1971 cm3
Power
78.7 KW @ 5000 RPM
107 HP @ 5000 RPM
106 BHP @ 5000 RPM
Torque
112 lb-ft @ 3750 RPM
152 Nm @ 3750 RPM
Fuel System
3 Carburetors
Fuel
Gasoline
PERFORMANCE SPECS
Top Speed
102 mph (164 km/h)
Acceleration 0-62 Mph (0-100 kph)
15.6 s
TRANSMISSION SPECS
Drive Type
Rear Wheel Drive
Gearbox
4-speed manual
BRAKES SPECS
Front
Drums
Rear
Drums
TIRES SPECS
Tire Size
5.75 x 16
DIMENSIONS
Length
192.9 in (4900 mm)
Width
67 in (1702 mm)
Height
60 in (1524 mm)
Front/rear Track
51.7/54 in (1,313/1,372 mm)
Wheelbase
114 in (2896 mm)
Ground Clearance
6.5 in (165 mm)
Aerodynamics (Cd)
0.4
WEIGHT SPECS
Unladen Weight
2778 lbs (1260 kg)
FUEL ECONOMY (NEDC)
Combined
19.6 mpg US (12 L/100Km)
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