autoevolution

BRISTOL 406 1958-1961

Body style: Coupé (two-door)
Segment: Exotic
Production years: 1958, 1959, 1960, 1961

After WWII, the Bristol Aeroplane Co. decided to build cars and they started with a license of a pre-war BMW 327. And that's how the Bristol 400 series started in 1947.

Fast forward in 1958 and the new, Bristol 406 was launched. It featured the same inline-six engine from the pre-war BMW 328 with Solex triple downdraft carburetors and a cross-pushrod system that produced 105 hp.

The chassis was derived from the BMW 327, but with an evolution of a Watt linkage on its live rear axle. The 406 featured a Dunlop 4 wheel disc brakes, which was unusual for that era. The Mercedes-Benz 220 “Ponton” from the same era had four drums. On top of that, was a rack-and-pinion steering.

The styling was debatable. The 406 was the first Bristol that looked like it had been designed by a car-maker instead of an aircraft-maker. The big “mouth” front was far from pretty, but the rest of the car had a modern look.

Inside, the 406 was extremely luxurious, with sumptuous leather seats and high quality bound Wilton carpets. A particular feature for the 406 was the flip-up integrated headrests in the front seats.

The dashboard layout and the instrument cluster looked like they were taken from an aircraft, with easy reading and enough information about the car's parameters.

The body-on-frame structure made the vehicle heavy, especially for those times. And with an engine that was great in the mid-'30s, the performance wasn't that great. The 4-speed manual gearbox with an electric overdrive was new and it could keep the car in low revs at higher speeds. Only 174 units of Bristol 406 were built.

BRISTOL 406 1958-1961 4 Photos
BRISTOL 406 (1958-1961)BRISTOL 406 (1958-1961)BRISTOL 406 (1958-1961)BRISTOL 406 (1958-1961)
BRISTOL 406 1958, 1959, 1960, 1961
  1 gasoline engine
  • 2.2L 5MT (107 HP)
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brochures (download)
BRISTOL 406 Brochure

BRISTOL 406 2.2L 5MT (107 HP)

ENGINE SPECS  –  2.2L 5MT (107 HP)
Cylinders
L6
Displacement
2216 cm3
Power
78 KW @ 4700 RPM
107 HP @ 4700 RPM
105 BHP @ 4700 RPM
Torque
129 lb-ft @ 3000 RPM
175 Nm @ 3000 RPM
Fuel System
3 Carburetors
Fuel
Gasoline
PERFORMANCE SPECS
Top Speed
106.9 mph (172 km/h)
Acceleration 0-62 Mph (0-100 kph)
14 s
TRANSMISSION SPECS
Drive Type
Rear Wheel Drive
Gearbox
Manual, 4 Speed
BRAKES SPECS
Front
Discs
Rear
Discs
TIRES SPECS
Tire Size
6.00x16
DIMENSIONS
Length
196 in (4978 mm)
Width
68 in (1727 mm)
Height
60 in (1524 mm)
Front/rear Track
56/56 in (1,422/1,422 mm)
Wheelbase
114 in (2896 mm)
Ground Clearance
6.5 in (165 mm)
WEIGHT SPECS
Unladen Weight
3009.3 lbs (1365 kg)
FUEL ECONOMY (NEDC)
Combined
19.6 mpg US (12 L/100Km)
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