Tag Archives: 401

CAD/CAM Body – Mitchell Special MkII

The last in the current series of Bristol Special blogs features the Mitchell Special Mk II concieved by Andy Mitchell of Mitchell Motors in Wiltshire as the ultimate Bristol.

Mitchell Special Mk II, Autumn Classic, Castle Combe,

In 2008 Andy started by designing and building an FIA safety compliant space frame which makes use of axles, suspension and and steering from a wrecked Bristol 401.

Mitchell Special Mk II, Autumn Classic, Castle Combe,

The block for the 1971cc / 120 cui motor was sourced from an even older Bristol 400. Apart from the block and cylinder head castings everything else is modern competition spec running to electronic ignition and an Eaton supercharger which brings the power up to 200hp.

Mitchell Special Mk II, Autumn Classic, Castle Combe,

With the chassis and motor completed Andy approached an acquaintance Stuart Brown to design the body. Stuart had just finished 3D imaging every component of a Bugatti type 35 for The Bugatti Trust and was in possession of all the 3D imaging software needed to design a body for Andy on his computer.

Mitchell Special Mk II, Autumn Classic, Castle Combe,

Andy started by taking Stuart of 50 50’s period sports cars he liked and another 50 of vehicles from the same period which he did not like.

Mitchell Special Mk II, Autumn Classic, Castle Combe,

With the necessary measurements of the chassis Stuart came up with a design that went through 21 stages of refinement in consultation with Andy to arrive at the final design seen on the car today.

Mitchell Special Mk II, Autumn Classic, Castle Combe,

It took just seven months for the body to be completed starting from Andy’s initial consultation with Stuart, which also included e-mailing the 3D images to woodworkers who fed the information into their CAM (computer aided manufacture) machine which cut a full size plywood buck around which Andy could from the aluminium body.

In May 2010 Andy started taking part in competitive VSCC (Vintage Sports Car Club) and AMOC (Aston Martin Owners Club ) events with his Mitchell Special Mk II, seen in these photographs at the Autumn Classic meeting at Castle Combe, recording at least one win and several placings.

Thanks for joining me on this “CAD/CAM Body” edition of “Gettin’ a li’l psycho on tyres” I hope you will join me again tomorrow when I’ll be looking at an Eagle. Don’t forget to come back now !


Special Drophead – Bristol 401 Cabriolet

Continuing the Centenary Celebration of the Bristol Aeroplane Company out of which Bristol Cars was born, today we are looking at another unique car a Bristol 401 Drophead.

Between 1948 and 1953 Bristol Cars built 611 401 coupes and 23 mechanically identical 402’s cabriolets.

Sources close to the Bristol Owners Club assure me that this vehicle, seen at a VSCC meeting at Prescott, is a one off special 401 coupe converted into a cabriolet.

Hope you have enjoyed today’s special drophead edition of ‘Gettin’ a lil’ psycho on tyres’ and will join me again tomorrow for some Bristol disambiguation. Don’t forget to come back now !


Bristol’s big seller – Bristol 401

28 10 10 Erratum this blog was originally posted with pics I thought were of a Bristol 401 in good faith, however it has transpired thanks to Sinclairstinton & Geoffrey Hawkins at BOCForum@yahoogroups that the car pictured was in fact a Bristol 403.

Since the information posted on the 401 has proved useful and interesting to at least one Bristol owner I have decided to remove the original pictures from the text and write a new blog to cover the Bristol 403, and post new photo’s of 401’s kindly sourced from the archive of Teb Marius and taken by John Lomas. The original text remains with additions in italic :-

Source Teb Marius

Continuing the 100th anniversary of the Bristol aeroplane company todays vehicle is the Bristol 401, which took its styling direction from a prototype by Carrozzeria Touring in 1948. The big external change from the Bristol 400 was the addition of large side lights in the front wing and hidden door handles.

Source Teb Marius

Internally the BMW based 6 cylinder engine was upgraded from 80 to 85 hp with the use of improved carburettors.

Source Teb Marius

The 401 had a very low drag coefficient of the order of 0.36 comparable to many modern vehicles, which helped the vehicle reach 97.3 mph. Between 1948 and 1953 611 of these vehicles were built making it Bristol’s all time best seller !

The model was so popular that in 1955 Mr. and Mrs. Glasby in a Bristol 401 with a total of 1497 points won class B of the second Ndola Rally in Northern Rhodesia now known as Zambia.

Note: Teb did offer some photos of 401’s in concours condition however I am a huge fan of original patina and will always show vehicles on this blog with original patina over re sprayed vehicles where I have the choice.


Posted with kind permission of the copyright owner John Lomas.

As can be seen from the fabulous photo above the 401 (green closest to the camera) and 403 are almost indistinguishable if like me your not an expert, the 403 has a small chrome numeral badge to the rear of the bonnet, the bumper grill is chromed on the 403, there is a chrome numeral badge on the boot of the 403 and the roundel on the 403 Bristol badges are dark red as opposed to the orange on the 401.

Apologies for any confusion arising from my original post thanks to everyone who helped correct the error.

Thanks for popping by, wishing everyone a thriving Tuesday, don’t forget to come back now !