Tag Archives: 405

Classic Run – Chipping Sodbury

Today’s visit to Chipping Sodbury looks at a selection of the British vehicles taking part in the Classic Run.

Hillman Super Imp, Classic Run, Chipping Sodbury

My friend Spence, who was the navigator in this 1972 Hillman Super Imp, advised me the event was happening.

Bristol 405, Classic Run, Chipping Sodbury

The unadulterated Chipping Sodbury sunshine really set off the metallic Green paint work on this 1955 Bristol 405.

Daimler Sovereign 4.2, Classic Run, Chipping Sodbury

Motorsport in this country would come to a stand still without volunteer marshals and one of the most avid I have come across is called Mark Benstock, who most weekends can be found marshaling at a sprint or rally almost anywhere in the UK. During a rare weekend off he took his 1976 Daimler Sovereign 4.2 for a spin on a busman’s holiday as travelling marshal for the event.

Jaguar XJS Le Mans, Classic Run, Chipping Sodbury

To celebrate the Le Mans Victories in 1988 of the Tom Walkinshaw Racing Jaguars in 1988 and 1990 JaguarSport produced a limited edition of 280 ‘Celebration Le Mans’ models, like the one above, with US spec round head lights, upgraded V12 motor and suspension along with an id plate on the door tread showing the model number. Coincidentally this car is up for sale on e-bay, usual disclaimers apply.

Rolls Royce Corniche Silver Spirit II, Classic Run, Chipping Sodbury

When I arrived at Chipping Sodbury a call went out on the tanoy for a volunteer to take a ride in this 1989 Rolls Royce Corniche Silver Spirit II, unfortunately I had prior commitments but if I go again I’ll make sure I have the afternoon free.

Austin Allegro, Classic Run, Chipping Sodbury

Wrapping up the event on the road was this delightful 1982 Austin Allegro 3 HL, a design that was hampered by some early 1970’s in house dogma that dictated it should not be available as a hatchback. The Allegro 3 was replaced in 1983 with the Austin Maestro hatchback.

Thanks for joining me on this Classic Run edition of “Gettin’ a li’l psycho on tyres” I hope you will join me again tomorrow for Americana Thusday which will be coming from Yate. Don’t forget to come back now !


An Education – Bristol 405 Saloon

Back in February I looked at the Bristol 405 Drophead, fit for for a Sheikh, today I am looking at the 4 door saloon, seen here at the recent Silverstone Classic, built on the same chassis design.

Bristol 405 Saloon, Silverstone Classic

When launched at the Paris Motor Show in October 1954 the 405 experienced overheating problems while running in heavy Parisian traffic, this turned out to be due to a faulty batch of cylinder heads rather than the fog light blocking the radiator.

Bristol 405 Saloon, Silverstone Classic

Once the overheating problem had been sorted customers were full of enthusiasm for this versatile model which was lighter than the preceding 2 door 403.


Larger doors and windows, than those seen on previous Bristol models, were accommodated by dropping the hitherto successful Superleggera body construction in favour of body work built around a wooden frame.


Unlike the 405 Drophead chassis which were sent initially to Abbots and later Tickfords for their bodywork to be built, the 405 Saloon had bodywork built in the Bristol works factory.


Gary Barker told the Adelaide Advertiser in 1956 “The Bristol 405 is a car in the very best tradition of high British performance.”


A maroon 405 Saloon was the star of the 2009 coming of age film ‘An Education‘.

My thanks to Christopher Balfour who’s book Bristol Cars A Very British Story supplied many of the background details for this blog.

Tomorrow I hope to be attending the Bristol Owners Club Concours d’Elegance a free event held at the Old Royal Naval College Greenwich – The Painted Hall.

It is sad to have to report that Chris Lawrence, one of the men behind the Morgan Triumph SLR cars that featured on a GALPOT blog two weeks ago, passed away on August 13th. Along with the SLR Chris was responsible for the Mini based Deep Sanderson and much more recently the Morgan Aero 8 amongst many other vehicle developments. I hope you will join me in sending condolences to Chris’s friends and family.

Thanks for joining me on this British Performance edition of ‘Getting a lil psycho on tyres’, I hope you will join me again tomorrow when I’ll be looking at a large sports car from a revived brand that now hails from Chippenham, Wiltshire. Don’t forget to come back now !


Fit for a Sheikh – Bristol 405 Drophead

The Bristol 405 introduced in 1953 was the first Bristol to dispense with the BMW inspired grill and is unusual for having a single fog light placed in the middle.

There were two versions of the 405 this Drophead of which 43 were built and an imposing 4 door saloon of which 308 were built until production ended in 1958.

A 1971 cc / 120 cui straight six motor was exclusively tuned to produce 125 hp for the Drophead, the Saloon was given a 105 hp version of this engine. One blogger described the sound of this motor as being like ‘a squadron of Lancasters‘.

The first two 405 D’s were strictly two seaters with fully retracting roofs, however all bar one of the remaining Dropheads had roofs that rested on the rear body work making space for rear seats. A one off 405 D was produced for Sheikh Yusuf Mohammed Al Tawil and shipped to Jeddah in 1955 painted gold with silver wheels, white wall tyres and an electro-hydraulic operated roof.

The slick action four speed gearbox of all 405’s were fitted with a Laycock overdrive for high speed cruising operated by the large toggle switch to the right of the steering wheel.

The first 18 to 20 Bristol 405 Drophead chassis were sent to Abbots of Farnham where the bodywork was crafted. Abbots landed a large contract to build estate / station wagon version of the Ford Zephyr and Zodiac models and the remaining 405 D’s were sent to Tickford, in Newport Pagnell, for body work to be built according to the Abbots of Farnham drawings. I am not sufficiently drenched in Bristol Cars lore to tell you where this particular body was crafted… yet.

I suspect I could get used to fresh air motoring in a vehicle fit for a Sheik that sounds like a ‘squadron of Lancasters‘ how about you ?

Thanks to the owner of this fabulous vehicle for bringing it to the Sunday Service at the BMW Plant a couple of weeks ago.

Hope you have enjoyed today’s fit for a Sheikh edition of ‘Gettin’ a lil’ psycho on tyres and that you will join me again tomorrow for a Swedish tease. Don’t forget to come back now !