Tag Archives: Aeroplane

Bristol disambiguation – Bristol RE & Bristol 400.

I received an e-mail form Hans in Oldenburg asking if there is any connection between the Bristol Car Company and Bristol Commercial Vehicles to which the answer in German is ‘jaein’, yes and no.

In 1874 George White, born in Kingsdown, Bristol, round the corner from where yours truly lives, was working for a firm of solicitors responsible for the promotion of the Bristol Tramways Company and became involved with the Imperial Tramways Company operating across parts of England and London United Tramways operating in West London.

These horse drawn tram operators were merged in 1887 into the Bristol Tramways and Carriage Company of which George White was Managing Director. By 1900 he had been promoted to Chairman of the BT&CC.; BT&CC; started building vehicles, initially with chassis from Filton fitted with bodies from it’s Brislington works in 1908 after the Thorneycrofts and FIATs it had been operating were found to be too unreliable.

Bristol Commercial Vehicles, based wholly in Brislington, was separated from the bus operating company Bristol Tramways and Carriage Company in 1955. This 1969/70 Bristol RE (Rear Engine), with bodywork by Eastern Coach Works of Lowestoft, was the most successful first generation rear engined bus, production started in 1962 and continued until 1982 though in it’s last years it was only supplied to customers in Northern Ireland and New Zealand after being absorbed by British Leyland in 1972.

After witnessing a flight by Wilbur Wright in France in 1909 the now titled Sir George White Bt (Baronet, 6th division of aristocracy below Lords above all but two levels of Knights, a hereditary title issued to commoners of wealth originally but public service latterly) founded the Bristol Aeroplane Company in 1910 for commercial aircraft production.

The Bristol Car Company was born out of the Bristol Aeroplane Company in 1947 under the leadership of Sir George White Bt’s grandson George Stanley Midelton White although the cars were marketed for several years as being made by the Bristol Aeroplane Company run by his father Sir George Stanley White, Bt.

So the two companies manufacturing vehicles bearing the ‘Bristol’ name are connected through the White family but not through any commercial or technical arrangements, of course the Bristol Car Company is the only one that survives. The blue car in the photo’s is one of the 487 Bristol ‘400’ models made between 1947 and 1950.

Thanks for joining me on today’s commercial disambiguation edition of ‘Gettin’ a lil’ psycho on tyres’ I hope you’ll join me for tomorrow’s Bristol Blue, edition. 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 !


How many are there – Bristol 400 Cabriolet ?

I have made a bit of a mess of my original idea of celebrating the Bristol Aeroplane Companies Centenary celebration by setting out to post a blog about each model in the order they were released with the most basic mistake of confusing a 401 with a 403, now that has been rectified I find there was a version of the Bristol 400 which I did not even know about until John Lomas kindly pointed out I had a photograph of it !

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This Bristol 400 cabriolet appears to be one of two built that never entered full production. If I had known just how rare it was when I took the photograph I would have waited for an opportunity to take a photograph of the front of the car, but that as they say will now have to wait for another day.

It would appear that Pinin Farina also built a Bristol 400 convertible but director Tony Crook cancelled any plans for it to go into production allegedly because of the inferior quality of the bodywork. According to the Bristol Owners Club, despite this decision there may be as many as 10 Pinin Farina Bristol 400’s. A quick search on Google images reveals one of the Pinin Farina 400 Cabrilolets to be a dark blue while another is eggshell blue.

Slightly off topic it was lovely to see Kevin Harvick keeping his composure after his pit crew dropped lug nut yesterday at Phoenix. Somehow Kevin managed to come back from 19th to 6th behind Jimmy Johnson and now sits 46 points behind Hamlin who after leading most of the race ran low on fuel at the end and wound up coming in just 12th.

Kevin is certainly the underdog going into Homestead Miami next weekend, but he certainly won’t be the first underdog going into the final race of the season to lift the Cup. Go Harvick ! Go #29 ! Go Happy !

Finally a word to some visitors from Germany, schoen Gruss an alle Morgan Freunde von http://www.morgan-club.de die dem letztens ‘Gettin’ a lil psycho on tyres’ besucht haben.

Thanks for popping by, looking forward to tomorrow’s blog already, don’t forget to come back now !


Happy 100th Birthday British and Colonial Aeroplane Company, Ltd !

What better way to celebrate the start of my blogging career, than with a centenary celebration in honour of the company that started my local exclusive vehicle manufacturer, The Bristol Car Company.

Unfortunately I missed the celebrations at Filton this weekend where 200 odd Bristol’s, nearly 5% of all Bristol’s ever made, were on display but have already made arrangements to be at the 101st birthday party.

Bristol 400, Prescott

Above is a photo taken at the Prescott VSCC meeting back in August of what I believe to be one of the 487 Bristol 400’s made between 1947 and 1950.

The Bristol 400 featured a 1971 cc ohv straight 6 which, along with the chassis and bodywork, was based on the pre war BMW 327.

Some great snaps, by my friend Tim Murray, from the centenary celebrations can be seen at The Nostalgia Forum here.

Hope you enjoyed my first blog and as they used to say on one of my favourite TV show’s ‘y’all come back now ! Hear !’