In 1975 Bristol replaced it’s 411 model with the 603 featuring a completely new body, a second new car was scheduled to appear on Bristol’s Earle Court Motor Show stand in October 1975 however despite pre event publicity the targa topped 412 model featured today was not ready and so did not appear as promised in the press.
The 412 has been described as a clash of automotive eccentrics by some commentators because the body was designed and built by no less an eccentric company than Carrozzeria Zagato wih whom Bristol’s Tony Crook had earlier worked as their UK Concessionaire and Importer. The distinctive head light clusters appear to have been sourced from the second generation Opel Commodore.
The first Series 412’s were built with the 300 hp 6.6 litre / 400 cui Chrysler B series V8’s but the second series introduced in late 1977 were fitted with the smaller 5.9 litre / 361 cui Chrysler motor.
Series 2 412’s have front suspension modifications as a result of the lighter motor, improved ventilation for the cabin and redesigned seats. From the date of first registration, March 1977, and engine size it would appear today’s car, seen at a Pistonheads Sunday Service meeting held at the BMW Plant in Cowley a couple of years ago, is a Series 1 412.
Apparently when Tony Crook went to see the the prototype 412 at Zagato it featured an even bluffer front end and was some 18 foot long, before Tony intervened.
The appearance of the 412 divides opinion like few others, as can be seen on this linked Pistonheads thread, one either gets Bristol ethos or one does not their is little middle ground.
In 1982 the 412 was fitted with a turbocharger and slightly face lifted which included twinned headlight clusters and called the Beaufighter production of around 27 of these continued until 1993. It is thought just one export only fully convertible versions of the Beaufighter with an electric roof, known as the Beaufort were built along with two non turbocharged US spec 412 known as the 412USAs.
It is thought 24 412 Series 1’s were built and 34 Series 2 412’s. Of the 88 Targa tops and one Convertible it is thought 76% are still extent.
Thanks for joining me on this ” Clash Of The Eccentrics” edition of “Gettin’ a li’l psycho on tyres” I hope you will join me again tomorrow when I’ll be looking at something a little more agricultural. Don’t forget to come back now !