Retailers of the finest historic thoroughbred cars across a range of marques

Bristol 406S

Reference: Bris406/S

Model: Bristol 406S

Year: 1958

Colour: Silver

Price: £295,000.00

Tags: Classic, Bristol

 SLJ Hackett are delighted to offer one of only two short chassis 406’s ever produced. The car we are offering is 406/SP1 and features Filton’s distinctive coachwork.  The second short chassis 406/SP2, commissioned two years later by Tony Crook features a Zagato body and should not to be confused with the six Bristol 406 Zagato cars also commissioned on the standard length chassis by Tony Crook.


406/SP1’s unique body was designed by Dudley Hobbs chief designer at Bristol Cars from 1946-1976 alongside his assistant designer Dennis Sevier in late 1956/57. At first glance the 406S does look similar to the styling of Bristol’s earlier type 404. This is because Hobbs and Sevier extended the already existing body buck to suit the slightly longer 9ft chassis of the 406S and 406SZ. The chassis at 9ft sits exactly in-between both Bristol’s shortened 404/Arnolt chassis (8ft 6in) and Bristol’s standard 9ft 6in chassis.


“Smouldering with fifties cold war aeronautical cues” Simon Charlesworth Classic Cars 2012

Registered in June 1958 and bearing the registration ‘406 CHU’ (The first production 406 saloon is ‘406 BHU’, the press and publicity car). The reason for this model failing to make production is essentially two-fold: market realities and the restructuring of the parent company in late 1955. The car division lost their body building capacity and the standard 406 bodies were built outside the factory. The 406S was therefore just a step too far.


After BOAC delayed the acceptance of the Britannia airliner because of technical problem the Bristol Aeroplane Company’s cashflow was impacted so severely that it was almost bankrupted. Management therefore decided, after this close call, to re-organise the Aircraft, Engine and Car Divisions into three separate subsidiary companies. The Britannia incident had shaken BAC and had far-reaching consequences for what became Bristol Cars Ltd in early 1956. Add to this the terrible De Havilland Comet crashes (caused by catastrophic fuselage depressurisation due to metal fatigue) and its wider implications for all Britian’s aircraft industry, it was clear a choice had to be made: make a serious go of Bristol Cars Ltd by introducing new models, a new engine and increasing production or concentrate on the aeronautical business.


A run of 171 Bristol 406’s including all special bodied cars were produced from the launch at the October 1958 Motor Show through to 1961.


Following the decision for Bristol Cars to be taken over by Sir George White (from BAC’s founding family) and Anthony Crook the 406S prototype was used thoroughly by Anthony Crook between 1958-1962 who covered 60-70,000 miles. 406/SP1 was then sold to R W Johnstone, an Aberdeenshire vet, who covered some 500,000 miles during his 13 year ownership. The car was passed into further owners hands circa 1975 until returning back to Bristol Cars in 1990.


Upon 406/SP1’s return to Bristol Cars, it was noted that the car was stripped for rebuild during the previous owners ownership but not competed. Then workshop manager of Bristol Cars Jeff Marsh, recalls: “Mr Crook bought the car with the intention of selling the engine on. It turned up with an unfinished ash frame on the chassis, the original panels resting on the frame and six to eight chests of parts – not all of them belonging to the 406S. It sat in our workshop for six months until I persuaded Anthony Crook to work on it during a quiet period”. Marsh searched in vain for drawings in the factory archives. Instead, he had to make do with one photograph from Tony Crook, taken when he used the car together with period publicity shots.


The Bristol Cars complete restoration was completed circa 1992 by this time a new owner had been found for the car.


The current owner has always admired the 406S. Being a Bristol owner for many years he “made it known in Bristol circles that if the car were to ever become available I would very much like the chance to buy it”. In October 2005 ownership was passed over and work began with Bristol Specialists Spencer Lane-Jones being called into action once again along with Mitchell Motors.


Works carried out by Spencer Lane-Jones amongst others between 2005-2020

Top end engine rebuild

Rebuild Distributor + Graph

Fitment of Mota-Lita steering wheel (original type present)

Remake all missing original chrome work on front and rear of vehicle

Front and rear suspension rebuild

Overhaul braking system

New stainless steel exhaust system made

Corrosion repairs

Fuel system overhaul

Serviced every year

Bare metal re-spray

Sympathetic interior leather repairs

Plus much more…


Most recently a complete under-bonnet restoration by Mitchell Motors and five new tyres fitted.


The car has a recent competition history (Vernasca Silver Flag hill climb, Southport Classic & Speed) and a long career in the Concours world (Royal Automobile Club, Salon Prive, Concours of Elegance and others) winning many prizes over the years.


For further details and to arrange viewings

Contact SLJ Hackett

Mobile Telephone: 07867782402

Office: 01985219551


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