Bristol 405 (1955)

Bristol 405 (1955)

The Bristol 405 is in all respects a special car. Produced by an airplane company, driven by a BMW-derived straight-six engine and with a unique design it makes for quite a remarkable vehicle. We have the pleasure of presenting this 1955 example, which although in need of some attention has retained a lot of its original components. An ideal basis for a full restoration or with some minor work very charming to drive in this attractive, original state. The car will be sold as is.


The Bristol Aeroplane Company was founded in 1910 and has since made some remarkable airplanes. From the first WW ‘Fighter’, the second WW ‘Beaufighter’ to the original study of the Concorde, Bristol can be seen as one of the most important British airplane manufacturers.

During the Second World War plans were already made to step into the world of cars. Through contacts with the British Army, Bristol acquired plans from the BMW factory in Munich after WWII, as well as BMW chief engineer, Dr. Fritz Fiedler. The first Bristols, like the 400, 401 and 402, not surprisingly relied heavily on the design and technical components of pre-war BMW’s, like the 326 and the 328. An important car to mention is the Bristol 450, a successful racing prototype which competed at Le Mans in 1953.

From 404 to 405

In 1953 Bristol also presented their new model: the 404. This short-wheel two door coupé was the first car to feature a completely new design, losing all of its BMW-roots. The most characteristic is its front side, inspired by the air intake of the Bristol Centaurus airplane engine. The engine of the 404 was an upgraded version of the in-line six that can be traced back to the original BMW engine. With a higher compression and three Solex downdraft carburettors, the 2.0-litre managed to produce around a 105 bhp.

At the end of 1954 Bristol introduced their first four door saloon, the 405. With a much longer wheel base, it shared its design and technical components with the 404. Due to its good road handling, 50/50 weight distribution and very low drag body, it was an ideal car to travel long distances fast, in comfort and luxury. Because it was built by an airplane manufacturer, the built quality was very good. For example: the body was coated by no less than 27 layers. Understandably it was quite an expensive car.

The 405 has some remarkable features like the small winglets at the rear, a reminder of the 450 Le Mans racer, and its two lockers in the front wing, housing the spare wheel and the battery. Its interior is ingrained with that typical British classical atmosphere. The Bristol 405 was produced until 1958 when it was replaced by the 406.


The history of this 1955 Bristol 405 is relatively unknown. The car seems completely original, only the interior has been restored in its lifetime. The engine is running but the Bristol has stood still for quite some time. With some minor work it can be made into a very charming, original driving car. But because it still has all its original parts, it also makes an exceptionally good basis for a full restoration.


Year: 1955
Mileage: 61388
2,0-litre straight-six
ca. 105 bhp
Manual gearbox with overdrive
Very original
Sold as is