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Bristol Type 402 2 litre drophead (1949 - 1950)

our thanks to the Bristol owners club


Bristol Type 402 Drophead Coupé

This model was fabricated with the same body features as the first series 401 and can be identified as such by the ridge along the lower body panels. As in the early 401 saloon, the instrumentation and controls are Ivory coloured. Only 22 of these cars were produced. Prior to this venture, a small number of Type 400 and Type 401 driven chassis were bodied as dropheads. These chassis were sent principally to Farina, but some were also sent to a small number of other, perhaps less well known, design houses, e.g. Beutler, Langenthal and others. One 403 saloon is also known to have been later reconstructed by its owner in the fashion of the Type 402.

 This is a picture of a prototype 402. Note the ridge along the lower body: this is a feature shared by only the first series of its stablemate the 401 saloon. Also worthy of note in this illustration are the fitted head-rests on the front seats, which were not adopted in the final production series.

This car was one of a pair purchased by the actor known as Stewart Granger and his then wife, the actress Jean Simmons. This may explain why this particular Bristol type has long been known as the "Hollywood Special". This illustration actually shows the ex Jean Simmons car, privately restored and now not entirely to the original specification. Whether Stewart Granger's car still exists after all these years is a moot point: there have been several claims, but none as yet has been substantiated.

Pictured right is a Type 402 presently located in Australia. The wheels, though smart, are not to original pattern, which was a 16 inch rim "Easiclean" pattern, on which was mounted a chromed hub cap adorned with a "Bristol 2 litre" badge. This model would have yellow coloured ground to the Bristol Shield within the central circle, similar to that used as the logo above.

Wheelbase 2896 mm 114 in  
Track front 1314 mm 51.7 in  
rear 1372 mm 54 in  
Length 4864 mm 191.5 in  
Width 1702 mm 67 in  
Height 1524 mm 60 in  
Ground clearance 165 mm 6.5 in  
Kerb weight 1225 kg 2701 lb  
Fuel capacity 77.3
UK Gal
US Gal
Code 85C
Type S-6
12 valves total
2 valves per cylinder
Bore × stroke 66.00mm × 96.00mm
2.6 in × 3.78 in
Bore/Stroke ratio 0.69
Displacement 1971 cc
(120.278 cu in)
Unitary capacity 328.5 cc/cylinder
Compression ratio 7.50:1
Fuel system 3 So carbs
Aspiration Normal
Max. output 86.2 PS (85.0 bhp) (63.4 kW)
@4500 rpm
Max. torque 145.0 Nm (107 lbft) (14.8 kgm)
@3500 rpm
Coolant Water
Specific output 43.1 bhp/litre
0.71 bhp/cu in
Specific torque 73.57 Nm/litre
Power-to-weight 69.39 bhp/ton
Engine location Front
Engine alignment Longitudinal
Steering rack & pinion
Turning circle 11.40 m
Suspension Front I.TL.
Rear LA.TB.
Tyres F 5.50 x 16
Tyres R 5.50 x 16
Brakes F/R Dr/Dr
Brake ∅ F/R 279/279 mm
Transmission 4M
Drive RWD
Top gear ratio 1.00
Final drive ratio 3.90