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Bristol Type 403 2 litre saloon (1953 - 1955)
our thanks to the Bristol owners club


A final development of the Type 401, this Type was introduced in 1953. Production was to be continued for two more years and ceased in 1955.

Bristol Type 403 Saloon

The Type 403 was the 4th model produced by the company. The body is easily identified by chrome numbers 403 mounted on both flanks of the bonnet lid and the centre of the boot lid. The background colour to centre of the body flank and Hub Cap badges, unlike the preceding models, should be red. The sidelights were mounted on the top of the wing. Originall, the front grille inserts were painted silver.

The Type 403 was initially fitted with a more developed Bristol 100A series engine, but later cars were fitted the more advanced 100B series unit. This in turn was itself further developed, becoming the 100B2 series and was combined with a remote short shift gearbox with Laycock de Normanville overdrive on top gear. This was fitted as standard on the last few Type 403 models. The more powerful transmission package was later to be fitted as standard on the Type 405 Saloon. Many early Type 403 cars were so modified and these engine units are identified as either 100AB series or 100AB2 series units according to specification. Because of the increased power from even the base level 100A series engine unit, an Anti-roll or Sway bar was added to stiffen the front suspension. The brake linkage was modified to reduce pedal pressures and Alfin brake drums were fitted (initially on all four wheels, but later only on the front wheel units, the extra cooling on the rear drums having proved unnecessary).

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  
Weight distribution
Fuel capacity 77.3
UK Gal
US Gal
Code 100A
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 8.50:1
Fuel system 3 So BI carbs
Aspiration Normal
Max. output 106.5 PS (105.0 bhp) (78.3 kW)
@5000 rpm
Max. torque 167.0 Nm (123 lbft) (17 kgm)
@3750 rpm
Coolant Water
Specific output 53.3 bhp/litre
0.87 bhp/cu in
Specific torque 84.73 Nm/litre
Top speed 164 km/h
Power-to-weight 85.71 bhp/ton
Engine location Front
Engine alignment Longitudinal
Steering rack & pinion
Suspension Front I.TL.
Rear TB.
Tyres F 5.75 x 16
Tyres R 5.75 x 16
Brakes F/R 2LS/LT-LH
Brake ∅ F/R 279/279 mm
Transmission 4M
Drive RWD
Top gear ratio 1.00
Final drive ratio 3.90