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Bristol Type 405 2 litre saloon (1954 - 1958)
our thanks to the Bristol owners club


Introduced in 1954, this was a departure from the norm, being the company's first, and to date only, production 4 door car. Clearly it was popular as slightly more than 260 of these hand built models were subsequently manufactured. Production ceased in 1958.

The type is easily identified, if only because of its four doors. Unlike the Types 403 and 404, in the Type 405 the body, bonnet and boot lid badge centre ground is coloured yellow, as on the earlier series 2 litre cars. The Type 405 was the first series production Bristol fitted with flashing indicators instead of the earlier semaphore/flipper type.

It was the first series production Bristol provided with Laycock de Normanville overdrive as standard specification from the initiation of production, though this particular refinement had been available to order in late production Type 403 and in the Type 404. The engine fitted to complement the gearbox was the Bristol 100B2 series, also factory fitted to a very few late Type 403 cars.

 Rear ¾ view shows the much longer cabin compared with the Type 404 and the peculiar proportions of the doors (unusually, the rear passenger doors are much wider than the front doors). There is a lot of glazing on this car, which no doubt accounts for its nickname the "Flying Greenhouse". Compared with the more restricted cabin of the Type 404, the all round visibility is much improved.

This profile view may be compared with the those of the Type 404. Again, the Spare Wheel is stored beneath the Nearside Front Wing, so yielding more usable Boot area.

This head on shot clearly illustrates the powerful and yet aerodynamic treatment of the car, reducing the natural resistance to the frontal area of the body in motion. Bristol were able to achieve a remarkably low drag coefficient for the time, one not bettered in production saloon cars for many years; but at the same time, the cleverly sculptured shape also creates two wedge shaped profiles over which the air channelled between the wings and radiator air intake progressively help create a greater down force used to hold down the front of the car when it is travelling at higher speeds. A very similar treatment had been given to the Type 404, but the combination of lighter body weight, balance and shorter chassis contrived to make it less effective compared with its performance on the Type 405 designs, both Saloon and Drophead Coupé.

Wheelbase 2896 mm 114 in  
Track front 1330 mm 52.4 in  
rear 1372 mm 54 in  
Length 4810 mm 189.4 in  
Width 1727 mm 68 in  
Height 1460 mm 57.5 in  
Ground clearance 165 mm 6.5 in  
Kerb weight 1230 kg 2712 lb  
Fuel capacity 72.7
UK Gal
US Gal
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 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 169 km/h
Fuel Consumption  
CO2 Emissions  
Power-to-weight 85.37 bhp/ton
Engine location Front
Engine alignment Longitudinal
Turning circle 11.40 m
Suspension Front I.TL.
Rear TB.
Brakes F/R Dr/Dr
Brake ∅ F/R / mm
Transmission 4OD
Drive RWD
Top gear ratio 0.78
Final drive ratio 4.22