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Bristol Type 406 2.2 litre saloon (1958 - 1961)
our thanks to the Bristol owners club


Identified by the departure of the by then familiar air scoop on top of the bonnet and a larger grille and aperture to same; also by new sculpture style bonnet, boot and nave plate badges. The engine capacity of the original 2 litre straight six had been stretched to 2.2 litres and the new engine was given the designation "Bristol 110 series". This car featured disc brakes on all four wheels, and surely it must have been one of the first saloons in its class to do so. Repeater indicators were also introduced to this model, being centrally mounted at roof cantrail level on each side. Electric screen washers were also part of the new specification. Internally, the seats were fitted with built-in flip-up headrests. Physically the car is larger in most dimensions than its predecessor, but still mounted upon the open 'A' shaped box section steel chassis frame.

406 Beutler in process of being driven down the loading
ramp of a Bristol Freighter of Silver City Airways.

Type 406 E Saloon or 406 Beutler

A number of designs were tried out on the Type 406 chassis, not least the various prototypes of the 407, but here is a picture of the only Type 406 chassis fitted with Saloon coachwork by Gebr. Beutler AG of Thun, Switzerland, being driven from a Bristol Freighter on its arrival in the UK ready for the Motor Show held at Earl's Court 1957. Beutler AG had named this as Bristol Saloon build project III. Two Type 401 chassis had been bodied as saloons by the Beutler Company in the late forties; one other chassis was completed as a Drophead Coupé.

Type 406 Zagato

In the late 1950s, whilst the Type 406 saloon was actually in production, some other notable designs were commissioned to be executed on the Bristol Type 406 114 inch wheelbase chassis. These were 6 Fixed Head Coupé cars by the Styling House of Zagato in Milan, Italy. A seventh but shorter 102 inch wheelbase chassis was also dispatched to be bodied. All were executed as fixed head coupés. The 6 cars on the 114 inch wheelbase chassis each differ from their predecessors in some detail. It is thought that these cars were created as a venture independent of the the Bristol Aeroplane Company Ltd, as they were sold through a leading Bristol agent of the time, rather than the Manufacturer.

 Here is an illustration of one of the cars created by Zagato on the 114 inch wheelbase chassis. It had just been refurbished when this was taken. Note the lazy Z line in the kick to the rear wing: this was a recurring feature of Zagato styling. Note also the fared-in headlamps; the channelled Roof detail; the purposeful scoop on the bonnet to vent airflow to the engine's triple carburettors; and the much larger aperture for the radiator grille. Unlike the Type 404, the all round visibility in these 2+2 fixed head coupés is excellent.

As was mentioned previously, another car was built on a shorter chassis by the Zagato Factory: this was coded the 406/S/P2 and was in fact the last car delivered from this batch in 1960. Two other designs were built much earlier by the Bristol Factory and one, on the 102 inch wheelbase chassis, was coded 406/S/P1. The Second car, based on the normal 114 inch wheelbase chassis, was coded 406/L/P1. This development car was in fact chosen to provide the basis of the full 4-seat configuration used for the Type 406 production series. It was used to convey HRH Duke of Edinburgh on his visit to the Bristol Factory and held by the company for some time before it was sold on.

Wheelbase 2896 mm 114 in  
Track front 1422 mm 56 in  
rear 1422 mm 56 in  
Length 4978 mm 196 in  
Width 1727 mm 68 in  
Height 1524 mm 60 in  
Ground clearance 165 mm 6.5 in  
Kerb weight 1365 kg 3009 lb  
Weight distribution
Fuel capacity 81.8
UK Gal
US Gal
Type S-6
12 valves total
2 valves per cylinder
Bore × stroke 68.70mm × 99.64mm
2.7 in × 3.92 in
Bore/Stroke ratio 0.69
Displacement 2216 cc
(135.229 cu in)
Unitary capacity 369.33 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)
@4700 rpm
Max. torque
175.0 Nm (129 lbft) (17.8 kgm)
@3000 rpm
Coolant Water
Specific output 47.4 bhp/litre
0.78 bhp/cu in
Specific torque 78.97 Nm/litre
Top speed 172 km/h
Power-to-weight 76.92 bhp/ton
Engine location Front
Engine alignment Longitudinal
Steering rack & pinion
Turning circle 11.40 m
Suspension Front I.TL.W.
Wheels F/R /
Tyres F 6.00-16
Tyres R 6.00-16
Brakes F/R Di/Di
Brake ∅ F/R / mm
Transmission 4OD
Drive RWD
Top gear ratio 0.77
Final drive ratio 4.27