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Bristol Type 412 (1975 - 1994)
our thanks to the Bristol owners club


This Type introduced a radical change: the completely new body style was designed, and also initially fabricated, by Carrozzeria Zagato of Milan. Later series, shown below, were UK-made in their entirety by Bristol Cars Ltd.

Type 412 Convertible Saloon

The body is identified immediately by the angular Zagato styling and the central roll bar. Large rectangular headlamps. Cast Bristol Pegasus badge mounted on the front grille. The 412 engine is a 6556cc (400 cu.in.) Canadian Chrysler V8 induction aspirated unit fitted with the Torqueflite automatic gearbox. The convertible versions have a manually operated folding rear hood section, the top roof section being a removable "Targa" style panel incorporating a sunroof insert that was designed so that when not fitted, it is storable in the Boot. Door windows drop automatically about 25mm to clear the roof when opening the doors.

Type 412 s2 Convertible Saloon

New multicoloured radiator badge replaces cast Pegasus. Headlamps are as the earlier 412. The s2 engine is a 5899cc (360 cu.in.) Canadian Chrysler V8 induction aspirated unit fitted with the Torqueflite automatic gearbox. Stainless steel strip inlet into bumpers. Fuel filler cap is on the top of the left rear wing. Headrests introduced on rear seats. Fixed frames protect the top edge of electric windows.

Type 412 USA Convertible Saloon

The next of these variants was described in contemporary brochures as the Type 412 USA. Unlike the British version, it was not supplied with a removable hard top. It was fitted with twinned quadruple rectangular headlamps and large-lensed repeater, running and flashing indicator lights on all four quarters, in addition to those on the front and rear of the car, presumably to comply with American legislative requirements. The engine was also fitted with a catalytic exhaust system.

 Despite being intended for export to the USA, it appears that this intention was frustrated, perhaps by the a legislative environment that would have presented an ever greater barrier to a small specialist niche company like Bristol Cars Ltd. Only one Type 412 car has so far been traced in the North American Continent, and this is known to be a 412 USA, so it seems there is some support for this hypothesis. Presumably the production lost to the USA was redesignated to be sold in European and other more accessible markets.

One model of this type, found in Europe and bearing Swiss registration plates, was pictured on the jacket sleeve of Bristol An Illustrated History, by Godfrey Oxley Sidey.

Perhaps the American-style side flashers on the Beaufighter owe their origin to this model.

 Bristol Beaufighter (Series 3)

This was the first Bristol Car to bear the name of one of the celebrated products of the Bristol Aeroplane Company Ltd. As in the Series 2, the Beaufighter engine is a 360 cubic inch Canadian Chrysler V8 unit. In the Beaufighter, however, it is fitted with a Rotomaster turbocharger. The additional torque required not only a heavier propeller shaft: the Torqueflite 3 speed automatic gearbox was uprated with the 440 cubic inch engine's torque converter and internal clutches. Accommodating the turbocharger also required a raised central section in the bonnet. The headlamps are smaller, twinned quartz halogen rectangular units. Flank indicator repeater lights are often fitted to both front and rear wings: these were illustrated as a standard feature of the USA Export version. Standard tyres were 225-70 VR 15 Avons.

Beaufort Convertible

Coloured enamel Pegasus badge on black radiator grille. Narrower stainless steel strip insert in black bumper. Fixed roll bar. The engines and transmissions of Beaufort versions are the same specification as the Beaufighter, and so the bonnet likewise has a raised central section to accommodate the turbocharger. The Beaufort convertible is fitted with an electric hood. It has a higher bodyline from the door B post position to the rear than the 412 s2, and a larger and stronger windscreen frame, which give additional body stiffening to compensate for the absence of the fixed roll bar. The fuel filler point is moved to top of right rear wing to clear the gearing for the electric hood mechanism. (Many other minor variations of detail are documented elsewhere.)

Wheelbase 2896 mm 114 in  
Track front 1384 mm 54.5 in  
rear 1397 mm 55 in  
Length 4940 mm 194.5 in  
Width 1765 mm 69.5 in  
Height 1435 mm 56.5 in  
Kerb weight 1715 kg 3781 lb  
Manufacturer Chrysler
Type V-8
16 valves total
2 valves per cylinder
Main bearings 5
Bore stroke 110.30mm 85.70mm
4.34 in 3.37 in
Bore/Stroke ratio 1.29
Displacement 6556 cc
(400.072 cu in)
Unitary capacity 819.5 cc/cylinder
Aspiration Normal
Coolant Water
0-60mph 7.40s
0-Quarter-mile 15.90s 
Top speed 225 km/h
Engine location Front
Engine alignment Longitudinal
Transmission 3A
Drive RWD