Monday, December 2, 2013

Bristol 401 to 403: Postwar Streamlining

I have a soft spot for late-1940s streamlined sports cars such as the Fiat 8V that I wrote about here.  Another is the (to me) classic Bristol -- the 401, 402 and 403 series, built 1948-1955.  The Wikipedia entry on the 401/402 is here, and that for the 403 here.

The first link suggests that the Bristol's styling was inspired by the work of the Italian coachbuilder Touring, and might have meant the car pictured below.

There is only this photo being turned up by a Google search, and several sources identify the car as a 1938 "Lancia Aprilia Touring," where it is not clear from the Web sites whether the word "Touring" refers to the carrozzeria or just to a type of car, though the former interpretation is more likely.  Regardless, the Bristols shown below bear a strong resemblance to this Lancia, and it's quite possible that Touring had a hand in their design.

Here is what seems to be a factory publicity photo of a Bristol 403.

These are photos I found on the Web with other views of the design.

My main criticism is that the side windows are slightly too large.  Raising the belt line at the bottom of the windows an inch (about 2cm) or so might work.  Otherwise, I would lower the top about twice as much, if possible.  Another change that I think would improve the design would be to have the front fender fade fall off more to the rear rather than being largely horizontal.

These so-called defects are most apparent in the side view photo.  From other angles, the car looks good.

1 comment:

Antonio Sanchez said...

The Carrozzeria Touring Supperleggera badge can be seen on the hood, so this is definitely a Touring body on a Lancia chassis.