Type 402

402 painted dash

An example of a painted dash fascia displaying the ivory instruments and controls. Studs on top of the dash capping are locations for the tonneau cover when it is used.

The type 402 is a drophead model, a derivation of the 401. Mechanically it is a 401, nicknamed “Hollywood Special” because a pair of the early cars were ordered by film stars Stewart Granger and Jean Simmons. These cars were registered as NPF1 & NPF2. It is reported that a hard top was manufactured originally for the Jean Simmons car, but was not required and was subsequently sold with chassis number 718. Only one hard top was ever made. It has been said that the 402 was created from type 401 bodies with the top chopped off. Thaat might be how the idea started, but it was not how they were built, because the rear of the 402 is not in fact as the 401: it has been described:

“as near to boat tailed as Bristol aerodynamics would allow.”

The body is flatter and more rounded above the bumper bar line, and employs a different “Bristol Superleggera” style support matrix.

The folding hood tucks neatly down below the level of the extended rear hull on the production models, and is concealed by the back of the rear seat, but on the prototype I am told it sits a little higher like the 400 dropheads, on which it was no doubt copied.

There appear to be a number of variations of bumper finish trims, white or black rubber inserts, or chromed or polished metal trims, which must relate to the point of manufacture, i.e. series 1 or series 2 bumper bars. See 401 notes.

Of the 22 cars bodied by Bristol, all have features of the early 401 but the front wing ventilation ports seem to have been omitted on most cars, as was the case with most of the series 1 and series 2 401s; this despite the fact that contemporary literature indicates these vents. The 1948 Motor Show car certainly did have them! This again is probably simply related to the point of production. The standard engine was the 85C, but others were fitted to order.

All of the Bristol built cars appear to have the ivory coloured switches, controls, instrument faces and steering wheel boss, and also have the ridge-bottom body style. See 401 notes.

All models incorporated an Enots one-shot hydraulic chassis lubrication system at the front and a splash activated gravity drip feed system at the rear suspension from the differential.

Badges read Bristol 2 Litre and decals and inlay to the coat of arms are yellow in colour.

403 body modified as a drophead

Here the 403 body modified as a drophead can be compared with that of the 402 body shown below.

402 with Bristol-made hardtop

Pictured above the only 402 with an original Bristol made removable hardtop. Note how third series bumper chrome striking plates have been modified in order to accommodate the location of rear light units in the earlier form built into the bumper bar.

The ex Jean Simmons Holywood Special

Ian Bennett and Roy Murray discuss the finer points of the then recent restoration of the ex-Jean Simmons Holywood special NPF 2 whilst in the background Keith and Jean Bell discuss the finer points of Ian's 410.

402 prototype

402 prototype car (above) displays headrests not featured on the production models, and also revealed when stripped down (below) the obscured air intake flap positions to the rear of the front wings.

402 prototype stripped down

402 Special or Non Standard Body cars

402 Beutler

This is the only significant variation of this car type so far reported. It is a drophead body which was built on a new chassis by the Swiss motor engineer Ernst Beutler of Gebr. Beutler at Thoune/Thun (French/German version), in Switzerland.

This car was displayed at the Geneva show in 1951 and research indicates that its owners have all been residents of Switzerland.

A point worth noting is that it has recessed air intakes on the bonnet providing air direct to the carburetter intakes. A preview of a system later to be adopted as an air scoop on the 404.

I believe that this is the car referred to in Leonard Setright's book Bristol Cars and Engines as “the Beutler 400” since this is undoubtedly the earliest Beutler-Bristol produced. I won't mention the other things that it is called since these things have to be viewed subjectively. It has been described to me as a 402, and in addition its date of manufacture, 1951, seems a trifle late for it to be a 400. The production of the 400 seems to have ceased in 1950. Until the car is properly identified by chassis number, it remains in this section. It is possible to accept the premise that this car might be yet another one of the many styling exercises on 400 or 401 chassis, most of which seem to have been directed to Switzerland and Northern Italy by HJ Aldington. The trouble with this theory is that Aldington had already parted with the Bristol Aeroplane Company Car Division by 1951 and was fully occupied with his own company AFN and in process of sponsoring the manufacture of the Frazer Nash Fiedler cabriolet, which itself has been described in uncomplimentary terms. Since that car has a Bristol engine see illustration in miscellaneous section.

The “402 Beutler” has now been identified as a 401 special chassis 893, actually the last 401 Beutler in chassis number order — CPKS 2008

Beutler 401 cabriolet