When it was first presented at the 1953 Earl’s Court Motor Show, the Bristol 404 was a clear deviation from the previous four-door Bristol models. Its shorter wheelbase, reduced weight, advanced aerodynamic form and almost intimidating look, contrasting with the more classical and established design of the earlier Bristols, immediately grasped the attention of the public and of the press. Already in May of 1954, The Autocar described it as a collector’s piece and couldnt help but describe it in a very lyrical way: “Very occasionally, the wine of experience overflows the glass of expectation, and the would-be connoisseur is aware he has approached perfection.”
Its performance on the road was equally appreciated by the motoring press. After a test run from Lincoln to London, during which the Bristol 404 frequently (and legally!) exceeded 100mph, The Light Car strikingly described the 404 as “almost an exceptional car. It has the performance of sports cars of considerably higher power, it has comfort comparable with the most exclusive town carriages and it has a degree of safety at high speed which can be matched only by a racing car. Here indeed is transport for the connoisseur.”
It didn’t take long before the Bristol 404 received its nickname “The Businessman’s Express”. This is indeed the one classic Bristol that could be called a sports car, but then a comfortable, stylish and sophisticated one. In a time long before the overuse of the initials ‘GT’, the 404 could have worn them with pride.
This Bristol 404 with chassis number 2022 is the 19th example out of a total of merely 51. Originally delivered with the Bristol 100B 6-cylinder engine producing 105bhp, and with a manual gearbox plus the extra luxury of an overdrive, this car was clearly intended to drive hard, fast and far which it still does superbly today.
In the 1980’s, 404/2022 became a part of the world-renowned car collection of King Hussein of Jordan. Known for wanting only the best, King Hussein had the car fully restored to his standards by Bristol Cars Ltd between May and November 1984. The Schedule of Work from Bristol Cars in the file describes the car’s light metallic green livery as “Bisley Mist 83”, a seldom-seen but very suiting colour for this model.
After two long periods of ownership in the UK, during which the car has been meticulously maintained by Bristol Cars and marque specialists Spencer-Lane Jones and Cleevewood Garage, 404/2022 is now fresh out of a very eclectic and refined Belgian collection.
Known for over 25 years in Bristol circles, with a class win at the Bristol Owners’ Club Concours, it is considered by those who know it as one of the best 404’s in existence. This is your opportunity to acquire this piece of automotive history that so perfectly combines rarity, elegance and performance.
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