The extremely aerodynamic 1951 Bristol 401 was designed and built by Bristol (of course), famed airplane manufacturers between 1951 and 1953. No expense was spared in the design and build of this magnificent automobile, which perversely may have contributed to its short production lifespan. The postwar years are remembered in North America as times of plenty, but in the UK, times were tough, and extravagance, although always appreciated, did not necessarily sell a lot.
The Bristol featured a superb BMW straight-six engine of 1971cc (almost 2 liters) which was …ahem… borrowed from the German manufacturer for past misdeeds. Let’s call it that. The 401 was not a particularly fast car, with a top speed of only 97 mph and 0 to 60 acceleration time of 15.1 seconds, but it provided a spirited drive nonetheless.
The aptly named ‘Aerodyne’ body, which graces the Bristol 401, was designed at the company’s runway at Filton, and was until recently one of the most aerodynamic production cars one could buy.