So should I buy one?

Saturday, January 05, 2008

A Bristol 410. Made in the 60s by what remains as one of the last independent British car makers. Very rare, even rarer in America. Cheap, as exotics go - less than many mid-priced sedans today. With the freight over here, it is more or less a wash. Some people think they are, well, frumpy, but I think otherwise. And the saving grace (I tell myself) is a mid 60s Chrysler V8, like the Jensen Interceptor and a few other European cars of the period. I almost bought a Bristol in London about ten years ago, until blocked by a sudden unaccustomed rush of common sense. Lately, these cars have seen a mild resurgence of popularity on British TV. You can even hum an appropriate song as you drive. And yes, I can envision nothing but headaches and poking around under the hood with skinned knuckles and cursing Lucas, the Prince of Darkness and waiting for DHL packages from England and scrounging around in junkyards for old Chrysler parts and endless hours in the garage and one of our two "real cars" parked outside in the rain and the consequent exasperation of Mrs. Skookumchuk. Oh, and zero collector's value or appreciation.

But I’m crazy in love, you see.


Rick Ballard said...

Buy two. One to drive and one for parts. Shipping shouldn't be that much. I shipped a car over to Hawaii a couple years ago for less than $1K.

Make an adventure of it and have one shipped to the east coast so you can make a cross country drive. Or at least part way, depending.

Knucklehead said...

Buy two - they're cute! BTW, hope y'all are having a good new year.

Get the freakin' car. You likeit... you can afford it... whattaya waitin' for?

And like Rick said, get a second one for parts. You'll spend the $$ for parts and shipping anyway.

Just Do It!

Anonymous said...

Buy two, they say. There is a certain rationale. Thing is, no two were ever exactly alike! If someday I post a photo of my new treasure(s), you'll know whether my attack of madness happened twice or only once.

vnjagvet said...

Last year, I had the same nostalgia attack for my first car, a 1962 red Triumph TR4, which I bought brand new for $2849 (24 EZ payments of 122/mo).

The cure:

I went to test drive one that was for sale on ebay and nearby, and it was so cramped, uncomfortable, rough and rattley that I couldn't imagine using it very often.

Also, although it was quite beautifully restored, it reeked of gasoline (probably from a cut hose leading from the filler cap behind the trunk to the tank -- the perpetual condition of that part while I owned mine).

Reality did not reinforce the nostalgia of the printed page.

Anonymous said...


The build quality of the earlier bodies was quite high, like a Roller, not at all like the British Leyland offerings of the time. So if you get a good one, there aren't so many rattles and squeaks. I mean, relatively speaking. I'm sure a new Kia would be light years ahead in that department. Comfy, too. It is the stuff you don't see that is troubling, mainly rot. One unusual thing about the Bristols is the location of the spare tire and of the battery and fuses. Just under the chrome strip running along the side, and between the front wheel arches and the doors, are hinged panels with compartments beneath. One houses the spare tire (which makes the trunk capacity very large) and the other often contained the battery. Lots of places for rot to set in, in other words.

Anonymous said...

I still want one, though.

vnjagvet said...

I understand. You obviously know the minuses as well as the pluses.

If I had money and space, I would want a TR4, too. Even though it was Exhibit A of the vagaries of British Engineering.

Anonymous said...

I understand. You obviously know the minuses as well as the pluses.

And that is the problem. All that pseudo-rationality just waiting to come tumbling down. We shall see.