Super-rare Zagato Bristol emerges after 20-year slumber

| 23 May 2013

A 1949 Bristol 400 that nearly a decade into its life was shipped to Zagato in Milan for full upgrade to 406 Zagato spec has been rediscovered in Devon.

The 400 went to Milan in 1957 to receive a new aluminium skin along with a host of other upgrades, including disc brakes all round, triple carburettors and an Abarth manifold.

The result promised improved performance – with 130bhp and a top speed of 120mph – and commanded double what you would have paid for a Jaguar E-type.

The Bristol was brought back to England in 1961 and used by the company’s boss Tony Crook, and possibly as a demonstrator, before being sold on in 1962 and then was bought by the current keeper in 1965.

Restoration of the 400/406, which also spent time in Libya and was driven across the Sahara, was started 20 years ago, but never completed.

The car comes complete with its original documentation and keys – the latter remain in the ignition – but has had some panels removed.

Only three 400s are known to have received the 406 Zagato treatment, but this one appears to be a previously unrecorded chassis.

Up for sale at Charterhouse Auctioneers for £10-20,000, you can find out more by visiting the auction house’s website or by calling 01935 812277.