1955 Bristol 405

Drophead Coupe
€168,200 ($202,429)
Sale Price
€100,000 - €150,000
Est. Range
5 February 2021
Sold Date
Lot Number
Older restoration
Auction House
Chassis no. 4054515; Engine no. 100B3609. Dark metallic green with black top over tan leather. LHD. 1971/105hp, 4-speed, floor shift, steel wheels with hub caps and trim rings, wood dash, Smiths gauges.

Evaluation: From the “So British Collection.” Represented as one of 43 built and as matching numbers. Sold new in France. Much older restoration and has sat for a while, so it will need sorting prior to further use. Paint looks decent but the chrome is faded, and the gaps on the doors are uneven. The leather looks old and dry. The steering wheel, dash, and switchgear all look old and worn, but the gauges are clear and bright. Grubby engine bay, but nothing is missing. A straightforward project and a very rare car in any condition, but as a left-hand drophead it’s the kind of thing we almost never see.

Bottom Line: Vintage Bristols are rare, elegant, hand-built, and well-engineered English grand tourers of the best sort, and they do have a loyal following. But they’re also obscure, and when they come to market they don’t usually fetch very high prices unless they’re show-ready concours queens or one-off coachbuilt specials. This car is neither of those things, which is why its price is so staggering. At least two bidders fell in love with it, realizing that another left-hand drive drophead will probably never pop up for sale, and threw everything they had at it. The bidding opened at €70,000, went through 21 more bids before selling with this result to an online bidder.

by Andrew Newton
12 February 2021
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Condition definitions
Condition #1: Concours
Condition #1 vehicles are the best in the world. The visual image is of the best vehicle, in the right colors, driving onto the lawn at the finest concours. Perfectly clean, the vehicle has been groomed down to the tire treads. Painted and chromed surfaces are mirror-like. Dust and dirt are banned, and materials used are correct and superbly fitted. The one word description for #1 vehicles is “concours.“
Condition #2: Excellent
#2 vehicles could win a local or regional show. They can be former #1 vehicles that have been driven or have aged. Seasoned observers will have to look closely for flaws, but will be able to find some not seen by the general public. The paint, chrome, glass and finishes will all appear as excellent. No excessive smoke will be seen on startup, no unusual noises will emanate from the engine. The vehicle will drive as a new vehicle of its era would. The one word description for #2 vehicles is “excellent.“
Condition #3: Good
#3 vehicles could possess some, but not all of the issues of a #4 vehicle, but they will be balanced by other factors such as a fresh paint job or a new, correct interior where applicable. #3 vehicles drive and run well, but might have some incorrect parts. These vehicles are not used for daily transportation but are ready for a long tour without excuses, and the casual passerby will not find any visual flaws. “Good” is the one word description of a #3 vehicle.
Condition #4: Fair
#4 vehicles are daily drivers, with flaws visible to the naked eye. The chrome might have pitting or scratches, the windshield might be chipped. Paintwork is imperfect, and perhaps the body has a minor dent. Split seams or a cracked dash, where applicable, might be present. No major parts are missing, but the wheels could differ from the originals, or other non- stock additions might be present. A #4 vehicle can also be a deteriorated restoration. “Fair” is the one word that describes a #4 vehicle.
Condition #5: Poor
Running, but battered, incomplete, and perhaps rusty.
Condition #6: Parts car
Parts car.
Hagerty only assigns condition ratings to vehicles we can inspect in person or, for online listings, via high-quality photography.