Bristol’s long line of Chrysler V8-engined sports saloons began in 1961 with the launch of the 407, though in both styling and running gear the newcomer closely resembled the preceding six-cylinder 406. The chassis was up-dated and the styling revised periodically throughout the 1960s, a process that culminated in the 411 of 1969. After five series had been built the 411 was phased out as the 603 saloon and Zagato-styled 412 convertible came on stream in 1975/76; the latter making a clean break from the traditional Bristol look while retaining its predecessor’s chassis and Chrysler engine, though the latter was later downsized to from 6.6 to 5.9 litres.
In 1980 Bristol abandoned its traditional numerical nomenclature with the launch of the Beaufighter, and succeeding models would likewise use names drawn from the company’s not inconsiderable aircraft manufacturing heritage. A development of the 412, the Beaufighter used a turbo-charged version of the Chrysler V8, and while in Rolls-Royce fashion the power output remained officially undisclosed, it was sufficient to propel the car to 150mph with a sub-6.0 second 0-60mph time to boot. Meanwhile, the 603 saloon had been revised as the Britannia, the turbo-charged version of which, launched in 1983, was dubbed ‘Brigand’.
Introduced for 1995, the Blenheim further refined the 603 concept; multi-port fuel injection was introduced, which improved both performance and fuel consumption, and gave the normally aspirated Blenheim the same level of performance as the turbo-charged Brigand. The Blenheim also featured styling changes at front and rear, the headlights being paired and repositioned towards the body centreline. The Blenheim has since developed through the Series 2 and Series 3. The former, made from 1998 to the end of 1999, featured for the first time a four-speed overdrive automatic transmission, which further improved the fuel consumption, while the Series 3 abandoned the vertically mounted tail-lights and came with a much revised interior.
This superb Blenheim 3 is described to be in excellent condition throughout having covered a mere 51,500 miles from new. The car has been fastidiously maintained during its lifetime and the current vendor has always kept the car in a heated garage and only used on dry days. A rare and excellent example of Bristol’s luxurious grand tourer and an excellent prospect for any collector.
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