Having set themselves a tough act to follow with the 405 door saloon and coupe,  the design and development team at Bristol once again surpassed themselves with its replacement, the un-originally titled 406.

As was evident in replacing such a popular and critically acclaimed car like the 405, the 406 was handed several updates and most of them significant.

Without doubt, the most outstanding  was that Bristol’s  well-known tried and tested six-cylinder engine underwent a significant upgrade, with both its bore and stroke levels increased to provide an engine displacement of 2,216 cc (135 cubic inches),

The reason for the update was to generate more power at lower engine speeds, making the 406 no less enjoyable for city driving as on the open road.

Despite the upgrade, the 406 marked the last car to be produced by Bristol to be fitted with the pushrod straight six engine, derived from a design that had been developed in the post-war years by BMW.

Even though the engine had been updated to provide more power, with Bristol moving more into the luxury sports car market, this type of engine was rapidly becoming outmoded-and unable to compete with more modern designs that were gradually emerging towards the end of the Fifties.

The 406 came with just a single option, a two-door saloon body with no hint of four doors anywhere in the future.


According to the media of the time, the car’s styling placed it more in the category of a luxury car rather than a genuine sports saloon.

A sign that a wind of change was blowing over the Bristol Car Company was the fact that production on the 406 was discontinued in 1961 after only 172 versions had been produced.