24th Apr, 2024 13:00

Pavilion Gardens | Buxton, Derbyshire

  Lot 23

1953 Bristol 403

Lot details

Registration No: 138 UYS
Chassis No: 4031356
MOT: Exempt

  • 1 of just 287 examples
  • Maintained to a very high standard, with recent works including a re-wire and full interior re-trim
  • Offered with a large history file detailing all previous work

Following World War II, British airplane manufacturer Bristol received the designs of BMW’s 328 racing engine, among the most successful of the pre-war era, as war reparations. Bristol took the engine, with its unusual dual pushrod-operated exhaust valves, and improved it for durability and reliability, then installed it in a new grand tourer with sensuously streamlined coachwork and plush interior fitments. The 403, of 1953–55, replaced the 401, yet retained a very similar outward appearance. Improvements included an engine with larger valves and main bearings to produce 100 bhp and which could accelerate the car from 0 to 60 mph in 13.4 seconds and reach a top speed of 104 mph. Improvements to the chassis included the fitment of an anti-roll bar and improved 'Alfin' drum brakes. These luxurious, streamlined saloons were hand-built for the wealthy few and were thus always few in number. Just 287 403s were built in the three seasons of production.

Originally registered in the UK as ‘JTL 931’ on 20th July 1953, chassis 1356 is a first-year production example. Unfortunately, much of the early history of the car has been lost with the passage of time, however, there are tax discs dating from the early 2000s which give provenance prior to its export to the previous owner in Paris and it is understood that a paintwork overhaul was undertaken prior to this period. There are a number of invoices on file from the late 2000s from Spencer Lane-Jones Ltd in Warminster for maintenance so distance was no obstruction to the car's upkeep. The current keeper purchased the rare 403 when on a holiday in Paris and immediately re-imported it back to the UK and set about re-registering it under its original registration number. It was found that the original number had been re-allocated so therefore an age-related plate was issued by the DVLA. In the history file, there are large number of invoices documenting the current keeper's upkeep of the vehicle which has included a full rewire with a new Autosparks supplied wiring loom and a complete interior re-trim, including welding work to the sills and arches and more.

On inspection, we were greeted with the sight of a very smartly presented car in the attractive finish of Maroon which fired up very easily given that the car had not run for over a month. The vendor describes the mechanical condition of the vehicle to be 'very good' thanks to the large amount of expenditure on upkeep. Given that the paintwork is now thought to be over 20 years old, it still glistens and gives evidence that it has been cherished. There is a very small amount of bubbling along the front valance however the vendor advises and some small chips in the paintwork but the vendor advises that the rest of the car is 'excellent'. A very rare opportunity thanks to low build volumes, the 403 is the ultimate evolution of the 401 and a true Gentleman's express.

For more information, please contact:
Lucas Gomersall
07484 082430


All successful bids must be paid in full by midday the day after the auction at the latest.

You can collect your new pride and joy from our venue until 1pm the day following the sale or our partners are on hand to help arrange safe transportation:


Auction: Pavilion Gardens | Buxton, Derbyshire, 24th Apr, 2024

An auction of classic, collector and performance motorcars to be held in the beautiful surrounds of the Pavilion Gardens, Buxton, Derbyshire.Venue Details

Bid Live at the venue or online with H&H by clicking the 'Register to Bid | Sign In' button at the top of the page or by visitnig our partner, The Saleroom. For more information, please visit our How to Bid page. Please note, bidding online attracts an additional fee of 1% + VAT

To enquire about entering your classic or performance car into the auction please call our sales office on 01925 210035, email sales@HandH.co.uk or click here: Enter Your Classic Motorcar 

All our professional valuations are complimentary and without obligation.



Tues 23rd April from 12pm
Wed 24th April from 9am

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