1984 Bristol Beaufighter


  • One of just 20 Beaufighters built
  • Smooth Chrysler 360ci (5.9L) V8 plus Turbocharger with 3 speed Torqueflite transmission
  • Substantial renovation work recently completed with many £1000s spent
  • Now drives well with plenty of power and smooth ride

The Appeal

Named after Bristol’s World War II bomber aircraft the Beaufighter was launched in 1980.  The Beaufighter was the fastest four seat convertible in the world and one of the first turbo charged cars of the 1980s.  In typical Bristol fashion it avoided the ostentation of many of its similarly priced competitors. Offered from 1982 to 1993 it was based on the 412 model but with updated bodywork and upgraded engine and transmission.

The distinctive Zagato penned styling and unique roof options are like no other large convertible, with the Rolls-Royce Corniche Convertible and Bentley Turbo being the likeliest competitors in period. In keeping with its aircraft heritage all body panels are aluminium and the car was hand-built at Filton, Bristol. Of just 20 Beaufighters produced just a handful had the desirable removable targa roof section which in itself is fitted with a removable sunroof.  All Beaufighters had the convertible Coupe de Ville style folding rear roof which gives great flexibility of convertible cruising options.

It is powered by a Chrysler 5.9 litre V8, but the Beaufighter was also fitted with a Roto-Master turbo providing over 335 bhp, huge levels of torque, with 0-60 in 5.9 seconds and a top speed of 150mph. Positive and sensitive ZF power steering, all round adjustable Koni shock absorbers and up-rated suspension all provide the surprisingly stable handling, whilst at the same time accommodating four adults in supreme comfort.

Having spent time as a resident of Pau in southern France the Beaufighter found its way back to the UK in 2022.  The seller purchased it in July and immediately set about the repairs necessary to get it dependable and roadworthy.  A large amount of work was completed, particularly to the underside with chassis and sill repairs along with refurbishment of the mechanical side too.  This resulted in some spectacular invoices, with work totalling over £16,500.  Now fully MoTed and dependable, the Seller tells us the ride is superb on today’s roads, soaking up all the bumps and floating along with a deep murmur from the exhaust.  Pressing the accelerator results in a tsunami of torque, the Bristol drops its tail and launches for the horizon!

Alas, he has another car nearing completion and has run out of garage space so has decided to part with the Bristol to concentrate on the new project.

History and Paperwork

  • Built in Filton, Bristol in 1984
  • First registered in February 1984
  • Purchased by the seller in July 2022
  • UK Registered, but spent some time in France on UK plates
  • V5c In Seller’s name
  • Sales receipt from March 2022 when seller purchased the Bristol
  • Letter from previous owner explains some earlier hisory
  • MoT valid to 9th May 2024
  • Invoices from past two years totalling more than £16,500
  • Lots of renovation work completed, particularly to underside
  • Welding and repairs to sills, inner wings, chassis and cross members
  • All cavities and underside waxoyled and undersealed
  • Refurbished brakes with machined discs, new pads and rebuilt calipers
  • Wheels refurbished with new tyres in May 2023
  • Interior wood beautifully refurbished July 2022
  • Lots of further remedial work completed at vast expense
  • Major work carried out by Autocar Repairs of London, Bristol specialists
  • Orginal Bristol 412 Instruction manual
  • Bristol Owner’s Club leather wallet
  • 2 sets of keys

The Interior

  • Black leather interior with light grey carpets and new woodwork
  • Black leather seats with plenty of creasing
  • Some more substantial damage in places, particularly the driver’s seat
  • Light grey carpet with age stains and marks, but mostly intact condition
  • Removable targa roof (complete with pop up sunroof), fits well and easily removed to stow in boot
  • Dash woodwork completely refurbished in July 2022, near perfect condition
  • Aftermarket JVC CD/Radio in working order
  • Air conditioning needs re-gassing and the vendor tells us it's not been tested to see if it works
  • All switchgear and controls in aged but good condition
  • Superb and comprehensive array of instruments including Turbo boost gauge
  • Original 3 spoke Bristol steering wheel in nice condition with no cracks
  • Clean and impressively large boot with smart grey carpet

The Exterior

  • Bright red paintwork in good overall condition 
  • All glass and lenses undamaged with no chips
  • Sung fitting removable targa roof, complete with pop up sunroof, attaches easily.
  • Fold down rear soft top over rear seats with sun damaged but intact rear screen
  • Refurbished wheels with new tyres 
  • Straight bumpers with only minor age marks
  • Single exhaust with chrome tip
  • Correct Bristol badging and all trim in good condition
  • Age related marks, small stone chips and some paint bubbling on most panels –see photographs

The Mechanics 

  • 5,900cc turbocharged V8 with 345bhp
  • Bulletproof 3 speed Chrysler Torqueflite transmission
  • Structurally sound chassis with fresh Waxoyl and underseal 
  • See photographs of underside to appreciate scale of work completed
  • Clean and tidy engine bay in nicely original condition
  • MoT valid to May 2024
  • Oil and filters changed less than 500 miles ago
  • Reported to start easily and stop well thanks to recent brake work
  • Starts easily and drives well with plenty of power and solid feel


This is definitely an example of one man’s pain that will become another man’s gain! The Beaufighter is a rare beast, and quite unique being an early example of a turbocharged car- and a V8 to boot! With all the big invoices already paid there remains only minor work remaining, and it can still be enjoyed whilst it’s done.  Stylish, rare, powerful and dependable, we think this is a unique opportunity.

Notice to bidders

This item is sold on an ‘As is Where is’ basis. The condition of this item is the opinion of the seller and may differ from your own opinion. Photos and listing descriptions are for guidance purposes only*.** Car & Classic do not warrant listing accuracy. Full inspection is recommended. Viewings are at the seller’s discretion. Buyer is responsible for delivery and collection of any item purchased.*

UK-registered cars and motorbikes on Car & Classic are run through an online HPI check. On the HPI report, this vehicle shows no insurance database markers for damage or theft. It is currently not covered by a finance agreement.

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Vehicle specification
  • Year 1984
  • Make Bristol
  • Model Beaufighter
  • Colour Red
  • Odometer 74,166 Miles
  • Engine size 5900
Auction Details
  • Seller Type Private
  • Town Cranleigh
  • Location Surrey
  • Country United Kingdom
Bidding history
28 bids
  • Pi•••• £20,250 19/06/23
  • SS•••• £20,000 19/06/23
  • Pi•••• £19,750 19/06/23
  • Pi•••• £19,000 19/06/23
  • SS•••• £18,100 19/06/23
  • 5.•••• £17,750 19/06/23
  • SS•••• £17,300 19/06/23
  • 5.•••• £15,500 19/06/23
  • Pi•••• £15,000 19/06/23
  • 5.•••• £14,500 19/06/23

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