In 1910 Sir George White set up various companies, including a bus building concern in the City of Bristol, and the firm which became the Bristol Aeroplane Company. This concern produced many successful aircraft, but was expecting a drop in orders for aircraft and aero engines at the end of the Second World War. Wanting a product to fill their factories, Bristol cast around for alternative activities, including car-making. Archie Frazer-Nash made sports cars under his own name from the 1920s. The Aldington family, who took over Frazer Nash from Archie (as AFN Ltd), imported BMW cars in the 1930s, and were able to secure the design of a BMW car and engine for the Bristol Aeroplane Co in 1945 as the basis for a new car. After a short-lived partnership with Bristol, AFN Ltd returned to making Frazer Nash sports cars. The 400 was the BMW-derived car made from 1946 to 1950, the 401 was produced in 1948-53, followed by its convertible version, the 402. In 1953 the 401 was replaced by the similar-looking 403. The 404 was a smaller coupe, only made in 1953-55. 142 Arnolt-Bristols were built on 404 chassis from 1956 to 1959. Over 300 were sold of the 'full-sixe' 405 in 1954-58. The 406, made in 1958-61, was the last to use the BMW-derived engine. The 450 was a design produced to compete at Le Mans. Bristol Cars were built in the aircraft factory for many years, but after the consolidation of the aviation industry in 1960 the car-making side became an independent company, making the 407, powered by a Chrysler V8 engine. The 408 was made in 1963-66, and the 409 in 1965-67. The 410 was made in 1967-69, followed by the more powerful 411, made in 1968-76. The last 400-series car was the 412, made in 1975-80. From the 1980s the cars were named after Bristol aircraft: Beaufighter, Beaufort, Britannia, Brigand, Blenheim, and the last new model was the Bristol Fighter in the 21st century. That is the complex background of the Bristol car.
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