Lot 3193

Gene Ponder Collection

1953 Arnolt-MG Cabriolet by Bertone


$176,000 USD | Sold

United States | Marshall, Texas



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  • Believed to be one of 36 convertibles built
  • An American, English, and Italian creation with MG underpinnings and Bertone bodywork
  • Finished in Post Office Red over a red Connolly leather interior
  • Rides on Borrani knock-off chrome wire wheels with whitewall tires
  • The model that helped save Bertone; an intriguing sports car suitable for touring or exhibition

The product of a collaboration between Bertone and Chicago Industrialist Stanley H. Arnolt II, the Arnolt-MG’s remarkable story begins at the 1952 Turin Auto Show. As the legend goes, Bertone procured two MG chassis to create bodies for, as a way to help the struggling company bring in much-needed income. The coachbuilder brought the two completed cars, one coupe and one convertible, to the show. At the opening, Nuccio Bertone was approached by a man in a Stetson hat and cowboy boots who asked if he could purchase both cars—and place an order for an additional 200 cars.

The cowboy turned out to be Stanley Arnolt, a motoring enthusiast and manufacturer of campers, boat trailers, and recreational aluminum boats. This commission provided Bertone with the wherewithal to keep it in business long enough to secure even larger projects with major manufacturers such as Alfa Romeo. Unfortunately for Arnolt and his MGs, sales were slow, and just 67 coupes and 36 convertibles were built by the time he was informed the MG chassis underpinning the cars would no longer be available.

The example offered here, chassis 22876, was purchased by Gene Ponder in 2017. Prior to his acquisition, the car had been imported to Portugal and was reported to have been recently restored at the time and sporting a slightly worn original interior. Once in the Ponder Collection, however, the car received a completely reupholstered interior and was further fitted with a Judson supercharger. The exterior is finished in Post Office Red over a red Connolly leather interior with cream piping. A bevy of wonderful interior appointments includes a polished MG shifter, embroidered Arnolt floormats, and Bertone crests on the lap belt buckles. The car rides on Borrani knock-off chrome wire wheels wearing whitewall tires. (Note that a reproduction data tag incorrectly identifying this as a coupe is presently fitted.)

Now presented in show condition, this Arnolt-MG Cabriolet is a superlative example of the motoring oddity. Its rarity and Italian coachwork will surely make it a welcome addition to show fields, while its MG underpinnings and supercharged engine promise its next owner plenty of top-down motoring enjoyment.